Heidelberg – Sleeping With the Locals
Heidelberg draws lots of tourists in Germany. The castle is definitely worth admiring, and the views of the city are spectacular from up on the hill where the castle sits. Heidelberg’s proximity to Frankfurt helps make it a first or last stop on many tours, which I imagine is a boost to its popularity. But what if you want to get away from the crowds of tourists? What if you want a little peace at night? Staying in an apartment near locals is a great way to get that peace and still see the sights.
When we started planning our trip to Heidelberg, Andy and I decided it would be nice to rent an apartment for the night instead of booking a hotel. We sifted through Wimdu’s Heidelberg apartments, easily sorting them by different options and viewing them on the map. Their site was pretty easy to use, and we liked that the cleaning fee was included in the total shown, not something that gets tacked on once you start the booking process. We finally decided on an apartment just a little ways out from the center of town. It was listed as being located close to public transportation, and it couldn’t have taken us more than three minutes to walk from the tram to the apartment building. Convenient, but not close enough to hear the trams or street noise.
The owner came down to meet us right away when we arrived. He was very friendly and showed us to the apartment. He made sure we had everything we needed, showed us where the blankets and towels were stored, and directed us towards some restaurants in the area. He even jokingly pointed out the washing machine, knowing we were unlikely to need it during a one night stay.
After a long day of stressful sightseeing at the Heidelberg Castle and a few drinks while watching the Euro Cup game, we were happy to come back to a comfy bed in a quiet neighborhood. Although we didn’t end up using it, it was nice to have a kitchen as an option, something you don’t normally get in a hotel room. On a longer trip, being able to cook breakfast and store some drinks in the fridge is convenient and saves money.
We left the next morning to go explore the smaller, but very interesting, Tiefburg Castle and did a little more sightseeing in Heidelberg before hopping on the train to go home. It was a nice weekend away and a good reminder of why we travel. Staying in an apartment makes us feel like we get to see a little more of how the locals live, not just the big sights. Hotels have their perks, but we enjoyed renting an apartment through Wimdu and staying in a residential area, having a little more space that most hotels offer, and having access to a kitchen. We will definitely look into staying in apartments more often when we travel.
Big thanks to Wimdu for providing me with a voucher for our apartment in Heidelberg. However all thoughts and opinions are my own.
July 5, 2012 @ 12:20 PM
I love staying in apartments when we travel – so much better than a hotel in many instances!
July 5, 2012 @ 2:58 PM
Definitely! More space, nice to have a kitchen, and it doesn’t feel so generic.
July 5, 2012 @ 6:40 PM
That looks like a great apartment! We like staying in apartments from time to time for the very reasons you noted. My favorite apartments have been in Reykjavik, Iceland and Budapest, Hungary.
July 5, 2012 @ 8:43 PM
Staying in an apartment is especially nice for a longer trip so you can cut costs by using the kitchen, but this was nice for just one night too. Reykjavik and Budapest…sounds great! Two places (out of a million really) that I want to visit!
July 6, 2012 @ 9:57 AM
What area was your apartment in? I’m always looking for accomodations to recommend to visitors.
July 6, 2012 @ 2:25 PM
It was near the intersection of Freiburger Strasse and Karlsruher Strasse. We didn’t really explore the neighborhood much, but a few minutes away on the tram there was an area with some cafes that looked nice. Right where we stayed was definitely residential but just a couple minutes walk from the tram stop.
July 8, 2012 @ 9:48 PM
The title to this post is deceiving… lol jk!!! It’s always nice to stay where the locals stay when you visit a city. You end up getting a different perspective on the city. Like when we rented an Apt in Valencia we were living in a neighborhood and it was to see life go by in that neighborhood. Like right now living in an Apt in Cairo makes it so different than living in a hotel/hostel in the middle of Downtown. The apt look very nice… glad you had a good time.
July 14, 2012 @ 5:32 AM
The Wimdu link showed lots of affordable accommodation options. Sort of like AirBNB. Interesting – last time I was looking for Heidelberg accommodation it was expensive. We did not end up going, but I will keep this is mind for next time.
July 14, 2012 @ 2:46 PM
I wonder if it might depend on the time of year or if something else was going on the last time you looked in Heidelberg. We definitely found several that were affordable and close enough to the city. It’s a nice alternative to hotels, especially for a longer trip.