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Aim, Focus, Shoot - The HyPyC blog
Heidelberg Castle and the Konigstuhl

Exploring the Konigstuhl and sights of Heidelberg

Aside from the fantastic Christmas Markets, Heidelberg has a great deal to offer in terms of sights and historical landmarks. During our stay in this charming town in November 2016 we decided to see Heidelberg castle and take the old Funicular railway to the top of the mighty Konigstuhl hill - I really wanted to see the fantastic views and see the fascinating mountain railway system.

Stood in Heidelberg castle with views to the city

The Konigstuhl stands at 1863ft high and lies behind the old town centre of Heidelberg on the Neckar river. This huge hill is home to several communications towers, Heidelberg castle, and also an astronomy institute. You can walk up the side of the hill using the network of footpaths that snake up its side (There was no way in hell we were doing this!), or take the funicular railway (Yes please!). We obviously opted for the railway and stopped off at the castle before reaching the top.

View from the castle down to Heidelberg city

The Funicular (Bergbahn)

The first station of the railway is located just behind the Kornmarkt square which is itself not far from the main market square and Hauptsrabe. Literally walk to the back of the square and you will see a side-street and sign posts pointing to the station. Inside there are several ticket booths where you can purchase both tickets for the castle and for the funicular. We opted for the combined castle and mid-way ticket which cost 7 Euro each. It should be noted that the Funicular is actually split into four seperate lines and you have to transfer to a different carriage to reach the very top of the Konigstuhl. The stations are listed below:

  • Station 1 - Kornmarkt (Ground station)
  • Station 2 - Castle
  • Station 3 - Molkenkur (mid-way station where you change carriage)
  • Station 4 - Konigstuhl

The basic castle/railway ticket allows you access to the castle, and a railway journey from the Kornmarkt to the Molkenkur station and back again - You have to buy a separate ticket for access to the Konigstuhl station. There is a small cafe at the Molkenkur stop and here you transfer from the modern railway, to the wonderful original wooden railway that takes you to the top of the Konigstuhl. The funicular carriages are spacious, clean and have large windows to provide you with excellent views as you ascend the hill. We did not have to queue long or wait for a carriage to return - The whole process was quite smooth and organized. I really enjoyed watching the carriage ascend and took some videos of the journey and of the conductor which you can see below:

Heidelberg Castle

I wasn't as impressed with the castle as I had hoped. When I visit a historical building, I like to learn about its history - We looked for quite some time and couldn't find any information boards or displays about the castle. Furthermore, there were no leaflets left in English! Maybe we didn't look properly? I'm sure we didn't and the only museum that we could find was the Dutch Apothecary museum which was inside the main courtyard. What the castle did provide however was fantastic views of Heidelberg and the river Neckar. There are several of the battlements that offer superb views across to the city from an elevated position so of course I got some great photos of the old town centre.

Heidelberg Castle Heidelberg Castle Heidelberg Castle

The Konigstuhl

After changing at the Molkenkur station onto the old wooden funicular, we ascended to greater heights and the top of the Konigstuhl. The funicular at this point was a joy to ride on - The old wooden carriages had been faithfully restored and the track even split in two at one point to allow carts to pass each other.

The driver taking a nap! Views down to the Alte Brucke Bridge The funicular descends the Konigstuhl

When we reached the top we first enjoyed a drink at the cafe that sits next to the station. At these heights, the cold really started to bite you, but luckily enough, the cafe provided wonderful warm purple blankets to wrap up in whilst enjoying your food. I had a Radler beer while Lauren enjoyed a mug of hot chocolate and some Bratwurst.

Radler, Hot Chocolate and Bratwurst!

Once we had relined our stomachs and warmed up a little we walked to the viewing points to see the magnificent valley stretch out before us. To the left you could see the castle perched on the hillside, while in front of us was the city of Heidelberg and the Neckar river. The landscape was breathtaking and the view was just amazing. This is what I had been waiting for and I was not disappointed! The colours of the trees were still golden and orange with shades of Autumn and the air was clean and fresh.

Lookout post at the top of the Konigstuhl View from the top of the Konigstuhl down to Heidelberg Enjoying the view from the Konigstuhl

I could have stayed up there for ages admiring the view and taking photos, however it was getting extremely cold and we had other sights to see. After a while, we headed back to the station and started on our reverse journey down this wonderful mountain range. The Konigstuhl was definitely the highlight of the day for me, and I will remember the fantastic views for a lifetime - If ever you visit Heidelberg, ensure you take the journey up the hill!

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