Heidelberg, Germany

July 1-3:

One peculiarity of our trip this summer is that it’s occurring right as COVID restrictions are lifting for European countries. As such, we are having to monitor European news networks and government websites on a daily basis to learn if a particular country is changing their entry restrictions for vaccinated American tourists. One development that has occurred over the past month has been the rise of the Delta COVID-19 variant in the United Kingdom, likely hampering our ability to visit the UK. While early research shows that the vaccine that Lizzie and I both have is effective against the Delta variant, most European countries aren’t letting folks for who transited the UK into their countries. Additionally, the UK themselves are mandating a 10-day quarantine for all arrivals, regardless of their vaccination status.

With this development, we now have the time to visit countries that weren’t originally on our list. This includes Germany!

From Luxembourg City, we were able to use our Eurail pass to catch a train to Heidelberg, Germany. Heidelberg is a beautiful little city on a river with a magnificent castle that overlooks the old town.

Heidelberg Palace, an extremely old castle, looms in the background of the entire city.
Old church at the end of a city street
Walking the city streets

Philosopher’s Walk

One of the best things to do in Heidelberg is walk the Philosopher’s Walk. It’s a beautiful little street on the other side of the river with magnificent views of the city.

“Philosophenweg”, or “Philosopher’s Walk”

Quite a few authors found inspiration in Heidelberg, including Mark Twain. He finished writing The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in Heidelberg, and was inspired by this exact walk!

A garden next to Philosopher’s Walk
The view from Philosopher’s Walk!

Lotte Hostel

We had our first hostel experience in Heidelberg, at the Lotte Hostel. It was an absolutely amazing experience – and such a great price! We initially weren’t sure what the dormitory life would be like, and were a bit nervous going in. We shared our dorm room with 2 women our age from Germany – which we initially thought would be very strange. What were they like? Would they snore? Would they beat us up in the middle of the night and take our lunch money?

We met the girls in the common area of the hostel as they were cooking their dinner. They ended up speaking perfect English, and were so polite! We loved just standing there in the kitchen getting to know them and their stories. They ended up cooking extra food for us, and we sat together at the hostel dining room table for an hour and a half around a meal. It was one of the highlights of our trip.

In the kitchen, the hostel had coffee, tea, milk, cereal, and dishes to use if you wanted to cook your own meal. The common area had several tables, comfy chairs, and free books. You could also do laundry in their washing machine downstairs. The location was also perfect – it was right in the heart of the city, quite literally at the base of the stairs leading to Heidelberg Palace.

Heidelberg Palace

The crown on top of the city is the Heidelberg Palace. With much of the structure having been built in the 1500s, it was an incredible experience to walk through its ruins.

Built in 1552 – how crazy is that?
This part – built in the 1700s was still in great condition
A massive wine barrel in the palace cellar
The view of the city from one of the palace towers


We were so excited to try authentic German snacks and food for the first time. If you know anything about Lizzie, you know that one of her favorite snacks of all time is a German pretzel. Now that she was in the homeland, we had to stop and grab one!

One of our favorite restaurants in Heidelberg, and potentially our favorite restaurant thus far in Europe, was Weinstube Schnitzelbank. It was authentic German food in an old wine cellar that opened after the war in the 1950s!

Lizzie’s: Kässpätzle, almost like a macaroni and cheese
Graham’s: Wienerschnitzel and potatoes

Initial thoughts on Germany

We already regret not having Germany on our original list of must-sees during this particular trip. It is an incredible country! One of the things we have both remarked on is how similar the culture between Germany and the US feels – more so than any other country we have visited so far. Perhaps the similarity in feel comes from the sheer size of Germany. At over 80 million people, it’s the biggest country in Europe with the largest economy. Or perhaps it comes from the fact that our American culture is intertwined with Germany’s being that so many of our original settlers came from Germany, bringing their amazing culture with them. Whatever the case may be, we have loved experiencing this culture so far through Heidelberg and have decided to go deeper into Germany as a result. Off to Berlin, next!

Recommended Posts