Haupt­straße Heidel­berg

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The Haupt­straße

Pro­bably the cen­tral point in Heidelberg’s Old Town: the pede­strian zone along Heidelberg’s Haupt­strasse. If you want to stroll through the Old Town of Heidel­berg, you cannot avoid it. Because the street runs com­ple­tely from one end of the Old Town to the other and is thus, with a length of appro­xi­mately 1.8 kilo­me­tres, one of the lon­gest, most used and above all oldest pede­strian zones in Europe.

Even before the city was foun­ded in the 13th cen­tury, there was a traf­fic route at the place where today’s Haupt­strasse is loca­ted, which was retai­ned as a street after the foun­da­tion. At that time, the street only ran from Karls­tor to today’s Uni­ver­si­täts­platz until it acqui­red its cur­rent length with the expan­sion of the city in the 14th cen­tury. At that time, there was a large gate at each end, like the Karls­tor at the eas­tern end, which is still well pre­ser­ved and is con­si­de­red a Heidel­berg sight.

Karlstor
Alt­hough Heidel­berg had to be rebuilt after the Pala­ti­nate War of Suc­ces­sion in the 17th cen­tury, the Haupt­strasse was retai­ned in its ori­gi­nal course and width. Until 1969 the road was con­si­de­red a main traf­fic axis, mainly for moto­ri­sed traf­fic, inclu­ding a tram. From 1969 onwards, through-traf­fic was closed and fur­ther traf­fic was restric­ted more and more until 1976, when the Haupt­strasse and many of the alleys became pede­strian zones. An excep­tion is the sec­tion bet­ween Korn­markt and Karls­platz, which can still be used nor­mally.

If you walk through the Haupt­straße, the many elderly buil­dings that deco­rate the image of the street with their good pre­ser­ved con­di­tion will catch your eye. These include, for example, the Haus zum Riesen, the buil­ding of the Hotel zum Ritter St. Georg, the Church of the Holy Spirit, the City Hall and many more, which have lasted along the Haupt­straße for many years.

Haus zum Riesen
Rathaus
Besi­des all the history, annual events are also taking place in the Haupt­straße. For example, the Christ­mas market with its own ice rink on Karls­platz, or the Heidel­berg Autumn, with an Sunday open for busi­ness, an arts and crafts market and many musi­cal per­for­man­ces. There are also many places in the street where you can watch the fire­works from the Heidel­berg Castle Illu­mi­na­ti­ons.

Shop­ping

Those who want to spend a day strol­ling will pro­bably get their money’s worth in Heidel­berg. And most pro­bably also at the expense of your wallet. Because whe­ther fashion, access­ories, deco­ra­tion, sweets or other knick-knacks, you can find almost ever­ything in the Haupt­straße. And if not, there are still the small bran­ching alleys where you might find odd trea­su­res.

Indeed, there are surely not as many small bou­ti­ques as once, but there are still some pri­va­tely mana­ged shops in the Haupt­straße. By this way, one can dis­tin­guish oneself from the big con­cerns in a small tea shop, some lovin­gly arran­ged flower shops, some cho­co­la­te­rias, a unique sugar shop at the side of the Haupt­straße and an anti­qua­rian books­tore. And if one is already strol­ling through the street, it is also worthwhile to visit the Kur­pfäl­zi­sches Museum that you pass by anyway.

Blume 2000
Kurpfälzisches Museum
side road
But if you would rather go to the clas­sic shops, you will be happy here too. In addi­tion to the popu­lar inte­rior design stores such as Depot and But­lers, you will also find fashion chains such as Mango, H&M, Pimkie, Marc O’Polo and Desi­gual in the popu­lar pede­strian zone. Dou­glas, Lush, Snipes and Hen­schel also have a store on Heidelberg’s Haupt­strasse.

So if you really want to have a look at several shops in the Haupt­straße and not just run through them quickly, you should perhaps have a little plan of which shops you really want to visit. Because, who is not fami­liar with it, while strol­ling through shops you can easily forget the time and the day is over faster than expec­ted.

Douglas Heidelberg
Henschel Heidelberg

Gas­tro­nomy

If you get hungry or thirsty during shop­ping, sight­see­ing or in bet­ween during the day, there is a wide choice of restau­rants, cafés and also bars in the pede­strian zone. Many of the bars, such as the Jinx, BOHO or Shoo­ter Stars are loca­ted in the side streets or the famous Untere Straße just a few meters from the main street.

For those who want to “just” eat out, there are larger restau­rant chains in the Haupt­straße, such as Mosch­Mosch (Japa­nese), Hans im Glück (burger grill) or Pizza Hut. There are also plenty of inde­pen­dent restau­rants like Gino’s (Mexi­can), emma Café-Bar or the Restau­rante Papi (Ita­lian). If you are in a hurry, there are of course kebab shops and even two Subway bran­ches in the Haupt­straße.

In the many his­to­ri­cal buil­dings there are also some restau­rants that have been in exis­tence for several deca­des. For example the Gast­haus zum Roten Ochsen near Karls­platz. The restau­rant is con­si­de­red a tra­di­tio­nal stu­dent restau­rant and is now run by the sixth genera­tion. The Gast­haus zum Seppl is also con­si­de­red to be a his­to­ric restau­rant in Heidel­berg.

In summer many of the cafés and restau­rants also have out­door sea­ting. So if you get a seat during warm wea­ther, you can com­for­ta­bly watch the hustle and bustle in the popu­lar pede­strian zone over a coffee or a meal.

Starbucks Heidelberg
Palmbräuhaus
Hauptstraße Heidelberg

Loca­tion & Direc­tions

Due to the length of the Haupt­strasse, you can reach it quite well, whe­ther by train, car or bus. At the eas­tern end is the S-Bahn sta­tion Heidel­berg-Alt­stadt, which is served by several trains from the main sta­tion.

At the wes­tern end is the Bis­marck­platz. The big bus and tram sta­tion is served by many lines and thus you have a good con­nec­tion here as well. Stops such as Uni­ver­si­täts­platz, which is rela­tively close to the centre of the main street, are also easy to reach by bus.

But if you prefer to travel with your own car, there are many par­king pos­si­bi­li­ties close to the Haupt­straße. For example, you can park in P12 at Korn­markt, or in P13 at Karls­platz.

Impres­si­ons

Bismarckplatz
Timberland
Pedestrian zone
Pandora
Snipes Heidelberg
Untere Straße Heidelberg
TheBodyShop
Hauptstraße
Hauptstraße Church of the Holy Spirit
Calzedonia Kiko Heidelberg
Hunkemöller
Marc O'Polo
Mango