With a hilltop castle, charming old town and historic university — complete with a “prison” for misbehaving students, in use until 1914 — Heidelberg, Germany is truly the storybook European town of every tourist’s dreams.
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.
Simple Budget Travel Tips for Heidelberg, Germany
Getting around town
Obviously walking is always the cheapest option. Since Heidelberg, Germany is a small city, it also easily walkable. So slip on a pair of comfortable shoes and stretch your legs while you take in the “real” Disneyland flair of the place.
Like many cities in Europe, Heidelberg, Germany 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 HeidelbergCARD
If you’re not in the mood for any extra sportiness or plan to venture outside the city, you should definitely consider picking up HeidelbergCARD. The card can be purchased as a 1- to 4-day pass (from €17 to €21) and covers your rides on all buses, trams and certain trains within the greater Heidelberg area. It is also available as a family pass (€40 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, Germany 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, Germany
With so many tourists heading to Heidelberg, Germany, 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 €26 to €70 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 €110.
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 range between €67 for a single room to €112 for a four-bed room.
Shopping, eating and drinking tips
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.
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 p.m., 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.
Share your tips for saving in Heidelberg, Germany
Have more tips about ways to save when visiting Heidelberg, Germany? Please leave a comment below! And if you’re looking for cheapo tips, here are 50 budget travel tips for Germany.
The post Heidelberg, Germany: Simple ways to save on your trip appeared first on EuroCheapo's Budget Travel Blog.
Source: Euro Cheapo