Once the episcopal seat of the influential Prince-Electors, the "civilized" origins of Mainz date back to around 38 BC, when the Romans built a citadel here, named Mogontiacum. It was founded by the Roman general Drusus, brother of emperor Tiberius and father of emperor Claudius, at the strategic confluence of the Rhine and the Main; it shortly became the provincial capital of Germania Superior. Drusus died while campaigning beyond the Rhine, in the summer of 9 BC; his body was brought here to be mourned, and a massive funeral monument dedicated to him was built. The so-called Drususstein still stands (although unclad of its marble) inside the citadel of Mainz.
The city's location at the confluence of the Rhine and the Main rivers is ideal for trade, something reflected by the artifacts kept in the Landesmuseum, that show there have been settlements here since 300,000 BC.
The most logical starting point is the Dom, the Cathedral of St Martin and St Stephan, especially on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, when the farmers' market is open. Although the cathedral was actually started in 975, most of what is seen today was built from the 11th to the 13th centuries. At the Dom und Diözesanmuseum in the cathedral cloisters, you can truly witness the opulence and wealth controlled by the Church in Mainz.
Mainz is also the home of the man identified by Time Magazine as the most important individual in the last millennium, Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the moveable type printing press.
Mainz is also the home of the music publisher Schott Music.
From Frankfurt International Airport (FRA IATA), the local train S8 towards Wiesbaden stops at Mainz Hauptbahnhof (or optionally Mainz Römisches Theater). The train runs at least every 30 minutes daily, and takes around 30 minutes to get the Mainz. Also regional trains towards Koblenz and Saarbrücken stop in Mainz. Both options share the same local tariff, regional trains are faster and somewhat more convenient. Cologne/Bonn Airport (CGN IATA) is served by a direct ICE connection and from low cost hub Frankfurt-Hahn Airport (HHN IATA) there is a direct shuttle bus connection.
Mainz has several train stations. The biggest and the only one in which InterCity and InterCityExpress trains stop is 1 Mainz Hauptbahnhof (main station), it is on the western edge of the city centre and works as a general hub for local traffic.
Nightjet, the Austrian Railways' sleeper train, runs twice a week from Brussels via Mainz to Vienna, Munich and Innsbruck. It calls at Frankfurt airport, Würzburg and Nuremberg where it divides: one portion runs via Linz to Vienna, the other via Munich to Innsbruck. In 2020 it doesn't run in July and Aug, but it's expected to be year-round from 2021.
Another noteworthy station is 2 Mainz Römisches Theater (Roman theatre), south of the centre, but it is only served by regional and commuter trains. Both are served from Frankfurt, about 45 minutes away, by S-Bahn line S8.
As of 2019, the cost of a single ticket on the Regional train (S-Bahn line S8) to Mainz Hauptbahnhof from the Frankfurt International Airport was 4.95 €.
Behind the Rhine bridge there is the station Mainz-Kastel with S-Bahn line S1, S9 and Stadt-Express SE10 from Frankfurt to Wiesbaden.
When parking in Mainz if you use your EC debit card or a credit card in the entrance and exit machines instead of pressing for a pay at machine ticket you will get 10% discount on the parking fee. Alternatively taking a ticket from the machine on entrance allows 4 people to travel for free on buses and trams in the city.
A number of long range buses (including Eurolines) serve Mainz, usually halting at Hauptbahnhof. The station is also a hub for local bus traffic, serving the surrounding countryside and Wiesbaden.
From Frankfurt Hahn Airport for those arriving with Ryanair, there is a direct bus service to Mainz roughly every 90 minutes. The ORN bus stop which services this route is just outside the main train station's police department. The service takes approx. 60-70 mins.
There is a number of companies offering river cruises, typically leaving from Cologne or Koblenz and terminating in Mainz (and vice versa). The KD Rhine River Cruise Pass offers a cruise of the Rhine river around all the way to Cologne with the possibility of stops along the way.
