Germany off the beaten track

The romantic Heidelberg Castle © Heidelberg Marketing GmbH

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Practical information

Why go?

Discover the origins of the printed word, a traditional zest for life, wines and the cultural heritage of the more than two thousand year old city of Mainz. Visitors from all over the world are fascinated by the ingenious invention that conquered the world 500 years ago. But the age of Johannes Gutenberg (inventor of the printing press with moveable metal types) in the 15th century was just one of the fruitful epochs in the history of Mainz.

The adoptive son of the Roman Emperor Augustus, Drusus, is regarded as being the founder of the city. In the year 13 B.C., he established his legion's camp on the rising ground above the confluence of the Main and Rhine Rivers: "Moguntiacum", today's Mainz, was born. The location, the mild climate and the political developments in the ancient empire led to the early flourishing of the city.

The influence of the Mainz ecclesiastics as archchancellors of the Holy Roman Empire and organizers of the elections of the German kings in the Middle Ages was enormous. This is also nicely reflected in the epithet "Golden Mainz". The Jewish tradition of "Magenza" also lasted from the Middle Ages until the 20th century. Poetry and prayers bear witness to the fame of the city's scholars. Mainz's Jüdischer Friedhof (Jewish Cemetery) contains Europe's oldest gravestone.

The citizens of Mainz, including the polymath Georg Forster, became famous for the development of German democracy. In 1792, following the model of the French revolutionaries, committed men founded a Jacobin Club. The Elector had already fled from the city before the revolutionary army which was thus able to take Mainz almost without a fight. The Rhenish-German National Convention met in the "Deutschhaus" (German House) and is regarded as the first German parliament.

When to go?

Germany is a popular travel destination all year-round, with a typical four-season climate. Winter temperatures vary from west to east, with around freezing temperatures in the west and well below freezing in the east of Germany. Summer temperatures are typically between 20°C (68°F) and 30°C (86°F). In terms of tourist numbers, May through to September are the most popular months to visit Germany. However, the winter holidays with their enchanting Christmas Markets are also a major highlight. Those who enjoy the benefits of uncrowded attractions will favor January through to April.

The weather in Mainz is continental in the sense that it varies from year to year, meaning a chilly spring and rainy summer one year can be followed by a spectacularly warm and sunny season the next year. The areas around the Rhine are blessed with a particularly pleasant climate which allows for the successful cultivation of grapevines.

Long periods of fine weather can be followed by unsettled conditions.  To be on the safe side, make sure you bring a sweater and wet weather clothing with you.

What to eat?

Sitting down to join others, talking shop over a glass of wine or swapping the latest Mainz gossip has a long tradition in Mainz's wine taverns. Mainz is Germany's Great Wine Capital. Nowhere else are there so many wine taverns, winegrowers' estates, wine festivals and wine-tastings as in and around Mainz.

Embedded between two of Germany's most renowned wine regions, the Rheingau to the north and Rhine-Hesse to the south, the city is an ideal starting point for tours of winegrowers, wine rambles and culinary expeditions. Famous estates, such as Kloster Eberbach (Eberbach Monastery), Schloss Johannisberg (Johannisberg Castle) and Schloss Vollrads (Vollrads Castle) are just a stone's throw away from Mainz where producers of "Sekt" (sparkling wine), Kupferberg and Goldhand hold veritable treasures in their barrel cellars.

Everywhere, cozy wine taverns invite you to stop by: fine wines of the region such as Dornfelder, Riesling and Silvaner simply taste delicious with Weck und Worscht (roll and sausage) or Spundekäs (a spicy creamed cheese)!

Goethe already liked to sojourn in this region, enjoying the wonderful view across the Rhine valley in addition to the wines. And even Otto von Bismarck, not otherwise exactly known for his romantic streak, wrote to his wife from "Schloss Johannisberg" (Johannisberg Castle): "I like to tarry here awhile, because here you may dream."

Mainz Gallery



Map of Germany


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That´s Germany

Carnival time in Mainz means three crazy days and four nights of partying. Known as the “fifth season of the year” it is a time when jesters rule the city.

VIP: Nero Claudius Drusus

Mainz was founded by the Roman military leader Nero Claudius Drusus. Travelers can still follow the traces of the adoptive son of the Roman Emperor Augustus. The Drususstone in the citadel is
well worth seeing.

Wine Heritage

Landmarks of Wine Culture

Since 2010, the German Wine Institute has awarded prizes to "Landmarks of Wine Culture": places which are documenting the history and tradition of wine growing in an impressive way. Good news: Landmarks of Wine Culture can be found in Mainz too:The Kupferberg´s Visitors Center