Itinerary including Heidelberg and Alps

Old Dec 6th, 2001, 02:25 PM
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Itinerary including Heidelberg and Alps

My parents (late 60s) are considering joining my wife and me for our 2002 trip. We enjoy bustling big cities (Rome, Paris, Vienna), while my parents would like to see Heidelberg/Mannheim (family history) and the Alps. We'd like to find 3 good cities to stay in.

I haven't read many positive reviews of Heidelberg or Mannheim. Can anyone give a review of this area? Are there other towns nearby that would be a good (natural beauty and/or quaint) base for this area?

I've been to Munich so I'd like to stay elsewhere, and the larger Swiss cities all sound so sterile (lacking character).

We will probably have 8-9 days and can fly into Frankfurt. I also plan to rent a car.

This may be a tall order, but I appreciate your advice. I'd really like my parents to love Europe as much as we do and planning their first trip is getting stressful.
Old Dec 6th, 2001, 02:30 PM
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I liked Heidelberg a LOT. In fact, it was the town I liked the most in Germany. I have some pictures if you would like to email me. (or look at in the photo section - but hurry before they go away!) It is a beautiful town with friendly people and a great castle. It's on the Nekkar (sp?) river and you can take a day cruise. From there it would be great to drive to Strasbourg and the Alsace region. Very nice! And then perhaps go to Lucern.
Old Dec 6th, 2001, 06:23 PM
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Some small-town suggestions near Heidelberg:

The town of Bad Wimpfen along the Neckar River, just upstream from Heidelberg, is very picturesque, as is the much closer town of Hirschhorn, where Burg Hirschhorn Castle-Hotel perches above the river. Michelstadt, an old walled town with much character, has a less spectacular natural setting but is also quite close to Heidelberg, positioned as it is just north of Hirschhorn.
Old Dec 6th, 2001, 08:59 PM
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I'd agree that Heidelberg is very nice and certainly worth a stay. Not too far from Munich, and medium-sized with great architecture, history, and art, are Wurzburg and Bamberg. Wurzburg is an absolute Baroque gem. Then for a contrast, you could head down the Romantic Road and stop in Nordlingen with day trip to Rothenburg and other neat little towns.
Old Dec 7th, 2001, 06:34 AM
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Heidelberg is a beautiful place, the river,the valley and the palace.Try to stay in the old part of town.It is a college town(for the last 500 years)and young people are abundant. Tour the castle, take a river cruise and find a cozy little gasthaus.
Old Dec 7th, 2001, 11:35 AM
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I've just come back from Heidelberg,it1s a very nice place, in summer could be crowded,3 million visitors a year,80% only for day trip.Stay in the old part of the city.Mannheim was destroyed in WWII, partly rebuilt,but if you like modern paintings, they've got one of the best collections in Germany.Next door is Speyer ,the most beautiful romanesqe cathedral in Germany built 1000 years ago
Old Dec 7th, 2001, 11:39 AM
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Eva, Did you go inside of the Cathedral at Speyer? Were you as shocked as I was? We went there in September with a tour group off a boat and were told we wouldn't be able to go in because Gorby and Gore were doing a press conference. By the time we got there they were gone but there was a gala reception going on in the courtyard. We hovered behind the barriers looking in like poor little children and the mucky mucks invited us in for wine and pretzels. We snuck into the cathedral for a peek. It's absolutely stark!
Old Dec 8th, 2001, 07:07 AM
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Hi, Grasshopper
I've been to a lot of catherdrals all over Europe, but Speyer is just fanatastic, the original building intact.There are 8 emperors buried in the crypt, and Henrik IV departed from Speyer for Canossa in 1077.I read a book about this event when I was a child,so for me itwas interesting)The last decades it was visited not only by Gore and Gorbi, but Adenauer, DeGaulle etc.
I've visited two other cathedrals nearby, Worms and Mainz, both a bit newer but both beautiful
Old Dec 8th, 2001, 07:43 PM
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We(the older couple) traveled two years ago with our daughter and son-in-law on the trip you are considering. We used the Karen Brown books to plan our trip. Her recommendations can't be beat. We had a wonderful trip. Hope yours is too!
Old Dec 8th, 2001, 09:05 PM
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I just returned from Heidelberg about 2 hours ago. It was the last stop on our Christmas fair trip. We end our Germany trips in Heidelberg as it is only a 45 minute to 1 hour drive to Frankfurt airport. We left our hotel this morning at 630am and were parked at the airport at 720am for a 945am flight. We have been many times and we enjoy the city.

The posters above are correct. Stay in the OLD TOWN area for best ways to explore the city, the river and the castle. The famous bridge over the Neckar is currently being repaired but is still walkable across.

We have stayed many times in the Backmulde. Great location and very good restaurant at 180DM per night including breakfast. People were very nice and had our breakfast waiting for us early because of our flight plans. Only drawback is they have no elevator so you may need help with bags if you stay there.

Take your parents to Heidelberg. They will enjoy the area. The short boat rides on the Neckar in the summer are relaxing way to see the countryside.
Old Dec 8th, 2001, 09:57 PM
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Thank you for your replies. I've heard that Heidelberg loses a lot of it's charm because it's overrun with tourists, but everyone above seems to love it.

Any other advice on the area? What are the high end hotels there?

Old Dec 9th, 2001, 08:27 PM
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We LOVED Heidelberg. If we had paid too much attention to books like Rick Steves, with all the griping about it being overrun with tourists, we would have missed out on one of our favorite cities in Europe. Go on the Philosophers' has a beautiful view of the river, the castle and the city.

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