Computational Optical Sensing and Imaging (COSI)

25 - 28 July 2016
Kongresshaus Stadthalle Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany

Travel & Transportation

About Heidleberg

Heidlberg is centrally located on the West side of Germany, about one hour south of Frankfurt and one hour North of Stuttgart. The city is most well-known for its Schloss Heidelberg (Heidelberg Castle).  The city’s museums and castle aren’t the only things that make Heidelberg an amazing city.  Heidlberg boast the oldest university in Germany, the University of Heidelberg, which continues to be a leading center for scientific and medical research, and the number of students here makes Heidelberg one of the “youngest” cities in Germany.

There are many national and global businesses whom have either their home, a division, or a research center located in Heidelberg, keeping the city in the forefront of technology, business and research.

Kongresshaus Stadthalle Heidelberg

The Kongresshaus Stadthalle Heidelberg is the flagship of the Heidelberg convention and congress locations.  It’s late 19th century architecture and flashes of art nouveau provide a stunning backdrop for conventions and congresses.  The Kongresshaus is a house with history. It was dedicated as a gathering and festival building for the city‘s residents on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the University Reform in 1903. Ideally situated within the Old Town, the Kongresshaus sits right on the banks of the River Neckar with hotels, restaurants and attractions such as the Old Bridge or the famous castle just a few minutes away.

The conventions/Congresses in Heidelberg are considered the “Congresses of short distances”. Directly in front of the entrance, the boats of the “Weisse Flotte” provide a really special extension area for very large gatherings. Romance meets Science – it is this mixture that makes Heidelberg such a unique venue for international and national conventions and congresses.
Letters of Invitation
Individuals requiring letters of invitation to obtain travel visas to present their papers may access the online form at Invitation Letter Request Form.
  • Please fill out a separate form for each person requesting a letter
  • All letters of invitation will be sent by a locked PDF unless otherwise requested. If you require a paper copy, please provide a courier account number or credit card number with expiration date with the original request
  • Please allow up to 15 business days to process your request.
  • OSA is not able to contact Embassies in support of an individual attempting to gain entry to attend an OSA meeting.
  • We recommend that you secure your travel visa before registering for the conference as cancellations after the preregistration cutoff can result in a cancellation fee.

Questions about the Visa Invitation Letter application process, e-mail:

OSA Management – Invitation Letter
The Optical Society
2010 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20036


Apply now for your Visa!

We strongly encourage you to apply for your visa as early as possible. Depending on your nationality, you could need a visa when visiting Germany; the process can take up to 6 months or more. Be aware of that the rules and regulations change quite often, so check with your consulate
Visas for Germany are not required by all nationals referred to in the chart for the following durations:
• Nationals of EU countries for an unlimited period.
• Nationals of Australia, Canada and the USA for stays not exceeding 90 days in a six-month period.

OSA provides the following information to help foreign travelers understand the process and requirements of obtaining visas and some of the rules for foreigners to stay in Germany. The information is accurate to the best of our knowledge. However, there is considerable complexity as there are several types of Visas; it can be applied for in your own country, the rules vary according to your nationality, and the regulations can be changed at any time. The information is relevant to holders of ordinary passports.

Nationalities that require a visa: A list of the countries can be found here .

Note: With the implementation of the Regulation of the PRC on the Administration of the Entry and Exit of Foreign Nationals on September 1, 2013, new version of Visa Application Form of the PRC (Form V.2013) came into use simultaneously. All visa applicants are required to use the new Form from September 1, 2013. Please fill out the form truthfully and clearly on the computer and then print the completed form. Handwritten forms will no longer be accepted for application.


Getting To Heidleberg

Heidelberg is located on the southwest side of Germany, about one hour south of Frankfurt and one hour north Stuttgart.
By Plane: 
Heidelberg does not have its own airport, but because of its location between Frankfurt and Stuttgart, it is easily accessible by train, shuttle, rental car, or taxi.
  • Frankfurt - The nearest intercontinental airport.
  • Stuttgart - nice for European 'EU-domestic' flights.

ICE Train from Frankfurt or Stuttgart Airport to Heidelberg

You can travel to Heidelberg via ICE (Inter City Express), Germany's fastest train, running at 300km/h (180mph).

