If you land in Zürich and walk through the airport to exit, you may see a very witty advertising where it is written “Welcome to Zürich, a pretty little suburb of Schaffhausen”, so why not Visit Schaffhausen? I love it. I like then smaller cities do a little trolling and love their own small city.
Let me elaborate: Zürich has at least 10 times bigger population that Schaffhausen, but there is no way that Schaffhausen will be intimidated by the size of Zürich.
So let us explore this beautiful Swiss city in the fields of Switzerland. It is one of the most popular cities in Switzerland in the not mountainous part of it and while not being mountainous it has maybe the most popular waterfall in all of Switzerland, next most popular being in the Swiss Alps in Lauterbrunnen.
Some facts about Schaffhausen
Before heading to the destination, I think it is always good to have some facts about the city, then the trip can get more interesting and meaningful.
Schaffhausen population is over 36 000 and always growing, it is a rich nice humble beautiful Swiss city.
Already back in the 11th century this city already started to make their own coins (meaning that the city was already formed), but the full city rights with all its perks Schaffhausen got back in the 13th century.
If you look at the map, Schaffhausen is placed in kind of protrusion of Switzerland going into Germany (it is surrounded by Germany from all three sided) and unluckily for the city, during the II world war, the city was bombed by americans, even 40 people died and later on the president of USA apologized for this mistake.
Schaffhausen speaks german, but do not forget to say Grüezi over there in Swiss german dialect.
How to get to Schaffhausen
Schaffhausen is very close to Zürich airport and Zürich itself, so it is very easy to reach it by car or train.
If you want to go there by train, check all the latest time schedules and prices right here: Swiss trains. The trip, depending on connection, from Zürich can take from 36 minutes to a little over one hour.
If you go there by car, it is best to park right here: Bachstrasse 55, 8200 Schaffhausen. This Schaffhausen parking is a bit special, as you don’t get to the parking lot yourself, you must get out of the car, get a ticket and the automatic system will take your car and park it. It is like Japan – the future is here. Funny story – I did not know this system (how it works) the first time I came there and I got the ticket (I was out of the car to get it) and the automatic system took the car into this robotic garage with my girlfriend inside. It is good that she did not panic 🙂 Other thing: when you pay the ticket, you get your car back. Guess what, my wallet was in the car! So the car is locked in that robotic parking and I have no way to get it back. Luckily, there was a HELP call by the ticket machine, I called them and the people from the parking company were very understanding and got my car out for free 🙂 So that was a little nice 30 minutes adventure right in the beginning of the trip.
If you are afraid of such system and do not want to accidentally have the same adventure like me, you can park right here in Stricki Parkhaus –Moserstrasse 27, 8200 Schaffhausen and there are some more parking spots as well in Schaffhausen.
What to do in Schaffhausen
I would like to explore you 5 top things to do in Schaffhausen and let’s have a look at them very shortly, so you can maybe decide straight away what to do once you are there:
- Visiting the old town full of Renaissance buildings. It could take you up to 1 hour to walk around.
- Munot castle. Offers best views of the city.
- Allerheiligen Museum. A place for history, art and science nerd. Very lovely museum.
- IWC museum. A must place for watch lovers. Switzerland is famous for that!
- Rhein waterfalls. The most famous place in Schaffhausen.
Schaffhausen old town tour
First of all: Schaffhausen has maybe one of the most beautiful old town in all Switzerland. It has many Renaissance era buildings with exterior frescos and sculptures. The tour of course can be done very fast if you just run around, but there is much to see over there. Other three recommended places are all placed in the old town or very near to it.
So first thing to do is of course to wander around the old town. Do not run straight into the museum or castle, just enjoy those old buildings and the whole atmosphere of the old town.
