Rhine Falls can best be described as Europe’s biggest waterfall, also known as Niagara Falls of Europe – there’s no exaggeration needed!
From crystal clear blue-green water and rushing waterfall that belong on a postcard, Rhine Falls of Rheinfall – as it is known in German, is a major tourist destination in northern Switzerland. For travellers who choose Zurich as their gateway to Europe, the Rhine Falls may mean a pleasant side trip. Would you believe that this waterfall is just 1 hour outside Zurich?!
This ultimate guide for visiting Rheinfall in Switzerland (along with plenty of photos) will spark your wanderlust and help you plan your own trip!
What is Rhine Falls?
The Rhine Falls is located at Neuhausen am Rheinfall, near the city of Schaffhausen in northern Switzerland. Following are some interesting Rhine Falls facts and figures:
- Width of Rhine Falls 150 meters.
- Height of Rhine Falls 23 meters.
- Age of Rhine Falls approximately 15,000 years.
- Capacity of flow in Summer approximately 600,000 liners per second.
- Capacity of flow in Winter approximately 250,000 liners per second
Where can you start exploring the beauty of Rhine Falls?
There are various ways to enjoy the Rhine Falls. You can experience this waterfall from a variety of positions and angles. However, I’ve divided into three main viewpoints either from Schloss Laufen on the southern side, or Schlössli Wörth on the northern side or from the so called Middle Island.
#1 Schloss Laufen
The first Rhine Falls entrance on the southern side of the fall: coming through the Castle of Laufen. Here you can access to several terraces from where visitors can approach the waterfalls either by walking down or taking a glass elevator, enjoying the wonderful and really breathtaking panoramic view and getting close enough to get pretty wet!
This side requires an entrance fee of CHF 5 to see the falls, definitely here had more interesting viewpoints. We passing through castle’s exterior before getting right onto the walkways and stairs and could stop at several vantage points as the path descended. As we descended to the bottommost sections of the walkway, at this point was when we experienced a viewing area that was literally right next to the edge of the waterfall itself. In order to come from this side, you have to park your car at P5 or P6 parking lot.
#2 Schlössli Wörth
The second Rhine Falls entrance on the northern side of the fall: coming from Schlössli Wörth, a castle on the other side of the Rhine River. There is nice promenade along the river, with a few restaurants, a souvenir store, benches and playground. There is no entrance fee on this side, but the falls are much further away.
Since we park our car at P1 parking lot, we had to walk about 20 minutes to the Rhine Falls but along the way, we enjoyed the serenity and picturesque views of the waterfall. Alternatively, you can catch the boat from either side, taking you to the centre of the falls or simply across the river.
#3 Middle Island
We called the rocks in the middle of the Rhine Falls as Middle Island. There is a boat dock as well as stairway that go right to the top of the rocky island where there were some railings and a Swiss flag perched at the very top. You have to take a boat in order to go to the Middle Island. There is no boat services during the winter. The scheduled boat services are available from April to October only.
Once the boat drops off at the dock on the Middle Island, you can go up the stairs to the top. Here is where the visitors can stand high above the falls and experience the 360 degree views of being surrounded by Rhine Falls. I believe the stairs must be very slippery by looking at how the water roaring onto this rocky island.
How much time should I spend in Rhine Falls?
The real question is, “how much time do you want to be in the peace of nature?”. The hours fly by quickly when seeing the swans are paddling and the water is flowing around you. The Rhine Falls is open all year round and the opening hours is from 7am to 8pm daily. Complete operating hours and prices can be found here.
You can spend half day in the beauty of nature here. There are boats as well as boardwalks that go over the waterways. Walking across these will take your breath away as you glance down and see all the way to the bottom through the clear blue-green water.
What can you do in Rhine Falls?
The most popular thing to do in Rhine Falls is not surprisingly, to walk down to a viewpoint at the base of the waterfall. This is where you can literally feel the thundering water roar underneath your feet. Another Rhine Falls attraction is to take a boat out into the Rhine River, to get even more up-close and personal with the waterfall. Complete attractions and activities can be found in Rhine Falls Official Website.
When is the best time to visit Rhine Falls?
Plan your visit between April and October as that’s when boat trips can be made. It is recommended to visit in May to June for the best experience because that’s when the amount of water peaks.
How do I get to Rhine Falls?
The Rhine Falls can be reached by train and by car. The easiest way to reach the Rhine Falls is taking a train to either the station called ‘Neuhausen Rheinfall’ or ‘Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall’. Both stations are located right next to the falls. It takes 45 – 60 minutes train ride from Zurich to get there.
If you travel by car, you can use one of the parking lots near Schloss Laufen either P5 or P6 parking lot or near Schlössli Wörth either P1, P2 or P3 parking lot. If there’s no parking space left you can park on parking lots farther away as well, from where you can take a bus to the Rhine Falls. Rhine Falls is located at ‘Schloss Laufen Rheinfall’ bus station.
I really enjoy the breezy wind, water splash and falls sound of the largest waterfall in Europe.