Mannheim is far off the tourist radar! The only tourists that generally end up in Mannheim are those who missed their connecting train or those who couldn't find a hotel room in Frankfurt during trade fair times. Admittedly, it is not a place to find classic tourist sights and there's not much pretty around, but for anyone into industrial chic, there is nothing like a walk along the Rhine River to the sister town of Ludwigshafen, which is fringed by the humongous BASF complex. This is especially great at night -- the gazillions of glittering lights make it entirely otherworldly. Following the Rhine River out of town actually leads to some pristine countryside, so as a base for daytrips, Mannheim isn't a bad choice at all!
There is also that huge advantage of Mannheim being a planned city and thus having that inner city perfectly partitioned into squares with alphanumerical naming. Shopping is big here! And so is food -- especially in the well-known "Fressgass" (gorge alley). It's also quite lovely as soon as you dig in to the local culture. There are plenty of students due to the hugely famous university and generally this is a very friendly part of Germany, so attending local events and bars and such is a pleasure to most travelers.
The Mannheim hostel scene is pitiful -- there's close to no choice at all. On the positive side, what Mannheim hostels exist are at least fairly modern! It is a stronghold of government-run hostels, which are those mainly catering to school groups and less to individual travelers. So maybe guesthouses might serve a traveler's needs better. Getting to the limited Mannheim hostel options will be easy enough, though, due to an excellent network of transportation -- the tramways especially are recommendable, as Mannheim has one of the best networks of those in the world! They are frequent, fast, and affordable.
Hi, I'm gagalichen,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Mannheim hostels. Welcome.