Things to do in Mainz for Connoisseurs
Advertising - We visited the city on the Rhine to find out what things to do Mainz offers. We are invited to explore the wine capital of Germany. Mainz is one of the Great Wine Capitals of the World. This puts the city on the Rhine on the list of wine cities of the world. These include Adelaide in South Australia, Bilbao in the Rioja wine region in Spain, Bordeaux in France, Porto in Portugal and San Francisco with the Napa Valley. A renowned club of wine towns. Mainz represents Germany's largest wine-growing region in Rheinhessen. It is also one of the Romantic Cities in Rhineland-Palatinate.
We are here on the occasion of the Mainz wine market, wine Festivalwhich takes place every year on the last weekend in August and first September. Then the people of Mainz celebrate their wine in the city park. Music, artisan market and of course the Riesling wines from Rheinhessen make this wine market a delightful experience. That fits well with our search for beautiful cities in Germany to enjoy, We are curious about the sights that Mainz offers its visitors.
Enjoy Mainz with all your Senses
But we don't just want to explore where to experience wine in Mainz. For us, pleasure means "enjoying with all your senses". Therefore, we start looking for sights in Mainz that offer us this experience. We discover many possibilities in the old town of Mainz. We see attractions and places in the city that invite you to enjoy. Restaurants, cafés and bars tempt you to stay on this hot summer day in August. A stroll along the Rhine promenade makes our visit to Mainz an enjoyable experience. We present these tips and Mainz sights in this article. This allows you to plan your personal visit to Mainz and make it a delightful experience.
We begin our city tour of the attractions of Mainz at the Novotel hotel*, where we spend two nights. The hotel is located above the Kupferbergterrassen next to the former sparkling wine producer Kupferberg. The location is ideal for sightseeing, because we reach the old town of Mainz in a few minutes using the elevator in the parking garage Kupferbergterrasse (Map ). In order to be able use it, we need a parking ticket, which we get at the hotel reception. From the exit five floors down of the multi-storey car park, it is only a few steps downhill to the Schillerplatz and the Carnival Fountain, where we meet our city guide Beate.
Mainz Attractions - The Carnival Fountain at Schillerplatz
This is a mandatory date among the Mainz sights. Who doesn't know that “Mainz sings and laughs”? The carnival session takes place every year on Friday before Rose Monday in the Grand Hall of the Electoral Palace. I grew up with the television broadcast of this carnival program. I can still remember that it was a must every year in the living room with my grandmother as soon as we had our first television. What is new to me, however, is that this type of Fastnacht celebration is mainly found in Catholic cities and regions. "The reason is that before Lent you can go crazy again," explains Beate.
The carnival fountain embodies the foolish season in Mainz. It is one of the sights in Mainz. Its creator Blasius Spreng represents a real firework of carnival symbolism in the bronze sculpture. You have to search in excess of the figures. But we discover the wallet washer who washes his empty wallet in the fountain water after the end of the carnival season. The hangover on one of the bronze pillars stands for what is left of the excessive enjoyment of wine at Mardi Gras. The three W's on the board that a monk is holding have nothing to do with the World Wide Web. They mean "Weck, Worscht and Woi" (bread, sausage and wine) and are typical of Mainz enjoyment. (Map)
Figures around Schillerplatz telling stories
In the old town of Mainz, there are other sculptures that focus on the festive carnival of the city. We discover a tambourine dancer and a musician at the Schillerplatz and a well-fed ranzengardist in front of the food court.
Schillerplatz is one of the attractions of Mainz and not only because of the Carnival Fountain. The park with the statue of Friedrich Schiller owes its name to the famous German poet. The sculpture was erected on the spot in the 19th century. However, the park is much older and has already been used by the Romans. Probably there was a Roman civil settlement along Schiller Street in Roman times. In the Middle Ages, the square served as a marketplace.
What I like most is the figure of the Schoppenstechcher. I think I can almost see how red his bulbous nose glows from the wine in his bottle. The prank flashes from his eyes. This is how I imagine the typical “Meenzer” (Mainz). Beate explains to me that he drinks his wine from a typical Mainz wine glass. A pint is almost half a liter of wine. “The glass has grooves on the foot. You can keep it that way even if you already have a few pinties in your mouth, ”says Beate with a laugh.
