How would you like to be surrounded by the raw power of a thundering waterfall around you? You can experience that without going to any of the mega waterfalls like Niagara or Victoria Falls, but right in the rather small and quaint town of Schaffhausen in Switzerland.

Located right on the border between Switzerland and Germany is the Rhine Falls (or as the Germans call it the Rheinfall). Lying on the Rhine River, this waterfall is not that high or large. But during summer the increased water volume from ice melt gives a spectacular sight. It is also the largest waterfall in Europe, so I can’t think of how small the other waterfalls in Europe are.

The Rhine Falls is not like any of the mega waterfalls in the world, but is incredible in its own small way.
The Rhine Falls is not like any of the mega waterfalls in the world, but is incredible in its own small way.

The main attraction of the Rhine Falls is to take a boat to a large rock outcrop in the middle of the waterfall and experience the rush of tons of water thundering by.

Braving the mist and getting wet is part of the thrill.
Braving the mist and getting wet is part of the thrill. Boats will bring visitors to this rock in the middle of the waterfall.

Of if you are not so brave, or if you are like me and don’t want to get wet, you can view the falls from both sides of the river. There are paths for visitors which gives spectacular views of the waterfall and river.

Summer would be best time to view the full power of the waterfall.
Summer would be best time to view the full power of the waterfall.
More views of the rock. It's a real squeeze on that small rock.
More views of the rock. It’s a real squeeze on that small rock. I wonder if anyone tried jumping into the raging river below.

There is a bridge across the river and visitors can cross it to get different views of the falls.

View from the right bank. The boat has a small space to berth at the rock otherwise it gets swept away by the waterfall.
View from the right bank. The boat has a small space to berth at the rock otherwise it gets swept away by the waterfall.
View from the left bank.
View from the left bank.
The rail bridge crossing the river. There is a castle that on the right bank of the river that you can visit.
The rail bridge crossing the river. Laufen Castle on the right bank of the river is a youth hostel.

Besides, the waterfall itself, there is a small castle (Schloss Laufen)on the right bank of the river. Nothing much to see there, except to buy refreshments and souvenirs. It also houses a youth hostel.

 

The train passes by at full speed and quite close to pedestrians. And the train drivers like to blast their horn as they pass by. A real shocker if you don't see the train coming because it's coming from your back.
The train passes by at full speed and quite close to pedestrians. And the train drivers like to blast their horn as they pass by. A real shocker if you don’t see the train coming because it’s coming from your back.
There are plenty of spots to get a good view and photos of the falls. A lot of climbing is required though.
There are plenty of spots to get a good view and photos of the falls. A lot of climbing is required though.
There is a small deer farm or zoo beside the falls.
There is a small deer farm or zoo beside the falls.
Feeding Bambi before he gets turned into deer steaks.
Feeding Bambi before he gets turned into deer steaks.

The Rhine Falls makes for a good day trip out of Zurich, or if you are staying near the airport and having a long layover. Just take the SBB train to Schaffhausen and take a bus, or walk towards the Rhine Falls.

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