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18 Cool Things to do in Mainz on a Winter Workcation

Discover things to do in Mainz Germany on a winter workcation. Explore Mainz tourist attractions on a bleisure trip. Visit the Mainz Christmas market.
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Mark my words: workcations are going to be the hot trend of 2022. 

What is a workcation? Instead of taking vacation time to explore a new place, why not go somewhere with laptop in tow and save your vacation days while still exploring that place in the mornings, at lunch, in the evenings and on the weekend. 

It's like pretending to live somewhere new for a while. Looking for ideas of places to spend a workcation in Europe? 

I can highly recommend Mainz, Germany. Read on for my travel tips on things to do in Mainz on a winter workcation.

Mainzer Dom and the Mainz Christmas Market

Getting To Mainz

Mainz is just a 30 minute train ride from Frankfurt Airport, the largest airport in Germany. 

Frankfurt Airport is a major hub of Lufthansa and thus you can easily get flights to Frankfurt from around Europe and beyond (from Asia, Africa, North America, and South America). 

For us, Frankfurt is just a 2 hour flight from Dublin and therefore an ideal location for a long weekend workcation in Germany.

Inside a train car from Frankfurt Airport to Mainz

Note that local trains from Frankfurt Airport to Mainz are a little confusing. The ticket machine asked if we wanted to go via Russelheim or Frankfurt. 

S8 seemed like the only choice running every 30 min. Then saw RE3 to Saarbrücken which stops in Mainz Hbf. The ticket cost about 5 EUR for the 30 min ride.

We also learned that Google Maps only has S-Bahn data which likely explains our confusion when we were comparing Google Maps to what we were seeing on the schedule board at the Frankfurt Airport train station. 

Fortunately, Mainz is a relatively small city and is easy to just walk around once you are there. If you do want to avail of public transportation, download the RMV Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund app on Android or iPhone.

Where to Stay in Mainz

There are not so many hotels in Mainz, but we found that the AC Hotel in Mainz is an ideal place to stay on your workcation. The hotel is located right across the street from the Mainz Hauptbahnhof. 

We paid 104 EUR per night at the end of November for the cheapest room. I have Platinum status with Marriott Bonvoy and thus got an upgrade to a deluxe room with more space, a desk, and a fantastic view. 

We were a little worried about noise since our room was facing the train station, but no worries, the windows are super soundproof. 
AC Hotel viewed from the Mainz Hauptbahnhof Christmas Market
If you don't have status with a hotel chain or are visiting during a busier time of year when an upgrade may be less likely, I recommend splurging on a nicer room since it will also double as your office on this workcation. 

Another perk of Marriott Bonvoy Platinum status is a $10 USD per person credit to use for food and drink at the hotel. We opted for $10 USD off of breakfast each day. 

Things to do in Mainz at a Glance

Things to do in Mainz: Christmas Market
Wondering about Mainz tourist attractions and what there is to see in the city? Here are my recommendations of things to do in Mainz at a glance.
  1. Walk around the Mainz Christmas Market Before Opening Time
  2. Shop Römerpassage
  3. Tour Mainzer Dom
  4. Pick up a Sweet Treat at Dom Confiserie
  5. Explore the Gutenberg Museum
  6. Watch the Sunset over the Rhine River
  7. Warm up with a Glass of Wine
  8. Channel Your Inner College Student and Grab a Kebab
  9. Drink Gluhwein at the Christmas Markets
  10. Appreciate the Chagall Windows at St. Stephan's Church
  11. Grab a Bracing Outdoor Coffee
  12. Have Dinner at the Christmas Market
  13. Go on a Mainz Door Hunt
  14. Eat Lunch at the Mainz Christmas Market
  15. Look for an Edgy Exhibit like the Mystery of Banksy
  16. Take a (non-Christmasy) Photowalk in Mainz
  17. Stroll along the Rhine
  18. Check Out St. Christoph's Church

Things to do in Mainz in Detail

Now let's explore some fun things to do in Mainz on a winter workcation in greater detail.

1. Walk around the Mainz Christmas Market Before Opening Time

The Mainz Christmas markets open at the end of November. We timed our visit to arrive the day before the Christmas markets opened. 

We had a fantastic time walking around Mainz Old Town on the afternoon we arrived taking pictures before the crowds descended. 

We were very happy to resume our tradition of visiting a different city in Germany each year for the Christmas markets! 

If you arrive later in December, you can recreate this experience by taking a photowalk in the Mainz Christmas markets in the morning before they open.

Things to do in Mainz: Christmas Market

2. Shop Römerpassage

The area around Römerpassage in Mainz is full of festive decorations in November and December. Römerpassage is a good option to warm up a bit on a winter walk in Mainz. 

We enjoyed self-service sandwiches for lunch at a local bakery near Römerpassage. The prices felt like such a bargain after our last trip to Norway

We got 2 sandwiches, a coffee, and a bag of cookies for less than 10 EUR. Römerpassage is a great destination if you need to get some Christmas shopping done on your winter workcation. 

Fun fact: you'll find the ruins of an ancient Roman temple below the shopping center.