Both Frankfurt and Stuttgart airports have train stations inside the terminal. Frankfurt Airport even is a major ICE-train stop.

Reservations are not necessary; just buy your ticket at the counter or machine after you land. Credit cards are accepted; most staff speak English. It might be necessary to change trains (only once) at Mannheim, Stuttgart, or Frankfurt Central Station, but it is still likely to be faster than the bus. One way prices: Frankfurt €24.50 (ICE), Stuttgart €26 (IC) €38 (ICE).

By Shuttle:
Lufthansa Airlines’ shuttle service from Frankfurt to Heidelberg is open to everyone, with Lufthansa passengers receiving a discount. Tickets can be reserved directly from the shuttle company by email or over the phone during business hours. The shuttle leaves from Terminal 1, arrivals level, Hall B, and arrives in Heidelberg at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

TLS, Transfer & Limousine Service, also offers shuttle service to and from the Frankfurt Airport. Reservations may be made online up to 96 hours before transfer or by phone within 96 hours.

Some hotels offer shuttle service from Stuttgart and Frankfurt as well, so check with the concierge where you will be staying.
By Train:
The main train station, Heidelberg Hbf, is located in the western part of the city and is centrally located, and it has service to both regional towns and major cities, making it easy to get to Heidelberg from anywhere in the country. Standard rates to Heidelberg from Frankfurt and Stuttgart range from € 14 to € 28, depending on the train.

To find prices for the different trains and routes, visit the English section of the German rail website. Here you can plan your route and order tickets, as well as get information on other special offers that the D Bahn is offering.

The D Bahn also offers “Rail&Fly”, a special package purchased through your airline which adds rail passes to your airline ticket.

From the Frankfurt Airport:

The S-Bahn, regional and local trains leave the Frankfurt airport from Terminal 1, Level 1, platforms 1 – 3.

From the Stuttgart Airport:

The S-Bahn leaves the Stuttgart airport from Terminal 1, Level 1.
Germany has an excellent public transportation system, making it possible to get everywhere you need by using either the bus or train. But if these options do not appeal to you, then renting a car is another option for your trip to Heidelberg.

There are two main issues when renting a car - being comfortable with foreign traffic rules and signs, and parking. While most traffic laws are the same in Germany as in other countries, road signs and street markings can vary. If you do rent a vehicle, it is important to research the German traffic rules before you arrive. As for parking, it is very limited in Heidelberg, and it is rarely, if at all, free. On-street parking is difficult to find, but there are many parking garages available. (The Getting Around section has more detailed information on traffic laws and parking in Heidleberg.)

Major car rental agencies are at both airports and you can always book online or by phone before your trip. You can rent a car at age 21 with restrictions, and at age 25 and older with no restrictions. (Make sure your normal auto insurance covers international car rentals, or purchase additional insurance with the car rental agency.)

Directions to get to Heidelberg by auto:

From Frankfurt, terminal 1: (map) 
From the airport, take the B43 towards the A5 (blue sign with white roads).
Leave B43 and join A5 towards DARMSTADT, A5, BASEL. Follow this for about 74 km.
Change from A5 onto A656 towards HEIDELBERG, A656. Follow A656 for 1.86 km.
Leave A656 at the motorway interchange Heidelberg and join B37. The B37 will lead you straight to the Altstadt.
From Stuttgart, terminal 2: (map)
From the airport:
  • Follow the Flughafenstrasse towards the B27/A8.
  • The Flughafenstrasse will merge into the B27. Follow for 1.14 km.  
  • Leave B27 and join A8 at ramp (52B) towards KARLSRUHE, MÜNCHEN, A8.
  • Continue following the A8 signs (to PFORZHEIM, KARLSRUHE, BASEL) for about 68 km.
  • Merge onto the Autobahndreieck Karlsruhe towards MANNHEIM, KARLSRUHE, A5, FRANKFURT. Follow for about 1 km.
  • Merge onto the A5 at ramp Ad Karlsruhe (46). Follow for 46.59 km.
  • Merge onto the B535 towards LEIMEN, HEIDELBERG, B535. This becomes Speyerer Strasse. Follow for 4.5 km.
  • Speyerer Strasse becomes Ringstrasse, and then merges onto Kurfürsten-Anlage.
  • Turn Left onto Adenauerplatz (B3).
  • Turn Right onto the B37. This runs alongside the Altstadt.

