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Day Trips from Frankfurt: Ideas for solo female with German Rail Pass

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In late June/early July my husband will be working in Frankfurt for 2 weeks and I will accompany him. I have purchased an 8-day Rail Pass. I have 7 ideas, but I need suggestions for another good day trip from Frankfurt.

Here are my travel “boundaries”: I will probably leave from Frankfurt-Höchst station, which is on the way between our hotel and hubby’s work so he can drop me off most days; most days I will try for a train with an around-8 am departure; I don’t want to travel more than 2 hours per leg of travel; and most days I will want to be back around 6ish. I will want to just wander around a town/city center for a bit, visiting maybe one or two major sites like a cathedral, castle, or museum and taking lots of photos. I will grab lunch or bring it with me, so I’m not interested in good restaurants. And I don’t mind early starts, long days, or busy schedule. There will be down time on the train with this sort of travel.

Bit of info about me to help you help me: I’m a literature/history high school teacher with some travel experience in Europe. I’m in my 50’s, in pretty good shape for walking, am pretty good with maps and such, but have never ridden trains alone. We had a Rail Pass in England in 2008 and loved the flexibility; I know the German Rail Pass will offer similar flexibility. Hubby has been to Germany over half a dozen times with work, so he has lots of suggestions; we were in Germany together in 1988 and I am mostly interested in going to different sites this trip.

Destinations with hubby this trip: On the Sunday of our arrival at 8:30 am, we will probably visit the Kloster Eberbach. On our weekend we are planning a trip to Trier for Friday evening and Saturday, then Sunday drive into Luxembourg, probably to a Battle of the Bulge site, and then drive back to Frankfurt.

I have these 7 destinations as probable, not in any order, but the first 6 are “musts”:
Mainz
Heidelberg
Köln
The Rhine Valley (probably train to Rudesheim for a short visit, train to St. Goarshausen,
ferry to St. Goar, visit to Rheinfels Castle, ferry back to St. Goarshausen, train back to
Frankfurt)
Marburg
Bamberg
Michelstadt (and maybe Lorsch if there’s time—this could either be a short day if I just go to Michelstadt, or a very long one if I try to do both.)

I am planning to go into Frankfurt one day but would prefer to use the S-Bahn and save my Rail Pass for further afield.

So what day trip would you suggest? I have considered Kassel as #8, but is there a better destination?

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