Taking a day trip from Zurich to Rhine Falls, Europe’s largest waterfall, is a must-do for visitors to Switzerland and locals alike.
The easiest and most pleasant way to reach the Rhine Falls from Zurich by public transportation is to take the train to Schaffhausen, capital of the Swiss northernmost canton, and considered one of the prettiest old towns in Switzerland.
Located on the border with Germany, between the Black Forest and Lake Constance, Schaffhausen was one of the first places we visited as newcomers to Heidi’s country, and one that left a lasting impression.
After a short 40 minute train journey from Zurich, we arrived at the mediaeval Upper Rhine town of Schaffhausen on a spring Sunday afternoon.
The picturesque and colorful traffic-free old town conquered our hearts immediately, with its oriel windows, painted facades and sculptures.
We strolled around for some time contemplating the beauty of the Baroque constructions dating from the Renaissance age, which were once rich merchant’s houses and guildhouses, and the High Gothic St. Johann church.
After a while, we found our way up to the Munot hilltop fortress, surrounded by vineyards and offering a lovely view over the city and across the Rhine.
This circular 16th century fortification is the symbol of Schaffhausen and well worthy of a visit.
The Rhine Falls
Finally we took the little touristic train from the center of Schaffhausen to Neuhausen an Rheinfall, between the cantons of Zurich and Schaffhausen, for the highlight of our day – the Rhine Falls.
With 150 meters wide and 23 meters high, the Rhine Falls, in Switzerland, are the largest waterfall in Europe. Summer is the best time of the year to visit the Rhine Falls, with an average water flow of 600 cubic meters for second (versus 250 during the winter months).
You can admire the falls from afar, or take a boat tour for a truly remarkable experience. All boat tours depart from Wörth Castle (or Water Castle), a fortification built in a small island in the Rhine, and include a stop on the Schloss Laufen side.
The Schloss Laufen is a castle overlooking the Rhine Falls and classified as heritage site of national significance. On the way up to the castle, which is also a youth hostel and a restaurant, there are several viewing platforms over the falls, where you can admire all the strength and beauty of the Rhine Falls.
Some of the platforms on this side are so close to the falls that you can even feel the water on your face, while listening to the impressive roar of the water rushing down.
The area around the Rhine Falls includes also several restaurants, a souvenir shop and the Rhine Falls Park, the perfect place to relax or have a picnic overlooking the falls.
A day trip from Zurich to Rhine Falls is a mandatory experience for anyone visiting Switzerland’s biggest city and financial capital.
Contemplating the Rhine Falls and admiring how the strength and wonder of nature come together in the most superb way, makes of this experience truly an unforgettable one.
Have you taken a day trip from Zurich to Rhine Falls? Share in the comments section below.
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