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Rhine Falls, known as Europe’s biggest waterfall, is a breathtaking natural wonder located in Switzerland, and it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country.
Rhine Falls are located in Neuhausen am Rheinfall, near the city of Schaffhausen on the Rhine River. These waterfalls are the largest in Europe, measuring approximately 150 meters wide by 23 meters high. Rhine Falls is surrounded by thundering waters, lush forests, rocky cliffs, and a picturesque castle. In true Swiss fashion, many trains pass over it several times a day. This article discusses Rhine Falls and the different ways how to get there.
Overview: Rhine Falls
Over the centuries, the Rhine Falls has been a popular tourist destination, and they continue to attract visitors from all over the world. It is considered Europe’s largest waterfall, and its beauty and power have been attracting visitors for centuries.
There are numerous viewpoints and a promenade from which visitors can view the falls. There are hiking trails surrounding the falls that you can try as well. In the nearby Laufen Castle, visitors can explore history dating back to the 11th century.
Take one of the available boats to get up close to Rhine Falls if you want to experience one of the best things to do in Rhine Falls. More adventurous visitors can take the yellow boat to the middle of the waterfall to climb the rock.
Rhine Falls is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Switzerland, and it is sure to leave an impression on everyone.
Rhine Falls in a Nutshell
Some interesting facts about Rhine Falls are displayed on its billboards:
|Rhine Falls Width||150 meters|
|Rhine Falls Height||23 meters|
|Rhine Falls Depth||13 meters|
|Rhine Falls Age||14,000 to 17,000 years|
|Rhine Falls Water Flow Summer||600 m3 / second|
|Rhine Falls Water Flow Winter||250 m3 / second|
|Minimum Water Flow Rate||95 m3 / second (1921)|
|Maximum Water Flow Rate||1250 m3 / second (1921)|
Rhine Falls: Location
Rhine Falls is located in Neuhausen am Rheinfall, in the northern part of Switzerland. The place is near the southern German border. It is situated in the canton of Schaffhausen, about 45 kilometers north of Zurich.
The waterfalls are formed by the Rhine River, one of the major European rivers. The Rhine River flows from the Swiss Alps into Lake Constance. The river then flows through Germany (Karlsruhe, Mannheim, Mainz, Cologne, Düsseldorf) and the Netherlands (Arnheim, Rotterdam) before emptying into the North Sea.
The Rhine Falls are one of the largest waterfalls in Europe, with a width of 150 meters and a height of 23 meters. It is located in a natural basin, surrounded by cliffs and forests, with a castle perched on top, providing a stunning backdrop for visitors.
Around an hour away on foot is the city of Schaffhausen. The city of Schaffhausen, worth a visit itself, offers a range of accommodation options, restaurants, and shops, making it a convenient base for exploring the area.
Overall, the location of Rhine Falls makes it an easily accessible and stunning natural attraction for visitors to Switzerland.
How to Get to Rhine Falls
There are several ways to get to Rhine Falls, be it by train, car, boat, bicycle, or even walking. It is definitely a breathtaking natural attraction that is easily accessible due to its location.
Parking is available near the falls, and a train station in Neuhausen am Rheinfall provides easy access by public transportation. While there, you can also take a boat tour to enjoy a unique view of the falls from the water.
How to Get to Rhine Falls By Train
Three train stations are located near Rhine Falls. I recommend coming through the Neuhausen Rheinfall train stop which is at the northern river bank. Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall is at the southern river bank.
|Train Station||Distance to Rhine Falls|
|Neuhausen Rheinfall||3-minute walk|
|Neuhausen Bad Bahnhof||11-minute walk|
|Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall||13-minute walk|
The Rhine Falls are easily accessible from many Swiss cities by train. The following cities are closest to Rhine Falls, considering train travel:
- Schaffhausen – 4 minutes
- Winterthur – 33 minutes
- Zurich – 54 minutes
- Kreuzlingen – 1 hour
- St. Gallen – 1 hour 23 minutes
- Romanshorn – 1 hour 27 minutes
How to Get to Rhine Falls By Car
There are parking spots in both the northern (near Schlössli Worth) and southern banks (Laufen Castle) of Rhine Falls. Both parking lots have parking fees of CHF 5.- for up to 1 hour, and CHF 2.- for each additional hour. Parking lots are open 365 days a year around the clock.
|Schlössli Worth Parking Lot (North)||Rheinfallquai 32|
8212 Neuhausen am Rheinfall
Parking P1 to P4
|Laufen Castle Parking Lot (South)||Areal Schloss Laufen|
Parking P5 to P6
How to Get to Rhine Falls By Boat
You can get to Rhine Falls with the Rhyfall Express. The Rhyfall Express boat has stops from Schifflände, Münster, Herrenacker, Flurlingen, and Rhyality, before reaching Rhine Falls.
You can check out Rhyfall Express for more details: https://rhyfall-express.ch/.
How to Get to Rhine Falls By Bike
Route 752, also known as the Rheinfall Route, is an easy 21-kilometer bicycle route from Schaffhausen to Rheinfall and back.
