Article Index

The Rhein Falls

It's an even quicker trip from Schaffhausen to the Rhein Falls, Europe's largest waterfall. Just jump on Bus 1, direction Neuhausen (departs from the side closest to the train station), and in about seven minutes the recorded announcement will alert in English that it's the Rheinfall stop.

Alighting from the bus, you feel cool air wafting from the falls. Follow the signs from the bus to the top of the falls, about five minutes by foot. The sight is - quite simply - breathtaking. Stairs and paths lead to the base of the falls and to a promenade along the somewhat quieted river. From there, you can watch the full power of the Rhine force it way through three jagged gorges formed where the river broke through rock on its fight northward. One-hundred-fifty meters (450 feet) wide, the falls plunge 23 meters (70 feet) down a series of ledges and form intimidating standing waves and roaring froth.

Other vantage points present stunning views. Across the river (reached by bridge or boat), a path leads to the base of the falls and actually extends into the falls, a seemingly precarious platform a few feet above the froth. More adventurous sorts can board a boat that shuttles them to the largest ledge between the gorges (CHF 6.50 adults, CHF 3.50 children). While the boat floats in the calm of an eddy, the passengers scramble onto the rock and clamber up a series of walkways to a slight promontory, the water roaring on both sides. Boat tours are also available for a simple round trip right up to the falls (same price as the shuttle). Even 30 meters (90 feet) from the falls, a wall of mist hits the passengers. At 10 meters (30 feet) away, the boat shudders against the current and bobs in the waves. (Rheinfall Boat Tours Rhyfall-Mändli Postfach 25, CH-8212 Neuhausen am Rheinfall, tel. +41/052/672 4811, fax 672 4948, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Twice an hour, a bus runs from the base of the falls back to the railway station.

The best deal for getting around Schaffhausen, the Rheinfall, Stein am Rhein and to the near sides of Constance and Basel is the "FlexTax-Tageskarte" daily transit pass. For CHF 17 for adults and CHF 10 for children, the pass gives one-day access to all trains and buses. For the boat to Stein am Rhein, add CHF 10 for adults, CHF 6 for kids. The passes are available at all train stations, at bus stop automats, and on buses. Public transit is excellent, with frequent and clean buses and trains.