heidelberg or Mainz germany?

We have one full day/ night layover in Frankfurt. I've read many posts and have narrowed it down to these two..Mains or Heidelberg. Take the extra 30 minutes and go to Heidelberg? Few things, my finance has never been to Germany, we enjoy the atmosphere of pubs and restaurants, not into museums as much as sightseeing.
Thank you for your input.

Posted by Monte
Genesee, ID
1376 posts

I am biased but I would pick Mainz. You say you are not into museums. There is a different kind of museum there, the Gutenburg Museum. It is a museum devoted to the history of printing. Johan Gutenburg had been credited as the inventor of the metallic moveable printing technique. A copy of his forty-two line Bible as well as a number of other inculabula are on display. Mainz give the feeling of a small town. We stayed in the Ibis hotel and when the clerk saw my surname she began speaking German. Her surname was the same as some of my relatives in this country. Our lunch was at a bar that had outside tables and no English menu. The lunch we picked from the chalk board was a good sized piece of wurst and a brown bread roll. That, and beer. A guy about my age was at the next table having the same lunch and cutting off pieces of wurst to feed his little dog. This was the last part of September and the only people we saw were Germans, friendly Germans at that, especially when they knew my surname.

Posted by Martin
Germany
210 posts

I prefer Heidelberg, simply because the town survived WW2 without major damages, while Mainz was almost completely destroyed. The Altstadt (old town) of Heidelberg is much better preserved, and the location on the banks of the Neckar river is more picturesque too.

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
11282 posts

If you stay in Mainz, I would recommend this hotel. It's reasonably priced, great breakfast buffet, and directly across from the Mainz Hauptbahnhof and the S-bahn to FRA. Some people have complained about noise from the adjacent plaza, but I wasn't there on a weekend and didn't encounter any. The S-Bahn trip from Mainz to FRA takes less than half an hour with no changes. Most connections from Heidelberg take close to an hour with one change of train. Something to consider if you have a morning flight out and don't want to risk missing your flight. Another thing to consider, if you stay in Bacharach, there is one Regional Express (RE) leaving Bacharach at 6:54, arriving at FRA at 8:06 without any change of trains. There are also almost hourly REs direct from Boppard, also on the Rhein, taking 1¼ hr.

Posted by Tom
Hüttenfeld, Hessen, Germany
9134 posts

If you prefer restaurants and drinking establishments... well, Heidelberg hosts one of Germany's major universities. The physical location of Heidelberg is also much more attractive.

Posted by D.D.
England
375 posts

As much as I like Mainz, I'd recommend Heidelberg for your trip. It has more picturesque areas to see.

Posted by Ms. Jo
Frankfurt, Germany
4769 posts

I like Mainz a lot too, but I would also pick Heidelberg. The scenery is a lot more dramatic and stunning. The castle is cool and it is does have more of a German feel to it that pleases tourists. Read Mark Twain to get a good feel for what this town is about. Have been there multiple times and still enjoy visiting. There is a train almost every hour from Frankfurt main train station to Heidelberg, that doesn't have any changes, and only takes about 50 min.

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
2612 posts

Heidelberg... for all the reasons stated, plus the castle is the favorite of my grandson's. Great views of the city from up there.

Posted by Sarah
Stuttgart, Germany
2012 posts

Heidelberg. Mainz is the sort of place you visit when you have a lot of time in that particular area or a particular interest. It's interesting but not a highlight, whereas Heidelberg is. It's easy for people to write off Heidelberg as too touristy, but it's got some great pubs and restaurants and is quite scenic. It's an easy trip to/from FRA.

