Amazing Things to Do in Schaffhausen, Switzerland

WHAT TO DO IN SCHAFFHAUSEN IN ONE DAY + TRAVEL TIPS

Schaffhausen, in the northern part of Switzerland, is a great place to visit even though it is not very well-known. And if you are wondering about the best things to do in Schaffhausen in one day (or longer) then this post is for you!

Schaffhausen is often overlooked in favor of cities like Zurich, Lucerne, or Interlaken. However, this town is a good place to visit, and if you plan your Schaffhausen itinerary, this post will help you find out about the top places to visit, and more travel tips.

I have visited the famous Rhine Falls – which is just around the corner – a couple of times so far but it took me some time to finally visit Schaffhausen.

Must See Places in Schaffhausen in 24 Hours
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SCHAFFHAUSEN TRAVEL TIPS

Schaffhausen is mostly known for the Rhine Falls, but it also attracts many tourists because of the medieval town center. Schaffhausen is a canton (state), and its capital is…Schaffhausen.

It was mentioned in the document for the first time in the 11th century, and today Schaffhausen is one of the best-preserved cities/towns dating back to the Middle Ages and one of the most charming towns in Switzerland.

LOCATION OF SCHAFFHAUSEN

Schaffhausen is located on the Upper Rhine between the Black Forest (Germany) and Lake Constance (which is located in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria) and is surrounded by vineyards. Though it might not be so famous amongst non-Swiss, it is a busy town – especially in the summer months.

BEST TIME TO VISIT SCHAFFHAUSEN

I normally suggest visiting during the off-peak season, but since Schaffhausen is not the main tourist destination in Switzerland, summer is a good time to visit.

Still, even the winter months seem great (with all the Christmas Markets around), and so are fall and spring.

HOW TO GET AROUND SCHAFFHAUSEN

  • Schaffhausen´s old town is car-free. However, you will not need a car in Schaffhausen.
  • Getting around Schaffhausen is quite easy.  You can walk to most of the attractions in Schaffhausen.
  • For my last recommendation, you will have to hop on a train or bus. But, of course, you could also drive yourself to the last stop.
  • If you road trip Switzerland, check out my guide on driving in Switzerland.

WHERE TO STAY IN SCHAFFHAUSEN

Accommodation prices in Schaffhausen are lower at the weekend – normally.

  • So, if you are on a budget, visit at the weekends instead of during the week.
  • There are no luxury hotels in Schaffhausen.
  • I recommend staying at Sorell Hotel Rüden. The location is central, and it is a more traditional Swiss hotel. I stayed here for a night (dogs allowed), and it had everything I needed for one night. You can find out more about rates and get more information here.
  • If you visit Schaffhausen as a day trips from Zurich, check out my guide on places to stay in Zurich.

THINGS TO DO IN SCHAFFHAUSEN

Okay, let´s start with the top things to do in Schaffhausen (good news: most of them are free!).

SCHAFFHAUSEN OLD TOWN

  • Free Thing to do in Schaffhausen

The old town of Schaffhausen is home to beautiful old and colorful houses and is considered one of Switzerland’s best remaining medievals towns.

Schaffhausen is also called the city of Erker (oriel bay windows) as many old houses have these oriel bay windows. Make sure also to look up while strolling through the streets – you will find 171 of them.

Schaffhausen, Old Town
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Schaffhausen, city of Erker (oriel bay windows)
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The most famous and most unique building in the old town is probably Haus zum Ritter (House of the Knight)

Schaffhausen´s most stunning facade
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Haus zum Ritter (House of the Knight)

The original exterior dates back to the Renaissance but they were removed in 1935 for preservation. The façade you see today is a recreation and the original is the All Saints Museum.

As usual, I do not give a certain itinerary for exploring a town and, say, get lost and stroll through the old town streets and find some nice places. Keep looking up so you do not miss the beautiful facades.

