They are just 20 kilometers apart - so it's an obvious idea to combine a visit to Mannheim and Heidelberg. Five good reasons to experience both cities in one fell swoop:
In Heidelberg and Mannheim there are nature reserves in the middle of the city. In addition, both cultural metropolises offer extraordinary opportunities to relax in the fresh air and at the same time do something for your own fitness: A bike tour along the Neckar in Heidelberg for example, puts you in a good mood and offers one "wow" view after another in good weather. If you want to get to know both cities at once, then cycle from the Kurpfalzbrücke in Mannheim a loop exactly 47 kilometers long to Heidelberg and back. Heidelberg Castle then offers itself as an idyllic place for a rest. Other fine ways to enjoy the two cities in the fresh air: How about a boat tour in the Mannheim Luisenpark? Or a visit to the Botanical garden in Heidelberg, which has been one of the oldest botanical gardens in Germany since it was founded in 1593?
Extra tip: What connects the two cities? That's right, the Neckar. Which has the pleasant effect that you can not only take leisurely boat trips there with the White Fleet, but also have Neckar meadows in both cities that are popular with locals and guests alike: Whether for a picnic or a barbecue, whether for volleyball or Frisbee: one will be in good weather in Heidelberg and Mannheim always meet like-minded people who enjoy their free time on the respective Neckar meadows.
In the morning still in Heidelberg, in the late afternoon already in Mannheim - or vice versa. Those who are on vacation with the family have many trump cards in hand in the two residence cities to make everyone happy. The Heidelberg Zoo about is traditionally a good place for families with smaller children to visit: Large bear enclosures and the outdoor enclosure for the lions, which will not be completed until 2019, are the biggest attractions of the zoo, which opened in 1930 and whose grounds are also architecturally impressive. (Which, admittedly, is more likely to be noticed by the "older" zoo visitors ...). If you prefer to discover animals in the wild, you will at the forest adventure trail Heidelberg even if they are rarely as exotic as those at Heidelberg Zoo. Here, it's more about playfully immersing oneself in the atmosphere of the forest. Whether feeling, touching, smelling, seeing or hearing, the Forest adventure trail is intended to stimulate all the senses of the visitors.
What has Mannheim to counter this? The Luisenpark for example, which Mannheim citizens regularly vote number one among leisure facilities in the entire region. Why? Because there are curved park paths, huge lawns and water fountains, a green school for nature-loving kids, a farm, and the Chinese Tower with an authentic teahouse - here everything is in (and on) flow: rest and movement, heaviness and lightness. No less famous in Mannheim and surroundings and probably even more popular with kids is "Ice Fontanella". This traditional store has been in Mannheim since 1933. In addition to ten different varieties of chocolate ice cream, there is also the famous spaghetti ice cream, which was invented by Mr. Fontanella himself.
A great bad-weather alternative is the TECHNOSEUM Mannheim. There, with much fanfare and exciting hands-on stations, the history of technology and social history from the 18th century to the present day is presented and shown how technology has changed our lives.
But first, experience museum art as you would imagine it: The Baroque castle Mannheim with its spacious courtyard of honor and a 440-meter-long façade, is the second largest palace in Europe after Versailles Palace. Even the outer impression is overwhelming, numerous exhibitions in the castle - best experienced as part of a guided tour - complete the impression. Absolutely worth seeing.
Heidelberg counters this primarily with classical art in the Electoral Palatinate Museum, which was opened as early as 1908 as the "Municipal Art and Antique Collection". Bonus: The museum is easily accessible in the middle of the pedestrian zone. Completely different theme, completely different time: In the Heidelberg Packaging Museum you can learn what the "cultural performance of packaging" is all about. Or to put it more simply: how the packaging of all the branded products we know from early on has changed over the years. The museum is the first in the country to focus on the art of packaging in this way - modern times. With the "House Cajeth", the German Pharmacy Museum, the Prinzhorn Collection and the "Body Worlds" offers Heidelbergg other unusual exhibitions. This is certainly also true for "CITY.WALL.ART" to, an art project of the city Mannheim. Every year since 2013, the city has invited street artists to spray or paint large-scale art paintings on the walls of buildings. On the in Mannheim online Mural Map you can see where the expressive murals are located.
Anyone who wants to experience the theory and practice of applied urban planning can currently do so very well in Heidelberg do: In a central location, the so-called Bahnstadt on the site of the former freight station, a completely new district that, at 116 hectares, will be larger than Heidelberg's old town. The first residents moved into the quarter in June 2012, and at some point there will be 6,500 new residents living in the buildings, some of which are exotically avant-garde. Bahnstadt is one of the world's largest housing developments built using passive construction methods, underlining Heidelberg's ambitions to live in a sustainable and environmentally conscious way.
Also an eye-catcher from an architectural point of view: The new building of the Mannheim Art Gallery, opened in 2018 and realized by the renowned architectural firm Gerkan, Marg und Partner with the idea of implementing a "city within the city". Also absolutely worth seeing is the Multihalle in Herzogenriedpark, designed by architects Carlfried Mutschler and Frei Otto. The largest wooden lattice shell construction in the world was built in 1975 for the Federal Garden Show and still looks futuristic today. But art can be conveyed not only in and through museums: In Mannheim many places have been upgraded by large-scale street art, also in Heidelberg art in public space is taking on an increasingly present role. Particularly spectacular: The "S-Printing Horse". It is 13 meters high and weighs 90 tons, one of the largest horse sculptures in the world. It stands in front of the Print Media Academy right next to the main train station and has become one of the most popular photo motifs in the city.
The way to a man's heart is through his stomach - this also applies to the love of a city or two: If you have loaded up with experiences and events during the day with a variety of impressions and new memories, you would then like to enjoy in the evening: In Heidelberg and Mannheim is home to all varieties of modern culinary art, from illustrious star cuisine to casual street food. It is difficult to make a selection, because there are so many more great places where creative chefs and competent bartenders indulge in their art than we can list here. In any case, the cozy café "Flo" in Mannheimwhich has been exuding the French way of life for decades and offers an excellent view of the Kunsthalle and the water tower. Modern design with many interesting furnishing ideas provides the restaurant "The kitchen" in Mannheim - while maintaining the same good quality of the same. Who prefers stars and has a fine palate: "Opus V" has earned its two stars with world-class gourmet cuisine, the "La Corange" under the same roof its star with fine fish variations. Also the "Emma Wolf 1920" is only a hundred meters away.
What has Heidelberg to counter this? Three special restaurants, three stars, which, for the sake of fairness, we now have to name, of course: The chefs Robert Rädel from the "Top", Mario Sauer from the "Le Gourmet" and Martin Scharff from the "Castle wine bar" have honestly earned this Gault Millau honor. But of course it also goes in Heidelberg in many places a little more bourgeois, casual and still high quality: We recommend the "Schilling Roofbar" for their sushi and seafood selection, but also for the fantastic view. If you like it more touristy-folkloric or want to bring several generations to one table: The "Seppl" is - well - an experience!
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