For the past 15,000 years, Rhine Falls has worn the crown as Europe’s biggest waterfall. It it one of the top 3 destinations to discover for expats living in Zurich along with their visitors, and we have your Girlfriend Guide on things to do near Rhine Falls & Schaffhausen.
While most visitors tend to either drive or train to the falls and consider that their full day trip…we discovered the surrounding area with a private tour in order to share all the delicious insider details and recommend you stay at least 1 night to soak in all this historical city has to offer.
The Famous Waterfalls
Prior to visiting, we were often asked how to get to Rhine Falls and if they are located in Stein am Rhine or Schaffhausen. Well, the simple answer is neither…these majestic falls flowing anywhere between 250,000 – 600,000 liters per second (depending on the season) are actually in neighboring Neuhausen and meticulously divided down the middle between the cantons of Zurich and Schaffhausen.
While there are many activities to choose from, we arrived by train just in time for lunch and enjoyed a panoramic view of the falls from the Park am Rheinfall family friendly restaurant. The local Fischknusperli with pommes frites and tartar sauce were deliciously served with a fresh salad option. Traveling with a child, we appreciated the spacious children’s play area inside the restaurant and newly built playground with “super fast” slide just outside. For your dining pleasure, there is also the Schlössli Wörth located directly across from the falls where you board the boat tours, the Schloss Laufen castle restaurant with large terrace and the Mühleradhaus. You can see an overview and comparison of all restaurants via Rheinfall Gastronomie.
There are 4 main boat cruise options to view the falls offered by Schiffmaendli (have a look at their website for more options):
- From Restaurant Schlössli Wörth to the rocks
- Direct ferry from Schlössli Wörth to the castle Schloss Laufen
- Panoramic trip from Schlössli Wörth around the Rhine Falls basin (June, July & August)
- 30-minute (one way) or 60-minute (round trip) tour from Rhine Falls down the Rhine River
To return back to Schaffhausen, we boarded the Rhyfall-Express for a fun family experience!
Zuri Girl Tip: A visit to “the rock” is well worth overcoming any fears of standing high above the center of the falls…an experience we continue to realize in exclamation would never be allowed in our home country. Hold children’s hands tightly and bear in mind that dogs are not allowed on the boats.
The Adventure Park
Switzerland is filled with destinations where you can zipline through the treetops, but the Adventure Park Rhinefall is truly one of a kind with it’s breathtaking birds-eye view over Rhine Falls with it’s 460-meter long zipline perfectly positioned for you to enjoy the falls in their full glory. When first introduced, even the most fearful of heights can be convinced the activities are safe and incredibly invigorating!
Located just adjacent the visitor car park, there are 14 different courses to choose from, or you can take a leap of faith and free fall from a 13-meter high platform knowing that your safety rope will allow you to land gently back on the ground…trust us, we watched many people do it before trying it ourselves! The security of the steel cable carabiner system is fool-proof…you are always locked in and truly can never fall or risk tragic injury.
Zuri Girl Tip: Allow yourself plenty of time to enjoy the adventure park, as there is a harness fitting, safety training video and practice course you must complete before being let loose to swing from tree to tree.
Schaffhausen’s landmark, the Munot fortress, was built from 1563 until 1585 and required all residents participate in the construction of it. Every morning at 9am, the bell is hand rung by the guard who is currently living on site…and there is a nearly complete record of all guards who have been positioned there since 1377! Not only is this circular fortress offering the best views of the city surrounded by vineyards, it also hosts annual events and private parties. Have a look at the calendar and possibly you wish to visit in time for an outdoor movie or the Children’s Party in August.
Housed in the former Allerheiligen Benedictine monastery, Museum Allerheiligen brings together archaeology, history, art, and natural history under one roof. As you walk through the largest cloister open to the public in Switzerland, you will be greeted with an impeccably maintained herb garden and impressive cathedral right there on the museum grounds.
For a truly local experience, spend the afternoon at Rhybadi to soak in the summer sunshine, sparkling drinks, cool water and culinary delights.
Zuri Girl Tip: Keep an eye out for the most impressive of the 171 oriel bay windows in Schaffhausen, located just above the Dosenbach retail store (pictured below). Which is your favorite?
The Shops & Restaurants
First and foremost, a stop at Confiserie Rohr is a must because not only is it the oldest tea room and Viennese café in Schaffhausen, but among all 171 bay windows to be found within the city, it’s is the most modern with a very sleek and elegant design.
Next stop is the Reber Schaffhauserzungen – Confiserie und Café for their famous creme filled cookie that will make children and adults smile with joy from ear to ear!
For lunch or dinner, the Schützenstube is a traditional restaurant located between the city center and the train station, easily accessible by foot. They are “animal friendly and environmentally conscious” offering both carnivores and vegans a savory meal in their cozy atmosphere. Whether you would like a hearty rösti with cheese and a fried egg, or a light zucchini with lentil filling, this restaurant is committed to local ingredients and high quality service.
We did not have the chance to stop at Café Nordlicht, but it was popular with people flowing through the entrance and came highly recommended. Ohana was also an adorable new cafe serving light superfoods and a shisha bar that opened early 2018.
If looking for local gifts, Chäs Marli is a gorgeous cheese speciality shop where you can taste options from the region or all over Switzerland. The gift shop, Lieblings is an lovely boutique to get lost in for a little while searching for the perfect gift for yourself or a friend.
Zuri Girl Tip: This summer it is easier than ever to cycle throughout Switzerland and you can Rent a Bike to tour Schaffhausen!
The iconic Güterhof is more than a restaurant, it is a historical building situated on the waterfront of the harber where vibrancy of the local residents pulsates. Originally a warehouse for goods being transported down the Rhine, it is now open 7 days a week until midnight – or beyond on weekends. The hospitality of the Güterhof includes a cafe, restaurant, sushi bar, cocktail bar and lounge. Have a look at the website before planning your trip, as there could be a chance the restaurant is closed due to a private party in their popular banquet hall. We know it can be difficult to find a tender filet in Switzerland, but here, it was grilled to medium-rare perfection.
Zuri Girl Tip: If traveling with children, there is a wonderful activity pack available to keep little hands busy while you enjoy a cocktail in the setting sun and wait for your meal.
Where to Stay in Schaffhausen
In the heart of the picturesque old town, we stayed at the Kronenhof Hotel managed by the Pirnstill-Marchesi family and were thoroughly impressed by the full experience, including generous breakfast buffet. The spacious and charming 2 bedroom Munot Suite was simply delightful with it’s exposed beams, private courtyard and convenient kitchen. There is also the impressive Antique Suite and two-level Romantik Suite that are excellent choices if you would like to make a room request in advance.
Zuri Girl Tip: Just across from the hotel is a wonderful indoor farmer’s market with regional products and excellent pre-packaged gift ideas!
Overnight accommodation and organized city tour was generously sponsored by Switzerland Tourism