The Proviant Magazine - one of the Things to do in Mainz for Connoisseurs
The Schoppenstecher and the Ranzengardist stand in front of the Mainz Proviant Magazine. (Map ) In a way, this building, which impresses above all by its size, has been offering products to savor since its inception. In this seven-storey building food was stored, which served mainly to supply the military. Today it contains a wine shop in which you can taste three wines of each winemaker from Rheinhessen. If you like a wine so much that you want to buy it, you get it for the farmyard price.
The Proviant Magazine is interesting not only for wine lovers. In the morning you can also enjoy a well-stocked buffet. In one part of the building the Carnival Museum is housed, where you can learn more about the customs of the carnival in Mainz. For us it is still too early after breakfast. We are not up to eating yet. And it's too early in the day to taste one of the Rheinhessen wines. Therefore, we go back to Schillerplatz past the stately mansions of former noble families. One of these houses the Institut Francais today. Others house offices and public institutions.
On the other side of Schillerplatz, we see that modern glass buildings have supplanted historic buildings. However, we leave these aside and continue to the
Almost only young girls are sitting in one of the cafés on the square. Beate laughs and explains: “There is a reason. The Maria Ward School, a girls' high school, is located on the ball court. There is also a high school for boys not far from here. It is therefore no wonder that the high school students from both schools meet during their breaks at the ball court. Some Mainzers have therefore given the square the nickname "Balzplatz". (Map)
I like the fountain of the young people under an umbrella. At temperatures in the mid-thirties (Celsius) on this hot August day, I would very much like to join them under their wet umbrella.
We can cool down ourselves at the
Garden of the Publishing Company Schott
This garden is not permanently open to the public. However, it hosts concerts where visitors have the opportunity to enjoy this idyllic garden during cultural events. We are allowed to peak inside in order to show you how beautiful the ambience is in this garden. While sheet music is printed in the surrounding buildings, we can hardly get enough of the exotic plants. (Map)
We follow narrow streets to the
Augustiner Eremitenkirche - One of the Ecclesiastical Mainz Sights
Unlike the cathedral, whose interior looks dark and gloomy, the magnificently appointed interior of the Augustinerkirche is a feast for the eyes. (Map) Even if Beate draws our attention to the fact that some of the putti do not smile quite as sweetly as others. "The church ran out of money here," she explains. "The putti in the second row come from lesser known artists." However, this does not detract from the overall impression of the church. On the contrary, with its ceiling painting and the Stumm organ, it is one of the magnificent buildings of the diocese of Mainz.
The Half-Timbered Houses at the Kirschgarten
From here it is only a few steps to the half-timbered houses at Kirschgarten. (Map ) Here you can feel the breath of history. The house Zum Aschaffenberg dates back to the year 1450. Despite several renovations over the centuries, I can well imagine what it may have looked like in the Middle Ages. We love charming places like this. They encourage you to give the history of the city a closer look. The best way to do this is at the
Cathedral of Mainz
The cathedral is one of the most important historical Mainz sights. (Map ) The city is probably a seat of a diocese since the 4th century. That's not proven though, because the sources are controversial. It is certain, however, that Archbishop Willigis, who was also Arch-Chancellor of the Reich, in the 10th century built a cathedral based on the model of St. Peter in Rome. The inhabitants of the city did not need a new church, especially none of that scale. Willigis, however, wanted a cathedral where kings could be crowned. Although his cathedral burned down in August 1009, its successor was the place of six royal coronations. The cathedral is one of the Kaiserdome in Germany. Unlike in Aachen however, only kings were crowned in Mainz. No emperor. The cathedral has been restored and expanded several times. This can be seen well on its facade. Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque elements bear witness to this.
We like the cloister best. The flowers and plants in the courtyard give the Gothic building a lightness, that we will not find again inside the cathedral. This, in contrast, looks dark and barren. Quite different from the Augustinerkirche, which looks lighter and friendlier with its Baroque style.