You can check out Switzerland Mobility for more details: https://schweizmobil.ch/en/cycling-in-switzerland/route-752.
Hiking from Schaffhausen to Rhine Falls
Rhine Falls has many hiking trails, but I highly recommend hiking from nearby Schaffhausen. The trail runs along the Rhine River and is very peaceful. Towards the end, you will see Rhine Falls. Depending on your pace, it takes around 50 minutes to an hour. Once you’ve finished, you can either walk back to Schaffhausen or take the train.
Best Things to Do in Rhine Falls
One of the best things to do around Rhine Falls is to take one of the boat trips. The experience is truly unforgettable, and it does not cost too much. As of now, I have tried two boats – the yellow and blue boats – and both have been enjoyable.
Boat Trips around Rhine Falls
Visitors to Rhine Falls can take a boat trip in order to experience the waterfall up close. The boats depart from various points near Schlössli Worth and take passengers either near the middle of the waterfalls or to the rock in the middle of the falls. The boat ride is a thrilling (if somewhat wet) experience. Passengers can feel the forceful power of Rhine Falls as the water crashes around them.
Here is an overview of the boat trips around Rhine Falls:
|Boat Number||Boat Color||Boat Ride Duration||Boat Ride Description|
|1||Yellow||30 minutes total, including 20 minutes on the rock||The 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.|
|2||Red||3 minutes||The 3-minute boat ride connects the river’s north and south banks.|
|3a||Green||30 minutes||The 30-minute boat ride until Badi Dachsen Bachdelle. It is only available when the water temperature is 20 degrees or warmer.|
|3b||Orange||30 minutes||The 30-minute boat ride cruises until Rheinau Kraftwerk.|
|4||Blue||15 minutes||The 15-minute boat ride around Rhine Falls departs every 12 minutes.|
|5||Pink||30 minutes||The 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.|
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.
Laufen Castle (Schloss Laufen in German) is a medieval castle located near Rhine Falls. From the northern bank of the Rhine, you can see it protruding high above the falls.
Laufen Castle offers several viewing platforms and a panoramic lift from where you can enjoy stunning views of Rhine Falls. With this ticket, you can also access Historama where you can learn about the history of the castle which is more than a thousand years old. There is also a souvenir shop in their visitor center where you can buy souvenirs such as chocolates, watches, or Victorinox knives.
There is also a restaurant here where visitors can enjoy a meal while taking in the views of the waterfall. An extensive breakfast buffet is available on Sundays from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Laufen Castle is open daily from 11:30 AM until 11:30 PM. From November to March, it closes earlier on Sundays (6:00 PM).
Smilestones Miniature World
Smilestones is a museum located near Rhine Falls that models Swiss destinations in miniature. A scale of 1:87 is used for the miniature models. With around 250 m2 of exhibition space, it displays 700 model cars, 120 model trains, 23,000 model people, 12,000 model trees, 550 model houses, and more.
Approximately 50 action buttons liven up the miniature world in the museum’s various exhibits. Should you need it, there is also food and drink available.
Restaurants around Rhine Falls
There are several restaurants around Rhine Falls that offer visitors a chance to enjoy a meal while taking in the stunning views of the waterfall. The restaurants serve a variety of cuisines, including traditional Swiss dishes and international cuisine. Visitors can choose to dine indoors or outdoors, depending on their preference. Among the restaurants in the area are the following:
- Laufen Castle at the Rheinfalls – Areal Schloss Laufen, 8447 Dachsen
- Restaurant Park am Rheinfall – Rheinfallquai 5, 8212 Neuhausen am Rheinfall
- Schlössli Wörth – Rheinfallquai 30, 8212 Neuhausen am Rheinfall
- Inseli Bistro – Rheinfallquai 30, 8212 Neuhausen am Rheinfall
- Spice Bistro – Rheinfallquai 32, 8212 Neuhausen am Rheinfall
- Mühlerad Bistro – Industriepl., 8212 Neuhausen am Rheinfall
In summary, visitors to Rhine Falls can enjoy a variety of activities, including boat trips, exploring Castle Laufen, visiting Smilestones, and dining at one of the many restaurants in the area.
Best Time to Visit Rhine Falls
Rhine Falls can be visited any time of the year, but I recommend going on a beautiful summer day, preferably after it has rained the previous week or days. The waterfalls will be at their most powerful force when you do this.
The melting glacier waters combined with the additional rainfall over the past few days will result in a fast water flow, making it a really enjoyable experience, especially on a boat. If you want to book the boat in advance, you can do so by clicking here – Neuhausen am Rheinfall: 30-Minute Rhine Falls Boat Tour (GetYourGuide).
GetYourGuide.com is a renowned travel platform in Europe that gives you the flexibility to book either travel guides or tickets, depending on your preference. Additionally, it offers the convenience of reserving your spot now and settling the payment at a later time.
Nearby Attractions to Rhine Falls
Rhine Falls can be easily reached from Schaffhausen and Stein am Rhein, making them great destinations before or after your visit to Rhine Falls. The charming towns offer visitors a chance to explore the region’s history and culture.
