Thank you to Rail Europe for providing me with the Swiss Travel Pass! As always, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase through these links. You can read my full disclosure policy here.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.
You might also like: A DAY TRIP TO LIECHTENSTEIN FROM ZÜRICH SWITZERLAND
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!
Push play to see the power of the falls up close!
TIPS: The ferries only operate from April to October, but the falls can be viewed year-round. They are also lit up at night and on August 1st which is Swiss National Day, there are fireworks displayed!
Be sure to see my post on another great day trip from Zürich to Liechtenstein along and this guide to the best places to see all around Switzerland.
Have you been to see either Stein am Rhein or Rhine Falls? Which did you like best? Would love to hear your thoughts!
‘Til next time…
Leave a Reply - I Love Comments!
Shyla Kurma says
I love the way you describe the places. Feels like the reader is transported to the places and the photographs make it even more complete. Thank you so much. Bless you
Hi Shyla! Thank you-I’m so glad that is the feeling you get. That is one of my goals. Thank you so much for reading! 🙂
sandy nik says
Love your blog…will be taking my kids to Zurich in June. How early did you leave Zurich?
Hi Sandy-Thank you so much! You and your kids will have the best time. Have you been to Switzerland before? We did leave in the morning, but not super early. It doesn’t take too long to get to Stein am Rhein or Rhine Falls. I want to say we left around 9 am give or take. It’s quite easy to do both of these in a day trip. Let me know if you have any other questions and thanks for reading! 🙂
Thanks Heather! I went to Switzerland some 30 years ago, so it’s been awhile. I haven’t been to some of the places you went though…. including the Rhine Falls. Is one side better than the other? Is there benefit of doing Rhine Falls last or it doesn’t really matter? Thanks again for the info.
Hi Sandy-I wouldn’t say one side of Rhine Falls is better than the other. It’s like comparing apples to oranges because they are totally different views. One is sort of up behind the falls and the other loops around getting you up-close-and-personal with the water and then you see the falls themselves. We walked from one side to the other and then ferried back which was neat. As far as a benefit to doing Rhine Falls last, I would say if you are wanting photos, pay attention to what the lighting is (so it will differ depending on what time of year and day that you go). Our lighting was perfect (we were there in August) and went there second just because Stein am Rhein was the first stop from Zürich. The lighting was great in that order for that time of year. Hope that helps and thanks for reading! 🙂
How long did it take you to go both the places, that is Stein am Rhein and the Rhine Falls? I have only a day in Zurich and want to see the old town too. If I go to both the places, will I have enough time to stroll through the old town and the Banhofstrasse.
I think we were back between 4 and 5pm. If you are going in the summer, I think it’s doable but might be tight. I wouldn’t say it would be leisurely to get it all in, but if you didn’t linger in any one place you could conceivably get it all in. I would probably take the earliest train you could find out of Zurich that morning I think. Hope that helps! Thanks for reading! 🙂
Kathy Golden says
Hi Heather – Thank you! you certainly do know how to make me super excited to go to Switzerland. We leave June 19th. I got a room in old town zurich for 2 nights so i will definitely going to stein em rhein and the falls the 2nd day. Keep up the good work!
Kathy from California
Hi Kathy-I’m so happy you’re so excited, yay! And thank you! Switzerland is a gorgeous, friendly country. You will love it and I hope your trip is fantastic. Thanks for reading! 🙂
Hi ! Thank you for this wonderful information. It is really useful to me. I wanted to know if it is possible to goto Jungfraujoch from Zurich on a day trip ? I’m planning a 3 day trip to Zurich , so i want to do one day trip from Zurich looking for the most enchanted one! Please recommend me a place.
Hi Riya-I’m so glad you liked the post and found it helpful. Unfortunately, I am not sure about Jungfraujoch from Zürich as I haven’t been there at all. I would highly recommend Stein am Rhein and Rhine Falls AND I would definitely recommend a day trip to Liechtenstein from Zürich. It’s easy to do and you can see a new country all in a day trip. You can read about that day trip and see the photos here. Hope that helps and thanks for reading! 🙂
Thats a nice post and lovely pictures.
Which month did you go?
Which month are we likely to see more of the flowers?
Are there all these pretty flowers in May end or early June?
Hi Uma-Thank you so much! Switzerland is definitely a beautiful country! These photos were from my trip in August. I think you are most likely to see them like this most of the summer. I’m not sure when they start and end as I was only there in August. You can’t really go wrong anytime in Switzerland honestly because the winter is so pretty and there is so much to do then too. But if you are wanting to see all the flowers, I would go in the summertime. Hope that helps and thanks for reading! 🙂