HOW TO VISIT THE RHINE FALLS IN SCHAFFHAUSEN

TRAVEL TIPS FOR A DAY TRIP TO RHINE FALLS

The Rhine Falls in Schaffhausen, Switzerland (actually it is between the towns Neuhausen am Rheinfall and Laufen-Uhwiesen) are the biggest waterfalls in Europe.

It is not very high with a height of 23 meters, but with over a width of 150 meters, up to 700’000 liters of water fall over the rocks every second – making the Rhine Falls the biggest waterfall in Europe.

Schaffhausen makes a wonderful day trip from Zurich or Lucerne, but the town center of Schaffhausen is also charming and worth a visit.

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TIPS FOR VISITING THE RHINE FALLS

I visited the Rhine Falls in Schaffhausen three times and used two different entrances – each entrance offers different activities and views of the Rhine Falls. If you have time you can see the Rhine Falls from different angles – if you ask me, I deeply believe it is one of the best places to visit in Switzerland.

THE RHINE FALLS – FACTS

Facts & figures
Width of the Rhine Falls 150 meters
Height of the Rhine Falls 23 meters
Depth of the basin 13 meters
Age of the Rhine Falls approx. 15’000 years
The capacity of flow in summer approx. 600’000 liters per second
The capacity of flow in winter approx. 250’000 liters per second
The lowest capacity of flow 1921, 95’000 liters per second
The greatest capacity of flow 1965, 1’250’000 litres per second

HISTORY OF RHINE FALLS

Let´s go back many thousand years ago, but I will keep it very short.

Due to tectonic shifts in the Ice Age, the Rhine River was forced into a new riverbed over 15,000 years ago. The Rhine Falls came into being at the transition point where hard chalk turned into soft gravel.

LOCATION OF THE RHINE FALLS

The Rhine Falls are located in the very north of Switzerland – close to the German borders. The falls are actually not in Schaffhausen but Neuhausen.

HOW TO GET TO THE RHINE FALLS BY CAR

It depends whether you want to visit the Northern banks of Southern Banks of the Rhine Falls.

1. Southern bank (Laufen Castle): GPS address: Areal Schloss Laufen, 8447 Dachsen

2. Northern bank (Schlössli Wörth): GPS address: Rheinfallquai 32, 8212 Neuhausen am Rheinfall

  • FROM BASEL ABOUR 2 HOURS
  • FROM ZÜRICH ABOUT 1 HOUR
  • FROM KREUZLINGEN ABOUT 1 HOUR

Walking from one car park to the other takes about 10-15 minutes.

HOW TO GET TO THE RHINE FALLS BY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

The Rhine Falls are easily accessible by public transportation. You can get from many cities, like Zürich, to the Rhine Falls, without changing trains (or changing trains max. 1 time).

The train station is in front of the Rhine Falls (you can see them from the train already), and there is not much walking included.

TRAIN STATION:

  • Southern river bank (Schloss Laufen): SBB train station «Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall»
  • Northern river bank (Schlössli Wörth): SBB train station «Neuhausen Rheinfall»

HOW TO GET TO SCHAFFHAUSEN BY RHYFALL EXPRESS

There is a little train that brings you to the Rhine Falls from several places close by.

Ride from Schaffhausen to the Rhine Falls and back (takes about 30 minutes, one-way ticket around 6€)

Operating hours: 2 April to 17 October 2021

How to visit the Rhine Falls

There are two main ways to see the Rhine Falls – from the northern banks and the southern banks.

This will make a difference in parking, entrance fee, and more, so you might want to think about how to see the Rhine Falls. I suggest visiting both sides of the Rhine Falls.

If you plan to visit the Rhine Falls, you can either use the “entry” Schloss Laufen (Site Dachsen/Zurich) or Schlössli Wörth (Site Neuhausen/Schaffhausen).

SOUTHERN BANKS OF SCHAFFHAUSEN – SCHLOSS LAUFEN (SITE DACHSEN / ZURICH)

On my first trip, I decided to use the entry at Schloss Laufen. And here is what you need to know if you choose this entry.

  • Parking is free
  • Dogs are permitted (and free)
  • Wheel-chair friendly to the most part (there is a lift to get to the platform)

RESTAURANTS / SHOPS

There are some souvenir shops, cafes and an older castle – Schloss Laufen. If you are hungry or thirsty, you will not have to worry. Of course, everything comes with the typical price tag, but you can also bring your own snacks and drinks.

SCHLOSS LAUFEN + Historama

On this site of the Rhine Falls, you can visit the castle and also see the historama – an interactive exhibition about the Rhine Falls. It is included in your ticket.

Rhine Falls how to get to Rhine Falls in Schaffhausen Neuhausen
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 To get to the platform, you have to pass the castle.