Taxis are available from both the Frankfurt and Stuttgart airports for transportation to Heidelberg, but while a fixed price can sometimes be negotiated, this option is still extremely expensive.

Getting Around

Heidelberg Train connections:
The D Bahn is Germany’s national train system, and it is regarded as one of the best in the world. The system is made up of both short-distance and long-distance trains, enabling you to go anywhere in the country with little difficulty.

Below you will find the list of stations in Heidelberg, along with the different types of trains and tickets available for purchase.

The D Bahn website,, has an English section with more information on the services the D Bahn offers as well as travel planning, allowing you to purchase your tickets online.

Stations in Heidelberg:
  • Heidelberg Hauptbahnhof (Hbf) – main station -- RE, S, IC, RB, OEG
  • Heidelberg Bahnhof Vorplatz (Bfs-Vorp) (In front of the Hauptbahnhof). -- S, RE, OEG, IC, RB
  • Heidelberg Bismarktplatz -- OEG
  • Heidelberg Karlstor -- S, RB
  • Heidelberg Orthopädie -- S, RB
  • Heidelberg Kirchheim/Rohrbach -- S
  • Heidelberg Pfaffengrund/Wieblingen -- S, RB
  • Heidelberg Schlierbach/Ziegelhausen -- S, RB
  • Heidelberg Weststadt/Südstadt -- S, RB
Types of Trains:
  • OEG – (Upper-Rhine Railway) Runs from Heidelberg to Mannheim
  • S – (S-Bahn) Basic train for traveling inside the city
  • SE – (Stadt Express) Direct connections to city centers
  • RB – (Regional Bahn) Connects between regions and city centers, and REs
  • RE – (Regional Express)
  • IRE – (InterRegioExpress) City connections, links local trains to long distance trains
  • IC – (InterCity) City connections
  • ICE – (InterCityExpress) High speed city connections
  • CNL – (CityNightLine) Overnight service between major cities in Germany, Austria and Switzerland
Special ticket fares:
Länder-Ticket: €25-27. When purchased, it is valid for one week-day during the following week, and can be used for 2nd-class travel on all IRE, RE, RB, and S trains for the entire day (9 am – 3am the next morning). Up to five people can use one ticket.

Happy Weekend Ticket: €30-32. Can be used for 2nd class local train travel for one full day (12pm – 3am the next morning), on either Saturday or Sunday. Up to five people can use one ticket.

German Rail Pass: Price varies. This pass enables visitors to travel on all Deutsche Bahn trains for 4 – 10 days within a 4-week period. It is available for both 1st and 2nd class travel.

German Rail Twin Pass: Same as German Rail Pass, but for two people.

German Rail Youth Pass: Same as German Rail Pass, but for youth between the ages of 12 – 25.

Surf&Rail: € 39 or 59 (round-trip). Every Saturday at 10am, ten routes are released for this special fare. Tickets may be purchased throughout the week for these specials. The outward trip cannot be taken until the following Saturday, and the return must be completed within 14 days of the tickets going on sale.

Single tickets as well as multiple use (Bahn Card) tickets are also available either online or at ticket machines or train stations.
Driving in Germany
Taxis in Heidelberg are available 24 hours a day, and can be found at several of the main squares. The main taxi station is at the Hauptbahnhof, and the other locations are the Bismarktplatz, Neckarmünzplatz and University Square. Calling and arranging to have a taxi pick you up is also an option.

