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Heidelberg (pop. 132 000) on Neckar river is set among lovely hills, where the Neckar valley opens into the Rhine valley. Its famous 600-year-old University of Heidelberg (the oldest in Germany, founded in 1386) has several Renaissance towers and turrets at the base of a hill near Heidelberg Castle. Be warned: It is a draw for fleets of tour buses in the summer

The best way to enjoy the town is to stroll along the Hauptstraße in the old section to mingle with the local crowds and to sit at one of the many street cafes or beer halls. (If you have a car leave it at a parking garage on the outskirts or you will go crazy trying to find your way through the maze of small one-way streets.) Also visit the Heidelberg Castle which changes colors with the different angles of the sun (take the cable car near Kornmarkt to get to the castle). View the city from the Karl-Theodor Bridge which citizens of Heidelberg just call "Alte Brücke" (Old Bridge). The nearby Philosophenweg gives a great overlook of the city, it is definetly worth walking up this steep path. For Roman artifacts and more tour the Kurpfälzisches Museum. Day trips can also be made to the castle and vineyards of the Neckar Valley.


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