The small town of Schaffhausen lies on the High Rhine in the middle of the canton of the same name and is known primarily for its Rhine Falls. More than 35,000 people live in this area of outstanding beauty. The Rhine Falls are a draw for tourists and many coach tours find „ihrä Wäg“ (en: their way) to this charming city on the Rhine.

Sights in the canton of Schaffhausen

Hohenklingen castle in Schaffhausen
Hohenklingen castle in Schaffhausen

The small town of Schaffhausen and the Rhine Falls are located in the northernmost canton of Switzerland. The canton stretches from Stein am Rhein through Feuerthalen, Rüdlingen/Buchberg  to the power plant north of the Rhine. Stein am Rhein, which only partly belongs to the canton, is an old city with a romantic „Stadtchärn“ (en: town centre) and countless little lanes lined with beautiful shops as well as access to Lake Constance. If you are fortunate enough to visit the area, this town is a must see. The colourfully painted house facades are not the only sight Stein am Rhein has to offer; Hohenklingen castle high up on the mountain and St. Georgen monastery are also worth visiting. You can get to Stein am Rhein by taking a scenic boat trip from Schaffhausen and can continue through the Untersee to Kreuzlingen. This boat trip passes through some of Europe’s most delightful landscapes.

Nature in the canton of Schaffhausen

Schaffhausen Rhine Falls from above
Schaffhausen Rhine Falls from above

„Chli aber fin“ (en: small but nice) is one way of describing the city of Schaffhausen, which is world renown for its one of a kind waterfall.  This waterfall is one of the most visited sights in Switzerland. You can take a boat tour to the falls, but be aware that you are likely to get wet!„Vom Früehlig bis zum Herbscht“ (en: from spring to autumn), the boats chug past the small castle of Wörth and a large rock to the roaring Rhine Falls. If you have not had enough of water, you can take a larger boat down the Rhine from Schaffhausen to Stein am Rhein and on to Kreuzlingen on one of the most impressive river routes in Europe.

If you have had enough of boat trips, how about taking a hike to an observation tower on the Randen mountain? There are four such towers surrounded by dense woodland, so you can take your pick which one to visit; all four offer fantastic views across the plains to the Alps.

In winter, the area around Schaffhausen turns into a paradise for cross country skiers. 15 pistes with a combined length of seven kilometres offer plenty of fun and adventure for the whole family. Spring and autumn are the best seasons for cycling and you will come across many cyclists on the extensive network of „Velowäg“ (en: bicycle lanes). The most breathtaking routes are along the Rhine and through the wine-growing region of Klettgau. Do not forget to stop for a little „Wiiprob“ (en: wine tasting); this is the largest wine-producing region in the German part of Switzerland and hosts quite a few wine festivals.

One of the most famous ice age sites in Europe, the Kesslerloch cave is also in the vicinity. For those interested in slightly more recent history, there is a way for pilgrims to join the Camino de Santiago trail. The Way of St. James crosses the Rhine at Schaffhausen and splits into two different trails towards the South. The Way is marked by a stylised scallop shell which is the symbol of the Camino de Santiago.

Beautiful Schaffhausen with its charming old town

Munot fortress in Schaffhausen
Munot fortress in Schaffhausen

The old town of Schaffhausen with its 171 oriel windows dates back to the 16th century. It also features the romantic round fort of Munot that was built according to one of Albrecht Dürer‘s designs and is, „hüt“ (en: today), the town’s most prominent landmark. You can climb onto the battlements and enjoy the spectacular view over Schaffhausen until the ringing of the Munot bells at nine o’clock remind you that it is time to get back down. „Früehner“ (en: in the past), a huge wall encircled the city, but, today, just the two towers Schwabentorturm and Obertorturm as well as the fortress complex Munot remain.

Switzerland’s largest ecclesiastical building is the All Saints Cathedral in Schaffhausen. If you meander through the centre of the town, you will pass the municipal theatre and the casino, both situated on Herrenacker, the largest inner city square in Switzerland. „Kulturfründä“ (en: culture lovers) can rejoice in the many museums that the town hosts; the most interesting is the All Saints Museum, where you can learn about the history of Schaffhausen as well as about Stone Age, Roman and medieval influences on the whole canton.

This building was built in the Romanesque style in the 11th century and features a legendary herb garden. For more modern art lovers, the Stadhalle in Schaffhausen is home to many modern works from 1965 on. Culture lovers who would like to know more about production in Switzerland can visit the watch and the plaster museum. Schaffhausen‘s inner city is car-free; devoid of stress, car noise and fumes, visitors can spend their time in the shops, the historical „Hüser“ (en: houses) and in the restaurants. The guild houses and merchant’s houses date from Gothic and Baroque times and are popular tourist stops. These houses are part of what makes Schaffhausen one of the most attractive towns in Switzerland.

Famous towns in the canton of Schaffhausen

Old town building with painted facade
Old town building with painted facade

If you are on a tour of the canton, do not forget to visit some cities. Thayngen, with its old town and half timbered houses, is a lovely spot for a quiet afternoon coffee. The town is close to the cave of Kesslerloch as well as the two kettle holes Morgetshofsee and Rudolfersee. Ramsen in the Bibertal is also worth a visit; the districts of Moskau and St. Petersburg are, „natürli“ (en: naturally) very popular for a short trip. For if you cannot make it to the real St. Petersburg or Moscow, these two districts can give you a small taste of the larger cities. Not only Russia is represented in this part of Switzerland: Klein-Amerika exists as well. Whilst you are in the area, stop off at the Bibermühle restaurant on the Rhine for a tasty repast.

If you have a taste for the rustic and would like to take a look at a wine-growing town, you are well advised to visit Hallau. Do not just visit the wine-growing museum; the town is home to two interesting churches as well: the Bergkirche St. Moritz and Stadtkirche St. Moritz.

The scenery in Schaffhausen is dominated by its vineyards and the canton offers spectacular hiking trails and plenty of opportunities to indulge in your favourite sports.

This building was built in the Romanesque style in the 11th century and features a legendary herb garden. For more modern art lovers, the Stadhalle in Schaffhausen is home to many modern works from 1965 on. Culture lovers who would like to know more about production in Switzerland can visit the watch and the plaster museum. Schaffhausen‘s inner city is car-free; devoid of stress, car noise and fumes, visitors can spend their time in the shops, the historical „Hüser“ (en: houses) and in the restaurants. The guild houses and merchant’s houses date from Gothic and Baroque times and are popular tourist stops. These houses are part of what makes Schaffhausen one of the most attractive towns in Switzerland.

The scenery in Schaffhausen is dominated by its vineyards and the canton offers spectacular hiking trails and plenty of opportunities to indulge in your favourite sports.

Rhine Falls at night
Rhine Falls at night

The canton of Schaffhausen is a destination that can be visited all the year around. In summer, families visit; in autumn, hikers and cyclists take over; and, in winter, Schaffhausen is loved by cross country skiers.

Have you decided on when you would like to visit Schaffhausen and the Rhine Falls? If yes, why not prepare for your visit now by improving your Swiss German?

Vocabulary list

Swissgerman English
1 ihrä Wäg their way
2 Stadtchärn town centre
3 chli aber fin small but nice
4 Vom Früehlig bis zum Herbscht from spring to autumn
5 Velowäg bicycle lanes
6 Wiiprob wine tasting
7 hüt today
8 früehner in the past
9 Kulturfründä culture lovers
10 Hüser houses
11 natürli naturally

 

Schaffhausen – Rhine Falls and more
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