The website,, while only in German, does have some good information on it. You can find rates on the “Tarife” page, and on the “Specials” page is a listing of where common taxi stands are located throughout the city.
Heidelberg Taxi Companies:       
  • Auto-Funk-Taxi-Vermittlungs-Zentrale Heidelberg eG - (06221) 302030 
  • Hls-Heidelberg Limousinen Service - (06221) 3893999
  • Hubert Braunger u. Gundel Barbara Taxiunternehmen - (06221) 25165
  • Klaus A. Dann Taxiunternehmen - (06221) 29201
  • TAXI HDirekt - (06221) 750492
  • Taxi Mildenberger - (06221) 889661
  • TAXI STIEL - (06221) 729798
Buses and Trams
Buses and trams (Strassenbahn or Stadtbahn) are the main form of transportation in Heidelberg, with the center hub at Bismarktplatz in the Altstadt. Individual tickets are available, but there are many special passes that make it much more affordable and efficient to get around. Individual tickets can be purchased at ticket machines or with the driver, and passes can be purchased at the ticket counters. Maps of each bus and tram route can be found at every stop.

The Rhine-Neckar transportation website,, while only in German, does offer a trip planner in English. There is also a regional map as well as a city map of the bus and tram lines.

Special ticket fares:

Ticket 24: €5 – 12. Valid for one 24-hour period, Monday – Friday, or on the weekends, good from Saturday to 3am the next workday. Price depends on the travel area.

Ticket 24 PLUS: €8 – 17.50. Same as the Ticket 24, but may be used by up to 5 people. Price depends on the travel area.

3-tages-Karte (3 day ticket): €12 – 30. Good for three consecutive days. Price depends on the travel area.

Wochenkarte (Week ticket): € 16.50 - 21.50. Valid from Monday to Monday. Price depends on the travel area.

Special Services:

Moonliner Buses at night:

Every Friday night to Sunday night, as well as the eve of public holidays, you can take a Moonliner bus from Bismarktplatz to every district in Heidelberg. The buses run on the hour between 1:00am and 4:00am. Along with the designated stops, you can also tell the driver if you want to be let off somewhere else along the way.

On-Street Parking: There are different types of parking meters for on-street parking: residents only, pre-paid ticket and parking disc.
The residents only areas will be clearly noted with a sign stating “Bewohner mit parkausweis” on it. Do not park in these spaces – you will be towed.
If you park in a parking ticket area, the sign will indicate “mit parkschein”. The pre-paid tickets can be purchased at a ticket machine, usually located in the middle of the block. There is always a maximum time limit on these, so if you intend to stay longer, you will need to come back and purchase another ticket. To get a ticket, put in your money and press the green button. Your ticket will come out, with the time at which the ticket expires. This you willl need to put on the dashboard of your car.

Notes on parking ticket machines:

1. You must pay for a minimum amount of time, no matter how long you plan to stay.

2. Not all machines allow you to stay for the same length of time, so check. Some only allow for 1/2 hour, while others let you park for up to two hours.

3. Not all ticket machines accept all types of change (most do not accept the 1, 2, and 5 cent coins, but some do not take €1 & €2 coins either). Be prepared to use the 10, 20 & 50 cent pieces.


The parking disc areas are indicated by “mit Parkscheibe” on the sign. To use the blue parking disc, simply set the clock to the time you are leaving your car, and place the disc on your dashboard. The sign will tell you how much time you are allowed to stay, usually one to two hours.
Parking Garages:
Almost all of the parking garages are automated, making it necessary to understand how the system works – since it is in German.

Upon entering, stop at the machine and get your ticket by pushing the button. Do not leave the ticket in the car – bring it with you. (You will need to pay before you return to your car.) Ticket machines are located at the pedestrian entrance of the garages. To pay, put your ticket in the machine – it will then tell you how much money is due. After you have inserted the necessary fee (both coins and bills are accepted), your change and stamped ticket will be returned to you. Upon exiting the garage, put your stamped ticket into the machine to open the gate.

Parking Garage Locations:
  • P 0 Woolworth
  • P 1 Poststraße
  • P 2 Bauhaus
  • P 4 Darmstädter Hof Centrum (DHC)
  • P 5 Europäischer Hof
  • P 6 Kraus
  • P 7 Kaufhof
  • P 8 Convention center (Engelblock)
  • P 9 Friedrich-Ebert-Anlage
  • P 11 University Library
  • P 12 Kornmarkt / Castle
  • P 13 Karlsplatz / City Hall
  • P 14 ATOS Practice Hospital
  • P 15 Klinikum Bergheim
  • P 16 North Bridge End Neuenheim

There is also a short-term parking lot at the Public Library, Poststraße 14.

