Located on the Rhein-Neckar in south West Germany, Heidelberg is part of the densely populated urban area known as the Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region, which includes other cities such as Mannheim and Rhein-Neckar-Kreis. It has a population of over 150,000 people living in its territory of 108.83 km2.
Heidelberg is a popular tourist destination in Germany, and is known for its baroque, picturesque architecture, and famous historical sites like Heidelberg Castle. Whilst the majority of its population is German, there is also a large American community, mainly due to the American military bases that were stationed in the city for much of the 20th century; there are also large groups of French and Italian citizens, as well as a growing number of expatriates. German is the official language, but many people living in Heidelberg will speak some English, with fluency common among the younger generations.
Expatriates moving to Heidelberg will be pleased to know that it is one of the warmest places in Germany, as its oceanic climate is controlled by the surrounding hills of the Pfälzerwald and Odenwald forests. However, its location in the valley also means it experiences more easterly winds than other German cities and the nearby Upper Rhine Plain.
The oceanic climate means that temperatures are fairly mild all year round, with average highs of 30°C (86°F) in the height of summer, and average lows of 2.4°C (36.3°F) in the winter months. Precipitation is steady throughout the year, although the hilly areas near the Odenwald experience more clouds and rain than the rest of the city.
Whether or not you will need a visa to enter Germany and move to Heidelberg depends on your nationality. Citizens of EU/EEA states and Switzerland will not need a visa to enter Germany or live in Heidelberg for up to 90 days. After this time they will need to apply for a residence permit, but these are always granted and the application is a formality.
Non-EU citizens, however, will need to apply for a residence permit (Aufaenhait) before they move to Heidelberg through their local embassy or consulate. There are three types of residence permit: the first is for general employment (Arbeit), the second is for professionals with specialist skills, and the third is for self-employed expatriates moving to Heidelberg. These will usually be temporary permits, so renewal or reapplication is necessary.
You can also check our extended guide on German visas for more information.