Top Ten Things to Do in Heidenheim an der Brenz

Neresheim Monastery
Neresheim Monastery | © Robert Hugill
Robert Hugill

An industrial town in Swabia might seem an unusual holiday destination, but Heidenheim an der Brenz combines the facilities of a modern town with a charming old centre, a remarkable castle and historic destinations, along with a renowned music festival. Find out more here.

1. Explore Schlossberg


The first thing you notice is the castle on its rock, the Schlossberg, which looms 70 meters above the town. There are countless ways up to the Schlossberg from the town to help you explore. The Schlossberg is home not only to the castle, but to a good modern hotel and congress centre, as well as the Eichert Wildlife Park (Wildpark Eichert), a bird of prey sanctuary and a modern sports arena, all surrounded by green space in which to walk and relax.

Wildpark Eichert, Wildparkweg, Heidenheim an der Brenz, Germany, +49 7321 3270

Schlossberg: Hellenstein Castle from the Congress Centre | © Robert Hugill

2. Hellenstein Castle


2. Hellenstein Castle
© Robert Hugill

Hellenstein Castle, towering above Heidenheim, is a landmark visible from miles around. The castle was originally built in the medieval period, and has had a somewhat chequered history but the striking location makes it well worth a visit. The location combine the ruined Knights Hall with fine 16th century buildings which now house local museums, including the Museum for Carriages, Chaises and Carts.

Schloß Hellenstein, Heidenheim an der Brenz, Germany, +49 7321 43381

Hellenstein Castle | © Robert Hugill

3. Old Town

Nestling below the Schlossberg is the old town, it still follows the medieval street pattern with houses tight up to the rock. The buildings are a characterful mixture of restored medieval timber frames, historic 19th century (including the striking Schloss-Apotheke), Art Nouveau and modern. Hintere Gasse, a tiny street crammed between the high street and the cliff, is most charming and has some delightful cafes.

Schloss-Apotheke, Hauptstraße 51, Heidenheim an der Brenz, Germany, +49 7321 22030

Picasso, Art Nouveau and contemporary art

The town’s Art Museum is now housed in a striking Art Nouveau building which was formerly the town baths. The former baths are now an exhibition hall, and elsewhere the collection includes fine Picasso engravings and the world’s largest collection of Picasso posters. Thanks to the town’s Sculpture Symposium, which ran from 1997 to 2013, the townscape has a number of striking contemporary artworks and the Tourist Information Office can provide a tour.

Kunstmuseum Heidenheim, Marienstraße 4, Heidenheim an der Brenz, Germany, +49 7321 3274811
Tourist Information, Hauptstraße 34, Heidenheim an der Brenz, Germany, +49 7321 3274910

5. Neresheim Monastery

Church, Monastery, Museum

Worth a detour is the Monastery of Neresheim, some 10 kilometres from Heidenheim. This is still a functioning Benedictine monastery and to see the museum you need to book a guided tour, but the church is open during the day and worth a visit. Built in the 18th century to designs by Balthasar Neumann (best known for his work in the Würzburg Residenz), the Rococo interior includes ceiling frescoes which are the largest single continuous fresco in the world. There is also a remarkably preserved Baroque organ by Johann Nepomuk Holzey.

Neresheim Monastery, Neresheim, Germany

6. Green oasis


The River Brenz runs through Heidenheim, providing a focus for the verdant area, the Brenz Park which is now a green oasis in the town. The river was an important water source for industry (in the 19th century Heidenheim was known as the Manchester of Swabia). There is still industry in the town, but it doesn’t dominate and exists comfortably side by side with the more historic elements.

Brenz Park, Heidenheim an der Brenz, Germany

7. Königsbronn and cakes


The source of the Brenz is at nearby Königsbronn, worth a visit for the fine Baroque Rathaus (town hall) as well as the restored hammer mill, not to mention the delightful café Ver-Edelt (opening hours are limited so check).

Cafe Ver-Edelt, Herwartstraße 3, Königsbronn, Germany

Rathaus and Hammer Mill at Königsbronn | © Robert Hugill

Further afield by bike

Heidenheim is at the centre of a fine array of cycle routes and the route along the River Brenz enables you to cycle all the way to the Black Sea via the river Danube. The Heidenheim Tourist Office has leaflets detailing the wide variety of themed cycle tours, and both Neresheim and Königsbronn are accessible by bike.

Opera Festival

A feature of Heidenheim in the summer is the opera festival which presents a range of activities including opera, concerts and children’s theatre in June and July. Opera is presented both indoors (in the Congress Centre Theatre) and outdoors (in the atmospheric surroundings of the Knights Hall in the castle). Currently the festival features the early operas of Verdi with Nabucco and I Lombardi in 2018.

landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article