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 has its share of beautiful sites and exciting activities to offer. The city, which serves as the capital of Palatinate federal land near Frankfurt-am-Main, is famous for many things.
From its old quaint houses, a famous cathedral, a museum, and its rich history spanning over 2,000 years, Mainz tourist attractions are endless. The ancient city is home to several globally renowned festivals, such as Mainzer Fastnacht (Mainz Carnival), a famous 19th century festival that attracts crowds of 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.
|Best Attraction Overall||Mainz Cathedral|
|Best Historical Site||Gutenberg Museum|
|Best Food Experience||Markthäuser Hof|
Things to Do in Mainz, Germany
1. Tour 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You can’t skip the Cathedral Museum – it’s home to one of the most impressive collections of historical documents I’ve ever seen.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, too, and feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
2. Spend an afternoon at Landesmuseum (Mainz State Museum)
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 previously 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 – which is probably the oldest thing I’ve ever seen.
The gallery is part history museum, part national history museum, and part art museum. 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
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 and makes it the livliest spot in town. Throughout the whole advent season, the marketplace transforms into a winter dreamland, complete with carolers and live music. With all the market stalls and fairy lights lit up, the place looks stunning.
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 you’ll interact with people from all walks of life. Keep your ears peeled and might hear German jokes from locals! While you’re browsing the shops and vendors, be sure to try a delicious local potato pancake (kartoffelpuffer) with apple sauce – talk about a slice of heaven.
4. Visit Gutenberg Museum
Address: Liebfrauenpl. 5, 55116 Mainz, Germany
The Gutenberg Museum is dedicated to the legendary Johann Gutenberg. He’s the guy who fundamentally changed the publishing concept. He devised a movable-type printing machine in the 15th century, which revolutionalized the whole world.
This museum is home to the oldest known woodblock print from 1771, unique prints dating back to the 15th century, and three of the twenty-nine Gutenberg bibles available today.
If you are interested in discovering the book press and the rich history of book printing, enlightenment, and communication, visiting the museum will be worthwhile.
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 all 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
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. You’ll come across several shops and markets on your way, so plan to shop and snack while you explore.
When you get to St. Stephan, the first thing you’ll notice is 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, which sits on top of a hill, you’ll find peaceful scenes bathed in Chegall’s signature blue color. The beautiful light shining through the ever-glowing stained glass brings about a magical feeling inside the medieval church. Though the Second World War almost brought St. Stephan’s its knees, it still stands tall today after several renovations.
Apart from its breathtaking windows, the hilltop location means you’ll get to see the old town and river from a lofty location. Don’t miss visiting the church as the beauty and the 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)
Address: Anselm-Franz-von-Bentzel-Weg 9, 55128 Mainz, Germany
The 25-acre Botanischer Garten Mainz is a source of pride for both 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.
Sampled in the botanical garden are 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.
At its establishment, the garden created more than 3,500 individual plant beds. As of today, there are over 8,500 species of plants growing in the garden.
Visitors particularly enjoy touring the alpine garden and the conservatory. Visit the park in summer or spring and enjoy the little paradise. It’s such a quiet place to sit and picnic. You can read a book or stroll around and marvel at its beauty.
7. Pass by the Iron and Wood Towers
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.
In this city, there are only three of these ancient towers left. Initially, Mainz had 34 of these towers and fortifications when they were first built as part of the old city walls in the early 15th century.
The tower has markings to depict how high the Rhine has flooded over the past years. It was constructed as a watchtower and city gateway. It also served as a prison. However, it is now being used for art exhibitions and community events. Since the building is just a short walk away from the Marktplatz, you can combine your visit with other Mainz attractions.
The Holzturm, or Wood Tower, was a more recent addition named after the wood stored next to it on the Rhine’s banks.
8. Go to Farmer’s Market and Market Breakfast
You’ll always find stuff to do in Mainz. If you’re getting a little tired of scouring the restaurant scene, plan to make a meal in your rental. If you make your way to the farmers’ market, you’ll be so impressed by the selection of locally grown fruits and vegetables and locally sourced meats.
Each Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday, a farmer’s market on Liebfrauen Platz sells local and regional produce. It also sells seasonal vegetables such as fresh fruit, dairy products, spices, and meat.
And most likely, you’ll 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
Address: Römerpassage, 55116 Mainz, Germany
The museum is a little treasure in a shopping mall. It consists of an enormous underground room containing some remains of Isis and Mater Magna temple, and many exhibits excavated from the place surrounding it.
The museum is an exceptional collection and is superbly displayed with self-explanatory notes and a short video presentation. The staff is knowledgeable and super friendly.
A guided tour is available at times, 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 many other treasures offered to the powerful gods many years ago.
See Related: Things to Do in Wiesbaden, Germany
10. Take a trip to Roman-Germanic Central Museum
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, along with items from the Middle age stone age. The collections are showcased in two presentations: The first one 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 age period, which handles Roman relations with Pagan religions and Christianity. Mainz is one of the most beautiful cities in Germany. And 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.
The truth is that there are a lot of 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
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 went through a renovation process between the 17th and 18th centuries, to modernize the 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. The Church is partly owned by Mainz and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Mainz.
See Related: Best Hotels in Berlin, Germany
12. Spend a day at Stadt Park
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 the purchase of the space, Buchleim commissioned the construction of the gigantic palace structure, which would later be ruined during the Napoleonic Wars.
The palace was an enormous one, awash with palatial estates, fountains, parks, and statues. Most of the palace’s beauty fell in the Siege of Mainz that started the Napoleonic Wars. However, some fountains, and statues of Hercules and Rhenus, are still in preservation 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
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 situates 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.
Sampled in the museum are collections of ancient vessels such as cargo vessels, simple boats, naval ships, etc. Some military ships dating as far back as the third and fourth centuries, owned by the Roman Military, are also sampled in the museum.
The museum isn’t open for adults only, there is a provision for kids who want to learn with practical guides what ancient ship vessels used to be made of.
Address: Liebfrauenpl., 55116 Mainz, Germany
The Nagelsäule is an amazing wooden column situated in Liebfrauenpl in Mainz. The structure was built in the year 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 of money collection from the people to provide the soldiers who were out in 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 to the column.
People have described the concept of stubbing the building with nails as a unique one but have not praised its structure. They say that it is underwhelming—the building and environs where the nailed column is situated.
15. Visit Mainz Citadel
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, the Jakobsberg hill was incorporated into the city’s walls in the 1620s, headed by Adolph von Waldenburg, to fill up the holes the hill was harboring to prevent any 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
Address: Schillerpl., 55116 Mainz, Germany
The Fastnachtsbrunnen, also known as the Fountain of Carnival, is a very exotic site situated in Schillerpl Mainz, Germany. The structure was completed in 1967 and stands at a height of 9m.
Schillerpl happens to be one of the most attractive squares in this region featuring beautifully modeled buildings and oases of green. The Fastnachtsbrunnen could be found in the heart of Schillerpl.
There are carvings of 200 bronze artifacts, which each represent Mainz’s carnival’s 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
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!
The Hilton Mainz is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city. 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.
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 keep in mind that Mainz is a hilly city, so walking can be challenging.
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