We took the train to Heidelberg.
Heidelberg offers a pretty town, castle, a large wine vat, and apothecary museum.
You can only view the inside on a guided tour.
I couldn’t hear or understand the tour guide. I was unable to speak or ask questions due to the acoustics since I was told to be quiet by the guide and another family (and my husband) because they couldn’t hear. We were rushed through the castle and I could hardly take any pictures of anything interesting.
The castle ruins are among the most important Renaissance structures north of the Alps.
The castle has only been partially rebuilt since its demolition in the 17th and 18th centuries. It is located 80 metres (260 ft) up the northern part of the Königstuhl hillside, and thereby dominates the view of the old downtown. It is served by an intermediate station on the Heidelberger Bergbahn funicular railway that runs from Heidelberg’s Kornmarkt to the summit of the Königstuhl.
The earliest castle structure was built before 1214 and later expanded into two castles circa 1294; however, in 1537, a lightning-bolt destroyed the upper castle. The present structures had been expanded by 1650, before damage by later wars and fires. In 1764, another lightning-bolt caused a fire which destroyed some rebuilt sections.
There are four ways to get to the castle – car, bike, funicular, or walking.
We walked. It was hot.
We gathered for the next English tour, then they divided us in half with two different tour guides.
We entered into a room with lots of fun statues, old books, and things I wanted to look at. The guide explained none of it and gave no time to view it.
Then we went inside the castle and upstairs. There were these fun trunks with a gazillion locks.
Lots of little rooms with decorations and paintings.
We loved the fireplace!
Then we were in the chapel that is no longer used except for pretty.
The tour was over.
We made our way over to the BIG VAT.
The Heidelberg Tun or Great Heidelberg Tun, is an extremely large wine vat contained within the cellars of Heidelberg Castle. There have been four such barrels in the history of Heidelberg. In 1751, the year of its construction, the present one had a capacity of 221,726 litres (58,573.8125 U.S. gallons). Due to the drying of the wood its current capacity is 219,000 litres (57,853.6795 U.S. gallons). One hundred and thirty oak trees were reputedly used in its construction. It has only rarely been used as a wine barrel, and in fact presently enjoys more use as a tourist attraction, and also as a dance floor since one was constructed on top of the tun.
Heidelberg Castle has a history of enormous barrels; today’s barrel (Fass) is the fourth in the history of the Neckar town.
- Johann-Casimir-Fass (1591)
- Karl-Ludwig-Fass (1664)
- Karl-Philipp-Fass (1728)
- Karl-Theodor-Fass (1751)
When the French army captured the castle, the soldiers believed the empty wine barrel to be full of wine; their hatchet marks left on the barrel were later visible to tourists. According to tradition and local legend, the eternal keeper of the enormous Tun remains Perkeo of Heidelberg, once a court jester and master of the castle’s spirit production (and a famously Herculean wine drinker).
We looked at the view from the terrace.
Then we toured the Apothecary Museum. This was our favorite part!
We won’t take the train again. We couldn’t pack enough snacks and drinks in the backpack for all six of us on a hot day. It’s just so much easier to drive and pack up a picnic and be comfortable.
Courtyard: 8:00am – 6:00pm (last entry 5:30pm)
Big Vat: 8:00am – 6:00pm (last entry 5:50pm)
Pharmacy Museum: 10:00am – 5:30pm (last entry 5:10pm)
Courtyard, Great Cask, and Apotheken-Museum: Adults €3.00
Tours of interior are an additional €4.00 for adults. Tours are in English daily, when demand is sufficient.
Heidelberg is about 1.25 hours from Ramstein and 2.25 from Spangdahlem.
Studying Castles and the Middle Ages
- A Medieval Feast Unit Celebration
- Knights and Castles Lapbook
- This castle-shaped lapbook is way cute!
- Lots of Middle Ages activities from Homeschool Share
- Middle Ages Notebooking & Coloring Pages
- Medieval Unit Study