Calm, picturesque, and utterly romantic; Heidelberg is quaint hideaway tucked away in the lush green hills that envelope the Neckar River. It is a historic city which features beautifully preserved architecture and quirky museums.
Above all, friendly German spirit breathes life and soul into these cobbled streets, and the city provides you with plenty of opportunities to kick back with a bier and hearty German meal!
But knowing where to stay in Heidelberg can be challenging. There’s a lot to see and do in this charming German city, and we don’t want you to miss out on anything. So this is why our expert travel writers have prepared this guide to Heidelberg’s best neighborhoods!
Whether it’s your first time in the city, you’re traveling on a budget or need to know where to stay in Heidelberg with kids – this Heidelberg neighborhood guide has the answers.
Now, let’s dive right in and check out the best places to stay in Heidelberg!
Quick Tips – Where to Stay in Heidelberg
- Where to stay in Heidelberg the first time – Altstadt
- Where to stay in Heidelberg on a budget – Bergheim
- Best area to stay in Heidelberg for families – Neuenheim
- Cross the iconic Alte Brücke Heidelberg (Old Bridge!)
- Take a stroll along the riverside to the Karlstor triumphal arch
- Explore fascinating churches, such as Heiliggeistkirche (Church of the Holy Spirit)
Looking for a specific place to stay? These are the best places to stay in Heidelberg.
Best Hostel in Heidelberg – Meininger-Heidelberg-Hauptbahnhof
With top ratings from past travelers and top amenities, this central hostel is our overall favorite hostel in Heidelberg. There are dorm beds and private rooms available, kitted out with contemporary style.
The hostel is well-placed for getting to the train station and exploring the central neighborhoods of the city.View on HostelWorld
Best Airbnb in Heidelberg – Loft in the heart of Heidelberg
An interesting studio space moments from the old city, this accommodation in Heidelberg provides leafy views through the windows of its airy living room and has an incredible private terrace! There is a pool table, Wi-Fi and a cute upstairs bedroom, suitable for kids or nimble adults.
An awesome find in Heidelberg!View on Airbnb
Best Hotel in Heidelberg – Hotel Heidelberger Hof Heidelberg
Central, modern, clean, and chic; this hotel in Heidelberg simply ticks all the boxes. Breakfast is available or you can choose to eat at one of the many cafes nearby.
This is a good pick for those looking for where to stay on a budget in Heidelberg – rooms are cheap!View on Booking.com
Quick Summary: The Best Places to Stay in Heidelberg
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Heidelberg is a university city in southwestern Germany, in a valley of rolling hills which is home to the Neckar River. Star attraction of the city, the Schloss Heidelberg, tumbles romantically down the crest on the south side of the river.
Connected by a series of bridges, the northern banks feature hills dotted with unusual attractions to discover on foot.
The city is broken down into 15 districts, spanning the inner center and feeding out into the hills. Several of these are predominantly residential. Naturally, the central districts are where you will find Heidelberg’s points of interest and the best places to stay in Heidelberg.
Come to Heidelberg for history, hiking, kooky museums and a place to recharge. So, where to stay in Heidelberg?
If you’re looking for where to stay in Heidelberg for your first time, check out Altstadt. These Middle Ages streets are a cocoon of heritage and landmarks, and there are plenty of accommodation options.
If you’re traveling around Germany on a shoestring, you’ll be relieved to hear Heidelberg does have a handful of backpacker hostels and cheaper hotel options. Have a look at our Bergheim neighborhood guide, for budget digs in Heidelberg.
With all these hills, museums and family-friendly attractions to explore, Heidelberg has plenty to impress the kids! Leafy Neuenheim, the setting of the city’s ancient university, is our top recommendation for where to stay in Heidelberg for families.
3 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Heidelberg
Let’s take a look in depth at the 3 best neighborhoods to stay in Heidelberg. They’re each a little different, depending on the type of experience you’re after.
Altstadt is Heidelberg’s old town, and sits on the banks of the Neckar River in the shadow of the ancient castle. These cobbled streets are where you’ll find the major attractions of the city, and is our pick for where to stay in Heidelberg your first time.
Much of the neighborhood is walkable, or you can hop on the public bus.
The neighborhood is littered with bustling market squares, perfect for enjoying a cold German bier between checking out the historic landmarks and museums. The old streets are brimming with German and international restaurants, upscale cocktail bars and chilled pubs.
Things to See and Do in Altstadt:
– Walk up to hilltop Schloss Heidelberg – the gardens are free and there are tours of the interiors of the beautiful ruins of the castle
– Have a coffee or a beer in the Heidelberger Marktplatz and soak up the ambience
– Cross the iconic Alte Brücke Heidelberg (Old Bridge!)
– Find the monkey sculpture, Brückenaffe, and touch his brass mirror for good fortune!
– Take a stroll along the riverside to the Karlstor triumphal arch
– Visit the Studentenkarzer, a jail used to hold unruly for minor offences like playing practical jokes or duelling!
– Mooch around the Deutsches Apotheken-Museum which is dedicated to the history of pharmacy in Germany
– Ride the funicular up to Königstuhl for soaring views that make this worthy of the name ‘King’s Seat
– Snap a photo of the oldest burgher house in town, the Haus Zum Ritter (House of the Knight)
– Explore fascinating churches, such as Heiliggeistkirche (Church of the Holy Spirit)
Best Hostel in Altstadt – Lotte The Backpackers
This old house at the foot of Schloss Heidelberg has been spruced up inside with awesome dorms with homely features and amenities to make you feel right at home. There are mixed dorms and a female-only option.
