Hiking like in Tuscany
A protected location between the Palatinate Forest and the Odenwald and the sun of the Electoral Palatinate: these are the natural ingredients of the Königstuhl in Heidelberg. Directly opposite it is the Philosophenweg. The approximately two-kilometer-long hiking trail on the sunny slope of the Heiligenberg offers an incomparable view of Heidelberg's triad of old town, river and mountains. The Philosophenweg is a climate island and is one of the warmest places in Germany. Not only do exotic plants such as the Japanese woolly mistletoe, Portuguese cherry, lemons, pomegranates, palms and pines thrive here, many a hiker and scholar have come up with new insights and ideas here.
The Philosopher's Path in Heidelberg
The path starts quite inconspicuously below the Theodor-Heuss-Bridge. The Neckar is followed against the current to the Old Bridge. There you can see the snake path. The paved, steep path, partly consisting of stairs, winds zigzagging up the hill for almost 500 meters. Behind almost every bend, brick seating areas invite you to rest and linger. The last vantage point is particularly rewarding: the hiker is presented with a unique panoramic view of Heidelberg's old town on the other side of the Neckar.
The Schlangenweg continues for a few steep meters, then the Philosophenweg is reached. From here, the path continues almost level. If you follow the path to the left, you will reach the Merianausblick. Here, too, there is a magnificent view of Heidelberg. Benches invite you to linger. The path continues to Liselotteplatz, named after Liselotte of the Palatinate, sister-in-law of the French King Louis XIV. After only a few hundred meters, you reach the Philosophengärtchen.
Heidelberg's botanical gem:
The Philosopher's Garden
Here you will find references everywhere to poets and thinkers who lived in Heidelberg, such as Eichendorff and Hölderlin: on one platform stands a bust of Eichendorff, with a poem by the famous Romantic engraved on its base. At the eastern end is the Hölderlin complex with the Hölderlin Stone, which commemorates the poet's Heidelberg Ode. After a tour of the magnificent little garden, the circular hiking trail continues downhill. From the wild romanticism of nature, we now return to the city of Heidelberg. The path leads past some university buildings of the physics faculty and through one of the most beautiful and expensive residential areas of Heidelberg.
Origin of the name
The name does not originate from the philosophers who lived and taught in Heidelberg, but from the students. At the time of the Romantic period, every student first had to study a few semesters of philosophy, the so-called seven liberal arts - regardless of the actual course of study. For this reason, the terms student and philosopher were used synonymously. The secluded path was especially appreciated for its undisturbed togetherness, as a place for relaxation and romantic walks.