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Just an hour north of Zurich, the lively medieval town of Schaffhausen is best known as the gateway to one of Switzerland’s most famous tourist attractions: Rhine Falls. The mighty waterfall is Europe’s largest, stretching 450 feet (137 meters) across the Rhine River and cascading from heights of up to 75 feet (23 meters).
Schaffhausen is a popular choice for a day trip from Zurich, and half- or full-day tours are often combined with a stop at nearby Stein am Rhein or a Zurich city tour. Most visitors to Schaffhausen make a beeline for Rhine Falls, and there are various options for admiring the cascades. Take in the views from Laufen Castle, enjoy a thrilling boat ride beneath the falls, or climb to the viewing platforms above them.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Most of Schaffhausen’s historic center is pedestrianized and it’s easy to walk to all the main attractions.
- It’s possible to walk or cycle the 2 miles (3 kilometers) to Rhine Falls from Schaffhausen.
- Wear comfortable shoes; many of the streets are cobbled and uneven.
How to Get There
Schaffhausen is located along the Rhine River, around 28 miles (45 kilometers) north of Zurich. S-Bahn trains run from Zurich Central Station to Schaffhausen, and take around 40 minutes.
When to Get There
The busiest time to visit Schaffhausen is in the summer months of July and August, when an early morning or evening visit offers the best chance of avoiding the crowds. By far, the most atmospheric time to experience Rhine Falls is Swiss National Day on August 1, when the falls provide a backdrop for Switzerland’s largest fireworks display.
Schaffhausen Walking Tour
Schaffhausen is easy to explore on foot, and strolling around the medieval Old Town unveils an array of baroque architecture, richly decorated with hand-painted frescos and elaborate oriel windows. Climb the hill to the 16th-century Munot fortress for the best views over the town, visit the surrounding Klettgau vineyards for wine tasting, browse the stalls at the local markets, and admire landmarks, such as the High Gothic St. Johann church and the All Saints Cathedral.
Address: Zurich, Switzerland
3 Tours and Activities to Experience Schaffhausen
Marvel at the Rhine Falls of northern Switzerland on a tour from Zurich by coach. In addition to free time to explore Europe's largest waterfall at your leisure, enjoy a photo stop outside the medieval Laufen Castle. On the return drive you’ll pass through Schaffhausen for a glimpse of Munot Fortress, built in the 16th century. During summer months (June to August), you have the option of a boat ride that brings you up close to Rhine Falls.
Journey from Zurich to see the Rhine Falls and historical Stein am Rhein on this half-day sightseeing trip by air-conditioned coach. Travel northward through vine-coated hills to the Swiss-German border. Visit Laufen Castle to see the falls, and if you’re here in summer, take an optional boat ride for an up-close look at the cascades. Continue to Stein am Rhein and enjoy a walking tour through the Old Town, passing the fresco-covered houses and other medieval landmarks.
Visit Rhine Falls, Europe’s largest waterfall, on a half-day trip from Zurich with a private guide. After a photo stop at the wonderful medieval Laufen Castle, arrive at the waterfall for an hour of sightseeing. If watching the thundering falls from dry land isn’t spectacle enough, you can take an optional boat ride to the middle of it, and see the waters crash down around you from a rock. Hotel pickup and drop-off from Zurich is included, and there’s an option to finish up at Zurich Airport if your vacation is coming to an end.
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What's the best way to experience Schaffhausen?
The best ways to experience Schaffhausen are:
- Rhine Falls Tour from Zurich
- Rhine Falls and Stein am Rhein Half-Day Tour from Zurich
- Private Tour: Rhine Falls Tour from Zurich
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