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One of the few lucky German cities to escape World War II unscathed, Heidelberg has been able to preserve its historic sights and offer an abundance of cultural activities to visitors, who number in the millions each year. Probably the most significant attraction here is the 13th-century Heidelberg Castle, home to the world’s largest wine barrel and some impressive views of the city. Just below the Castle is the Karl Theodor Bridge, a wonderful redbrick bridge built in 1788 that spans the Neckar river and connects the two sides of Heidelberg.

Make the trek to the Heidelberg Thingstätte, an 8,000-seat open-air theater built during the Nazi era as part of the Thingspiel movement. Surrounded by trees, the theater is located at the summit of the Heiligenberg and offers incredible views. Hungry or thirsty? Stroll down the Hauptstrasse, the central pedestrian street of Heidelberg, to choose from beer halls, shops, and international restaurants that can satisfy any craving. Though this area is considered one of the more touristy spots in the city, you’ll still find plenty of locals to strike up a conversation with.

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