Enjoy the beautiful buildings such as: Haus Zum Sittich, Haus Zum Ritter, St. Johann Church, Münsterkirche (a very majestic church), Mohrenbrunnen, Fronwagplatz, Diebsturm and all other treasures of this city. Do not forget to visit the tourism center to get all the walking tour maps so you won’t miss anything. Tourism center is in the old town right here: Herrenacker 15, 8201 Schaffhausen.
Let us have a look what you can get to visit right there in the old town.
The dominant building in Schaffhausen is Munot. It is a circular 16th century castle in the center the city. You can visit it and explore the history of this Swiss city. From this castle you are going to get great views of all the city and maybe lucky enough to see some wild squirrels. It is a very peaceful location to which you get while walking through vineyards. You can find all the needed information about Munot right here: Munot castle.
As you can see in the image above, you get to Munot through the nice vineyards, a pretty romantic walk up.
After visiting this fortification, you can head to Allerheiligen Museum in Schaffhausen. It is a museum full of different art and is a perfect destination to enjoy the peaceful walk around. The museum is pretty big and depending on how you are interested in arts, history and science, you can spend quite a few hours there. Have a look at all the information right here: Allerheiligen Museum. Ticket prices for adults start at 12 CHF.
Do you know one one of the things Switzerland is famous for? Chocolate? Alps? Great skiing resorts? Banks? Fondue? What else? Oh yes, watches! Everyone knows the saying “works like a Swiss watch”. So why not visiting a watch museum? And yes, it is right there in Schaffhausen, couple of minutes away from Allerheiligen Museum – it is called IWC museum (IWC stands for International Watch Company which was founded back in 1868).
The museum itself is not very big (but very neat and modern), you can do the whole tour in one hour, but if you are watch lover and you are interested in watches history it is a place to visit. You can find all the information right here: IWC museum.
The waterfall in Schaffhausen is definitely the most popular place in the canton of Schaffhausen.
It is massive waterfall with enormous amounts of water going through every second.
You can get to Rhine Falls by walking from Schaffhausen old town, it would take you around 40 minutes or you can go there by car – you can park right here: 8212 Laufen-Uhwiesen. There is a pretty big parking lot.
As well, very close to it you can get by local trains.
If you come to Rhine Falls by car, head straight to the bridge which crosses the river. You can get tickets to go a bit closer to the waterfall, I have done it, but I don’t think it is really worth it as all you get is just a closer access to the water, full of people, not very comfortable. For free you can go to the other side and just enjoy the views to the waterfall. The viewing points to the waterfall are pretty close once you cross the bridge.
In the picture above you see some walking paths right next to waterfall: so for this part you will have to buy a ticket.
So not to confuse you: cross the bridge (trains as well go on that bridge, so don’t get scared if it passes while you are on the bridge), go to the left through little forest (there are very well maintained paths) and you will get to nice viewing points of the waterfall.
Once you make hundreds of pictures, you can walk around by the river bank to the other side of Rhein Falls – there are shops, public toilets, restaurants, ice cream – all you need 🙂 As well, there are river boats which can take you very close to the waterfall and to a pretty cool rock island with a Swiss flag which you can climb (the rocky island, not the flagpole) and you would actually be in the middle of waterfall. That is the top spot right there.
You can spend by the waterfall at least one hour as it is a really beautiful location with great views to this powerful waterfall.
As well, you can find all official information about the falls right here: Rhein Falls.
Schaffhausen is really a city with a big heart which has Zürich in its suburbs 🙂
My perfect day in Schaffhausen would consist of walking through the charming old town, visiting at least one museum and then head straight to the waterfalls to relax and enjoy this nature spectacle. This way you could spend all full day in this Renaissance city 🙂
Schaffhausen is great for families, groups of people and for lonely wanderer. It is a place for everyone.
If you have any questions about the visit to Schaffhausen, please let me know, I will do my best to help you.
If you are looking for more places to visit not far from Schaffhausen, I would like to offer you Sankt Gallen – another treasure of Switzerland. Check out my trip to Sankt Gallen right here: Trip to Sankt Gallen.
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