- The day ticket for Mainz and Wiesbaden cost 6.50 € (Bus, Tram. S-Bahn and Regionalbahn). The Single-Ticket cost 2.70 €. (MVG, RMV)
- Some good offers to explore the surroundings include the Rheinland-Pfalz-Ticket, offering unlimited travel in local trains for up to 5 persons inside the states of Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland and Wiesbaden. The ticket costs 24 - 44 € per day (as of Dec. 2015) if bought via automat or internet, or 26 - 46 € if bought at a ticket stand and is available at all train stations. For Hessen (including Mainz, but not the rest of Rhineland-Palatinate) exists the otherwise similar Hessenticket, costing 34 € per day.
The Deutsche Bahn site provides excellent maps, timetables, and route guidance for getting around Mainz via the city's extensive bus and light rail systems. Google maps shows the locations of tram and bus stops in Mainz. If you click the tram or bus symbol, you will get the name of the stop as well as a list of routes serving that stop. The local transit operator (MVG - Mainzer Verkehrsgesellschaft) has a website in German.
The local transit operator offers a bike rental system, with stations all around the city.
Cost: 1.40€ per 30 minutes
Map of available bikes: http://mobil.mvg-mainz.de/stationen-karte.html
You have to activate your account in their office, which is in front of the main train station.
- 1 Dom St. Martin (Mainz Cathedral), Markt 10, ☏ . Romanesque cathedral – one of Germany's oldest; others are in: Worms, Speyer.
- 2 Stephanskirche (Church of St. Stephan), Kleine Weißgasse 12, ☏ . Visited in part for its world-famous Chagall blue windows.
- 3 Christuskirche (Christ Church), Kaiserstraße 56, ☏ . Italian renaissance on the Rhine.
- 4 Sankt Ignaz, Kapuzinerstraße 36, ☏ . Leading from Rococo to Classicism.
- 5 Augustinerkirche, Augustinerstraße 34, ☏ .
- Altstadt (Old town), Augustinerstraße and Kirschgarten.
- River Banks. Lots of restaurants and (night) clubs.
- 6 City Hall (Rathaus Mainz), Jockel-Fuchs-Platz 1, ☏ . The city hall was built in the early 1970s by Danish architects, who used many tons Swedish marble for the façade. Considered modern at the time it was built, the city hall is not very popular today – many consider it too monumental, some even ugly. From the extensive city hall platform there is a beautiful view on the Rhine promenade and the river.
- 7 Schillerplatz. Beautiful, leafy square in central Mainz with the fountain said to represent the jesters and fun of Mainz's fastnacht celebration.
- 8 Deutschhaus (Commandry of the Teutonic Knights), Deutschhausplatz 12, ☏ . Now the Regional Parliament of Rhineland-Palatinate.
- 9 Kurfürstliches Schloss (Electoral Palace), Peter-Altmeier-Allee 1, ☏ . The former city residence of the Archbishop of Mainz. It is among the most important Renaissance buildings in Germany. Today, the east wing houses the Museum of Roman and Germanic History.
- 10 Theodor-Heuss-Brücke (The Rhine Bridge) (between Mainz and Mainz-Kastel). This is one of three Rhine bridges that connect Mainz with Wiesbaden and the state of Hesse. Like almost all other German Rhine bridges, the former bridge had been destroyed in World War II. The bridge was rebuilt in the early 1950s and named after the first president of the Federal Republic of Germany, Theodor Heuss. Kastel, a former Mainz suburb and several other villages on the right side of the Rhine, has been separated from the city after the war, as the Rhine was the border between the French and American occupation sectors. Even today, Kastel, Kostheim, Amöneburg, Ginsheim, Gustavsburg and the other former suburbs consider themselves part of Mainz, although they are administered by Wiesbaden and Hesse.
- 11 Gutenberg Museum, Liebfrauenplatz 5, ☏ , , fax: . Tue - Sat: 9am-5pm, Sun: 11am-3pm.. There are reconstructions of print shops and Gutenberg's hand press, an exhibition of incunabula, and the first two Gutenberg bibles are on display in a strong room. They also have a section devoted to the Far East with colored woodcarvings and prints from Japan, China and Korea. There is even an exhibition on the electronic future of books. Most displays have an English translation. You can purchase a guide in several different languages with your admission. Every hour or so, someone demonstrates how Gutenberg`s hand press works by printing a bible page on a replica of the press. Watching this demonstration is included in the entry fee. adults 5 €, children 8 - 18 years: 2 €, students: 3 €.