Schaffhausen is a picturesque city located just a few kilometers away from Rhine Falls. You can reach it on foot from Rhine Falls in an hour or so.
It is known for its well-preserved old town, which features beautiful buildings and shops. Visitors can take a stroll through the town, admiring the historic architecture and enjoying the local cuisine at one of the many restaurants and cafes.
The Munot Fortress, a circular 16th-century fortress, is another popular attraction in Schaffhausen. Visitors can climb to the top of the fortress for a panoramic view of the town and the surrounding countryside.
There are also two museums worth seeing in Schaffhausen: the Museum zu Allerheiligen, which focuses on archaeology, history, nature, and art, and the IWC Museum, which focuses on watches.
If you would like to read more about Schaffhausen, you can check out How to Spend 1 Day in Schaffhausen, Switzerland.
Stein am Rhein
Stein am Rhein is a charming, historic town located on the banks of the Rhine River, just a short drive from Rhine Falls. It is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Switzerland.
If you would like to read more about the best medieval towns in Switzerland, you can check out 10 Beautiful Medieval Towns in Switzerland.
Stein am Rhein is famous for the colorful frescoes on the facades of its buildings. Visitors can take a stroll through the town, admiring the historic architecture and enjoying the local cuisine at one of the many restaurants and cafes.
Having a total area of 6.05 km2, it is a very walkable town, and you can certainly get around on foot. Additionally, it is a very popular destination for cyclists; you can see them coming into and pushing their bicycles once they get inside the historic old town.
The Hohenklingen Castle, a 13th-century castle located on a hill overlooking the town, is another popular attraction in Stein am Rhein. Visitors can climb to the top of the castle for a panoramic view of the town and the surrounding countryside.
Also worth a visit is Saint George’s Abbey – it is one of the best-preserved Medieval monastery complexes. Having been founded around 970 by Duke Burkhart III of Swabia, the abbey underwent renovations in succeeding centuries. The building dates from the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance, making it one of the most important Swiss architectural monuments.
In Stein am Rhein, you can also visit the Lindwurm Museum – Stein am Rhein’s only Empire House from 1279. A beautifully reconstructed bourgeois house from the mid-19th century, it illustrates the lifestyle of the upper class in small towns. In addition to the old furniture, you can also keep a lookout for portraits of people who once inhabited the place.
Final Thoughts: Rhine Falls Switzerland
Visiting Rhine Falls is an unforgettable experience that you can enjoy in Canton Schaffhausen, Switzerland. Whether you’re a nature lover, adventure seeker, or simply a wanderer, Rhine Falls has something to offer for everyone. The sheer power of the waterfall will leave you in awe, especially if you come near it by boat. The surrounding lush landscapes provide the perfect backdrop for stunning photographs especially if the weather cooperates.
Getting to Rhine Falls
Getting to Rhine Falls is relatively easy, with various transportation options available. Train travel is, in my opinion, the most convenient for most visitors. It also allows you to enjoy scenic views along the way. You can easily reach Rhine Falls from most major cities like Schaffhausen, Zurich, and Basel.
If you prefer the flexibility of driving, renting a car provides easy access to the falls and the surrounding areas. For a unique perspective and a memorable experience, taking a boat trip offers an up-close encounter with the cascading waters. I highly recommend it having only done it again yesterday. Riding a boat provides a thrilling and immersive experience for people of all ages.
Enjoying the Day in Rhine Falls
Once at Rhine Falls, there are numerous activities to enjoy. As I mentioned, you can embark on a boat trip to fully appreciate the grandeur of the falls from different angles. Explore the historic Laufen Castle, perched atop a rock in the midst of the waterfall. For a delightful and whimsical experience, visit Smilestones Miniature World, where intricate miniature landscapes will transport you to different parts of Switzerland.
And although I didn’t mention it earlier, there is also an Adventure Park here in Rhine Falls where they have 165 various climbing elements in the forest for everyone aged 4 and older.
When it’s time to satisfy your appetite, the restaurants near Rhine Falls offer a range of dining options, allowing you to indulge in local Swiss cuisine while taking in stunning views. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the nearby attractions, such as the charming town of Schaffhausen with its well-preserved old town and vibrant cultural scene, or the picturesque village of Stein am Rhein with its beautifully painted facades.
Why You Should Visit Rhine Falls
In summary, the Rhine Falls is a must-visit destination that showcases the breathtaking power and beauty of nature. Rhine Falls offers a myriad of activities and a convenient location for families and friends to enjoy together. Visiting it is highly recommended.
- How to Get from Zurich to Rhine Falls
- How to Get from Schaffhausen to Rhine Falls
- How to Spend 1 Day in Schaffhausen, Switzerland
- The Pretty Town of Stein am Rhein, Switzerland
- Saint George’s Abbey, Stein am Rhein Visitor Guide
- Museum Lindwurm, Stein am Rhein: A Window into the Past
- 10 Beautiful Medieval Towns in Switzerland
- 10 Best Day Trips from Lucerne
- 10 Best Day Trips from Basel
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.