Posted by Ron
southwest, Missouri, U.S.A.
1361 posts

Hello Dutch. Will you fly to the Flughafen airport of Frankfurt ? (The big airport of Frankfurt). I would ride in a railroad train from the Frankfurt Airport to Bacharach. It is a charming little old town at the south side of the Rhine River. Trains going to Bacharach depart from the train station that is connected to the Frankfurt airport, hourly. Some trains go direct to Bacharach. I transfered at Mainz. It was not complicated, it did not take a long time. When I was at Bacharach, I walked to a good small cafe that serves a variety of good German beers, and German wine, at tables inside the building, and at many tables outside at a secluded yard. I guess your bags could be parked at that cafe for a few hours. At about 5 P.M. I would ride in a train from Bacharach to Mainz, and check in at a hotel that is located very near the Mainz train station. If your Flight departure at Frankfurt airport will be in the morning of the following day, you could easily ride in a train from Mainz to the Frankfurt airport that morning. The train ride is less than 30 Minutes. What is the time of your departure flight from the Frankfurt airport ? For me, being at Bacharach was a pleasant and delightful introduction to Germany. And, in the train beside the Main river, I saw a wonderful old medieval castle (broken) on a hill at the opposite side of the river. The castle looked natural, as though its round tower (made of rocks) grew out of the rocky hill. And beyond Mainz, near Bingen, when the train was beside the Rhine River, I saw the large Niederwald monument on top of a hill at the opposite side of the Rhine River. And in the train from the airport I talked with German people who I liked very much. And they liked talking with me, in English. That morning they had flown to the Frankfurt airport, from California where they visited at Monterey Bay. At Bacharach, you will not get lost.

Posted by Christi
Whitsett, TX, United States
400 posts

WE spent 6 days in Heidelberg a few years ago - loved it, The old town has so many great little pubs. As folks have said it is a university town so very young and hip. I have never seen so many bicycles as I did at the train station there! A little known fact - Henry Ford was a communist sympathizer - received a medal from the Hitler regime and was a large contributor to Heidelberg University.

Posted by Sarah
Stuttgart, Germany
2012 posts

Christi why would Hitler give Ford a medal if he was a communist sympathizer when Hitler hated communists and had hundreds of thousands murdered? I think you're confusing "National Socialism" aka Nazism with communism. They were opposing political factions in 1930s Germany that often had violent clashes with each other until the Nazis finally took power and banned the Communist party and other parties with links to communism. The communist parties in Germany were often associated with educated Jewish leadership (which is why when Bavaria was briefly a free Communist state in 1919 it's leader was Jewish!). One of the ways Nazis spread antisemitic sentiment was by linking an unpopular political ideology (communism) with Jewish people. Indeed, Henry Ford was known to be quite antisemitic AND anticommunist (not unexpected since he opposed unions) which is why he had Nazi sympathies. Sorry for the lecture, it's just very important to not confuse communism and nazism to understand German/European history.

Posted by Russ
Paradise
1760 posts

If you have 24 hours, I would stay in Mainz - ALSO a university town - not just for Mainz, but for what's nearby. It's 25 minutes or less from FRA to the Mainz Römisches Theater station (nearest the Rhine and the old town area - check out the Roman theater under excavation at the rear set of tracks.) The IBIS where Monte stayed is one block from the station. From there walk up Neutorstrasse and pedestrians-only Augustinerstrasse into the attractive and pub-heavy old town. See the Augustinerkirche church and the Romanesque Dom. The Marktplatz area around the Dom is full of outdoor (and indoor) cafes. Walk to the main Mainz station (or hop on a train at the MRT train station to the main Mainz station) and take the MRB train 30 minutes north to Bingen, where the scenic middle Rhine Valley begins and where the next 40 miles of river is cluttered with 40 castles. Stay on the MRB train to St. Goar, see Rheinfels Castle, then return to Mainz for the evening.

