Hanging out in Mannheim will show you that this cold German city has so much to offer beyond its ravishing river Rhine. As, a matter of fact, it’s usually cold here so you will barely spot an air conditioner anywhere. Having said that, Mannheim, summers can be super hot, and sticky thus I highly recommend air-conditioned accommodation if your travel dates fall between May until August. Those planning a short stay must know that most places in Mannheim, are closed on a Sunday. Any other day is great to explore, this ‘amazing’ city perched between Rhine and Neckar River.
Either way, the best way to explore the city is to take a tram. Get into a tram that takes you to the iconic water tower that’s synonymous with the city. On your way, you will notice that giant tycoons such as ABB, Daimler, IBM, John Deere, Caterpillar, Roche, Unilever and Siemens reign the corporate culture of Mannheim. Whether this is your first time in Mannheim or not, the serene infrastructure of the city will ensure that you visually experience every bit of its vibrant culture. The downtown, in particular, is bustling with fantastic shopping centres, love locks, and a lively social scene. (Also, flower patches and a lot of coffee shops including Starbucks, my favourite)
Nonetheless, to make this easy, for you, here’s a rundown of best places to visit, in Mannheim in under three days.
1. Visit the 16th-century Royal Palace
Located in Baden-Württemberg, this huge palace was once the primary abode, of the Prince of the House of Wittelsbach. At present, this Baroque Royal Palace is where the University of Mannheim operates. While you are here, tour the ‘reconstructed and restored’ parts of the Royal Palace, showcasing exquisite tapestries, paintings, furniture, porcelain, as well as, silverware.
2. Spend a few hours at Luisenpark and Herzogenriedpark
Booming with a variety of flowers, bee colonies, pony courses and fantastic park space, Luisenpark and Herzogenriedpark are the best open gardens to spend a day in the company of nature. Both these parks epitomise a radiant spring. In fact, at Herzogenriedpark, you also get to spot African Dwarf goats, who are an overdose of cuteness!
3. Take a trip to Technoseum Mannheim, Planetarium and SAP Arena
Amongst all the fascinating landmarks in Mannheim, the 19th-century Technoseum technology museum displays the southern and western industrialization of the country. The Planetarium, on the other hand, showcases contemporary realization of the Earth to the Moon. Likewise, SAP Arena is a modern aluminium and glass stadium, mainly used for ice hockey, other sports and major concerts. A visit is worthwhile!
4. Explore Jesuitenkirche, Fernmeldeturm and Engelhorn museum
Jesuitenkirche, in Mannheim, is a 17th-century Court Church declared sacred by the Prince Bishop of Augsburg to pay respect to Saint Ignatius and Saint Francis Xavier. This Baroque-style Church is famous for its red sandstone twin-towered facade, high altar, four cardinal virtues, amazing frescoes and the Pheme that adorns the 75-meter high dome. The Fernmeldeturm, on the contrary, is a 19th-century telecommunications tower (715 ft high) with an observation deck. However, Engelhorn museum is one of Mannheim’s major spot featuring 4 exhibit halls with the history of world cultures, archaeology, art, photography, literature, theatre and antiquities.
5. Look in on Christuskirche, National theatre and Marktplatz Brunnen
Christuskirche is yet another 19th-century Protestant church in Mannheim, built in an Art Nouveau style with neo-Baroque echoes. It survived the world wars and its splendour has been preserved almost in its original state. The National Theatre is one of Germany’s oldest theatre. It is a 17th-century opera house with a variety of performance spaces. Last but not least, Marktplatz Brunnen, is a 17th-century marketplace fountain on the Mannheim market square.
It’s usual to get spellbound by the ‘medieval to the modern’ transformation of Mannheim. For the first time travellers, there’s so much to observe, the automobiles, for instance. Whether the world’s first car in 1885 or the world’s first cycle in 1817, Germans have got the edge over the rest of the world when it comes to the automobiles. Oh, and this city is a gastronomy haven for foodies. Expect global cuisine infused with authentic German flavours. For pan-European innovative dishes, head to Cafe Journal in Mannheim’s Marktplatz. To explore a 19th-century tailor shop and cigar store, visit Cafe Prag. While for authentic German cuisine, take a trip to Gasthaus Zentrale or Sudlandhaus. There are plenty of options to suit your appetite.
Before leaving Mannheim, also try taking a tour to Wochenmarkt farmer’s market that sells local produce, flowers, souvenirs and snacks. This should be a perfect wrap up.