Many fine guild houses and merchant’s houses you will see during your stroll date from Gothic and Baroque times.

Schaffhausen´s City Center @shutterstock
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Fronwagplatz @shutterstock

Also, visit the Fronwagplatz, a central square with cafes and shops around that are perfect to have a coffee and sit down. Then head to the High Gothic St. Johann church with its remarkable acoustics.

MUNOT FORTRESS

  • Free Activity in Schaffhausen

Munot – This impressive fortress, from the 16th century, offers the best views of the old town as it is built on a hill.

Things to do in Schaffhausen, Switzerland Arzo Travels
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The ring-shaped stronghold was built between 1564 and 1589 to a design by Albrecht Dürer. Steps lead up through vineyards to this fortress. 

View from Munot over the Rhine river and parts of Schaffhausen
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Things to do in Schaffhausen in one day, Arzo Travels
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You will find a small vineyard and a moat surrounding the Munot. In the moat, you will find some deers (watch closely in the picture below).

Munot Fortress in Schaffhausen
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Inside the Munot in Schaffhausen
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Inside the Munot in Schaffhausen
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You can walk inside the fortress and learn about the history, and the view is just a gorgeous extra. However, you cannot see much within the fortress, and there is not much on display, but it is still worth it.

Every evening at 9 pm, the Munot guard, who lives in the tower, rings the Munot bell. Back then, it was a sign that the town gates and inns close.

You will also find a little rose garden with approximately 170 species of roses surrounded by hedges and trees there.

  • It is free to visit the Munot and the garden!

MÜNSTER ALLERHEILIGEN

  • Another Free Thing to do in Schaffhausen

Münster Allerheiligen (Saints Abbey) should also be on your list. The cathedral also has a herb garden inside, which you should check out. Make sure to take your time as there are some lovely places hidden in that area.

Münster Allerheiligen in Schaffhausen
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Münster Allerheiligen in Schaffhausen, the inside
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Discovering Münster Allerheiligen in Schaffhausen in Puppygak
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Pretty pink doors and facades in Schaffhausen
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In the backyard, you will also find the Schiller Bell (Schillerglocke) on display. The bell was used in Allerheiligen Cathedral until 1895 – it weighs 4.5 tons! 

Münster Allerheiligen in Schaffhausen
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Münster Allerheiligen in Schaffhausen

RHINE RIVER

  • Walking Along the River is Free 
  • Boat Cruise Tickets Can be Bought on Spot

Also, I recommend a nice walk along the Rhine River. There are some cafes or restaurants but not that many. However, you can just sit down on a bench and enjoy the views.

Schaffhausen Points of interest
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The weather was not my best friend when I visited, but it was still fun to walk along the Rhine, which definitely looks much better in this part of the world than in other parts. For the best view of the Munot get to the other side of the Rhine and enjoy the views.

You can also do Rhine cruises – apparently, they are very scenic. I have not done any myself but that is something you may want to enjoy!

RHINE FALLS IN NEUHAUSEN

  • You Can See the Rhine Falls for Free
  • Getting on the Viewing Platform Cost About 5 CHF

And of course, you should visit the Rhine Falls, the biggest waterfalls in Europe. How to get there and what to expect is in this post here.

Schaffhausen, Neuhausen Rhine Falls A Must-See Place in Switzerland
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Rhine Falls Switzerland Best places to see in Switzerland
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FINAL THOUGHTS IN WHAT TO DO IN SCHAFFHAUSEN

Schaffhausen is a beautiful town – it has everything a town needs. Interesting architecture, a lot of cultural sights, you can enjoy nice views and you also have some great outdoor places nearby.

Also, most main Schaffhausen activities are free – in an expensive country like Switzerland, this is great news, right!?

Schaffhausen is a gem that should be on your Switzerland itinerary because it is well worth to visit and if you do a Switzerland road trip, you should stop here for sure.

 

Safe Travels, Arzo
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