- 12 Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum (Roman-Germanic Central Museum), Ernst-Ludwig-Platz 2 (In the former Electors'Palace: Kurfürstliches Schloss.), ☏ . Tue-Sun 10AM to 6PM. Free.
- 13 Museum für Antike Schifffahrt (Museum of Ancient Shipping), Neutorstraße 2b, ☏ . Tuesday to Sunday 10AM to 6PM. Unique to Mainz is the Museum of Ancient Sea Travel, which contains the remains of five 5th century 6 Roman warship wrecks salvaged from the Rhine in the 1980s. True-to-life replicas were re-constructed based on these originals. Visitors also have the opportunity to glimpse behind the scenes in the research laboratory and in the museum’s workshops. These ships were found when the local Hilton was expanding its property. Free.
- 14 The Sacred Site of Isis- Mater Magna, Römerpassage 1. Monday to Saturday, 10AM to 6PM. A few years ago, when a shopping center now named Römerpassage ("Roman Shopping Way") was built, the construction workers found the remnants of what used to be a temple in the Roman city of Mainz. So, nowadays, you can visit this site inside the shopping center. It's surrounded by a quite interesting exhibition about the religious purpose of the Isis site. Free of charge.
- 15 Bischöfliches Dom-und Diözesanmuseum Mainz, Domstraße 3, ☏ . Cathedral Museum & Treasury, Church art.
- 16 Landesmuseum (State Museum Mainz), Große Bleiche 49-51, ☏ . The Department of Antiquities traces the cultural history of the Rhineland from prehistory to the present.
- 17 Naturhistorisches Museum (Museum of Natural History), Reichklarastraße 10, ☏ .
- Walk around the town. It's a beautiful place to walk around and see the sights.
- Go and explore the outdoor town market on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at the cathedral. On Saturdays, local winegrowers sell their wines to visitors of the market. In the last couple of years this has become some kind of a tourist attraction. If huge crowds are no problem for you, you can have a lot of fun here (wine is sold until 4 p.m.).
- Visit the small but very pretty Altstadt (old-town) of Mainz. Located just behind the cathedral with a beautiful baroque church and a number of well preserved Fachwerkhäuser (Medieval style houses) to be seen.
- 1 1. FSV Mainz 05 (Opel Arena), Isaac-Fulda-Allee 5. Go to see a football match of the Bundesliga-club in it's new stadium.
- OPEN OHR Festival 2015  – May 22 - May 25 2015, Zitadelle Mainz, an alternative youth festival with some (mostly local) music acts and political or creative workshops and movie presentations. A three day ticket costs around €25.
- Mainz Midsummer St. John's Night Festival - Johannisnacht – from June 21 to 24, 2013.
- Carnival in Mainz. The spectacular 5th Season from February 28th - March 5th, 2014
To take in most of the typical main shop name walk north east from the market square to Am Brand then west along Stadthausstraße to Römerpassage.
For more individual shops, explore the Altstadt around Augustinerstraße and Kirschgarten.
Out of town supermarkets can be found in the Gutenberg Center in Mainz-Bretzenheim.
If you want to bring some wine or food from the region, your best bet is the farmers` market on the squares next to the Dome. It is held from 9am to 2pm every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday.
Mainz has two culinary specialities, both types of cheese. Spundekäse is local cream cheese whipped with cream into a soft paste, served with chopped raw onion and pretzels — the taste is mild and it goes great with beer. Handkäse is a sour milk cheese with a pungent aroma, most often served mit Musik, or marinated in vinegar and oil, then sprinkled with caraway seeds, resulting in a bizarre, firm, gelatinous mass that most people find to be a bit of an acquired taste — and the "music" refers to the flatulence it tends to cause!
- 1 Meenzer Worschtstubb, Bahnhofplatz 1, ☏ . Sausage and fries
- 2 Thai Express, Franziskanerstraße 3, ☏ .