VIEWING PLATFORM:

The highlight of the Rhine Falls is surely the platform’s view – this is why I suggest paying the entrance fee and use this entry. It is quite impressive because you get quite close to the waterfall.

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NORTHERN BANKS OF RHINE FALLS: SCHLÖSSLI WÖRTH /SITE NEUHAUSEN / SCHAFFHAUSEN

Another option is to see the waterfalls from Schlössli Wörth. Schlössli Wörth is the other entrance – there is no entrance fee, but the parking fees are quite high. 

  • No entrance fee
  • Parking fee (first 1 hour= 5€, each additional hour 2€)

How to see the Rhine Falls in Switzerland
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If you choose to see the Rhine Falls this way, you can do the boat tours from here. If you have enough time, I would recommend seeing it from both sides, especially because it is not that far from each other and you could walk.

MY TIP: Park your car at the southern shores for free and get on the viewing platform before doing a stroll to the northern banks.

BOAT TOURS:

There are a number of boat tour options available on this side of the Rhine Falls.

Here are some popular ones:

  • Rock tour: 30 minutes including climbing – the rock
  • Rhine crossing: 3 minutes
  • Short tour: 15 minutes
  • Audioguide: 30 minutes

Hours of operation:
April + October (11am to 5pm); May + September (10 am to 6 pm); June, July, August (9:30 am to 6:30 pm)

I was with a dog, so I could not do the rock climbing boat cruise (the huge rock in the middle of the waterfalls), though it would have been my preferred choice.

Instead, I did the 15-minute boat tour (about 6€), and it turned out that the heavy rain of the previous days was my luck because the waterfall was much more powerful than on my last trip. I got actually also got scared about the people on the platform as it seemed they would be washed away by the water.

WATERSPORTS:

There are plenty of other activities (soft rafting, canoeing, etc.) you can do. But with a dog that is easily scared and not well behaved (so I could leave him alone), I was not free in my actions and just walked around a bit. Okay, honestly, I am also not into watersports, but if you are, plan accordingly.

RESTAURANTS:

There are also restaurants where you can have drinks/food with great views of the waterfall. There are also spots where you can picnic.

ADVENTURE PARK: 

On this side, you will one of Switzerland´s largest forest rope courses, where you will have unique views of the Rhine Falls – there are courses for beginners to advanced ones.

Hours of operation:

Open daily from April to the end of October from 10 am to 7 pm

PLAYGROUND

For the little ones, you will also find a playground on this side of the waterfalls.

RHINE FALLS ILLUMINATION

I have yet to see it myself but every night, the waterfalls get illuminated. I saw the Niagara Falls illuminated years ago and it looked spectacular so I guess, it is worth getting here before the sun sets, walk around and then stay until it gets dark and the spectacle begins. Check out the times for the illumination here.

Rhine Falls in Schaffhausen @shutterstock
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Things to do Around Rhine Falls

The Rhine Falls are a must for any Switzerland itinerary – they are easy to visit and make a great day trip from places like Zurich, and they can be visited at any time of the year. So, a quick recap of what to do at the Rhine Falls.

  • Admire the Rhine Falls
  • Do a boat tour
  • Do a castle tour of Schloss Laufen + Historama (interactive exhibition about the Rhine Falls)
  • Visit the Adventure Park
  • Eat and drink in restaurants / Picnic (at both sides of the waterfalls possible)
  • Rent canoes
  • Hiking options around Rhine Falls
  • See the illumination of the waterfalls

Whether you do a boat trip, walk around the waterfall, stand on the platform or have a picnic/dinner around the Rhine Falls, there are a couple of things to do at the Rhine Falls.

But what happens once you have seen the waterfalls from all the different angles?

You can then visit places nearby, including the beautiful town of Schaffhausen, the fun city of Zurich, the art city of Basel, or even do a day trip to Lucerne.

If you see the Rhine Falls from the southern and northern banks (and do a boat tour), I assume it will take 2-5 hours.

IS IT WORTH VISITING THE RHINE FALLS?

I love the Rhine Falls and I think, they are great to visit if you are close by. As mentioned, I have visited three times already and will probably visit again in the future. However, I visited as day trips from Zurich or when I came from Southern Germany to Switzerland.

I do think, it is a great place for the family – the Rhine Falls are free (if you visit from the northern banks at least), pretty at any time of the year, and very accessible. Would I travel to the waterfalls from Southern Switzerland? I guess, I would not. It is worth it if you combine it with a trip to Schaffhausen or/and Stein am Rhine and stay for 2 days or so.

Stay safe and enjoy!

Safe Travels, Arzo
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Arzo Travels in Schaffhausen, Rhine Falls
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