Christmas decorations in Romerpassage in MainzMainz tourist attractions: Mainz Cathedral

3. Tour Mainzer Dom

Mainzer Dom (The Mainz Cathedral) dominates the landscape of the city and is free to enter. Definitely make time to check it out. 

I loved how the light played off the stained glass. This 1000 year old cathedral also features a spectacular organ and a small below ground crypt. 

Mainzer Dom is even more impressive from the outside both day and night!

4. Pick up a Sweet Treat at Dom Confiserie

Dom Confiserie is located in the shadow of Mainzer Dom and offers some amazing treats to eat in or takeaway. 

We picked up a chocolate covered marzipan log and some walnut marzipan confections local to Mainz to enjoy back at the hotel when I needed a break from work.

Baked goods at Dom Confiserie

5. Explore the Gutenberg Museum

The Gutenberg Museum is the most famous Mainz tourist attraction and so we took a self-guided tour. 

Quick history refresher: Johannes Gutenberg was a German inventor who democratized reading by bringing printing to Europe via the moveable-type printing press at the tail end of the Middle Ages. 

For just 5 EUR per person, we saw countless historic books including intact Gutenberg Bibles. Less than 200 were made and less than 50 have survived intact since the 15th century. 

The Gutenberg Museum features four storeys of exhibits. The first two storeys have English subtitles, the top two storeys, not so much. 

The Gutenberg Museum also featured an exhibit on the history of printing in Asia and a modern art exhibit in the ground floor. 

I highly recommend the Gutenberg Museum as a must-go thing to do in Mainz.

Old book at the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz Germany

6. Watch the Sunset over the Rhine River

In winter, the sun goes down early in Mainz. Head to the Rhine to watch the sunset. I'll admit that I got a bit distracted by the elegant buildings and doors along the way. 

There is a promenade and park along the river. Dress warmly and go for an evening stroll.

Sunset over the Rhine River in Mainz Germany

A Medieval Wooden Tower (Holzturm) caught our eye as we were walking along the Rhine and we headed toward it. 

A section of what I imagine is the Medieval city wall stands out among the neighboring apartment blocks.

7. Warm up with a Glass of Wine

Time for a glass of local wine at Vinotheka Moguntia. We tried a dry Riesling and a Rivaner. Just 3.50 EUR for a pour advertised to be a very generous 200 ml. 

Our glass was filled to the brim. We enjoyed Vinotheka Moguntia so much that we popped in again for another 3 EUR glass of local wine the next night. 

This time we tried a Silvaner and a Halbstrocken Dornfelder. The Christmas Market closed at 8:30 pm so we waited for the crowds to clear before heading back to the hotel.

2 glasses of white wine at Vinotheka Moguntia in Mainz Germany

We enjoyed the twinkling lights on our walk back from Mainz City Centre to our hotel near the Hauptbahnhof (about 20 min). We stopped to pick up a bottle of Organic wine at the supermarket. 

Just 4.99 EUR for a Landlust Dortfelder and Spätburgunder blend. This area of Germany along the Rhine River cultivates some great wines at even better prices!

8. Channel Your Inner College Student and Grab a Kebab

There is a kebab shop on almost every corner in Mainz, something we don't get as easily in Dublin. That's dinner sorted! 

We enjoyed a takeaway kebab and a glass of wine at our hotel. The kebab only cost a fiver and was so filling!

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Looking for more traditional German Christmas Market destinations to add to your list of candidate workcations next year? Why not:
Did you know that Christmas markets aren't just a phenomenon in Germany?

9. Drink Gluhwein at the Christmas Markets

The Christmas markets in Mainz opened at 11 am sharp the day after we arrived. We took a break at lunchtime to visit the Christmas market on Schillerplatz. 

Potato pancakes with applesauce (Reibekuchen mit apfelmus) plus weisser glühwein (hot white wine) was the perfect midday treat for our winter workcation.

Reibekuchen mit apfelmus at the Mainz Christmas Market

10. Appreciate the Chagall Windows at St. Stephan's Church

Another cool thing to do in Mainz is stopping to see the Chagall stained glass windows at St. Stephan's Church. St. Stephan's dates back over 1000 years. Much of the church was destroyed during World War II. 

Marc Chagall was convinced to do the windows of the church despite the fact that he was born into a Hasidic Jewish family. The Chagall windows in Mainz feature amazing blue colors! 

The pipe organ and cloister courtyard are also worth a look.

Mainz tourist attractions: Chagall windows at St. Stephan's churchslice of Mozartkuchen in Mainz Germany

11. Grab a Bracing Outdoor Coffee

On a workcation, it's important to do things in smaller, bite-sized chunks. We took time out and enjoyed cake and coffee at Baristaz Coffee Heroes including a slice of an elegant Mozartkuchen!

12. Have Dinner at the Christmas Market

In winter life centers around the Christmas markets in Mainz and, as you can see, so did our workcation. We ate currywurst with glühwein for dinner at the Mainz Hauptbahnhof Christmas market. 

All the tables were taken and we were having trouble finding a spot. The glühwein seller saw us struggling and kicked out someone who hadn't bought from him to make room for us.