Pillars and Fountains at the Cathedral - Discover historical Things to do in Mainz
Worth a visit are the fountains and sculptures in the cathedral area. At the market is the Heunensäule. (Map ) The sandstone column is a gift from the city Miltenberg on the Main , It is one of several such pillars found in the region of Miltenberg. It is believed that they were created by Frankish stonemasons for the reconstruction of Mainz Cathedral in the year 1009.
Probably one of the most beautiful Renaissance fountains in Germany is located also on the market. (Map ) It was a gift from the Archbishop of Mainz Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg to his city. He presented it with the ulterior motive to soothe the minds of the urban population. Only two years later the Peasants' War broke out, in which the people of Mainz demanded the abolition of ecclesiastical privileges.
More recent is the nail column on the Liebfrauenplatz in front of the cathedral. (Map ) It is the result of a fundraiser during the First World War, in which money was collected for social institutions. Each donor was allowed to hit a nail in the column.
Johannes Gutenberg in Mainz - His Museum is one of Mainz's most important Sights
On Liebfrauenplatz is also the Gutenberg Museum. (Map) Johannes Gutenberg is a son of the city of Mainz. With his invention of printing, he revolutionized the spread of knowledge. Until then, this was reserved for the monks in their cloister offices, but his book prints made knowledge generally accessible. That is why American journalists voted Gutenberg “Man of the Second Millennium”.
There are two Gutenberg Bibles in the museum. We are not allowed to take pictures there, so you have to take a look at the exhibition yourself.
Mainz Weekly Market and Market Breakfast
Beate tells us that all of Mainz meets on the square in front of the Gutenberg Museum for market breakfast. It's a shame that we're leaving on Friday. That would have been a good opportunity to enjoy the Mainz conviviality even more. But even so, we notice some of this when we visit. No matter in which restaurant, café or bar we stop. It never takes a long time until we start talking to the Mainzer company. Always with a mischievous smile and a friendly tip on what we should still look at in Mainz. A "Piffche Woi" (a glass of wine) should not be missing. If you are in Mainz on a Saturday in summer, you can attend the market breakfast every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 16 p.m. from late March to mid-November.
Watch the Ships on the Rhine
At the Liebfrauenmarkt we say goodbye to Beate, who showed us her sights of Mainz. The banks of the Rhine are next on our tour through Mainz. Behind the Rheingoldhalle (Map ), the promenade stretches along the Rhine river. A short rain shower chases us into the café of the Hilton Hotel. Under large umbrellas, which protect us against the brief thunderstorm, we observe the heavy traffic on the Rhine. Only a few meters from us docks the Leonardo da Vinci on the river shore and continues her river cruise south. On the Wiesbadener side of the Rhine we spot a tall ship on the shore of Mainz-Kastel. The Theodor-Heuss-Brücke connects the two cities and the banks of the Rhine.
Relax on Mainz Beach
After our coffee break in the café we continue our walk along the Rhine. Only a few steps later we reach the beach of Mainz, which invites us to relax in sun loungers on the riverbank. (Map ) A group of men plays beach volleyball. Most visitors, however, take advantage of the offer and relax with a cocktail in one of the sun loungers on the sandy beach.
Mainz Restaurants for Connoisseurs
During our stay in Mainz we explore not only Mainz attractions, but also Mainz restaurants. These are presented here. We tested all of them ourselves.
Tel. 06131 225757
The Heiliggeist Restaurant (Map ) convinced us with its historic flair, its modern German and Mediterranean cuisine and its good service. We had ordered a table for the opening time in the evening (in our case for 6 p.m.). Rarely have I seen a restaurant that filled up as quickly as the Heiliggeist restaurant.
On this balmy August evening we chose to eat in the guest garden, which offers a peaceful green oasis on the edge of the old town of Mainz. The restaurant is located in the former Heilig-Geist-Spital. This looks back on a history of more than 780 years. Archbishop Siegfried III. von Eppstein had built it on the banks of the Rhine. The Rhine no longer reaches the front of the restaurant. In the centuries since then the river shores have been filled in. However, the historical flair is still noticeable under the cross vaults in the restaurant.
