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17 Best Things to Do in Mainz, Germany | Top Attractions

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What is Mainz, Germany, known for? Are there interesting things to do in Mainz? Well, stick around to find out in our list of the best things to do in Mainz, Germany.

Like many other cities in Germany, Mainz offers beautiful sites and exciting activities. The city, the capital of Palatinate federal land near Frankfurt-am-Main, is famous for many things.

From its old quaint houses to a famous cathedral, a museum, and its rich history spanning over 2,000 years, Mainz has endless tourist attractions. The ancient city is home to several globally renowned festivals, such as Mainzer Fastnacht (Mainz Carnival), a famous 19th-century festival that attracts more than half a million spectators each winter!

The city is also the motherland of Johannes Gutenberg. He’s the German goldsmith, inventor, and publisher who introduced mechanical movable-type printing presses to Europe.

As an industrial center and the wine capital of Germany, you can never run out of things to do in Mainz once you find your way there.  We’re big fans of Mainz, and here are some of the best things to do in Mainz and the surrounding areas as chosen by our editorial staff and writers.

TL;DR

Best Attraction Overall Mainz Cathedral
Best Historical Site Gutenberg Museum
Best Park Stadtpark
Best Food Experience Markthäuser Hof

Things to Do in Mainz, Germany

1. Tour Mainz Cathedral

Mainz cathedral

Address: Markt 10, 55116 Mainz, Germany

The phenomenal six-towered Mainz cathedral stands tall in the center of this ancient town. It’s one of the remarkable accomplishments of Romanesque architecture on the upper Rhine—its construction began in AD 975—and it’s a manmade wonder that it still towers over the city today.  

The most impressive part of your visit will be an opportunity to view the numerous monuments and tombs of once-influential archbishops and princes, along with several centuries-old religious sculptures.

You can’t skip the Cathedral Museum – it’s home to one of the most impressive collections of historical documents I’ve ever seen. If you time your visit right, you can participate in a mass service and feel like you’ve returned in time.

2. Spend an afternoon at Landesmuseum (Mainz State Museum)

Mainz State Museum building and open grounds
Branislav Lakicevic / Shutterstock.com

Address: Große Bleiche 49-51, 55116 Mainz, Germany

Landesmuseum, also known as the Mainz State Museum, is home to a huge collection of items and artifacts ranging from art and culture, all relating to the city’s history. The Mainz Museum’s history goes back to 1803 when Napoleon Bonaparte (a French military general, the country’s first emperor, and one of the world’s prominent leaders) reigned.

He transformed military organization and training, reorganized education, sponsored the Napoleonic Code, and rooted the long-lasting Concordat with the Pope.

Nowadays, situated in the ancient stables of the former Electoral Palace, the museum has amassed numerous artworks and antiquities from all over Europe. It features multiple Stone Age tools and a 25,000-year-old sculpture—probably the oldest thing I’ve ever seen.

The gallery is part history, national, and art museums. There is so much to see behind these walls. If you want to see Gothic art, rare pieces made of pure ivory, ancient paintings, and tons of Baroque and Renaissance art, you’re in the right place. 

 3. Go to Marktplatz

mainz Marktplatz

Address: Marktpl., 55130 Mainz, Germany

The Marktplatz, or Market Place / Market Square, is Mainz’s central square in front of the cathedral. It’s one of the city’s most stunning spots, surrounded by charmingly painted and half-timbered buildings. Touring the market on Saturdays is one of the best things to do in Mainz, and it’s one of the few places that can motivate me to wake up early.

The Christmas market takes over the square every December, making it the liveliest spot in town. Throughout Advent, the marketplace transforms into a winter dreamland with carolers and live music. The place looks stunning, with all the market stalls and fairy lights lit up. 

It has booths representing several countries packed to the gills with cookies, gluhwein, decorations, candles, and all manner of amazing goodies. The coolest part is shopping for locally made crafts and gifts because you can find something truly unique.

You’ll find all sorts of fantastic offerings here and interact with people from all walks of life. Keep your ears peeled—you might hear German jokes from locals! While browsing the shops and vendors, be sure to try a delicious local potato pancake (kartoffelpuffer) with apple sauce—talk about a slice of heaven.