There’s a kitchen for guest use and cozy lounge for social butterflies.View on HostelWorld
Best Airbnb in Altstadt – Altstadt Maisonette Wohung
This quirky little pad is right in the heart of Altstadt and features a cozy lounge, compact kitchen and bathroom, with a mezzanine style bedroom in the attic. It’s snug, but homely, clean and full of character. We think it’s great for where to stay in Heidelberg your first time!View on Airbnb
Best Hotel in Altstadt – Hotel Goldener Hecht
This central hotel in Altstadt has elegant rooms ideal for the first-time traveler who wants a taste of luxury, but without the price tag. With comfortable beds, ornate private bathrooms and a hotel on-site, it’s a great all-rounder. There’s even a pool to plunge into after a hike up to the castle!View on Booking.com
Bergheim is a central neighborhood to the immediate west of Altstadt. It’s the commercial hub of Heidelberg, with offices, restaurants and cafes covering the lion’s share of the space and a handful of unusual tourist attractions to explore.
Being slightly further afield to the historic center means that cheaper accommodations can be found – handy for those looking for where to stay in Heidelberg on a budget.
Bergheim is well-served by the tram, which makes for a novel way to get around. Otherwise, most of the district can be explored on foot. Bergheimis also very handy for travelers arriving or departing at Heidelberg Hauptbahnhof.
Things to See and Do in Bergheim:
– Visit the Körperwelten Museum which is devoted to human anatomy as well as happiness
– People-watch in the Bismarckplatz Park
– Potter around in the Schwanenteichanlage, a park with a small pond and fountains
– Go shopping and cafe hopping alone Bergheimer Strasse
– Visit restored art nouveau bathhouse, Altes Hallenbad, which is now a modern shopping destination
– Fuel your love for graphic design at the Deutsches Verpackungs Museum
– Browse art created by patients of psychiatric wards during the mid 19th to mid 20th centuries at the Sammlung Prinzhorn
– Take a walking tour of the city; Heidelberg Tourist Guide operate from Bergheim and are well commended
– Check out modern art with powerful messages at the Willi Bender creative space
Best Hostel in Bergheim – Steffi’s Hostel Heidelberg
This friendly, clean hostel has dorms and private rooms, including a couple of family rooms for those looking for where to stay in Heidelberg with kids. The funky walk decor reveals the owners’ love of nature and the great outdoors!
You can prepare your own meals in the hostel kitchen.View on HostelWorld
Best Airbnb in Bergheim – InterAssist Germany App. 3 3 room apartment
A bright, functional apartment in a secure complex in the south part of Bergheim. It’s close to nearby public transport and local eateries. You get free Wi-Fi included, free parking on the premises and there is a fully equipped kitchen. Perfect for a couple or small group of traveling friends!View on Airbnb
Best Hotel in Bergheim – Hotel NH Heidelberg
This charming hotel in Bergheim comes with a sauna and Jacuzzi, which will sound very good after you’ve followed a couple of the local hiking trails. Rooms are contemporary, clean and comfortable, and spacious too.
There’s a gym at the hotel and an ambient roof terrace for catching a few rays.View on Booking.com
The neighborhood of Neuenheim sits on the northern bank of Heidelberg, providing ambient riverside hang-outs as well as tasteful green spaces to escape to. Neuenheim is the home of the 14th-century university which attracts over 30,000 students to this day.
Neuenheim has an abundance of family-friendly attractions to delight children of all ages. The student population gives the neighborhood a vibrant buzz and cultural quality. Trams, buses and taxis will enable you to make the most of the sprawling part of the city.
Things to See and Do in Neuenheim:
– Take a day trip to Heidelberg Zoo to meet the exotic residents of the city, including tigers and elephants
– Cool down on a hot day at the Tiergartenbad outdoor lido
– Hire some bicycles and follow the route of the Neckar River
– Follow the Philosophenweg (Philosopher’s Walk) through gorgeous foliage to recount the steps made by German poets and philosophers to reflect on their thoughts and work. It’s 2 kilometers and fairly steep, but worth it for the views!
– Pack a picnic and soak up the sunshine and riverside views from the Neckarwiese riverside park
– Take a day trip into the nearby hills and check out the various hiking trails
– Explore the oldest settlement of the city, Heiligenberg, which features the 11th-century Monastery of St Michael at the summit
– Fill up on German dishes at eateries on the Ladenburger Strasse
– Have a stroll through the campus of Germany’s oldest university
– Wander around the Heidelberg Botanical Gardens at the university – free entry!
Best Hostel in Neuenheim – Jugendherberge-Heidelberg-International
A modern hostel with simple, comfortable rooms and plenty of outdoor space for taking some downtime. Breakfast is available, and they have dorms and privates.
Note that all guests need to register for membership of DJH or IYHF – you can do this at check-in if you don’t already have it.View on HostelWorld
Best Airbnb in Neuenheim – Penthouse Studio Apartment
Compact and cozy, the studio has a sofa bed and the hosts can provide a baby cot if required. The area is peaceful and beautiful, with plenty of restaurants, cafes and stores right on the doorstep.
We love the private terrace which has a view of the street and surrounding hills.View on Airbnb
Best Hotel in Neuenheim – Rafaela Hotel Heidelberg
This hotel in Neuenheim features compact, neat rooms with all the amenities you need for your city break, including free Wi-Fi. There are family rooms for those traveling with younger children.
It’s close to the local attractions including Neckarwiese and you can wander over the river to the old town easily.View on Booking.com
Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Heidelberg
So there you have it! We hope our guide has helped decide where to stay in Heidelberg and inspired you to make the most of your stay.
To recap our guide, we think Altstadt is the best area to stay in Heidelberg for your first time. Here you absorb the historic delights and modern charm of this German city. Check out Hotel Heidelberger Hof Heidelberg for somewhere convenient to stay!
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