Should You Visit Mannheim?

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

Summary: For a city that did not survive the Second World War, Mannheim does better than most of its counterparts. Its not enough though to recommend as a destination.


The city of Mannheim was once the illustrious capital of the Upper-Rhine. From here ruled the Palatine Electors, the Dukes of Baden and the industrial barons of the German Empire. Of their legacy, virtually nothing survives. Nevertheless, since you might find yourself here having to change trains to go somewhere else, let me give you a quick tour of what’s left.

Should I visit Mannheim?

Rating CategoryScore
Tourism2
Historical Preservation1
Cultural Immersion4
Interaction5
Final Score3
I try to give ratings relative to the best that Europe has to offer. For Germany, with its war-torn cities, 3 is very low, typically you would expect a score 5-6. Mannheim was basically removed from existence in 1945.

Tourism Rating

From a tourism perspective, Mannheim does not pretend to be a tourist attraction, catering rather to business men and trade fairs. There is little to no tourist infrastructure, but that’s ok because there’s no reason for tourists to come here either. But the palace is pretty cool so its it gets a 2 out of 10.

Historical Preservation

In terms of historical preservation, there is none. It’s on par with your average German city and receives a 1.

Cultural Immersion

In terms of cultural immersion, it has a nice restaurant scene and a lively city center. It is however, mostly a commuter and student town, so the culture that you are experiencing is perhaps not the one you are interested in. I give it a 4, because its got more life to it than Frankfurt.

Interactivity Rating

Its a major city, so everything is easily accessible, lots of public transport and published opening hours. It only looses points in interactivity for really not having much to interact with. 5.

The Conclusion: No, there is realistically no reason for you to visit Mannheim unless you are already there.

Old Market in Mannheim
Justin Bunch | CityscapeTravel The old Market in Mannheim is one of the last partially preserved images of Old Mannheim

How to See Mannheim

Justin Bunch | CityscapeTravel

Unlike the other cities of the Rhineland, Mannheim does not have a long history into the distant past. (If you are more interested in the ancient past I have an article with some itinerary guides for this portion of the Rhineland.) Sitting at the mouth of the Neckar River as it flows into the Rhine, there are traces of small settlements from the Roman period on-wards and evidence of a castle built here in the Middle Ages.

Prior to it’s destruction in WWII, Mannheim had a collection of buildings from two eras, the Baroque cityscape of the Palatinate and the architecture of the German industrial revolution, namely late historicist and art nouveau.

If you want to read about Mannheim in more detail check out this article here:

Mannheim Opening Hours

The few destinations of note in Mannheim have fairly convenient opening hours:

DestinationOpening Hours
Electoral PalaceTuesday-Sunday 10am–5pm
Palace ChapelTuesday-Sunday 10am–5pm
Jesuit ChurchEveryday 9am–7pm

In addition, there are a few other smaller museums in Mannheim that might be of special interest, such as the Schiller House and the Reiss-Engelhorn Art/History Museum.

Conclusion

Mannheim has a number of very nicely reconstructed buildings. However, these don’t make up for the catastrophic losses in WWII and in the later decades of the 20th century. If you have already seen all the other palaces in Europe, I could make a case for Mannheim, otherwise get on that train to Heidelberg.

If you want to explore the region around Mannheim instead, see these suggestions:

Justin Bunch | CityscapeTravel

Exploring the Electoral Palatinate

The Electoral Palatinate is a forgotten land within the borders of modern-day Germany. Centered on the city of Heidelberg the region offers its sweeping vistas of the Rhine valley, ancient churches and the small towns snugged away in the forest and valleys of the Rhenish highlands.

Return to the Electoral Palatinate

Electoral Palatinate

Once the heart of the medieval Holy Roman Empire, it was put to the torch by its many enemies. Today only enigmatic monuments betray its past glories.

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