With a hilltop castle, charming old town and historic university – complete with a “prison” for misbehaving students, in use until 1914 – Heidelberg is truly the storybook European town of every tourist’s dream.
Unfortunately, the adorable town is also the most expensive tourist destination in Germany, even beating out the notoriously pricey Munich. To make sure this lovely city doesn’t take you from prince to pauper, we’ve gathered a few of our best tips for saving on your visit.Getting around town
Obviously walking is always the cheapest option. Since Heidelberg is a small city, it also easily walkable. So slip on a pair of comfortable shoes and stretch your legs while you take it the “real” Disneyland flair of the place.
Like many cities in Europe, Heidelberg is a very bike-friendly town and cycling around is a great way to get to know the city while also squeezing in a healthy bit of exercise. VRNnextbike, a bicycle rental tied to the public transportation system, offers day rentals for €9 once you register (free of charge) on their site. Shorter rides are available, too, from the cheapo rate of €1 per 30 minutes.
There are also several bike rental shops throughout the city, with prices ranging between €12 to €15 for a day rental of a city bike with a cute little basket.
If you’ve come by car, whatever you do, don’t expect to drive your way around the old town: Parking is both hard to find and extremely expensive. A better choice, budget-wise, is to drop your things off at the hotel and then park outside the city center, taking the bus or train back into town.Save with the HeidelbergBeWelcomeCARD
If you’re not in the mood for any extra sportiness or plan to venture outside the city, you should definitely consider picking up HeidelbergBeWelcomeCARD. The card can be purchased as a 1 to 4-day pass (from €11 to €16) and covers your rides on all buses, trams and certain trains within the greater Heidelberg area and is also available as a family pass (€26 for 2 adults and 3 children up to 16).
Aside from transit, the card also grants you special discounts on many guided tours, museum entrance fees, selected restaurants, as well as other perks.Free thinking along the Philosophenweg
Luckily, one of the most spectacular things to do in Heidelberg is also absolutely free of charge: the Philosophenweg (Philosopher’s Walk) is a path through the vineyards once cherished by Romantic German poets, artists and philosophers for its beauty and solitude.
You can still follow the path where these learned souls once tread – now complete with gardens and informational plaques. Along the way, you’ll be rewarded for your efforts with gorgeous views over the Neckar river, Old Town and Heidelberg castle.
If you’re in the mood for a longer trek, you can venture further up Heiligenberg (the mountain) and check out the ruins there, including an 11th-century monastery and the remnants of a 4th-century Celtic hill fort.Budget places to stay in Heidelberg
With so many tourists heading to Heidelberg, hotel rooms don’t usually come at bargain rates. However, there are a handful of budget-friendly places to stay, although many of them are outside the city center. Here are a few favorites:
Near the city center
A comfortable hostel near most of Heidelberg’s main sites. Dorms, double and family rooms range in price from €23 to €36 a night.
Steffi’s Hostel Heidelberg
Hostel close to the main train stations. Prices range from €18 per person (10 bed dorm) to €45 (double room for one person). Family rooms available.
Located in the Altstadt along the famous pedestrian shopping strip, the St. Georg is a four-star hotel in a historic building, offering 37 very comfortable rooms that sometimes come down into surprisingly cheapo-friendly territory. Our searches brought up rooms during the summer for $111.
Outside the city center
Located in the suburb Boxberg, Hotel ISG is a friendly budget hotel that features some trendy Bauhaus design touches. Prices for a double room range between €96 – €160, depending on the room and season.
Hotel Restaurant Schied
A nice, quiet hotel located on a hillside in the suburb of Schriesheim. (Note that the hotel is a 30-minute walk up from the tram stop Schriesheim Bahnhof, so the place might not ideal if you plan on hitting the pubs until the wee hours of the morning!) Prices for a double room range between €57 for a single room to €110 for a four-bed room
Avoid tourist traps: If you’re hankering for a dirndl or black forest cuckoo clock to bring to the folks back home, whatever you do, don’t buy them on Hauptstraße in the Old Town — everything there is overpriced and sure to be stamped somewhere with “made in china.” You’ll have better luck finding that unforgettable souvenir if you venture off the beaten path to one the little side streets to the right and left of the main strip.
Do-it-yourself BBQ: In the summer, you should definitely consider having a little impromptu BBQ along the banks of the Neckar river. You can buy a cheap disposable grill at the hardware store Bauhaus, located at Kurfürsten-Anlage 11, just south of Bismarckplatz. From there, it’s an easy walk to Neckarwiese (Neckar meadow) on the northern bank of the river where you can set up the grill. Grill up those sausages and pop open a brewski while mingling with locals.
