"Schaffhausen and Rheinfalls" Schaffhausen by pure1942
Schaffhausen Travel Guide: 232 reviews and 809 photos
To be honest, like most other visitors, I headed for Schaffhausen purely with the intention of visiting the neaby Rheinfalls but found the town of Schaffhausen itself to be really impressive in its' own right. In fact the town turned out to be one of the highlights of my whole Swiss trip.
The town has a real medieval charm and is littered with interesting things to see and do...so much so that I added another couple of hours to my stopover in the town to goive myself extra time to check it out properly. Admittedly I had glorious weather so this may have palyed a significant part in my enjoyment of the town but I think the charm of this interesting town would shine through regardless of the weather.
Schaffhausen is the capital of the Kanton of Schaffhausen and is located in the far northern part of Switzerland, very close to the German border. This proximity to Germany definitely has an effect on the architecture, culture and atmosphere of the town, with an intersting mix of Germanic and Swiss influences.
The town is well known for its' ornate 'oriel' bay windows and frescoes which adorn the buildings in the town centre. The bay windows were created as a display of wealth by the buildings owners and they certainly have an air of wealth and grandeur about them. This abundance of 'oriel' windows (around 170 in total!) led to the towns nickname Erkersstadt (Erkers meaning oriel windows in German).
Apart from these bay windows the town has various other attarction not least of all its' unusual round fortress - Munot which is located on top of a hill to the east of the town. The fortress is open to the public and is free of charge to enter and offers great views over the town and River Rhine.
The Old Town itself is a sight in itself with the beautiful medieval town houses, fountain, towers, parks and churches. The most impressive of the churches is the Allerheiligen Munster.
I think the best thing about the whole town is the lack of tourist shops and commerciality you would associate with many of Switzerland's more 'touristy' locations. Having said that, the town still maintains a nice busy buzz about it and welcomes plenty of visitors without becoming just another tourist town. One of my favourite spots so far in Switzerland.
Of course, while I did get understandably distracted by Schaffhausen's Old Town charms, I did refocus on my principle reason for being in this part of Swoitzerland and made the short bus trip to Neuhausen and the Rheinfalls - Europe's largest and most impressive waterfalls.
When I say the largest watefalls in Europe, I must make the point that they are not on the same scale as the Niagra Falls or Iguacu Falls but are none-the-less an impressive sight. And although the the Falls might not be as large as other falls around the world they do have the added attraction of a beautiful medieval castle perched on a cliff overlooking the falls as well as the pituesque natural 'chunk' of rock which juts up from the centre of the cascading waters. You can catch a short ride out to the rock and climb the steps up the top for a stunning aeriel view of the thundering water.
Whet the falls lack in Niagra scale and size, they make up for with idyllic location and breathtaking scenery.
In days gone by the castle standing proudly over the Rheinfalls was home to the Barons of Laufen but today is a complex... more travel advice
Although the Rheinfalls are actually located in Neuhausen Am Rhein and not actually Schaffhasuen, I am putting this tip... more travel advice
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