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How to Spend 1 Day in Schaffhausen, Switzerland

Last Updated on December 19, 2023 by Darla Uhl

Schaffhausen is truly a delightful place to spend one day. In the northern part of Switzerland near the German border, Schaffhausen is a captivating city. Among its many landmarks are the Rhine Falls, Europe’s largest waterfall, the elegant timepieces of IWC, the alcohol-free wine Rimuss, which is popular with children, and the prehistoric cave Kesslerloch. The following article provides a fantastic overview of how to spend one day in Schaffhausen.

Image of Schaffhausen from the Munot Fortress by TouringSwitzerland.com

There is so much to explore in Schaffhausen in terms of culture, nature, economy, and history. Because of its strategic location, Schaffhausen has become an important hub for goods transit among vessels crossing the border.

Schaffhausen’s Blauburgunderland is renowned for its exquisite Pinot Noir grapes and scenic vineyards. The city’s confident spirit is exemplified by its flag, which features a powerful black ram with impressive horns.

Exploring the city center of Schaffhausen is an unexpectedly delightful experience, surpassing my initial expectations of its beauty. It evoked memories of nearby places like Stein am Rhein, with its charmingly painted buildings that appear straight out of a fairytale, and the enchanting Appenzell.

Schaffhausen exudes a vibrant and welcoming atmosphere. Here you will find information about Schaffhausen, its history, as well as things to see and do in the region.

Whether you’re looking for a 1-day itinerary or a list of things to do in Schaffhausen, this article is for you. Here are a few ideas for how you can spend one day in Schaffhausen, Switzerland.

Schaffhausen One Day Itinerary: What can you do?

1.  Start Your Day With a Cozy Breakfast

Image of a Café in Switzerland by TouringSwitzerland.com

In case your hotel doesn’t offer a breakfast option, you can walk around Schaffhausen to find a cafe. There are several cafes and restaurants that serve hot coffee with delicious pastries. Some options are the following:

  • Café Vordergasse (Vordergasse 79, 8200 Schaffhausen) – A wonderful café in the heart of the old town that has a wonderful breakfast selection of Birchermüesli, bread, yogurt, cheese, and eggs. On Saturdays, breakfast is served until 1:00 PM.
  • Focaccia Puglia (Zur Stahlgiesserei 8, 8200 Schaffhausen) – You’ll find wonderful focaccia bread here, as well as Italian beverages, Italian espresso, and even sauces in jars.
  • Reber Schaffhauserzungen AG Confiserie und Café (Vordergasse 21, 8200 Schaffhausen) – A café that serves the original Reber Schaffhausen tongues, as well as cakes, pralinés, hot chocolates, coffee, and anything sweet. In summer, they have a couple of tables located in front of the shop in the pedestrian zone.

During autumn and the Advent season, there is a specialty in Schaffhausen called Osterfinger Wiigueteli that you can discover. These are “wine” cookies, infused with cloves, cinnamon, sandalwood, and sugar, and are best enjoyed alongside a glass of local Schaffhausen Blauburgunder wine.

After breakfast, take a leisurely stroll through the Old Town and immerse yourself in its captivating charm.


2. Discover the Old Town of Schaffhausen

Schaffhausen is a picturesque city renowned for its notable attractions such as the Festung Munot and its impressive 171 bay windows. Nearby is Europe’s largest waterfall, the Rhine Falls.

Did you know? The Munotglöggli is the tower bell of the Festung Munot, and it chimes every evening at 9:00 PM courtesy of the Munot Guard for a duration of five minutes. This historic bell is one of the last hand-rung alarm clocks in Switzerland, and perhaps even in Europe. Aside from signaling the closing of the city gates, it also ends the serving hours in the taverns.

Here are some of the best places to visit in the Old Town of Schaffhausen:

