Once a year, on the Monday preceding Ash Wednesday, the streets of Mainz erupt into a riotous celebration of spring, accompanied by a vibrant procession of glittering floats, costumed dancers and marching bands. This is the Rosenmontag (Rose Monday) parade, the dramatic culmination of the Mainz Fastnacht or Carnival, which draws thousands of spectators to the historic city to join in the biggest party of the year.

Even if you aren’t in town for the carnival, there are plenty of good reasons to visit Mainz and the capital of Rhineland-Palatinate makes a popular base camp for tours and boat cruises into the Rhine Valley. The heart of the city is the Old Town, preserving much of its medieval character in its timber-fronted houses, narrow laneways and traditional Weinstuben (wine bars), set on the banks of the picturesque Rhine River.

First settled back in Roman times, a walking tour of modern-day Mainz unearths a number of historic sights, most notably the ornate Mainz Cathedral, a Romanesque masterpiece dating back to the 11th century. Nearby is the Marktbrunnen, one Germany’s largest Renaissance fountains and the Gothic St Stephen’s Church, famous for its exquisite stained glass windows, the handiwork of Russian artist Marc Chagall. The Gutenberg Museum is also here – devoted to the city’s most famous 15th-century resident, Johannes Gutenberg, the inspired creator of the moveable type printing press, largely credited with spearheading the Information Age.

Mainz is also home to one of the oldest universities in the country and the annual influx of German and international students add to the city’s lively party atmosphere. Along with the annual weeklong carnival, Mainz hosts the Mainzer Johannisnacht in June, the traditional Mainz Midsummer Night Festival and the summertime Mainz Wine Festival. But while there’s no doubting Mainz knows how to throw a good party, the city still manages to keep its laid-back, small-town vibe, making it one of West Germany’s most effortlessly charming cities.

Practical Info:

There are regular trains from Frankfurt to Mainz.

Tours & Tickets

See all

KD Rhine Pass from Mainz

4.5 star rating: Recommended 98 Reviews

An easy way to start your romantic day on the Rhine: Present your KD ticket onboard any KD ship and enjoy all scheduled day cruises on the Rhine and Moselle ...  Read more

Location: Mainz, Germany
Duration: 1 Day

From USD $39.40

KD Rhine Pass from Cologne

3.5 star rating: Worth doing 24 Reviews

An easy way to start your romantic day on the Rhine: Present your KD ticket onboard any KD ship and enjoy all scheduled day cruises on the Rhine and Moselle ...  Read more

Location: Cologne, Germany
Duration: 1 Day

From USD $39.40

KD Rhine Pass from Koblenz

4.5 star rating: Recommended 38 Reviews

An easy way to start your romantic day on the Rhine: Present your KD ticket onboard any KD ship and enjoy all scheduled day cruises on the Rhine and Moselle ...  Read more

Location: Koblenz, Germany
Duration: 1 Day

From USD $39.40

Wiesbaden and Mainz Day Trip from Frankfurt

4 star rating: Recommended 3 Reviews

Combine a visit to the historical spa town of Wiesbaden with a tour of Mainz on a day trip from Frankfurt! With an expert local guide at your side, explore ...  Read more

Location: Frankfurt, Germany
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $188.12

See all Mainz Tours & Tickets

Viator uses cookies to improve your experience on our website. Learn more about how we use cookies and how to change your cookie settings | Close message