Schaffhausen in the northern part of Switzerland, very close to the German border, is a great place to visit even though it is not very well-known and 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 best things to do in Schaffhausen in one day, the best places to visit and more travel tips.
I have visited the Rhine Falls a couple of times so far (read about Europe´s biggest waterfall here), but it took me some time to finally visit Schaffhausen.
If you are in that area, make sure to plan in at least one day for this cute little town in the very north of Switzerland.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which mean I might earn a small commission when you buy a product (at no extra cost to you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.
SCHAFFHAUSEN TRAVEL TIPS
Schaffhausen is a canton (state) and its capital is…Schaffhausen. It is mostly known for the Rhine Falls but it also attracts many tourists because of the medieval town center.
It was mentioned in the document for the first time in the 11th century and today Schaffhausen is one of the best-preserved cities dating back to the Middle Ages and one of the best ones in Switzerland.
LOCATION: Schaffhausen is located on the Upper Rhine between the Black Forest (Germany) and Lake Constance, and surrounded by vineyards and though it might not be so famous amongst non-Swiss but is a busy town – especially in the summer months.
BEST TIME TO VISIT: I normally suggest visiting during off-peak season, but since Schaffhausen is not the main tourist destination in Switzerland, summer is a good time to visit but actually, even the winter months seem great (with all the Christmas Markets around) and so are fall and spring.
HOW TO GET AROUND: Schaffhausen´s old town is car-free – but getting around Schaffhausen is quite easy and you can walk to most of the attractions in Schaffhausen (except for my last recommendations where you will have to hop on a train or bus or drive yourself by car).
WHERE TO STAY: Accommodation prices in Schaffhausen are cheaper 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 do recommend staying at Sorell Hotel Rüden. The location is central and it is more traditional Swiss hotel. I stayed here for a night (dogs allowed) and it had everything I needed for one day. You can find out more about rates and get more information here.
Switzerland is expensive, so good news here: there are many fountains that provide fresh drinking water for free.
WHAT TO DO IN SCHAFFHAUSEN
Okay, let´s start with the top things to do in Schaffhausen (good news: most of them are free!).
The old town is home to beautiful old and colorful houses and is considered as one of the best remaining medievals towns in Switzerland. It is also called the city of Erker (oriel bay windows) as many old houses have these oriel bay windows. Make sure to also look up while strolling through the streets – you will find 171 of them.
As usual, I do not give a certain itinerary for exploring a town and just say, get lost there and stroll through the streets and you will find some nice places.
For Schaffhausen, I would recommend the same. Just stroll through the town and keep looking up so you do not miss the beautiful facades, but there a couple of things you should not miss in my opinion.
Many of the fine guild houses and merchant’s houses, that you will see during your stroll, date from Gothic and Baroque times.
Also visit the Fronwagplatz, a central square with cafes and shops around that are perfect to have a coffee and sit down and head to the High Gothic St. Johann church with its remarkable acoustics.
Munot – This impressive fortress, from the 16th century, offers the best views of the old town as it is built on a hill.
The ring-shaped stronghold was built between 1564 and 1589 to a design by Albrecht Dürer and steps lead up through vineyards to this fortress (and a little, lovely garden). You can walk inside the fortress and learn about the history and the view is just a gorgeous extra. You cannot see much in the fortress and there is not much on display
Every evening at 9 pm, the Munot guard, who lives in the tower, rings the Munot bell – back then it was used as a sign that the town gates and inns close
Münster Allerheiligen (Saints Abbey) should also be on your list – the cathedral that has also a herb garden inside which you should check out as well. Make sure to take your time as there are some lovely places hidden in that area.
Also, I recommend a nice walk along the river though there are not, unfortunately, many cafes or restaurants to sit at and enjoy the view.
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 :).
Rhine Falls in Neuhausen
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.
As you can see, 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.
For more about Schaffhauserland check the website of the tourism board.
Read all about travel tips for Switzerland here.