We loved the beautiful Christmas lights and glitz at the main Mainz Christmas Market. It was a bit crowded so we decided not to stay long. 

We made sure to nab some roasted chestnuts before leaving. It's important to have a beverage when you eat chestnuts since they can be quite dry and cough-inducing if you aren't careful.

Roasted chestnut at the Mainz Christmas Market Glass of weisser gluhwein at the Mainz Christmas Market
We noted that the Mainz Hauptbahnhof Christmas market was open later than one by Mainzer Dom. We couldn't resist buying one final order of Reibekuchen to finish out the day on the way back to our hotel. 

The vendor made fun of me because he thought I said mit "apple juice" when I actually said "apfelmus".

13. Go on a Mainz Door Hunt

My regular readers know that I absolutely love doors and find the beauty in this architectural expression wherever we go. Mainz did not disappoint in the door department. 

One of my recommended things to do in Mainz is to go on a door hunt. Wander around the heart of the city and snap the prettiest doors you find. 

I even spotted one door featuring bird-inspired street art painted on a garage. A garage door is still a door, in my opinion, especially when it's beautifully decorated.

Ornate wooden door in Mainz GermanyGarage door with bird street art painted on it in Mainz Germany

14. Eat Lunch at the Mainz Christmas Market

On the second day of our workcation in Mainz, we worked for a few hours in the morning and then went out to the Mainz Christmas Market next to Mainzer Dom. 

Here we ate the best potato pancakes of the trip so far. Pay for a token, then pick up your portion! Reibekuchen appear to be a Mainz Christmas market specialty. This batch of reibekuchen had an excellent crispy finish.

Browsing further, we opted to eat a Christmas market classic: sausage! We ordered a Rindswurst and a Thuringer sausage which is uniquely flavored with caraway seeds. 

We also picked up some chili almonds as a snack for later while working.

Rindswurst and a Thuringer sausage at the Mainz Christmas Market

Don't limit yourself to just Christmas market food in Mainz. We discovered cheesy bread with pumpkin seeds and a donut filled with vanilla pudding at a local bakery near the Christmas market.

 I love trying local treats when we travel; another advantage of a workcation.

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Looking for other short city break destinations to visit in Germany? Have you considered:
Are you seeking city break inspiration in Central Europe beyond Germany? Have you thought about:

15. Look for an Edgy Exhibit like the Mystery of Banksy

When we visited Mainz, there was an unauthorized Banksy exhibit on. We paid 18 EUR to enter The Mystery of Banksy which was located on the top floor of a local artisan's market. The exhibit was pretty pricey and I was left wondering who would get the money.

Allow at least 90 minutes to tour The Mystery of Banksy. There were many works on display including classic stenciled pieces, full-blown art installations, painted over canvases, and 3D objects like a case of Di-faced tenners featuring Princess Diana. Even the WC on-site was decorated.

The Mystery of Banksy exhibit in Mainz Germany

This is yet another advantage of basing yourself somewhere for a workcation. You can pretend you are a local and take advantage of time-bound exhibits like this one.

16. Take a (non-Christmasy) Photowalk in Mainz

Winter in Mainz isn't only about Christmas cheer. Look beyond the Christmas markets and explore the other sides of Mainz by taking a photo walk. 

Keep an eye out for vintage neon signs and shopfronts which make for amazing photo compositions. You may spot some cool street art as you are out and about as well. 

Neon sign and storefront in Mainz Germany

We chanced upon Kurfürstliches Schloss which is situated near the Rhine on our Mainz photowalk. The schloss features absolutely fabulous architecture. Of course, it was the door that caught my eye.

Blue door with yellow dots at Kurfürstliches Schloss in Mainz Germany

17. Stroll along the Rhine

The Rhine River in Mainz sports a tree-lined path for walking, cycling, our running. The Rhine River promenade is lovely for a stroll even in November. 

We discovered some interesting stone panels along the Rhine near the Hilton Hotel in Mainz. The figures pictured on the panels were quite jaunty.

Stone panels featuring Medieval knights located on the Rhine River in Mainz Germany

18. Check Out St. Christoph's Church

Another bite-sized thing to do in Mainz on a workcation is explore the remains of St Christoph Church. The first reference to a church here dates back over 1000 years. 

The most recent church was destroyed during WWII. Learn about the history of the church and Mainz' fate during the war in colorful panels with pictures and short English translations.

St. Christoph's Church ruins in Mainz, GermanyTree-lined path along the Rhine River in Mainz Germany

Summing Up Our Workcation in Mainz

As you can see, Mainz is an ideal destination for a workcation in winter. Mainz is served by world-class Frankfurt Airport making it easy to get to. 

You can center your trip around the Mainz Christmas markets and carve out a number of bite-sized activities to intersperse with your work. 

I hope this list of things to do in Mainz inspires you to take a workcation trip!

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: 18 Cool Things to do in Mainz on a Winter Workcation
18 Cool Things to do in Mainz on a Winter Workcation
Discover things to do in Mainz Germany on a winter workcation. Explore Mainz tourist attractions on a bleisure trip. Visit the Mainz Christmas market.
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