  • Haus zum Ritter (Vordergasse 65) – My favorite building in Schaffhausen. Haus zum Ritter is one of the most beautiful townhouses in Schaffhausen. Rebuilt in 1566, it has a painted facade directed by Tobias Stimmer (1568-1570) and Carl Roesch (1943). This is probably the most significant Renaissance fresco north of the Alps.
  • Münster zu Allerheiligen – The Romanesque-style Münster built in 1100 together with the Münster Tower built in 1200 are both worth a visit. The Münster Tower is one of the most beautiful towers in Switzerland.
  • Haus zum Grossen Käfig (Vorstadt 43) – Another beautiful building, it is named after the cage tower which used to stand in its place.
  • Herrenacker – Herrenacker is the largest square in Schaffhausen. While it was not in use while we were there, it is sometimes the location of annual events or concerts.
Image of the Herrenstube and Frogwanturm in Frogwanplatz / TouringSwitzerland.com
  • Herrenstube (Frogwanplatz 3) – As shown in the upper picture, Herrenstube is the pink house built in 1748. It is Schaffhausen’s most distinguished society house with a late Baroque facade, reserved for the Schaffhausen nobility. It is located beside Frogwanturm.
  • Frogwanturm (Frogwanplatz 4) – As shown in the upper picture beside the Herrenstube, the Frogwanturm shows a large astronomical clock by Joachim Habrecht that dates back to 1564. It shows the hours, days of the week, course of the moon, rising and setting of the moon, position of the sun, seasons, days and nights, lunar nodes, eclipses, and aspects between the sun and moon.1
  • Frogwanplatz – Huge space in the old town used for market stalls or gatherings. There is a sword fountain here named Kaspar, the youngest of the three wise men.
Tellenbrunnen in Vordergasse by TouringSwitzerland.com
  • Tellenbrunnen (Vordergasse) – You can find Tellenbrunnen near the Reformed Church of St. Johann. This is a figure of William Tell, the symbol of the free Swiss. It is an octagonal pool dated 1632.
  • St. Johann Reformed Church (Kirchhofplatz 7) – A few steps away from the William Tell statue is the Reformed Church of St. Johann.

Before you leave the Old Town, I recommend visiting the Museum zu Allerheiligen, which is an interesting museum in its own right. Consider visiting the IWC Museum instead if you are a fan of watches.


3.  Visit the Museum zu Allerheiligen

Image of Museum zu Allerheiligen, Schaffhausen by TouringSwitzerland.com

The tour of Schaffhausen’s Old Town can be completed by visiting Museum zu Allerheiligen. While it might sound like a boring museum, I promise it is quite interesting. This unique museum offers insights into Schaffhausen’s archeology, history, culture, and nature.

The museum contains traces of its past as a monastery. Additionally, you’ll learn about Kesslerloch and the artifacts that archeologists have discovered in this prehistoric cave near Schaffhausen.

A Chapel in Museum zu Allerheiligen, Schaffhausen by TouringSwitzerland.com

Kesslerloch is a prehistoric cave located near Schaffhausen. It holds archaeological significance as it has been a site of important discoveries, including artifacts and remains from the Paleolithic era.

The Kesslerloch Cave provides valuable insights into the early human history of the region and contributes to our understanding of prehistoric cultures and their way of life.

Image of the Kesslerloch Cave Diorama by TouringSwitzerland.com

In addition to history lessons, you will also see beautiful paintings in the museum. In case you have younger children with you, they also have activities that will be interesting to them.

If you would like to learn more about the museum, you can check out this article: Museum zu Allerheiligen Schaffhausen: Complete Guide to this Hidden Gem.

Before you head over to Rhine Falls, I suggest that you go up to the Munot Fortress and enjoy the views of the city.


4. Climb the Munot Fortress

Image of the Munot Fortress by TouringSwitzerland.com

The Munot Fortress is an impressive city fortification in Schaffhausen. It towers above the city so you get a nice panoramic view of the old town from here. Built by the residents of Schaffhausen from 1564 to 1589, it is a circular bastion that stands free on all sides. It is surrounded by a moat for all-round defense.

After climbing the Munot Fortress and enjoying the views, you might want to consider having lunch before heading over to the Rhine Falls.


5. Enjoy Lunch in Schaffhausen

Image of Restaurant La Piazza by TouringSwitzerland.com

You might want to consider eating lunch in Schaffhausen first before heading over to the Rhine Falls. In case you are looking for a place to enjoy a delicious meal beforehand, consider stopping by Restaurant La Piazza. We have been here on two separate occasions and found it great due to its expansive outdoor seating area and delectable cuisine.

If you’re looking to explore other recommended dining options in Schaffhausen, consider visiting one of the following restaurants:

  • Beckenburg das Restaurant (Neustadt 1, 8200 Schaffhausen)
  • Cafe Vordergasse (Vordergasse 79, 8200 Schaffhausen)
  • D’Chuchi (Brunnengasse 3, 8200 Schaffhausen)
  • Wirtschaft zum Frieden (Herrenacker 11, 8200 Schaffhausen)

These establishments have garnered positive reviews and offer their own unique culinary experiences, showcasing the diverse gastronomic scene in the area. Wirtschaft zum Frieden and D’Chuchi are Michelin-starred restaurants recognized for their exceptional cuisine.


6. Walk to Rhine Falls from Schaffhausen

I recommend walking from Schaffhausen to Rhine Falls. This is a relatively easy walk that will take you between 45 minutes and one hour, depending on your speed.

