Couple overlooking Rhine Falls, Switzerland
Things to Do

A Guide to Visiting the Rhine Falls, Switzerland

February 23, 2020 Last Updated on July 1, 2020

The mighty Switzerland Rhine Falls is the most powerful waterfall in all of Europe and one of the most popular places to visit in Switzerland.  This popular tourist attraction has over one million visitors each year, who all come to see not only the Rhine Falls in Switzerland but the stunning landscape and villages that surround the Rhine River.

The Rhine River Falls is found on a stretch of the Rhine River known as the High Rhine.  This is where the waters cascade down to a lower level, creating the picturesque Rhine Water Falls.  The falls are just a single drop waterfall, however with a width of 150 metres and a height of 23 metres, its size is impressive.  

Visitors are blown away by the sheer power of the Rhine Falls, particularly during the summer, where the water flows at an impressive rate of 600,000 litres per second.  During the winter the falls still flow at a rate of 250,000 litres per second.

The Rhine Falls is Europe's largest and most powerful waterfall.
The Rhine Falls is Europe’s largest and most powerful waterfall. (C) Schaffhauserland Tourismus/Photographer: Robert Bosch

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The Rhine Falls, Switzerland

If you are planning to visit Rhine Falls during your Switzerland holiday, then this is the perfect guide for you.  This guide covers everything you need to know about visiting the Rhine Falls, Switzerland including how to get there, how best to see the falls, what else there is to do in the area and much more.

Below is all the essential information you need to make the most out of your visit to the Rhine Falls in Switzerland.


Where is Rhine Falls?

The Rhine Falls are located on the border between Schaffhausen and Zürich in northern Switzerland, approximately 25 kilometres south of the German border.  The nearest village to the Rhine Falls location is Neuhausen am Rheinfall (1 km away) and the closest city is Schaffhausen (3.5km away). 


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How to Get to Rhine Falls?

When it comes to how to get to Rhine Falls, there are several options including car, train or by joining a day trip.

If you have your own vehicle, it’s easy to drive to the falls.  For Rhine Falls parking, you’ll find a car park on each side of the river.  The northern bank (Schlössli Wörth) car park costs CHF 5 for the first hour and CHF 2 for each additional hour, while the southern bank (Laufen Castle) provides free parking.

For visitors in wheelchairs, it’s recommended that you park in the northern bank car park, as you can park right by the basin and here you will find both a wheelchair lift and a ramp leading to the boat landing.  There is also a lift at the Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall viewing platform.

If taking a train to the falls, there are two train stations to choose from, either Neuhausen am Rheinfall on the northern side of the falls, or Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall on the southern banks of the river. From either Rhine Falls train station, you can easily walk to the falls.

If you plan on catching a train to the Rhine Falls, read our guide to understanding and using the Swiss Rail System for handy tips and info.

Zurich to Rhine Falls

If you’re spending a few days in Zurich, there are a few options when it comes to how to reach Rhine Falls from Zurich.  It’s only around 40 minutes by car from Zurich – Rhine Falls, or from Zurich to Rhine Falls by train it’s about 1 hour.  

You can also join a Rhine Falls tour from Zurich.  See below for more information about a Zurich to Rhine Falls tour.

How to get to the Rhine Falls from other Destinations

Below are the approximate times for the car and train journeys to the Rhine Falls from other nearby destinations:

  • Schaffhausen to Rhine Falls: 10 minutes by car or train.  
  • Basel to Rhine Falls: 1.5 hours by car or 2 hours by train
  • Geneva to Rhine Falls: 3.5 hours by car or 4 hours by train
  • Rhine Falls from Lucerne: 1.25 hours by car or 2 hours by train
  • Rhine Falls from Interlaken: 2.25 hours by car or 3.25 hours by train
  • Rhine Falls to Black Forest: 1.5 hours by car or 3 hours by train.
Rhine Falls boat ride
A number of boat trips are available to view the Rhine Falls. (C) Schaffhauserland Tourismus/Photographer: Bruno Sternegg

How to Experience the Switzerland Rhine Falls

The best way to experience the falls is either via a Rhine Falls boat ride or from one of the viewing platforms.

