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Heidelberg Castle is historic icon in southern Germany

Big cities such as Berlin and Cologne often get a lot of attention on Germany tours, but the country also boasts a wealth of smaller destinations you won't want to miss while traveling through the region. Heidelberg is among these mid-size gems thanks in large part to its picturesque landscape and local culture that can be glimpsed down every street.

Heidelberg Castle stands out as one of the most recognizable structures in the city, if not the entire country. Though it has been partially rebuilt over the years, the oldest sections of the castle date as far back as the 1200s, and the structure was among the most important buildings in the area during the Renaissance.

The castle has been a popular tourist destination for centuries, as its historic relevance, combined with the breathtaking views of the city it offers, make it an appealing spot for many travelers. In fact, some people are so enthralled with the Heidelberg Castle they decide to get married in its chapel.

Visitors stop by Heidelberg Castle for reasons other than to say "I Do." The castle gardens are a large draw, and three times a year the castle is illuminated with an awe-inspiring fireworks display. If you want to see the castle lighting, get there on the first Saturdays in June and September, and the second Saturday in July.

Of course, the castle is not the only reason that more than 3 million visitors head to Heidelberg every year. The city has become a popular destination because it is renowned as the capital of the Romantic period in Germany. The landscape reflects its artistic past, and if you walk through the city square you'll be able to get a taste of it yourself.

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