Everybody’s welcome at the student canteen: Another great tip is the Mensa in Marstallhof (Marstallhof 3), the most beautiful university canteen in Germany, replete with a beer garden! The Mensa is open to the public until 11 pm, and the bar, which boasts the cheapest beer prices in the city, is open until midnight.
And if you’d like to see where the local students get their groove on, check out Untere Strasse, a street that runs parallel to Hauptstrasse and the river. The street is pack with bars and pubs frequented by the university crowd, including Destille, a funky, authentic pub complete with a fake tree in the middle of the bar.Your tips?
Have more tips about ways to save when visiting Heidelberg? Please leave a comment below!
The post Heidelberg, Germany: Simple ways to save on your trip appeared first on EuroCheapo's Budget Travel Blog.
After such a carefree travel experience to Japan in my second trimester, I was feeling pretty invincible. I felt great! Almost normal. Traveling during pregnancy was a cinch and made for the cutest photos.
Then the third trimester hit and everything changed. It turns out carrying a wiggly, hungry bowling ball around in your abdomen can really slow you down. Like a lot. As I write this I still have a full two months until Baby Twenty-Something Travel’s due dat and it’s starting to feel like a challenge to get from the couch to the bathroom.
That’s not to say you can’t travel during your third trimester, there are just more logistics to consider. You need to be a lot pickier about where, when and how you go. A relaxing beach getaway at 28 weeks? Heavenly. A fast-paced sightseeing jaunt around Europe at 35 weeks? Probably not gonna work out.
I only traveled a little in the third trimester, most notably a cross-country week long trip to DC to attend a friend’s wedding. Nonetheless I think I can probably help out with a few helpful tips and things to consider when traveling this late in the game.
(Obligatory every person is different/ your mileage may vary/discuss your plans with your doctors preamble).Medical Considerations
Okay first things first. You obviously need to discuss any travel plans with your OB or midwife before you go. While technically you can fly up until you go into labor, different doctors have different policies for what they recommend. Some airlines require a note from a doctor after a certain point in your pregnancy so you want to make sure they are onboard with your plans. Mine discourages air travel after 34 weeks, sooner if you have a complicated pregnancy.Flying
Flying, especially in coach, is just never going to be pleasant while your pregnant. The third trimester was definitely the least comfortable for dealing with a long flight though. You are much larger and more uncomfortable in general, and sitting in one position for a long time can be quite painful. Add in third trimester gassiness (Sorry, it’s true), overheating and sore feet and it’s kind of miserable. 6 hours was probably the limit for my personal sanity- I wouldn’t want to fly trans-pacific at this point in pregnancy.
Flying during the third trimester was also the first time I experienced swelling in my feet. Although I drank a ton of water and tried to move around at least every hour, I still arrived in DC with water balloons for feet. On the way back I used compression socks which helped quite a bit, so if you’ve been waiting to break those out, now is the time.
TIP: Avoid the redeye and spring for the direct flight if at all possible. Beg, borrow or steal (or you know, just pay extra) so that you can have an aisle seat and move around every 45 minutes or so.You Probably Can’t Eat as Much
Sadly, this is not the time to plan a culinary adventure, unless you enjoy feeling overfull and frustrated. Sometime around week 26 the baby got so big that she took possession of all my stomach overflow space. Even normal sized meals can leave me feeling bloated and nauseous.
Heartburn is also a major issue during the third trimester. Fortunately (or unfortunately) I found that what I chose to eat had no direct effect on how bad the heartburn got. Talk to your doctor, but Zantac was a life saver for me.
TIP: Small, frequent meals are the way to go at this point. Plan your travel days accordingly.Cut Down on the Walking
Walking has been my primary form of exercise all pregnancy. Living in an urban area with no cars means I pretty much walk everywhere. During our trip to Japan in the second trimester we walked so much that I actually lost weight despite being 20 weeks pregnant and eating everything in sight.
Third trimester though, things get way harder. I could still walk quite a bit but not nearly as far as before. Stairs would knock the wind out of me (and could sometimes cause painful charlie horses) and long walks could lead to back pain and foot pain. Add in the leg and foot swelling that’s common third trimester and you will not be a happy camper at the end of a long day of sightseeing.
TIP: Take frequent breaks, drink lots of water and make your travel partner give you a nightly foot massage.Bathroom Urgency
Access to the bathroom is an issue all through pregnancy and yup, it only gets worse.
TIP: Pee at every opportunity. Don’t hesitate to use your giant pregnant lady status to extort bathroom privileges when necessary.
Hopefully this didn’t come out entirely negative. I did enjoy the chance to visit family and celebrate a friend’s wedding. Traveling, particularly early in the third trimester is possible, and while the actual journey might not be enjoyable, the destination surely will. I for one though, am happy to be homebound for the next couple months.
This is part 3 of a 3 part series. Read: