The Heidelberg castle is one of the most important ruins in Germany. From its perch on the Königstuhl hillside, it overlooks the town, the Neckar River, and beyond. The funicular system leading to the stalwart structure is very much a match for its illustrious destination, as it is one of the oldest funicular lines in the country.
The Heidelberg funicular ran for the first time in 1890, on the lower line between Kornmarkt in the heart of the town and Molkenkur, via the castle. It worked on a water ballast system and could accommodate up to 50 passengers on each of its journeys.
Nearly 17 years after its first trip, a second line on an upper track between Molkenkur and Königstuhl was opened, powered entirely by electricity. The lower line was also electrified as the whole system underwent the first of many modernization efforts.
Today, it connects four stations including the castle. The railway is a striking combination of one of the country’s oldest and most modern funiculars, thanks to a comprehensive overhaul between 2002 and 2005. The lower line has modern cars, while the upper has retained the historic carriages to add a touch of nostalgia to a tourist’s slow journey up the mountain.
The Molkenkur station serves as a connecting point for the two lines. Each of the city’s four stations has a number of historic buildings and trails nearby for visitors to explore, including attractions like the Tinnunculus falconry and a fairytale park for children.