The romantic ruins of Heidelberg Castle have been one of Europe's most famous sights since the 19th century, attracting millions of visitors from far and wide.
Even the setting of the castle ruins, overgrown with ivy, is a nod to the grandeur of the former residents, the Wittelsbach dynasty. Built as a fortified castle with towers, casemates and moats in around 1300, the site developed over 400 years to become the feudal flagship of the Palatinate Electors. There is no doubt that it's the special blend of the past with the present that gives Heidelberg Castle its special charm. As the very embodiment of German Romanticism, visitors feel a little as though they have been transported to another world.
The best-preserved building is the Friedrich Wing, which is home to the Electors' ancestral portrait gallery. The castle church can be found on the ground floor with the residential rooms above it. The magnificent pleasure garden is a fascinating concept as a man-made earthly paradise. For a long time, the Hortus Palatinus garden was considered to be the eighth wonder of the world, despite never being finished. On Saturdays, a guided tour of 'Life at court' provides visitors with an insight into the day-to-day lives of the residents of Heidelberg Castle.