Daytrip to Rhine Falls – Largest Waterfall in Europe

Last week I headed to Rheinfall as part of an annual work trip, probably my favorite Swiss tradition. Only an hour from Zürich’s hauptbahnhof (main train station), is the town of Schaffhausen. From there, it is a leisurely 3 km walk to the waterfall. Alternatively, the S33 S-Bahn stops at Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall, which puts visitors on the opposite side of the river near the observation station. The day we went was grey and cloudy. It has been raining a lot so the river is spilling more than the usual amount of water over the falls.

A view of the top of Rheinfall, opposite the castle

Schloss Laufen can be seen in the background. This photo was taken level with the top of the waterfall. It does not have as large a drop as Snoqualmie Falls, in my home state of Washington, however the sheer volume makes it quite impressive.

Viewing rock in the middle of the waterfall

On the Schloss Laufen side of the waterfall, visitors can walk down a series of switchbacks to an observation area overhanging the river. Cost is 5 Swiss Francs, payable at the top of the hill. There is also a glass elevator that brings visitors to the bottom.

In the middle of the waterfall stands two large rocks. The one on the right also serves as an observation point with metal steps and a viewing area on top. Right now, the observation area is closed because of the excess water. The dock that the boats land at is slightly underwater.

Observation overhanging the waterfall

The observation point that extends over the water. It really is as close to the waterfall as it looks. This observation area is on the Schloss Laufen side of the river.

Boat side view of the waterfall

Even though the boats couldn’t drop off passengers at the rock in the middle, they could still get pretty close to the waterfall. The mist managed to get under the roof of the boat and on my camera lens. Not a problem, I still managed to get a few good shots of the water.

A few interesting things to mention. A guide told us that the glass elevator from Schloss Laufen to the water level is available for marriage proposals and Sunday champagne breakfasts. The breakfasts are booked two years in advance, despite a several hundred Swiss Franc fee. For the marriage proposals, the elevator is blocked off mid journey – and if the proposee says no, an emergency button can be hit so the couple isn’t stuck in a glass elevator for two hours. I think there is a novel in there somewhere.


About megan

working in between travel days
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