Christmas Markets in Europe to Visit

4. Visit Gutenberg Museum

Gutenberg Museum building and skyline
Sina Ettmer/ Adobe Stock

Address: Liebfrauenpl. 5, 55116 Mainz, Germany

The Gutenberg Museum is dedicated to the legendary Johann Gutenberg. In the 15th century, he revolutionized publishing by devising a movable-type printing machine.

This museum is home to the oldest known woodblock print, a 1771 print, unique prints dating back to the 15th century, and three of the twenty-nine Gutenberg Bibles available today.  

Visit the museum to discover the book press and the rich history of book printing, enlightenment, and communication. It’s fascinating to see the historical displays of various printing presses, concepts, and advancements in printing equipment. The exhibits of different historic printing machines are impressive.

Given the evolution of printing presses and their impact on our daily lives, the museum provides a crucial perspective on how it started and where we are today. A guided tour would be beneficial in offering additional information about the printing process and its history.

5. See The Stunning Stained Glass At St. Stephan du Mainz

Interior of Collegiate Church of St. Stephan in Mainz, Germany
Mikhail Markovskiy / Adobe Stock

Address: Kleine Weißgasse 12, 55116 Mainz, Germany

You’ll walk for 15 or 20 minutes from Gutenberg Museum to get to the Collegiate Church of St. Stephan (St. Stephan zu Mainz), and it will not be in vain. Mainz is generally charming in every way. On your way, you’ll come across several shops and markets, so plan to shop and snack while you explore.

When you get to St. Stephan, you’ll first notice the beautiful stained glass. Marc Chegall was an artist that took to the medium after World War II, and his work includes 86 windows across Europe, the United States, and even Israel. Chagall’s work in St. Stephan’s is breathtaking.

When you visit the church atop a hill, peaceful scenes are bathed in Chegall’s signature blue color. The beautiful light shining through the ever-glowing stained glass creates a magical feeling inside the medieval church. Though the Second World War almost brought St. Stephan’s to its knees, it still stands tall after several renovations.

Apart from its breathtaking windows, the church’s hilltop location means you’ll see the old town and river from a lofty position. Don’t miss visiting the church; its beauty and experience will stick with you for the rest of your life. It’s among the best things to see in Mainz.

6. Botanischer Garten Mainz (Mainz Botanical Garden)

People Touring the Mainz Botanical Garden, University of Mainz
Bastian Kienitz / Shutterstock

Address: Anselm-Franz-von-Bentzel-Weg 9, 55128 Mainz, Germany

The 25-acre Botanischer Garten Mainz is a source of pride for the University of Mainz and the city. While strolling through the garden’s walkways, you can see over 8,500 different species of flowers and plants from all over the globe. The garden occupies up to ten hectares of the university space. Mainz Botanical was once a military training ground, but now it’s flourishing with beautiful plants.

The botanical garden samples various horticultural broad spectrums, including ferns, mosses, seed plants, trees, shrubs of temperate zones of the northern hemisphere, and more. The University of Mainz Botanic Garden also keeps its collections of Europe’s biggest research on plants belonging to the Salvia or Sage genus in this garden.

The garden had more than 3,500 individual plant beds when it was established. Today, over 8,500 species of plants grow in the garden.

Visitors particularly enjoy touring the alpine garden and conservatory. Visit the park in summer or spring and enjoy this little paradise. It’s a quiet place to sit, picnic, read a book, or stroll around and marvel at its beauty.

7. Pass by the Iron and Wood Towers

Holzturm architecture surrounded with trees
anya / Adobe Stock

Address: Holzstraße 34, 55116 Mainz, Germany

The building is an eye-catching Gothic-style tower. It wouldn’t surprise me if bats flew out of the top turrets! If you’re planning a walk through the old town, it’s worth including a stop-by on your list of what to do in Mainz.

Only three of these ancient towers remain in this city. When they were first built as part of the old city walls in the early 15th century, Mainz initially had 34 towers and fortifications.

The tower has markings depicting how high the Rhine has flooded over the past years. It was constructed as a watchtower, city gateway, and prison. However, it is now being used for art exhibitions and community events.

Since the building is just a short walk from the Marktplatz, you can combine your visit with other Mainz attractions. The Holzturm, or Wood Tower, was a recent addition named after the wood stored next to it on the Rhine’s banks.

