Watching over the city is the majestic Heidelberg Castle, one of the most important Renaissance structures in Europe. Thanks in part to Mark Twain‘s description in his 1880 travel book "A Tramp Abroad", the castle became a tourist attraction for Americans and later Japanese. Today, the castle attracts up to 1 million visitors and more than 100 weddings annually. The castle is also surrounded by a wonderful garden. During the summer months, the city stages a music festival in this spectacular setting.
With a vast courtyard, a facade spanning more than 400 meters and a total floor area of six hectares, the Mannheim Palace is one of the largest palaces in Europe. The palace was originally designed to be the second largest baroque palace complex in Europe...after Versailles. The building was severely damaged in World War II, and the main sector of the palace was rebuilt. Today, the University of Mannheim has primary use of the building, but many of the historical halls are open to the public.
As a summer residence for royalty, the Schwetzingen Castle is notable for its expansive formal gardens. The main building, which was built as a 17th century hunting lodge, is actually relatively small when compared to the massive gardens. Most of the original furnishings and decorations have survived, giving visitors a historically accurate window into the everyday life of royalty.
Schloss Mittelbau; 68723 Schwetzingen
Tel: +49 (0)62 21-65 888-0
Considered the birthplace of German democracy, the Hambach Castle sits high above the picturesque city of Neustadt. It was in 1832 when 30,000 discontented citizens, under the guise of a spring festival, staged a protest for German unity, freedom and democratic values. The Hambacher Festival marked the first time that Germany‘s national flag (black, red and gold) was flown. An exhibition at the castle gives a detailed explanation of the complicated historical circumstances that lead to the demonstration and its political repercussions.
Hambacher Schloss; 67434 Neustadt an der Weinstrasse
Tel: +49 (0)621-504-3045