You can have a great time in Heidelberg with kids for a day or two. Unfortunately, the distance is too great from the Netherlands to visit the city in a weekend. From the city of Utrecht, it is about 4.5 hours away by car. Heidelberg is close to major cities such as Frankfurt and Stuttgart and is also great to visit as part of a vacation to, say, the Black Forest in Germany. We list the best sights and activities in Heidelberg with kids for you!
Table of contents
Heidelberg with kids #1: heidelberg zoo
This zoo is located in the north of the city and you can get there by bus in 20 minutes from the city center (by car it is only a 10-minute drive). Although the zoo is not super large they do have a fair number of large animals such as the elephant, lion, bear, zebra, tiger and several large apes such as the gorilla.
The zoo has four different playgrounds throughout the zoo, and you can also grab a bite to eat and drink at two of these playgrounds. You can also go to a sea lion show at the zoo. You have a number of dining options, but the choice is not huge. However, it is possible to bring your own food and drinks to this zoo.
You can easily entertain yourself for half a day at this zoo. Especially if your kids are also taking full advantage of the various playgrounds. Zoo prices are reasonable and about half the prices of Dutch zoos. For more information on the zoo’s opening hours, different animals and entrance fees, take a look at the zoo’s website.
Heidelberg with kids #2: Märchenparadies
Märchenparadies is a fun amusement park for small kids. It is actually a very large playground with several attractions for small kids as well. For example, a small train runs through the park, kids can ride around on electric cars, you have some kind of pedal cars that go down a track, there are several trampolines and there is some kind of mini roller coaster with electric horses for the kids.
The small amusement park is located slightly outside of town and can be reached by car in 12 minutes. It is an amusement park for kids up to about eight years old, and the amusement park has a kind of fairy tale theme. The amusement park is not big, so you don’t have to walk whole sections like you have to in some amusement parks.
You can have a great time here for a few hours to half a day. This also does depend on the age of your kids. Young kids entertain themselves at this amusement park a lot longer than some “older” kids. The entrance fee is a few euros per person and for some attractions you pay an additional half euro per ride.
Heidelberg with kids #3: exploring the city
Heidelberg has a beautiful old center with many terraces, and it is a must during a city break to Heidelberg with kids to take a tour of the downtown area. The old half-timbered houses that stand in this Altstadt are very colorful and beautifully decorated with all kinds of effigies of animals, knights and gods. Because the town is quite touristy, you will also find quite a few souvenir shops in the center. If you want a nice view of the city climb the tower of the Heiliggeistkirche in the center.
It is also possible to see the city of Heidelberg from the water with kids. You have solar-powered boats here, and these boats sail a fifty-minute round trip down the river. From the Altstad it is a short walk to the boarding point at Heidelberg’s old bridge.
A nice place to walk to from the Altstadt is to cross the river via the Theodor Heuss Bridge and then turn immediately left and walk along the river via the grass. Here you will find an excellent playground and water play area by the river. Especially in summer, it’s a great place to let your kids play and cool off for a while. From the Altstadt, this is about a twenty-minute walk.
Heidelberg with kids #4: castle heidelberg
Like a lot of other German cities, Heidelberg has a castle perched on a hill overlooking the city. The castle looks beautiful from the outside and it is possible to see the castle from the inside as well. You can book a tour of the castle for this purpose. It is also possible to have a Dutch audio accompanying the tour of the castle.
In the castle you can also admire a huge wine barrel in the cellar and the apothecary museum. From the castle and from the castle garden you have a wonderful view of Heidelberg and the surrounding area.
To reach the castle, you can take a little train up the mountain in 90 seconds. You can walk to this little train from the Altstadt in a few minutes. This little train is included in your ticket to the castle. The train goes even further up the mountain all the way to the top of Königstuhl. This very steep ride of about 15 minutes is one of Heidelberg’s most famous sights. There is also plenty for kids to do on Mount Kingstühl.
Thus, on top of this mountain, you can walk several hikes through nature. Of course, on these hikes you will have great views of the surrounding area. One of the most fun walks for kids is the Walderlebnispfad. This two-kilometer hike lets kids experience nature and the forest through an adventure course. This route is also easy to walk with a baby carriage. Kids have to climb and scramble, jump, find animals and make music during this route. By the way, the top of the mountain can also be reached by car.
Heidelberg with kids: other activities
In addition to the activities described above, there are more things to do in Heidelberg with kids. We mention some more of these activities.
#5 Bird Show Heidelberg: near amusement park Märchenparadies, you can see this show from April through October. It is a three-quarter-hour show featuring three different birds (eagle owl, eagle and the falcon). It is a small-scale show, so you can watch the show very closely with the family.
#6 Heidelbeach: A fun place to go in the summer with kids is Heidelbeach. Here you have a beach club sitting with beach chairs, beach sand and cocktails and next to this beach club is also a large outdoor swimming pool (Tiergartenbad), where you have several slides, playgrounds and pools.
#7 Climbing Heiligenberg: from the Altstadt you can take another nice walk up Heiligenberg. From the old bridge, cross the river to Snake Road. This Snake Trail merges into the Philosophenweg, and you will encounter several viewpoints along the way. Again, there are a number of play equipment on the route such as the wooden play equipment at Spielplatz Philosophenweg. You also have a very nice view of Heidelberg Castle during this hike.
Where to sleep in Heidelberg with kids
Budget hotel: MEININGER Hotel Heidelberg Hauptbahnhof
Mid-range hotel: NH Heidelberg
Luxury hotel: Rafaela Hotel Heidelberg
To search for other hotels in Heidelberg with kids click here for the whole list of hotels.
Further information Heidelberg with kids
Heidelberg card: the city of Heidelberg also sells a card (as do most cities in Germany), which allows you unlimited use of the city’s public transportation and gives you a free visit to the castle and discounts at various other attractions. Check beforehand what all you want to do in Heidelberg with kids and whether the card will benefit your family.
If you visit the city of Heidelberg by car, you will need an environmental sticker. These can be ordered from the ANWB website and will be sent to you within 5 days. To do this, you need to enter the car’s registration number and report code (found on the registration certificate) and then the correct color will be selected.