8. Go to Farmer’s Market and Market Breakfast

Meat street food in Mainz , Germany
parallel_dream / Adobe Stock

You’ll always find stuff to do in Mainz. If you’re tired of scouring the restaurant scene, plan to make a meal in your rental. If you go to the farmers’ market, you’ll be impressed by the selection of locally grown fruits and vegetables and locally sourced meats.

A farmer’s market on Liebfrauen Platz sells local and regional produce each Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday. It also offers seasonal vegetables, fresh fruit, dairy products, spices, and meat.

You’ll most likely find everything you need for a tasty home-cooked meal. From April to November, local vintners provide a market breakfast on Saturdays, where you can try new wine flavors while also enjoying sausages, bread, and other delicacies.

See Related: Best Things to Do in Mannheim

9. Visit the Sanctuary of Isis & Mater Magna

Remains of Roman Sanctuary of Isis and Magna Mater Interior
diegograndi / Adobe Stock

Address: Römerpassage, 55116 Mainz, Germany

The museum is a little treasure in a shopping mall. It consists of an enormous underground room containing the remains of Isis and the Mater Magna temple and many exhibits excavated from the area surrounding it.

The museum has an exceptional collection that is superbly displayed with self-explanatory notes and a short video presentation. The staff is knowledgeable and super friendly. 

A guided tour is always available, and it’s free to enter. Also, you’ll get to see Fluch Tafel (the curse tablet), which is excellently set out. You’ll gaze at fig offerings and other treasures offered to the powerful gods years ago. 

See Related: Things to Do in Wiesbaden, Germany

10. Take a trip to Roman-Germanic Central Museum

Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum, Mainz building structure
Management / TripAdvisor

Address: Ernst-Ludwig-Platz 2, 55116 Mainz, Germany

One of the best things to do in Mainz is a tour of the old 17th-century Electoral Palace. The place is just a few yards from the famous Theodor Heuss Bridge.

A Roman-Germanic Museum or Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum, as known in Germany, is today housed in this phenomenal red-painted structure. This museum, founded in 1852, deals with German history dating back to the Stone Age.

It houses many collections of ancient Roman antiquities and items from the Middle age stone age. The collections are showcased in two presentations: The first is a Roman exhibition, which focuses on the Roman Empire’s military expansion and interactions with other cultures. It also includes a model of a Roman organ.

The second one showcases antiques from the Middle Ages, which deals with Roman relations with Pagan religions and Christianity. Mainz is one of the most beautiful cities in Germany. After a great tour of the museum, you can crown your day by visiting one of the famous local joints for a beer or two.

There are many things to do in Mainz at night. You can go to a pub, a bar, a disco, or a dancing club and have a great time. As I said earlier, there are numerous Mainz attractions to keep your trip engaged.  

11. St. Christoph’s Church

Christoph’s Church

Address: 5,, Hintere Christofsgasse 3, 55116 Mainz, Germany

The St. Christoph’s Church, also referred to as the St. Christoph zu Mainz, is a brilliant portrayal of ancient Gothic architecture. The Church was built between the late 1200s and early 1300s.

The church underwent renovation between the 17th and 18th centuries to modernize its structure. In 1942, however, due to the great raid against Mainz during World War II, the church was brought to ashes, and only the external walls survived. The Church encountered a second bomb blast in 1945.

A statue of Gutenberg can be found right next to the Church building. The statue was raised to celebrate 2000 years of Gutenberg’s innovations in the printing press sector. Mainz and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Mainz partly own the Church.

See Related: Hotels in Berlin, Germany

12. Spend a day at Stadt Park

Empty Stadt Park in Mainz, Germany
Aastels / Shutterstock

Address: 55131 Mainz- Weisenau, Germany

The Stadt Park, Mainz, stands where the Roman settlement used to be. Luther Franz vib Schonborn-Buchleim, a rich and politically inclined elector, purchased the site in the 17th century when it was a Benedictine monastery.

After purchasing the space, Buchleim commissioned the construction of the gigantic palace structure, which would later be ruined during the Napoleonic Wars.

The palace was enormous and awash with palatial estates, fountains, parks, and statues. Most of the palace’s beauty fell during the Siege of Mainz, which started the Napoleonic Wars. However, some fountains and statues of Hercules and Rhenus are still preserved today.

Where used to be the spot for Lustscheloss is now replaced with the Favourite Park Hotel, where one could catch a refreshing breeze over a finely brewed beer.

