Heidelberg (pop. 136,000) on the Neckar River is set among lovely hills. Its famous 600-year-old university (the oldest in Germany) has several Renaissance towers and turrets at the base of a hill near Heidelberg Castle. Be warned: It’s a draw for fleets of tour buses in the summer.
The best way to enjoy the town is to stroll along the Hauptstrasse in the old section, to mingle with the local crowds and to sit at one of the many student cafes or beer halls. (If you have a car, leave it at a parking garage on the outskirts or you’ll go crazy trying to find your way through the maze of small, one-way streets.) Also visit the Heidelberg Castle which changes colors with the different angles of the sun (take the cable car, near Kornmarkt, to get to the castle). View the city from the Karl-Theodor Bridge and the nearby Philosophenweg (a winding path with a great view of the city) and tour the Kurpfaelzisches Museum (Roman artifacts). Day trips can also be made to the castle and vineyards of the Neckar Valley. 55 mi/85 km south of Frankfurt.
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