Getting To Heidleberg
Heidelberg is located on the southwest side of Germany, about one hour south of Frankfurt and one hour north Stuttgart.
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).
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. http://www.heidelberg-airport-shuttle.com/
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. http://www.tls-heidelberg.de
Some hotels offer shuttle service from Stuttgart and Frankfurt as well, so check with the concierge where you will be staying.
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. http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de
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
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.
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, http://www.bahn.de
, 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, http://www.taxizentrale-heidelberg.de
, 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, http://www.vrn.de
, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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).