- 3 Gutenberg center, Haifa Allee 1 (Just off the A60 - Mainz-Lerchenberg). In the shopping centre is a German Imbiss, small Asia Imbis, Turkish Imbiss, Chinese self-service restaurant, a Subway and German bakery. Across the road you will find McDonalds, Burger King and KFC.
- 4 Bestworscht, Augustinerstraße 11, ☏ . Monday-Thursday 11am – 8pm Friday/Saturday 11am–10pm. This place is known for its good Currywurst with home-made bread and 9 different sauces. You can also choose how spicy you want your Currywurst. But be cautious, it can be really spicy - it is best to start low! In Frankfurt, there are also several Bestworscht locations. currywurst 3€.
- Farmers` Market. 9am to 2pm. Each Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, there is a big farmers` market in the Old Town. Some of the stands also sell fast food. One of them, a local fish farm`s stand, has really good fish bread rolls. You can also buy really good plums (they are locally grown around Mainz), sometimes the price gets especially cheap after 1pm when the vendors want to get rid of their rests.
- 5 N'Eis - Das Neustadteis, Gartenfeldpl. 12, ☏ . Very popular (i.e. expect a long line) with some novel tasty flavoured ice creams
- 6 Bullys Burger, Parcusstraße 8A, ☏ . Very small on the separation island of the main road. But do not let that put you off the best burgers and fries in town.
- 7 Am Holztor, Holzstraße 40, ☏ . Traditional small wine tavern with good selection of wines and beers, servers excellent Schnitzel and Chicken dishes. English menu available. Friendly service.
- 8 Augustinerkeller, Augustinerstraße 26, ☏ . Classic German Gaststätte with pictures of old scenes in Mainz. Good typical German food, menu includes english translations.
- 9 Bodega, Holzstraße 10, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Hidden pub in a backyard. For decades, Betty (the owner) has been serving superb Spundekäs (a local speciality of Mainz), great banana wheat beer and German food. Meeting place for card playing clubs and a special recommendation at carnival and new years eve, since there are only people from Mainz in that place and you still have chances to get a seat. Prices are constant for a pretty long time, meaning that a Schnitzel still costs 6.90€.
- 10 Haus des Weines, Gutenbergplatz 3, ☏ . Open late, they offer a great selection of wines to go with their delicious food that ranges from snacks to full meals and tends to focus on regional cuisine.
- 11 Geberts Weinstuben, Frauenlobstraße 94, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. With an excellent wine list (heavy on German wines), Geberts offers excellent versions of traditional regional favorites, including handkäs-Suppe (cheese soup) and wildschwein (wild boar). They are closed for three weeks during the summer, on Saturdays, and at lunchtime on Sundays.
- 12 Gusto, Augustinerstr. 55 (in Frankfurter Hof), ☏ .
- 13 Indian Palace, Schießgartenstraße 12, ☏ . Excellent Indian restaurant
- 14 Indian Tandoori, Neutorstraße 19, ☏ . Very good Indian restaurant.
- 15 Ban Thai, Neutorstraße 18, ☏ . Good Thai restaurant.
- 16 Zum Goldstein, Kartäuserstr. 3 (hidden in a side street of the Altstadt). Very pleasant beer garden raised of the street providing a little quite in the centre of town. Reasonably good but not outstanding food.
- 17 Asia World, Am Schleifweg 15 (Bretzenheim), ☏ . Chinese, Japanese and Mongolian dishes. Lunch time all you can eat buffet.
- 18 Gaststätte Berghof, Marienborner Bergweg 33 (near ZDF Lerchenberg), ☏ . Good choice of German and Austrian dishes.
- 19 Schwayer, Göttelmannstraße 40 (in Volkspark), ☏ . Restaurant in the park. Beer garden in the summer.
- 20 Eisgrub-Bräu, Weissliliengasse 1a,, ☏ . Open until 12:00, Kitchen until 11:00.
- 21 Mainz Kastel Brauhaus, Otto-Suhr-Ring 27, 55252 Mainz-Kastel (Located on the Otto Suhr Ring Road (Wiesbaden Mainz-Kastel), 2 blocks(right) off the main Hwy B455 going to Wiesbaden, from Mainz across the Theodore Heuss Brucke-1K. You can see the Biergarten's Umbrellas using Google Earth.), ☏ . M-Th: 11-24; Fr-Sa: 11-1; Su: 10-23;.
