Nestled in Baden-Württemberg in the south-west of Germany, Heilbronn is the sixth-largest city in the state and lies close to the Germany-France border. Home to 123,000 inhabitants, this is one of the most populous in the region and offers all the amenities you’d expect of a modern settlement. This city enjoys a rich history that dates all the way back to Roman times and serves as the seat of Heilbronn County as well as the economic centre of the region. With quality rail links to cities across Baden-Württemberg state and beyond, it’s the perfect first stop on your tour of one of Germany’s most enchanting regions.
What to See
Dating back to 1200 AD, Heilbronn enjoys many historic sights and buildings. One of the most prominent of these is St. Killian’s Church, a centuries-old religious building that stands as the monumental mascot of the city. But there’s plenty more besides to cross off your list before departing.
If you’ve got an inquiring mind, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to museums and exhibitions in Heilbronn. The city has its own Museum of Natural History and Museum of Archaeology, with plenty of exciting exhibits on offer throughout the year.
The South-German Train Museum can also be found here, making it a must for locomotive fans. If you’re travelling with kids, the Experimenta Heilbronn is another essential destination. This science museum is packed out with fun things to do for visitors of all ages.
Theatres and Live Venues
The Stadttheater Heilbronn is probably the most important live music and events venue in town. Built in 1982, this impressive theatre boasts a busy schedule of live music events, comedy concerts and theatre. If you’re looking to soak up a little culture during your visit, it’s a must.
Fans of classical music will also be happy to know that the Württemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn calls this city its home. This renowned German Chamber Orchestra was founded in 1960 and can regularly be found playing to packed out audiences.
Other Places of Interest
With a rich history that spans centuries, there’s plenty more to see and do in this quaint corner of Germany. Take a wander through the Botanical Gardens if the sun is shining, or head into the town centre to snap a few shots of the Town Hall and Astronomical Clock.
If you’re prepared for a short walk, Trappensee is another must. This small lake can be found about 2 kilometres east of the city centre and boasts a small castle standing on an island at its centre. A perfect photo opportunity, this tiny castle dates back to the 16th century.
While you’ve got your walking boots on, head to Wartberg Hill to gain some altitude and take in a mesmerising panoramic view of the city and its surrounding areas. The perfect last stop of a stroll through the town.
The Best Time to Visit Heilbronn
The south-eastern region of Germany enjoys a temperate climate, with pleasant summers and relatively mild winters. With no real weather extremes to worry about, you’ll be able to enjoy a visit at any time of year.
Heilbronn plays host to many festivals and regional events throughout the year, with many of the biggest events kicking off during mid-spring. Things get into gear around May with the Trollinger Marathon, while July sees the Gaffenberg Festival bring a collection of cultural attractions to town.
In late summer, one of the most important events on the regional calendar arrives with the Heilbronn Weindorf. This large-scale wine festival celebrates what the city is famous for, with many local delicacies to savour and enjoy. If you’re visiting later in the year in November or December, you’ll want to make time to wander through the Christmas Market to stock up on some seasonal souvenirs. This festive favourite takes place just outside of St. Killian’s Church.
Dine and Wine
Heilbronn County is renowned as a premier wine-growing region. The rolling hills surrounding the city are covered in vineyards, with delicious Rieslings and other quality whites emerging from this region. As the city lies near Germany’s border with France, food in this region of the country tends to be heavily influenced by French cooking, so don’t expect the usual German cuisine.
There’s plenty to get excited about when it comes to culinary options in Heilbronn. Spätzle egg noodles are particularly popular here, while iconic German delicacy sauerkraut makes it on to most menus. This particular variety boasts a mouth-watering twist though, as many recipes are made with a splash of white wine.
If you or any of your travelling companions consider yourselves gourmands, you’re well served by restaurants that go that extra mile to make your taste buds tingle. Heilbronn is home to an impressive list of Michelin-starred restaurants. Ideal if you’re visiting town to celebrate a special occasion or milestone.
Where to Stay
There’s plenty of choice when it comes to holiday accommodation in Heilbronn. From cheap hostel dorms for those on a budget, to boutique hotels and guest houses, there’s something for everyone. If you’re only in town for a few days, it makes sense to stay close to the heart of the action. Grab a hotel in the city centre near the main train station for convenient S-Bahn and regional rail connections, or book a room near Kaiser-Friedrich-Platz to put yourself in the midst of one of Heilbronn’s most happening districts.
Convenient Transport Connections
Although Heilbronn isn’t served by the Deutsche Bahn long-distance railway network, the city itself boasts a reliable public transport infrastructure. Buses connect much of the major parts of the city together, while the local S-Bahn is one of the best in this part of Germany.
The S-Bahn light rail service is a great way of zipping around the major landmarks of the city. In fact, you can catch the S-Bahn from Heilbronn Hauptbahnhof – the main rail hub in the city – with Karlsruhe, a large city near the German-French border. You can also catch the train for connections to other popular city destinations including Würzburg, Heidelberg, Stuttgart and Mannheim. Perfect if you fancy a spot of city-hopping during your travels.
Shop for Souvenirs
Forgotten to pack a travel essential? Need to grab some new togs for an impromptu event? Searching around frantically for souvenirs to take back home? Whatever your reason for indulging in a spot of retail therapy, you’re more than sorted in Heilbronn.
You’ll find scatterings of shops and outlets throughout Heilbronn, but by far the biggest retail destination in the city is the Stadt-Galerie. This indoor shopping centre is just a short stroll south of St. Killian’s Church and boasts a good mix of department stores, independent shops and cafes. Perfect for idling away a spare afternoon while you’re in town.
Love the Nightlife
It mightn’t be the largest city, but Heilbronn has a surprising amount of clubs, cocktail bars and more traditional pubs to explore once the sun goes down. If you feel like letting your hair down and hitting the dance floor, pull on your best threads and head on down to Barococo Nightclub. With regular events and nightly promotions, it’s an easy way to stretch your budget while enjoying yourself.
Looking for something a little more laid back? Sip cocktails and enjoy the atmosphere at stylish bars like Green Door and La Boom. Alternatively, you can head to the Irish Pub Heilbronn on Lammgasse and enjoy a pint of your favourite ale or regional beer. A favourite with locals and visitors, you’ll love the relaxed atmosphere.