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
11282 posts

Heidelberg is interesting, but so is Berlin. I wouldn't stay in either the night before a morning flight out of FRA. If you want to stay on the Middle Rhine, I would choose Bacharach. You can get a one way ticket to Bacharach from RMV, the local transit authority, for 11€/adult. To St. Goar, which is only a little farther down the river, you'd need a 16,90€ Bahn ticket. Stay in Bacharach. Assuming you arrive while the K-D boats are still running, take one down river to St. Goar and come back on the train. You should get a discount for the boat by showing the rail ticket at the kiosk. On the way to Bacharach, you will probably change trains in Mainz or in Bingen Hbf. In Mainz, regional trains to Koblenz (stop in both Bacharach and St. Goar) leave from track (Gleis) 11. Track 11 is not out beyond track 10 (there isn't a track 10), it's a stub track that ends against the station building across the platform from track 1, on the end away from Frankfurt. In Bingen Hbf (be careful, there is also a Bingen Stadt Bhf, you don't change there), the station building sits on an "island" between two sets of three tracks each. Tracks 101-103 are on the river side of the island; tracks 201-203 are on the other side. You could also take the train only to Bingen Stadt, walk to the K-D dock, and, with your luggage, take the boat to St. Goar, then come back to Bacharach on the train.

Posted by Sarah
Stuttgart, Germany
2012 posts

James, my friend, you need to crack open a history book or 3. Regardless of what later communists thought of Ford, his personal leanings are historically, clearly in clear opposition to Communism, which Ford hated. Are you just straight up trolling at this point or what?

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
2702 posts

Only one place (region/country) in Europe outside of Russia following the end of WWI was taken over by Communists and it was not Bavaria in 1919. True, that the leader of the Räterrepublik in Bavaria (republic of councils) was Jewish, but Eisner was no Communist but the left wing the Socialist Party that had broken off from the rest of the party... these Unabhängigen Sozis (Independent Socialists), still left wing authoritarianism.

Posted by Brad
Gainesville, VA
7213 posts

I'd go with Heidelberg - not for any Nazi or Communist link - IMO it makes a nicer visit. Not to make things more difficult but Wurzburg (spelled with an umlaut, two dots, over the u) is another nice stop for a day.

Posted by Sarah
Stuttgart, Germany
2012 posts

James it's just that Ford is on record as being very anti-communist in his own words. "Anti-Semitism was for Ford a pivotal element in his lifelong war against the encroachments on his entrepreneurial empire. It was perhaps the most reprehensible aspect of his ideological and political activity, but it was inextricably linked to the efforts of the premier American industrialist to deal with the "labor problem." Even prior to Hitler, Ford made the stereotypical amalgam between the Jews, the Russian Revolution and the labor movement. In the Independent, the Soviet Union was referred to as "the present Jewish government of Russia." "There are more Communists in the United States than there are in Soviet Russia. Their aim is the same and their racial character is the same.... The power house of Communist influence and propaganda in the United States is in the Jewish trade unions which, almost without exception, adhere to a Bolshevik program for the respective industries and for the country as a whole" stated the Protocols, the Dearborn Independent and The International Jew.
Says Albert Lee in his Henry Ford and the Jews, "Communism and unionism were all part of the same plot, according to Ford, and then Hitler. In his autobiography, My Life and Work, Ford said, 'There seems to be a determined effort to fasten the Bolshevik stain on American labor.... Workingmen are made the tools of some manipulator who seeks his own ends through them.'""

Posted by Christi
Whitsett, TX, United States
400 posts

Correction I do know it was Nazi sympathizer - not sure where my head was when I typed that.

Posted by Christi
Whitsett, TX, United States
400 posts

Correction I do know it was Nazi sympathizer - not sure where my head was when I typed that. I just found it to be a very interesting fact I learned when visiting the area. Most Americans are unaware of his newspaper and other Nazi or anti-semitism. My apologies for any confusion.

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
2702 posts

Correction: True, that German Communists seized power in Bavaria in early 1919 and set up a soviet republic, lasted a couple of months, until the Weimar government unleashed Free Corps to smash it. Source: RJ Sontag, "A Broken World"

Posted by kat
parkdale
200 posts

In all fairness to Mainz, I haven't been there. However, I so enjoyed our stay in Heidelberg's old town. We happened to be there and got last minute tickets to see Sigmund Romberg's operetta The Student Prince in the castle courtyard. We grabbed a beer in The Red Ox (Zum Roten Ochse), the student pub which is the setting for the story. Heidelberg is a delightful town.