After tasting Mainz specialties several times on this day (we recommend other restaurants below), we were seduced here with Mediterranean asparagus with green asparagus, apple, parsley, capers and tomatoes and roast beef on potato fritters. Both tasted delicious and fresh. In addition there was a great homemade lemonade.
Tel. 06131 224949
The evening before we had dinner just around the corner in one of the oldest wine bars in Mainz, in the Weinhaus Wilhelmi. (Map ) In a rustic atmosphere we enjoyed typical Mainz specialties. Spundekäs with pretzels, Handkäs with music (with Harzer cheese dressed in white wine and onions), Palatinate Worschsalat from the Fleischworscht in a marinade of vinegar, olive oil with cheese strips and Pfälzer Leberworscht, plus hot Quellmänner (potatoes), mustard and sour cucumber.
Here we first encountered the hospitable nature of Mainz's hosts. Hostess Krista welcomed us and visited us again and again to tell us about the history of her wine bar. No wonder! Over time it had such illustrious guests as Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Secretary Hans-Dietrich Genscher. Their Wall of Fame is impressive.
Tel. 06131 5401555
At the market opposite the cathedral is the restaurant Wilma Wunder. (Map ) This is part of a restaurant chain. However, this is not your typical chain restaurant. Here we eat in a cozy living room ambience. Countless mirrors, photos and paintings on the walls create a comfortable atmosphere and invite the guests to sit down on sofas and bistro chairs. Here you take your time. No one is in a hurry here. Neither are we. This is a restaurant that makes us feel good immediately.
The food does the rest. There is a colorful mix of Mainz specialties, great salads, comfort foods and tempting desserts, as well as homemade lemonades. The breakfast menu also looks enticing. Names like Apple Muesli, Blue Berries, Flowered Fig, Oat Dream or Berry Smoothie Bowl make my mouth water. Add one of the smoothies. Then you are ready to start your day.
However, we are here for lunch. Wilma Wunder again impressed us with great food. Petar chooses the Meenzer plate with the same Mainz specialties as the evening before. Only these are presented more imaginatively. Because it's so hot on this August day, I choose a salad. The Beetroot Avocado Tartare with Goat's Cheese turns out to be a true taste explosion. That doesn't surprise me with ingredients such as fig chutney, arugula, fresh apple slices, walnuts and balsamic cream.
More tips for Mainz
- Liane von The travel owl recommends great street art on the other side of the Rhine in Mainz-Kastel
Conclusion: Mainz appeals to all Senses
Mainz and its sights have surprised us. Mainz, its attractions, its wines and restaurants and above all its people have impressed us. The city on the Rhine is a city for connoisseurs. There is much to discover in Mainz. No wonder in a city where history reaches back to the Romans. At the same time, however, Mainz is also a lively and young city. The university contributes a great deal to this with its student life. The mixture of old and new gives the old episcopal city a young and modern flair. We liked Mainz a lot. Perhaps our tips inspire you to a visit? Let us know in the comments how you like it.
The closest airport is Frankfurt (approx. 20 minutes away). Arrival by train is also easy. If you arrive by car, you can park your car in one of the parking garages in the old town. Mainz Wiesbaden is an environmental zone. Therefore, the vehicle should be approved for it.
Accommodation in Mainz:
Hotels, apartments and other accommodation in Mainz * you can book at this link.
Travel guide for Mainz
A City map for printing you find here.
You can order Mainz travel guides* online at Amazon.
Discover more Slow Travel Tips here.
Text: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Photos: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Monika Fuchs and Petar Fuchs are the publishers of the Trips to Savor and Slow Travel Blog TravelWorldOnline Traveler , They have been publishing this blog since 2005. TravelWorldOnline is online since 2001.
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Monika Fuchs has been working in tourism since 1990. For 17 she was a tour guide on four continents and accompanied high-class trips. She has been a writer and photographer for TravelWorldOnline since 2001 and is a freelance journalist for DIE ZEIT online and travel magazines such as 360 ° Medien, TRIVAGO, etc. In addition, she writes travel guides about destinations and pleasure destinations all over the world. Petar Fuchs produced the videos on this blog as well YouTube.
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