While in Zürich, not only were we able to explore the city, but we were also able to take a couple of great day trips! One of these trips was to Liechtenstein and it was really cool to get to see another country. However, today’s trip was also really cool because it included a quaint medieval town and the largest plain waterfall in Europe! Stein am Rhein and Rhine Falls together make the ultimate day trip from Zürich!
Stein Am Rhein
Once again, we were able to use our Swiss Travel Pass from Rail Europe to get from Zürich to both Stein am Rhein and Rhine Falls. I can’t tell you how valuable and convenient it was! It was a 1 hour 15 min train ride from Zürich to Stein am Rhein. This is a view from the train on our way.
Stein am Rhein is a well-preserved medieval town situated where Lake Constance empties into the Rhine River in the canton of Schaffhausen in northern Switzerland.
The town has a population of around 3,400 and has beautifully painted buildings. To get to town, we started down this scenic stairway.
On The Way
But first, we wandered down this colorful street and found this house along the river! I know I’ve said it before, but the color in Switzerland continues to amaze me!
If you read my Geneva post, then you know these beautiful sunflowers seem to be prevalent all over…
as do colorful flowers in general.
The houses along the river have a great view of the town!
Historic Town Center
When we finally got into town, I was astonished by its beauty…
because I don’t think I realized unique towns like this still existed.
Doesn’t it look like it came out of a fairy tale??
A Funny Thing Happened When…
…we sat down for lunch in this cute, outdoor area.
My strawberry dessert tasted as fabulous as it looks; however, I wasn’t the only one who enjoyed it. The dessert decided my camera also needed to partake in the enjoyment. So, you might see where this is going…
As I was trying to photograph the dessert, it took a dive into my camera lens. Whip. Cream. Everywhere. Consequently, you can see the cloudy spots in this second picture (and a little in the first). Thanks to Amanda for spending a good amount of time helping me get as much of the whipped cream as possible out of the lens. She said I had now been properly initiated into food photography!
I had to show this photo of the fountain. In addition to the colors, I love how the water looks like a series of dots shooting out of the spout!
Walking and Wandering
Stein am Rhein is mostly pedestrianized which, to me, is a lot of its appeal. Here is the clock tower…
and looking back from the clock tower.
Everywhere I turned there were picturesque side streets.
As I crossed the bridge leaving town, I turned around to be greeted by this view. I love Stein am Rhein!
After leaving Stein am Rhein, we took the roughly 45 min train ride to Rhine Falls. Located on the border of the cantons of Schaffhausen and Zürich, it is the largest plain waterfall in Europe. It is 490 ft (150m) wide and 75 ft (23m) high.
Schlössli Worth Side
You can basically go all the way around Rhine Falls. After taking a 10-15 min walk from the train station to the falls, we started with the Schlössli Wörth side. Then, followed the path up and around…
and over the bridge.
The view from the bridge is pretty spectacular!
From the bridge, you can see the Middle Island. There is an option (and an extra fee) to take a boat out to the island and climb the stairs to the top.
I happened to look back over to the Schlössli side and saw the beautiful aqua colors of the river and a train coming in!
Schloss Laufen Side
This is the view from the Schloss Laufen side! This side also has the medieval style Laufen Castle that sits above the falls.
We walked around the castle to get down to an observation deck…
where we got a better view of both the Middle Island and the Schlössli side,
saw a rainbow in the falls…
and got an “up close and personal” experience with the falls! There is a small extra fee for this too, but it is so worth it! I was definitely getting wet at this point, but what a great viewpoint!
Round Trip Return
We took the ferry back across to the Schlössli side. See the deck where we were standing and how close we were to the falls?!? There is an extra charge for the ferry, but it’s fun to complete the trip…
see the falls head-on…
and end up back on the Schlössli side to walk back to the train station!
Don’t miss the smaller waterfall on the way up!