Why Heidelberg, Germany, Should be on Your Radar

For anyone visiting family in far-off destinations, sending the kids off to study-abroad programs or checking into a castle hotel for an early summer vacation, the rural and historic town of Heidelberg, Germany, may fit the bill.

For starters, Heidelberg is one of those scenic towns along a river, specifically the Neckar River, with equal parts rural beauty and charming European history. Located in the southwestern region of Germany, Heidelberg is home to a 14th-century university; endless Gothic and Renaissance architecture, including Heidelberg Castle sitting on a hilltop; and even an old-world town square, comprised of cafés and open-air attractions.

Walk along the pedestrian bridge through town and take scenic family photos along the way. You can see some of the best the city has to offer just walking along the stunning river that runs through the city.

Whether you’re in the area or need a good excuse to pack up the family and go, there is a whole summer calendar of events worth looking into for a fun and unique family getaway.

Strolling through Old Town.

Strolling through Old Town. Photo: Chireau | Dreamstime.com

Kick off your early summer break right:

Queer Festival Heidelberg: May 1–31

For the 11th annual occasion, Heidelberg transforms for the month of May into a theater, film, art show and workshop-filled festival by day, and vibrant, clubby, electric after-hours venue by night. All month long, guests and locals interact in a slew of activities, all themed around sexual and gender diversity, equality and support.

Heidelberg Literaturtage: May 15–19

Known to the English tongue as Literature Days, Heidelberg Literaturtage is celebrated May 15–19, Heidelberg celebrates literature with a variety of programs. Actually known as a UNESCO City of Literature, you’ll be in good company for this event. Bring the book worms in the family and enjoy events celebrating international writers, activities for all ages and live music.

Deutsch-Amerikanisches Freundschaftsfest: May 18–26

The Festival of German-American Friendship is kind of the perfect pre-summer celebration to check out with the family — especially for those with some German heritage. The German-American Fair is actually a historic one, established for the blended heritage and friendly connection between the United States and Heidelberg. Picture a fun family cookout with hamburgers, festival rides, live music, dancing, cultural attractions, all-ages entertainment and fireworks. Your family may know their way around a summer fair, but have they seen a celebration of German and American heritage with a backdrop of castles, historic architecture and rolling green mountainsides?