Essentially, you can walk alongside the Rhine River. You will follow the Rhine River as you walk to the Rhine Falls. The trail is extremely well-marked, and if the weather is nice, you might be joined by other groups or families.

If you would like to read more about Rhine Falls in detail, you can check out these two articles:

Upon reaching the Rhine Falls, I highly recommend taking the boat ride. We did it and enjoyed it a lot.

7. Take a Boat Ride in Rhine Falls

The image was taken during a Boat Ride, Rhine Falls by TouringSwitzerland.com

In my experience, I found it better to take a ride on one of the boats compared to just walking around to take pictures of Rhine Falls. My photos do not capture the sheer power and force of the waterfalls, especially when you are near them with a boat. Also, the boat ride was relatively inexpensive.

Several routes are available, so you can choose one that suits you. Having tried it twice already, I enjoyed it both times.

Here is an overview of the boat trips around Rhine Falls:

Boat NumberBoat ColorBoat Ride DurationBoat Ride Description
1Yellow30 minutes total, including 20 minutes on the rockThe boat ride goes to the rock in the middle of the waterfalls. Visitors can stay for 20 minutes on the rock before the boat fetches them again.
2Red3 minutesThe 3-minute boat ride connects the river’s north and south banks.
3aGreen30 minutesThe 30-minute boat ride until Badi Dachsen Bachdelle. It is only available when the water temperature is 20 degrees or warmer.
3bOrange30 minutesThe 30-minute boat ride cruises until Rheinau Kraftwerk.
4Blue15 minutesThe 15-minute boat ride around Rhine Falls departs every 12 minutes.
5Pink30 minutesThe 30-minute boat ride with an audio guide departs once per hour. Audio guide languages are German, English, French, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Portuguese, and more.
Boat Rides in Rhine Falls

Tickets for boats 1, 2, 4, and 5 can be purchased online from www.maendli.ch, while tickets for boat 3 can be purchased from www.schiffmaendli.ch.

If you’re considering booking a boat ride, you have another convenient option available. You can also book it via GetYourGuide, and the best part is that it costs the same. If you’re interested, you can easily secure your booking by clicking here – Neuhausen am Rheinfall: 30-Minute Rhine Falls Boat Tour.


Summary: 1 Day in Schaffhausen, Switzerland

Image of Allerheiligen Monastery, Schaffhausen by TouringSwitzerland.com

Before ending your day in Schaffhausen, you have several choices for a sumptuous dinner. Restaurants like Beckenburg das Restaurant, D’Chuchi, and Wirtschaft zum Frieden and are just some of the highly-rated choices for you.

My favorite places in this region are Rhine Falls (Europe’s biggest waterfalls) and the Haus zum Ritter (the most beautiful Renaissance frescoes). 

As you can see, you will not run out of options on what to do in Schaffhausen in one day. In fact, you can stretch the Schaffhausen One Day Itinerary offered here easily to another 1 or 2 more days. What I would personally recommend after exploring Schaffhausen is also visiting Stein am Rhein.

If you’ve already enjoyed your 1 day in Schaffhausen and are interested in discovering more ideas for your next adventure in the Schaffhausen Region or beyond, we invite you to browse through our related articles below:

Below are some suggestions of places to visit in Schaffhausen you can swap with the suggestions above:

  • Rhybadi (Rheinuferstrasse 1, 8200 Schaffhausen) – A wooden bath in the Rhine River near the Munot Fortress
  • Sternwarte Schaffhausen (Weiherweg 1, 8200 Schaffhausen) – For those interested in astronomy, this building is the perfect place to observe the sky and planets.
  • IWC Museum (Baumgartenstrasse 15, 8201 Schaffhausen) – In case you would rather see watches instead of historical artifacts, IWC Museum is a fantastic alternative.
  • Stadtheater Schaffhausen (Herrenacker 23, 8200 Schaffhausen) – The performing arts theater in Schaffhausen shows ballet shows, comedy, dance, music, theater, and more.
  • Hallau – The most well-known wine village in the region with its beautiful streets and fountains
  • Hagenturm (Hohlgasse 8232 Merishausen) – A 40-meter tower in Merishausen that provides wonderful views of the surrounding region
  • Thermenmuseum Iuliomagus (Zum Salzbrunnen, 8226 Schleitheim) – Impressive ruins of the former central baths of the Roman small town Iuliomagus (1st to 3rd century AD).

I hope you have a great day in Schaffhausen!

Resources

  • 1 City Map Schaffhausen. SchaffhauserLand.
  • Schaffhauserland: Von Rheinfall bis zum Bodensee. SchaffhauserLand.
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Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.

Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.

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