The trip up the river Rhein by boat is an unmissible experience, and one that draws in tourists from miles around. It seems particularly popular with German, British and Japanese tourists, and the landscape around the River Gorge between Bingen and Koblenz is very typical of the Germany that British people think of when they hear the word. It is an amazing trip, and one that will have your shutter clicking endlessly as you skip from one side of the boat to the other. There are so many sights to see on such a short stretch that you really get your money's worth. The villages are all tightly packed together, there are castles on every bend of the river, and plenty more besides. In addition the rolling valles and precarious cliffs are a wonder in themselves.
If you want to take a look at some of the things you can see between Bingen and St Goar, there are some travelogues here:
Villages of the Rhein Gorge
Sights of the Rhein Gorge
Make sure to remember that the river runs downstream from Mainz to Koblenz, therefore the boats travel much faster in this direction than the other. That means that if you have a short amount of time and want to see as much as possible then take the route downstream. If you want to dawdle and get your money's worth (both trips cost the same) then you'll want to get the upstream boat to soak up the beautiful countryside.
The boat leaves Mainz from the pick up point near the main bridge. To get there walk up Grosse Bleiche and take a right along the Rhein promenade and you will shortly see a few boats waiting to leave. It's also just in front of the Rathaus and to the left.
Being a small city Mainz has only a limited tram and train system that is supplemented heavily by a large number of buses. The central hub for all this activity is the main train station. From here there are trams that run north to south, north along Kaiser-Wilhelm-Ring, and more usefully for most people, south to Schillerplatz. There are also a few S-Bahn trains running to destinations like Wiesbaden. For ticketing and travel information check out www.rmv.de, but if you are only coming for a few days or a weekend and want to use public transport you will probably find the Mainz Card to be of greatest value.
The Mainz Card is valid for one day or one weekend, and gives free access to all public transport in the city for just 6 euros (or 10 euros for a family ticket). The card also gives free entry to all the best Museums, including the Gutenberg and State Museums (Landesmuseum). It also gives a number of discounts, including a very useful 20% off all tickets for the Köln-Düsseldorfer Linie.
Getting to Mainz is the easy part – you can get here by car, plane, train, bus, taxi, or boat! Mainz is not far from the Frankfurt airport (and the Hahn airport is about an hour away) and has a centrally located train station. Buses run throughout the region and the A60 has four exits that lead to Mainz! If you are taking a Rhein River cruise, most ships stop at Mainz and near the cathedral area.
Most of the main points of interest are located near the city center and can be easily walked. Be sure to have sturdy shoes on the cobble streets.
Mainz is in a good location to use as a home base for exploring the Rhein region of Germany.
Click HERE for a Googlemap showing you where the main train station (Mainz Bahnhof Hbf) is located. It is in easy walking distance to the cathedral and other popular sights in town.
Most travellers to Mainz will not have much need for the city buses, as sights are clustered in the city centre within walking distance of one another, and those are enough to occupy the time of the short-term traveller ie daytripper.
However, since I was staying with a friend in the Marienborn district of Mainz, I took the city buses a couple of times, and found them quite comfortable, though a little infrequent (maybe because it was the weekend).
A day ticket (tageskarte) for Mainz's public transport costs 5.8 EUR; a one-way ticket costs 2.4 EUR. A day ticket including Frankfurt airport costs 9.5 EUR; a one-way ticket costs 3.9 EUR. It'll cost 7.3 EUR to go one-way to Frankfurt city.
Alternatively, the MainzCard will cover transportation in the city and also to Frankfurt airport, while also giving some other tourist discounts and perks. The card costs 9.95 EUR and is valid for 2 days -- this is a good deal if you're in Mainz for 2 days and will be going to Frankfurt airport at the end of your trip. Unfortunately this card can only be bought in Mainz -- it would be immensely helpful if it could be bought directly at Frankfurt airport! Thus, the cost for a 2-day trip from Frankfurt airport with this card would be 3.9+9.95=13.85 EUR.
There is an airport shuttle between Frankfurt Hahn airport and Mainz. It takes about 1 hour and costs 11E one way. Check out the Frankfurt Hahn airport website for the shuttle timetables and other transport options.
Mainz is well served by German standards, and has good connections to two busy international airports. Within 20 minutes of Mainz (on the ICE link) you are at the busiest airport in mainland Europe at Frankfurt. By bus you are only a short journey away from one of Europe's busiest budget airport at the inappropriately named Frankfurt-Hahn airport. In fact Mainz is one of the quickest city from which to reach Frankfurt-Hahn, taking only just over an hour, compared to two hours from Frankfurt itself. Frankfurt airport is a central hub for many airlines operating to locations all over the planet, and Hahn is a hub for Ryanair, one of the major budget airlines, and a good number of other airlines too, including even Iceland Express. Ryanair has very cheap flights to every corner of the continent emanating from this out of the way airport.
Some useful web addresses:
Mainz is very close to Frankfurt, so you can easily go there by S-Bahn from Franfurt's airport.
Mainz is not so big, so you can walk around. Public transportation, however, is good, as in the rest of Germany.
That is exactly what is written here, it is only 370 km to Basel and just 230 km to Strasbourg, why is it here? I have no idea or maybe you can take a boat
As of early September 2013, Mainz' train station is open again.
Trains run and stop here on schedule