The city of Mannheim is in the south-west of Germany, north of Stuttgart and south of Frankfurt. It is known as the ‘Square City’ because of its grid-like layout, designed around a 17th-century castle. Visitors can travel by train to Mannheim from Frankfurt in 37 minutes, and a train to Mannheim from Stuttgart takes 38 minutes. Visitors arriving at the main station, Mannheim Hauptbahnhof, find themselves to the south of the Quadrate — the name of the city’s inner grid. Behind the station, visitors will see the River Rhine and a promenade embankment alongside it, enticing them to take a stroll along the beautiful banks.
Away from the river, the first port of call requires an 8-minute walk, heading north-east, to the Kunsthalle museum. This is Mannheim's premier gallery of modern and contemporary art, displaying masterpieces by Cézanne, Degas, Kandinsky and Rodin. The next stop is a 14-minute walk north-west to A4 on the grid, where the Jesuitenkirche is located. This is an ornate 18th-century church and, when Mozart spent some time in Mannheim in the late 1700s, he praised its acoustics.
Saving the best until last, visitors should head back towards the river for a 5-minute walk south, in order to reach the truly magnificent Mannheimer Schloss. It sits resplendently between the city’s grid layout to the north and the Rhine to the south. This is Germany’s largest Baroque palace, but it is now occupied by the University of Mannheim and, therefore, is not a tourist site. Nevertheless, the Schlosskirche and the palace museum are found in its courtyard, with some wonderful halls, reconstructed after WWII damage and full of marble, porcelain and chandeliers. The Schlosskirche, which was also rebuilt after the war, is where Mozart once played!
If all that sightseeing works up an appetite, those visiting Mannheim should head for the central Marktplatz, a 10-minute walk right into the centre of the Quadrate, in F1 of the grid. There is a good choice of international and traditional German restaurants there. Among them, local delicacies are served, like Zander (a unique local fish) or Zartes Schweinefilet (pork loin), accompanied by a nice Riesling wine or perhaps some locally-brewed Eichbaum beer.