as a tourist centre using public transport

  (Updated December 2009)
Mainz Hauptbahnhof 2009

Speyer Rathaus (town hall)
Top: MAINZ - Hauptbahnhof (main railway station)
Above: SPEYER - Rathaus (town hall)
Below: FRANKFURT-AM-MAIN - Romerburg

Frankfurt-am-Main Romerburg
Below: MAINZ- Markt
WIESBADEN - Marktkirche
Mainz Markt


Mainz is the capital of the German province of Rhein-Pfalz. From Britain it is most easily reached by travelling by air or rail to Frankfurt-am-Main. Although Frankfurt is in a different province (Hesse), Mainz is less than 40 minutes from Frankfurt airport by rail from the station located under terminal one. The two terminals at the vast Frankfurt Flughafen (airport) are linked both by a free shuttle bus and the driverless monorail Skyline.

Mainz is most famous as the home of the invention of modern printing It is where Johann Gutenberg produced the first book using movable type. His invention is commemorated in the Gutenberg Museum in Liebfrauenplatz, just behind the massive cathedral (Dom).

The city stands at the junction of the rivers Rhein and Main and is a regular stopping point for river cruise ships. The city has plenty of attractive buildings though many are post-War reconstructions. Like so many German towns and cities, Mainz is a particularly attractive venue in late November and December when the impressive Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas market) is operating.

The city has an excellent transport system operated by the Mainzer Verkhersgesellschaft (MVG) in cooperation with neighbouring operators RMV and RNN, as well as the German railways DB. In addition to the national rail network, the regional S-Bahn service provides an excellent service - route S8 runs every hour between Frankfurt city, the airport and Mainz. MVG's buses provide an extensive and efficient service around the city and they also operate a small number of tram routes. The hub of the MVG system is the main bus station in the railway station forecourt where the MVG office is also sited. At the office you can purchase an impressive array of tickets such as one valid for anything from two to five people for a day's transport in the city. A variant includes journeys to Frankfurt where it is also valid on Frankfurt public transport. In 2009 this latter (Mainz and Frankfurt ticket) cost 23 euros in total in 2009 for two to five people.

DB offers day tickets valid throughout each German province (Land), called the Landeskarte. tickets allow a day's travel for up to five people for a uniform price. The Rhein-Pfalz version costs 27 euros (2009) and can be bought from automated machines in DB stations. It is valid on all trains except IC and ICE trains on which a supplement is payable; it also affords free travel on the public transport in the province. So, for example, after 9.30am you can travel with four other people from Mainz to Speyer, stopping off wherever you wish and using the buses and trams wherever you visit, all for 27 Euros.

The historic cathedral and city centre of Mainz is about a mile from the Hauptbahnhof (main railway station) and is served by numerous buses. The main bus station has electronic timetable displays indicating the time that each service is due. In a number of German cities you will also find, within the main railway station, a full electronic display of all the local buses and when they are due at the station forecourt, the times being recorded in real time. In short, these cities put England to shame on the public transport front.

There are plenty of good eating places in the city including a number of brew-houses which combine good local food with beers and wines. The area on and around Augustinerstrasse includes several good eating places.

The city has some other interesting museums, too, notably the Landesmuseum on Grosse Bleiche, and the Romisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseym, located a few hundred yards away.

Day trips by rail from Mainz

Numerous interesting places can be reached comfortably for day trips from the main railway station. These include:

  • Speyer: About an hour from Mainz by train, Speyer is a former Roman imperial city, on the Rhein. A regular midibus stops outside the station and is permitted to operate in the otherwise semi-pedestrianised city centre which starts at the historic Altportel city gate. Leading from the Altportel to the Dom (cathedral) is the main street, Maximilianstrasse, which is also where the Christmas market starts. Just before the cathedral is reached, the Rathaus (town hall) is located on the right, with the excellent tourist information office next door. Carrying on beyond the impressive cathedral is a park, at the bottom of which is the river Rhein. Well worth a visit is the city's historical museum (Historisches Museum der Pfalz) which has particularly strong Roman collections.

    Speyer also has the excellent Technik Museum which boasts a Boeing 747 amongst many other exhibits, whilst the Auto and Technik Museum at nearby at Sinsheim has two supersonic airliners, a Concorde and a Tupolev Tu-144 on display.

  • Worms: Worms is a convenient stopping point on the Mainz to Speyer railway route. Famous for the historic meetings of the Diet of Worms, the imperial parliament, the city boasts a large cathedral (Kaiserdom).
  • Wiesbaden: Just across the Rhein from Mainz is the city of Wiesbaden, easily reached by S-Bahn service S8. It is a spa town and the capital of Hesse. To avoid a mile walk to the city centre, you can catch buses 1 or 8 from the street across the station forecourt. Approximately 2km north of the central Schlossplatz, a cablecar runs up to the Russian Orthodox Church.
  • Frankfurt-am-Main: This major international city boasts plenty of impressive modern office blocks but also has some older areas including the restored Romerburg Square. The cathedral (Romerdom) notably avoided destruction in World War Two. From the Hauptbahnhof (main station) emanates a network of trams, buses and S-Bahn services. Tram route 12 takes passengers from the station across the Main to the row of impressive museums on the far bank of the river. The city also has a substantial U-Bahn network; routes U4 and U5 serve the Dom area from the main railway station.

  • The DB website has full timetable and fare information.

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