Philosopher's Way

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Home Page > Travelogues > Germany > Baden-Württemberg > Heidelberg > Northern Suburbs and Philosopher's Way

Other Chapters in the Heidelberg section:  Living in Heidelberg ] Southern Suburbs ] [ Philosopher's Way ] Hauptstrasse ] Heidelberg Castle ]

Also available:  Segment on the Heidelberg Christmas Market


The State of Baden-Wuerttemberg

Philosopher's Way and Heidelberg's Northern Suburbs 


The State of Baden-Wuerttemberg

The northern suburbs of Heidelberg stretch along the northern bank of the Neckar NeuenheimRiver toward Mannheim, and harbor some very picturesque settings, and the city's choicest residences, and Heidelberg's second greatest tourist draw apart from the Altstadt -- the mountain trail called Philosopher's Way.  This travelogue covers some of the suburbs in order west to east, with highlights of my various visits there.

The first two suburbs are Wieblingen, which follows along the Neckar River after it makes a sharp right hand turn to the north, and Pfaffengrund just south of it.  Both are industrial -- Wieblingen mostly being a large harbor that juts out into the Neckar, and Pfaffengrund being Heidelberg's closest equivalent to an American strip mall.  My only trips there was back in 1999 and 2000, when I was first exploring Heidelberg, as I followed the river west from the University.  It was in these boroughs where I did most of my household shopping after I moved into my house in Nussloch.  Pfaffengrund in particular had a number of large shopping centers devoted to the home.

The next suburb is Neuenheim, sitting across the river from Bismarckplatz.  Neuenheim is partly shown Postcard Shot of Altstadt from Philosopher's Wayin the first photo, and would be considered the prime suburb.  With many of its houses scattered on the hillsides of the north bank, denizens of Neuenheim have a perfect view of the Old Bridge and Heidelberg Castle.  Not surprisingly, this suburb is the most expensive to live in.  Neuenheim has its own nightspots and shopping that attracts a more local audience, as it is sufficiently far away from the altstadt's tourist trappings.  In fact, Heidelberg's altstadt brewery, Vetter's, has a second restaurant there.

Neuenheim is also the gateway to Philosopher's Way.  This mountain trail is a long, steep climb through parts of the University of Heidelberg.  Early on, it is a paved road, but after about a half-mile, it turns into a pedestrian-only dirt road that becomes mostly flat, thankfully.  A few hundred yards further, and one comes upon a garden and clearing in the middle of the hill that offers the first full view of the city.  The second photo shows this view, a picture that currently hangs on my Lookout Tower on Philosopher's Waywall.  As one can imagine, this scene can often be found on the city's postcards.

That's only the beginning of Philosopher's Way, however, and the adventurous have the ability to follow the trail all the way up the hillside.  Along the way there are some side excursions to old towers or platforms, like the one in the third photo.  One can climb to the top of this one, that is topped by something that resembled an olympic flame.  Unfortunately, the grown-in forest mostly obscured the downtown view from up there.

A monument sits in a clearing at the very top of Philosopher's Way, and it too offers a great view of downtown Heidelberg (but I preferred the lower view of the second photo).

Handschuhsheim sits further north of Neuenheim along the main road, and is another of Heidelberg's affluent suburbs.  Much more secluded and quiet, Handschuhsheim has a number of beautiful manors along its main road, and tucked away are exclusive neighborhoods with some fantastic dining.

Handschuhsheim also hosts the city zoo, which was the first European zoo I've ever visited.  It was surprisingly large and had a wide variety of animals, such as the happy camel shown in the fourth photo.  My only trip there was on a hot August day, and hundreds of familiesHappy Camel at the Heidelberg Zoo were out enjoying the sunshine.

The other two suburbs in this travelogue are Ziegelhausen and Schlierbach, upstream from the old city.  I encountered these two boroughs on my first long-distance bike trip, that took me past Neckargemuend.  Ziegelhausen was a pleasant surprise.  After pedaling along for a mile or so with nothing along the river, Ziegelhausen appeared on the north bank, a collection of houses that filled a bowl-shaped valley.  Its riverfront was really beautiful, with a colorful array of stores and restaurants similar to those in the towns further along the Neckar River Valley.

I took the final photo from the south bank town of Schlierbach, but unfortunately I did not take the time to climb the bank higher to get a clear shot.  Schlierbach was more industrial at the base, with a quarry behind where I was standing when I took the shot.  

The best part about the northern part of the city was the University, and the Ziegelhausenyouthful presence of its students.  During the spring and summer, they congregated in the grassy parks lined along the north bank of the Neckar, playing soccer or lazing about reading.   Philosopher's Way was another youthful hangout on a sunny day -- dozens of them making the climb to see the old city, sit on park benches among the myriad flowers, and do what college kids are famous for (smoking and bitching about life, what else?).

Above all, though, the Neckar is what grants prime real estate status to the northern suburbs.  Each of them embrace the river in some fashion, and benefit from the higher sophistication level of its residents.  If you live in Heidelberg, it is definitely the part of town to visit after doing the Old City and the Castle.

Other Chapters in the Heidelberg section:  Living in Heidelberg ] Southern Suburbs ] [ Philosopher's Way ] Hauptstrasse ] Heidelberg Castle ]

Also available:  Segment on the Heidelberg Christmas Market  

Page last updated 01 September 2006 -- (C) 2001, 2003 Tom Galvin

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