I never miss an opportunity to travel in Germany and discover the best German cities. So, when I had the chance to head south to visit Mainz I didn’t doubt for a second. If you want to spend a weekend in Mainz there are many things to do, enjoy and drink, these were my favourite.
1. Learn some history
In the capital of the Rhineland-Palatinate land, you can bump into history in the most unexpected places. For example, the Roman Theatre Ruins are just next to the South Railway Station. This theatre could accommodate more than 10.000 people and it was the biggest one northern than the Alps. It makes an original view to enjoy while waiting for your train.
Another cool Roman spot in Mainz is the Temple of Isis, which you can visit (for free) in the basement of the shopping centre called Römischer Passage, as the ruins were discovered during its construction. The place is also a museum where you can see some Roman artefacts and read about the history of the Temple.
So, just keep your eyes open while walking through Mainz to time travel to Mogontiacum, as the Romans used to call its biggest city in Germania.
2.Love the Rhine
My heart belongs to the Elbe. That said, I think that cities that exist around a river are always special and a bit magical, because the water takes a major part in their lifes and scenery. In Mainz, the river Rhine is one of the most important characters and the city lives and grows around it. Stroll along the Rhine an just sit on the riverside to observe the boats sailing and the water flowing under the bridges.
In summer there is even a beach, the Mainz Strand, where you can enjoy the river under a parasol while sipping a cocktail. And if you ever get lost in the city remember that the signs with the street names that are parallel to the river are blue and the perpendicular ones are red.
3.Discover the Neustadt
Apparently, many cafés and cool stores have opened in the last years in Mainz. As Mainz has an important University and it’s a student city, some areas of the city have become very young and lively, like Neustadt. The heart of the neighbourhood is in the Gartenfeldplatz. Every corner of the square hosts a nice café, a book shop or an ice-cream place.
I couldn’t try all the places in one afternoon but I can highly recommend the Annabatterie, it’s a fantastic café to have cake in Mainz and is gracefully decorated. Very cute!
The streets of Neustadt are worth a walk to get the vibe of the place and discover some interesting places of the city like the Synagogue. This Jewish Community Center of Mainz, just finished five years ago, is a very impressive architectural piece. If what you are looking for is a park in Mainz, in the area you can find the Grüne Brücke (the green bridge), which is also a little piece of art. It was designed in the 70’s by a local artist and it’s now a nature protected area.
4.Bike through the vineyards
On my second day in Mainz I just jumped on a bike and pedalled into the vineyards, with the Rhine always on sight. It was an incredible way to enjoy a late summer day and be in the nature. As it is just grape harvest time the vines where full of grapes and the fields looked really alive.
For a complete experience you can visit Nierstein, a little charming town surrounded by vineyards that is actually one of the main producers of the wine region Rheinhessen. It’s on the bike route that goes from Mainz to Worms and it is the perfect place to stop and discover a bit more about the life around the wine production in the area and maybe have a glass, too.
I discovered this tasty beverage on my first day in Mainz in a wine festival that was taking place in the Stadtpark and I was immediately in love. Federweisser, also known as Neuer Wein (new wein) is fermented must. It has between 4 and 10 percent alcohol and it’s sweet and sparkling taste made me buy a hole bottle the next day in one of the temporary stands that were around the city.
It’s a seasonal drink, available from beginning of September to end of October around wine regions like the Rheinland. Don’t let its sweetness trick you and enjoy your drink with moderation as Federweisser is known to make terrible hangovers and even bellyache if drunk in big amounts.
Apart form those, there are many more things to do in Mainz in a weekend, histories to learn, coffees to drink and places to wander. What alse would you do in the city in two days?