- 22 Punjab Tandoori Restaurant, Wallaustraße 52, ☏ . Very good Indian and Pakistani food. Friendly efficient service.
- 23 Tower One, Am Finther Wald (at Finthen), ☏ . Good food. A destination for aircraft fans.
- 24 Proviant-Magazin, Schillerstraße 11a, ☏ . Good German food (German/English menu), modern restaurant in historic building with indoor an outdoor seating.
- 25 Thai Country, Emmeransstraße 32. Very good Thai food, fresh ingredient, no MSG used.
- 26 Kamin (Flammkuchen Restaurant), Kapuzinerstraße 8, ☏ . Very good selection of Flammkuchen
- 27 Atrium Mainz, Flugplatzstraße 44 (Mainz-Finthen), ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com.
- 28 El Chico, Kötherhofstraße 1, ☏ . Very good Steak-House
- 29 Heiliggeist, Mailandsgasse 11, ☏ . Church renovated into an up-scale bistro, they offer an abbreviated, but very creative menu that goes with an extensive wine list, including wines by the glass, that enable you to experiment wines from around Germany. Good outdoor seating. Beer quality not the best.
- 30 Patagonia Steakhouse, Kaiser-Wilhelm-Ring 74, ☏ . Excellent steak house with Chilean dishes. Good service. Quality but casual restaurant.
- Fiszbah, Raimundistr. 13, ☏ . Weekdays 7PM-late, weekends from 9AM. Legendary little dive bar with cold beer, interesting people and wildly diverse music (e.g. Discopogo for Punks in Pumps on Tuesdays). Limited food menu and breakfast/brunch on weekends as well.
- Hafeneck, Frauenlobstr. 93, ☏ . neighborhood bar that manages to simultaneously cater to football fans, local hipsters and an endless streams of niche musicians ranging from the Whiskey Rabbi to Vicky Vomit. The kitchen (open 5-11PM daily) also serves up huge salads, a few German classics like schnitzel, plus giant savoury pancakes (Eierpfannkuchen) with unusual fillings, many of them vegetarian — try the Hades to add some spice to your life.
- Good Time and Alexander the Great, Hintere Bleiche 18a and 8.. Popular Hard Rock pubs quite close to the main railway station. They serve mead in horns and play anything from Death Metal to classical music (depending on the day of the week)!
- Besitos. Monday to Saturday 10am-1am. This place is not only a good Spanish restaurant, but also a cocktail bar. Each monday, there is a special offer where you get a dice each time you order a cocktail. You pay what you roll, e.g. if you roll a 1, the cocktail costs only 1 €! So, this can be a good place for nice cocktails at a cheap price, at least when you`re lucky. It is located very close to the Railway Station.
- 1 Jugendherberge Mainz (Youth Hostel), Otto-Brunfels-Schneise 4, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Beautifully located between the river Rhine and the People's Park with two bus stops nearby.
- 2 Ibis City Hotel, Holzhofstraße 2, ☏ .
- 3 Novotel Mainz, Augustusstraße 6, ☏ .
- 4 Favorite - Parkhotel Mainz, Karl-Weiser-Straße 1, ☏ .
- 5 Hilton Mainz, Rheinstraße 68, ☏ .
- Bacharach in the Middle Rhine Valley is an extremly well-preserved medieval town right next to Rhine river, with a castle, which is now a youth hostel, overlooking the town. Trains from Mainz to Bacharach at least hourly, takes about 40 minutes.
- Bingen am Rhein
- Darmstadt, 30 minutes by train RB
- Frankfurt, take the S-Bahn S8 from Hauptbahnhof or S1, SE10 or S9 from Mainz-Kastel.
- Heidelberg is an hour away by train
- Continue down the most scenic part of the Middle Rhine Valley towards Koblenz.
- Oppenheim, 20 minutes by train RB
- Wiesbaden is just across the Rhine, take the S8 (13 min.), the train RB (11 min.) or Bus linie 6 (30 min.).
- Worms, 45 minutes by train