Visit Schwetzingen, Germany
Schwetzingen is located about midway between Heidelberg and Mannheim. A stay in Heidelberg would be incomplete without a day trip to Schwetzingen. One could easily spend several hours strolling through the castle grounds. The city of Schwetzingen has a nice mix of shops, restaurants, coffeehouses, and other establishments to spend the rest of the day.
Tompkins Barracks is a 20 minute walk from Schwetzingen. Since World War II, thousands of Americans have spent time at Tompkins. I was stationed there in late 1970's and found Schwetzingen a very pleasant place to spend my free time.
By train, Schwetzingen is about 10 minutes away from Mannheim or Heidelberg and 60 minutes from Frankfurt. There is a bus stop, with service to Heidelberg or Mannheim, directly across from the castle at the marketplace.
Depending on the number in you party it might be economical to use taxi service to and from Heidelberg or Mannheim.
Schwetzingen is a small city. Walking is the best way to see it. Public transportation to get around the city is available if you need it.
Schwetzingen - Asparagus Capital of the World
Schwetzingen claims to be the asparagus capital of the world. It is right in the middle of the the "Asparagus Triangle," between Heidelberg and Mannheim. The soil in Schwetzingen is light and sandy - just right for growing asparagus.
Schwetzingen is a busy little town during late spring, the height of the asparagus harvesting season. Asparagus is served more than forty different ways between all the restaurants in town. Asparagus sellers stack it high in the market square, just outside the gates of the castle.
The first weekend in May is Spargelfest (Asparagus Festival) - parades, banquets, and the crowning of an Asparagus King and Queen are the highlights.
Sculpture in the market square of a young girl helping her mother stack asparagus.
The earliest record of Schwetzingen Castle is 1350 when Pfalzgraf bei Rhein was granted permission to reside there.
The castle was destroyed during the Thirty Years War and the Palatinatian succession war.
Construction on the building that stands today began in 1697. Aristocrats used the castle as a fishing retreat.
In 1720, Karl Philipp began using the castle as a second home.
Over time the gardens became very elaborate with the construction of ponds, fountains, sculptures, temples, pavilions, bridges, and even a mosque. The gardens are among the world's most beautiful.
Pictures describe the gardens better than words. These are from my photo albums.
See my links to Flickr for more photos of the castle and gardens.
Tompkins Barracks is about a 15-20 minute walk from Schwetzingen. If you don't feel like walking, a bus stop is near Tompkins.
Tompkins was originally a headquarters for one of Nazi Field Marshall Rommel's panzer divisions. After the war it became an U.S. Army, Europe military installation. Tens of thousands of members of the U.S military have called it home. I was there from October 1975 until May 1978.
Link to Tompkins Barracks Photos
- Tompkins Barracks
Maps, sketches and photos of U.S. Army installations near Heidelberg, including Tompkins Barracks.
My Heidelberg photos and tips for visiting the city.