Average Climate

Heidelberg's climate is relatively mild, with lows ranging from 29°F (1.5°C) to 57°F (14°C) and highs between 38°F (3°C) and 77°F (25°F). Average rainfall is around 2.5 inches (6.3 cm).



Special Discounts for Imaging and Applied Optics Congress

OSA continues to enhance the benefits we provide to all meeting participants. We actively work with the host city, hotel and local area businesses to provide amenities and discounts. Additional discounts will become available from now until the conference begins. Please continue to check back for up-to-date discount programs and information!

Fares Offered: Up to 10% discount on applicable fares
Meeting Promotional Code: ZVHB932397
Travel Dates: 22 July – 31 July 2016
Origin: Any United Airlines city
Reservations and ticketing is available at When booking online, enter ZVHB932397 in the Offer Code box on the Search Flights page. If booking through a travel professional or United Meetings at +1 800.426.1122. Please provide them with the following Offer Code ZVHB932397. 

Outside of the United States, please call your local United Airlines Reservation Office. Experience dependable, first-rate service and earn miles in MileagePlus®, United’s award-winning frequent flyer program. To enroll in MileagePlus®, log on to


Fares Offered: Up to 10% discount on applicable fares
Meeting Promotional Code: NMLYX
Travel Dates: 20 July – 2 August
Origin: Any United Airlines city

Reservations and ticketing are available via or by calling the Delta Meeting Network Reservations at +1 800.328.1111. Please note that a Direct Ticketing Charge will apply for booking by phone. When booking online, select "Advanced Search" option and enter your Meeting ID Code in the box provided on the Search Flight page.



  • Castle ticket incl. funicular: In addition to the HeidelbergCARD, you also get the Castle ticket. This ticket combines a funicular railway trip and Castle visit in one thrilling experience! Your Castle visit has a relaxed and eco-friendly start at the bottom station. The Castle ticket includes a return journey on one of Germany’s most mod-
    ern electrical funicular railways, via the Schloss (Castle) station right up to the Molkenkur station as well as one-time admission to the Castle courtyard, the barrel cellar as well as a visit to the German Pharmacy Museum.
  • Free use of public transport in Heidelberg: The HeidelbergCARD entitles holders to travel on all the Rhine NEckar public transport system's (VRN) buses, trams and authorized trains (in the case of Deutsche Bahn: 2nd class seats on RE, RB and S-Bahn trains) in the greater Heidelberg area (Heidelberg “Wabe 125” fare zone) for the duration of validity entered.
  • Discounts from more than 60 partners
  • Including HeidelbergGUIDE with city map

The HeidelbergCARD is available in the following versions:
HeidelbergCARD 1 Day:
valid until midnight of the day of issue.

HeidelbergCARD 2 Day: €17
valid on the day of issue and until midnight of the following day.

HeidelbergCARD 4 Days: €19
valid on the day of issue and until midnight of the fourth day.

HeidelbergCARD Family 2 Days: €36
Valid all day on the first day and until midnight at the end of the following day for a family with two adults and up to three children under the age of 16 or a family with one adult and up to four children under the age of 16.

Available at:

  • Tourist Information at the Main Station
  • Tourist Information at the Neckarmünzplatz
  • Tourist Information in the Town Hall (Market Square)
  • Käthe Wohlfahrt (Universitätsplatz)
  • Kurpfälzisches Museum (Palatinate Museum, Hauptstraße 97)
  • Youth hostel Heidelberg (Tiergartenstr. 5) and
  • In a number of Heidelberg hotels

Heidelberg is a town on the Neckar River in southwestern Germany, known for its distinguished 14th-century university. Famous the world over, it is a perennial favourite among international tourists. Built, destroyed and partially restored over several centuries, red-sandstone Heidelberg Castle stands beside the river on Königstuhl hill. Visitors can ride the Bergbahn funicular to reach the castle and its gardens, which have sweeping views over the river and the baroque Altstadt (Old Town).