6 June, 11 July & 5 September
from 10:15 p.m. onward
Heidelberg Castle Illumination
In June, July and September of each year, the Heidelberg Castle lights up in blazing red. As soon as the red Bengal lights fade, the fireworks display starts from the Old Bridge. The castle illumination including the fireworks takes about 15 minutes, but is worth every single second, even for a slightly longer journey.
Probably the most popular places to admire the play of light in the sky are, the Nepomuk Terrace at the bridge end of the Neuenheim bank of the Neckar, the banks of the Neckar (e.g. Neckarwiese) and the Philosophers’ Path. There are also places in the Old Town where you have a unique view of the fireworks. Tip: Steingasse leads from the Church of the Holy Spirit directly to the bridge gate, so you have a great view of the fireworks from a slightly different perspective. If one then wants to have a little snack, there is a small but fine crêpes stand right at the Church of the Holy Spirit that also offers drinks.
During the days around the day of the castle illumination, there is also a supporting program. For example, on the Nepomuk Terrace there is a small beer garden with live music on Saturdays from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Sundays from 12 a.m. to 6 p.m., and at the Kornmarkt there is a small art and goods market. At the Bismarckplatz and the Anatomy Garden, people get in the mood for the event from Thursday onwards, while shortly before the palace illumination, a concert is given in the Church of the Holy Spirit at 6:15 pm.
Boat trip to the fireworks
The offer is bookable for a maximum of 14 people, for more people there are special group offers.
You get a 1.5 hour boat trip with a 3-course menu on the ” Weiße Flotte Heidelberg”, which drops anchor in front of the Old Bridge shortly before the fireworks begin. In addition, there are one, two or three nights with breakfast in a room of the category comfort or first class in a Heidelberg hotel. The category, number of nights and whether you want a single or double room is of course up to you. The prices vary between 180€ and 460€ depending on your decision.
The fireworks, however, remind us of a more beautiful part of Heidelberg’s history. On 14 February 1613, the Elector Friedrich V. married the English King’s daughter Elisabeth Stuart. When the two of them came to Heidelberg in July, Friedrich organised a big party for his beloved wife and fireworks to welcome her in proper manner. According to documentation, the fireworks lasted for more than two hours.
Since 1860 the Heidelberg Castle Illuminations take place on a regular basis, but even before that there were occasional fireworks and castle illuminations in the city.
If you want to go from the Old Town to the Nepomuk Terrace or to the Philosophers’ Path, despite the fact that the streets and the bridge are already closed, you can use the footbridge at the Karlstorbahnhof (Heidelberg-Altstadt station). From the Wehrsteg, it is only a few minutes’ walk to the Nepomuk Terrace and the Schlangenweg, which leads to the Philosophers’ Path. For the way to the Neckarwiese, the Theodor Heuss Bridge is recommended, as it ends directly at the beginning of the popular meadow.
The public transport also runs differently than usual due to the closures. This means that some stations, such as the bus stop Alte Brücke or Marstall, may be completely cancelled during this period.
All closures will be lifted again around 11 pm, after the end of the event. If you have arrived by car, you should consider in advance whether you want to leave a little earlier or stay a little longer in Heidelberg. Because the spectacle always attracts a lot of visitors, there may be traffic jams due to the many guests making their way home and the dismantling work.