13. Tour the Museum of Ancient Seafaring

Ancient Seafaring museum

Address: Neutorstraße 2b, 55116 Mainz, Germany

The Museum of Ancient Seafaring was established in September 1994 in Mainz, Germany. The museum exhibits items of old modeled seafaring tools. It is a maritime museum owned by the Leibniz Association and is situated at Mainz Romisches Theater Station.

Besides the museum, there is an archeological center on site. Most visitors to the museum are taken on workshop classes, where they get to see old model ships being replicated by the museum staff.

The museum samples ancient vessels such as cargo vessels, simple boats, naval ships, etc. It also includes some military ships dating back to the third and fourth centuries, owned by the Roman Military.

The museum isn’t open only to adults; there is a section for kids who want to learn with practical guides what ancient ship vessels used to be made of.

14. Nagelsäule

Nagelsäule

Address: Liebfrauenpl., 55116 Mainz, Germany

The Nagelsäule is an amazing wooden column situated in Liebfrauenpl in Mainz. It was built in 1916, during World War I. It is also known as the “nail pillar” because it is decorated with nails.

It was a product of a charity event that collected money from the people to provide the soldiers on the warring ground with winter jackets and food.

The nails were part of the charity function. Anyone who wanted to add a nail to the column would give something to the charity and then add his/her nail.

People have described stubbing the building with nails as unique but have not praised its structure. They say it is underwhelming—the building and environs where the nailed column is situated.

15. Visit Mainz Citadel

Christuskirche Mainz, Germany
By Alexander Abero

Address: Windmühlenstraße, 55131 Mainz, Germany

The Mainzer Zitadelle (Citadel of Mainz) was built in 1660 and is located at the Mainz Old Town fringe. The hill upon which the citadel was built (Jakobsberg Hill) had previously been inhabited in 1050 by a Benedictine Abbey.

However, Adolph von Waldenburg, who headed the Jakobsberg Hill, incorporated it into the city’s walls in the 1620s to fill the holes the hill harbored and prevent aggressors from raiding Mainz.

In the mid-1600s, following Johann Philip von Schönborn’s (who was then prince-elect) order, the citadel went through a modification phase of fortification. Since then, more modifications to fortify the city have been carried out.

The citadel still stands after going through World War II. However, during the siege of 1793, the St. Jacobs abbey was brought low by Prussian shelling. In 1816, at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, Maiz became the German Confederation fortress.

See Related: How to Find Cheap Flights to Germany

16. See the Fastnachtsbrunnen

Fastnachtsbrunnen

Address: Schillerpl., 55116 Mainz, Germany

The Fastnachtsbrunnen, also known as the Fountain of Carnival, is a very exotic site in Schillerpl Mainz, Germany. The structure was completed in 1967 and stands at a height of 9m.

Schillerpl is one of the most attractive squares in this region, featuring beautifully modeled buildings and oases of green. The Fastnachtsbrunnen is located in the heart of Schillerpl.

There are carvings of 200 bronze artifacts, each representing Mainz’s carnival spirits and myths. Some of the notable figures in the artifacts include Till Eulenspiegel, Hanswurst, and Father Rhine. These figures are more than nine meters in length.

Where to stay in Mainz, Germany

The NH Bingen

Mainz Hotel

The NH Bingen is the perfect choice for travelers who want to be in the heart of the action. The hotel is just a 5-minute walk from the old town and 10 minutes from the main train station, making it easy to explore all that Mainz has to offer. With modern rooms and free WiFi access, this hotel has everything you need for a comfortable stay. So why wait? Book your room today!

Hilton Mainz

Hilton Mainz Germany

The Hilton Mainz is one of the city’s most popular tourist destinations. It’s a luxurious hotel that offers guests some of the best accommodations in town. The hotel is also home to several restaurants and bars, as well as a fitness center and spa. The hotel is also eco-certified, meaning it’s eco-friendly.

FAQs

What is the best time to visit Mainz?

The best time to visit Mainz is in the summer when the weather is warm and sunny. However, Mainz is a popular tourist destination, so it can be crowded during this time of year. If you want to avoid the crowds, you can visit Mainz in the spring or autumn, when the weather is still pleasant but there are fewer tourists.

What is the best way to get around Mainz?

The best way to get around Mainz is by public transportation. Mainz has an extensive network of buses and trains, and it is easy to get around the city without a car. You can also rent a bike or walk, but remember that Mainz is a hilly city, so walking can be challenging.

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