The Rhine Falls is the largest waterfall in Switzerland and Europe. The falls are located on the High Rhine on the border between the cantons of Schaffhausen and Zurich, next to the town of Schaffhausen in northern Switzerland. This fall is 150 meters (490 ft) wide and the drop is 23 meters (75 ft) high. lt’s famed not for the height of the fall but the volume of water flowing through it. The average water flow is between 250 m3/s (8,800 cu ft/s) to 600 m3/s, where the lowest number is for winter and the higher is for the summer months. Two castles watch over the waterfall, Schloss Laufen overlooks the top of the falls, Schlossli Worth is situated at the bottom.
How to get to Rhine fall
There are few possibilities depending on which side of the fall you want to go.
- By train it’s easiest to approach the falls from Neuhausen Rheinfall station. To get there from Zurich take the S9 Train towards “schaffhausen” at Zurich Main Station (Zurich HB/Zurich Haupfbahnhof) and arrive at the “Neuhausen Rheinfall” station in 50 minutes. After a short walk you’ll arrive at the bottom of the falls. For return trip use the same S9 train from the “Neuhausen Rheinfall” station towards the final destination “Uster”. S9 is hourly train in both direction.
- Second option is to take the train from Zurich main station (Zurich HB/Zurich Haupfbahnhof) to Schaffhausen and then catch bus no. 1 or 6 to Neuhausen Zentrum (Bus stop isjust outside the station). From Neuhausen Zentrum bus stop the fall is about a 5 min walk.
- Third option is for the other side of the fall. Board the S12 train from Zurich Main Station towards destination “Schaffhausen” direction and arrive at “Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall” station. This will take you to the foot of Schloss Laufen (Laufen Castle). Walk up from the platform towards the visitor center. You can tour the castle and see the fall from viewing platform.
- Another option is to take the train from Zuirch to Winterthur and then change for a train to Schloss Laufen.
During our trip to Rhine falls we left the train at “Neuhausen am Rheinfall” station. From the station there is a hiking path up to Rhine fall which is well signposted. We walked along the bank of the Rhine river side paths on paved routes finally reaching to an elevated path through the forest which is close to the fall. The views from there are spectacular and we enjoyed the walk.
Once you reach the water fall you can admire the falls from both side viewing platforms. On both sides of the river there are paths with lookout platforms, souvenir shop and restaurants. lf you arrived at Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall station take a lift and go up to the visitor center. The visitor center featuring an exhibition about the history of the Rheinfall. There is a fee of CHF 5 for adult and CHF 3 for child to access the viewing platform down through a glass panoramic lift via the castle. I strongly recommend viewing the falls from the schloss laufen side which is close to the falls directly on top and from the viewing platform you will feel as if standing over water.
At this point you are very near to the fall. After viewing from the platform you can walk the boulevard and from here you can take a boat tour for CHF 7 which will take you closer to the fall or CHF 20 for boat tour which will take you closer to the fall along with rock climbing in the middle (April – Oct, every 10 minutes from 10:00 – 18:00).
The rock island is very small and always crowded with peoples. The staircase leading to the rock is steep, narrow and slippery. On the top of the rock island there is a Swiss flag. From here you will get a fantastic view of the falls. Be ready to be wet with water spray from the fall.
From the tour boat you can come to the Schlossli Worth side and enjoy the views from this end. There is another option other than tour boats. You can walk from Schloss Laufen side all the way to the opposite side of the Rhein fall through the Railway and pedestrian bridge.
Cross the bridge on the pedestrian walk, viewing the falls as you go, and follow the walkway to the left to the other side in Neuhausen. You will get the most iconic Rhine fall pictures from this view point. After visiting this view point you can proceed to Schlossli Worth and the promenade there. You can take a tour boat from this end also if not done before. lf you have started your tour form scholass laufan side you can conclude your tour here. Use the “Neuhausen Rheinfall” railway station to return back to Zurich.
It is possible to enjoy most of natural spectacle of the Rhine Falls completely free and you may find the free views totally satisfactory without taking the boat tour but for a truly remarkable experience take a boat tour. There is a park near Schlossli Worth which is a perfect place to relax and stroll along the promenade overlooking the falls. The Rhine waterfalls are best seen from this place.