An intriguing blend of breathtaking natural beauty, sumptuous culinary offerings, myriad cultures and customs, historic landmarks, and cutting-edge nightlife, Switzerland presents itself as an alluring vacation destination. With so many experiences to pack in and things to do here, it’s only natural how nail-bitingly difficult planning an itinerary can get. Let’s help us bring you a tad closer. Rhine Waterfall, near the village of Neuhausen in Northern Switzerland, is one spot you just cannot leave out of your itinerary. The falls are one of Europe’s largest and showcases an excellent vista of gushing waters and scenic Swiss environs. However, it’s not the usual waterfalls you’d be thinking of; here, there’s tons of other stuff to do too. Here’s a guide to Rhine Waterfall, Switzerland that’ll help you navigate the area and ensure you have a brilliant time around!
Things to do
Explore the area
As we said earlier, there’s lots to do at Rhine Waterfall. Head to the Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall rail station and begin your exploration of the area from here. This route not only offers stunning views, but also has plenty of little shops along the way for picking up a knick-knack or two, and even has a playground. We’d recommend keeping aside two to six hours to enjoy the best of the entire experience.
Admire the view
Spend time marveling at the waterfall and the central rock, Rheinfallfelsen. There are several viewing platforms, which can be accessed via the Belvedere Trail or by the swanky, glass Panoramic Lift. Else, you can ditch a day visit and head to the falls at night. The illuminated falls and the rock are quite a sight to behold!
Take a boat cruise around the falls
You’ll find several boat cruise tours that are 10 – 30 minutes long, depending on the one you opt for. There’s even one that’ll take you till the rock in the middle of the falls and let you disembark for a wholly fantastic, closer look. No guessing, it’s the best one!
Have fun at the adventure park
Right across from Schlössli Wörth, which is where the boat tours end, is an adventure park, where kids can have fun. The Panorama Express, or ‘zip-wire’ here is quite the hit among young visitors. However, this park is shut during winters.
What to eat
There’s a small snack bar right next to the ticket counter, where you can pick up some quick bites. This is a self-service restaurant and food selection changes everyday. You can check the specifics on the falls’ official website.
For a full-fledged meal, here are some eateries that you can explore nearby:
Laufen Castle at the Rheinfalls
Some five minutes from the falls is this restaurant, within the Laufen Castle. Here, it is all about fancy, fine-dining amidst beautiful ambience of the falls and the village. Their pea foam soup, wiener schnitzel, and eglifilet are some of the most famous Swiss-inspired dishes. Plus, their extensive wine list is a bonus.
This is another fantastic spot for a great meal near the falls. It is housed within the Wörth Castle and excels in providing a fabulous gourmet dining experience. Try grabbing one of the tables by the windows, so you can enjoy superb views of the falls. Fish poulard, crayfish, and the sweet potato filling are some of its highlight dishes, while the carrot ice cream makes for a perfect end note to the satisfying fare.
A less pricier affair than the other two, Cafe Muhleradhaus is the ideal cafe-cum-bar to stop by. They offer indoor as well as outdoor seating and boasts of a casual vibe while allowing a stunning view of the falls.
Things to buy
There’s a proper souvenir store and a watch store right by the ticket office. You’ll find an array of items at the souvenir store, ranging from the exquisite Lindt chocolates to t-shirts and small knick-knacks, such as keychains, fridge magnets, etc. As for the watch store, Hannibal Uhren AG boasts a fine collection of top-class Swiss-quality timepieces. A collection of Rado, Tissot, Swiss Military, TAG Heuer, André Mouche, and Claude Bernard watches are only a few brands they house.
Carry some essentials
Regardless of what time of the year you’re visiting, we strongly recommend that you carry a raincoat or umbrella with you. Wearing sturdy/waterproof footwear will also help.
Choose the right time
While the falls are a beautiful sight at any time of the year, the experience is especially rewarding around the months of May-June, when the water levels are at their peak, thus showcasing the gushing water in all its might.
Remember that boat tours are only offered from April to October, so don’t be disheartened if you visit any time other than these months and don’t get to enjoy the boat rides. Also, prices for these tours vary according to operators and the duration of tours.
Invest in a Swiss Travel Pass
This pass entitles you to unlimited travel for consecutive days on any mode of public transportation (train, bus, boat, or local trams) across Switzerland along with certain additional perks. The prices for the pass range from 120 – 840 USD, depending on the visitor’s age, travel tier, and the validity of the pass. However, do note that the Swiss Travel Pass doesn’t apply to the boat tours and attractions, such as Rhine Waterfall in this case. Also, it is only for non-residents of Switzerland.
Other travel passes
If not the Swiss Travel Pass, Saver Day Pass, Swiss Half Fare Pass, Eurail Global Pass, Interrail Switzerland Pass, and Interrail Global Pass are a few other travel passes that you can explore. Their rates and additional perks vary.
Signs and help
Considering that the Rhine Waterfall sees quite a bit of tourist footfall, the area is well marked by signposts. Help desks are also available at the ticket office. You can also pick up one of the site maps from there to navigate the area easily.
Access for the specially abled
While you can take a car to the falls, getting closer to the water’s edge may be impacted. The north bank of the falls are better advised for such visitors, where there are designated parking spots that allow a great view right down. The viewing platforms are also wheelchair-friendly. There are also lifts to the boat landing point on this side.
How to get there
This is one of the most convenient and feasible means of getting to the falls. Both the Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall and Neuhausen Rheinfall rail stations are a stone’s throw away from the falls. From there, you can easily walk to the falls.
Bus no. 6 and 10, both ply to Rhine Waterfall. Bus no. 10 will drop you closest to the falls, at Schlössli Wörth. This one runs once every hour, while bus no. 6 is more frequent, but drops off a few blocks away from the falls.
You also have the option of driving down to the falls. It is about a 30-45-minute drive from Zurich via Autobahn A1 and A4.
You can use one of the parking lots at Schloss Laufen or those near Schlössli Wörth. While some may be free, others might attract charges starting at 5.5 USD per hour.