Boat Cruises

If you’re visiting between April to November, one of the more popular ways to experience the falls is via a Rhine Falls cruise.  There are a range of boat cruises to choose from including:

  • Rock tour: This 30 minute cruise takes you from the northern bank to Rheinfallfelsen which is a rock in the centre of the falls.  Visitors can disembark the boat and climb to the top of the rock via a staircase and onto the viewing platform for excellent 360° panoramic views of the falls.  Rhine Falls boat ride price: CHF 20 per adult and CHF 10 per child (6-16).
  • Rhine Crossing: This is a short three-minute cruise which takes you from one side of the falls to the other. Rhine Falls boat ride cost: CHF 3 one way or CHF 5 return for adults and for children (6-16) CHF 2 one way and CHF 3 return.
  • Short Round Trip: Take this 15 minute cruise to get a good view of the falls from a variety of viewpoints.  Rhine Falls boat ride price: CHF 7 per adult and CHF 4 per child (6-16).
  • Audio Tour: This 30 minute tour takes you all around the river so you can get some great views of the falls and commentary (in a range of languages) along the way.  This cruise is only available in June, July and August. Rhine Falls boat ride price: CHF 11 per adult and CHF 7 per child (6-16).
  • Rhine Falls and Rhine River Cruise: Take either a 30 or 75 minute cruise where you will see the Rhine Falls and cruise along the Rhine River to the German Border. Rhine Falls tickets for this cruise start at CHF 9 per adult and CHF 4.50 per child (6-16).

Tickets can be purchased from the ticket offices located beside the Falls.

Rhine Falls viewing platform
Visitors can take a boat ride to a viewing platform on a large rock to see the Falls from above. (C) Schaffhauserland Tourismus/Photographer: Arthur Keller

Viewing Platforms

There are also viewing platforms which don’t require you to take a boat trip.  These viewing platforms have been built on both sides of the falls and reach out reasonably close to the water.  If visiting during the months where the flow is at its fastest, do expect to get wet from the spray of the falls.

While the northern platform is free, Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall on the southern bank has an entry fee.  This viewing platform is right on the falls, and you can also visit Historama, an exhibit on the history of the Rhine Falls.  

The Rhine falls entrance fee to Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall is CHF 5 per adult and CHF 3 per child (6-15)

In addition to these official viewing platforms, there is also the rail bridge that has a pedestrian path, which crosses the river, just above the falls.  It’s highly recommended to walk across the bridge and admire the falls at yet another viewpoint. This is a great way to avoid paying a Rhine Falls entry fee.


Rhine Falls Tour Options

If you’re staying in Zurich, there are a range of great half and full day Zurich Rhine Falls tour options that you can join to visit the Rhine fall.  Below is some information on some of the more popular Rhine Falls tour options.

  • Half Day Tour from Zurich including Stein am Rhein: This half day tour includes time at the Rhine Falls, as well as the medieval town of Stein am Rhein.  Click here for more information and prices.

  • Half Day Tour from Zurich with Panoramic Lift: This half day tour includes time at the Rhine Falls including entry into Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall.  Click here for more information and prices.

  • Day Tour to Rhine Falls and Zurich City with Cogwheel Train Ride: This full day tour includes time at the Rhine Falls, a Zurich city tour and taking the cogwheel train uphill for some great views across the city.  Click here for more information and prices.

  • Day Tour to Rhine Falls, Stein am Rhein and Zurich City with Cogwheel Train Ride: This full day tour includes time at the Rhine Falls, Stein am Rhein, a Zurich city tour and taking the cogwheel train uphill for some great views across the city.  Click here for more information and prices.

  • Black Forest, Titisee and Rhine Falls Day Tour from Zurich: This full day tour takes you to Southern Germany to see the Black Forest in Titisee and the Rhine Falls.  Click here for more information and prices.

Rhine Falls, Switzerland
The Rhine Falls are situated close to Schaffhausen and can easily be visited on a day trip from Zurich. (C) Schaffhauserland Tourismus/Photographer: Bruno Sternegg

Other Things to do around the Rhine Falls in Switzerland

While many people come to simply view the falls, there is a range of activities to do in the area for those that want to spend the entire day here or even a few days.  Other things to do include:

  • The falls at night: If you do stay in the area, come back and view the falls at night as they are illuminated after dark.  
  • Rhine in Flames: If you happen to be visiting the falls in July, come and see the large fireworks display which is on 31 July from 9.45pm. 
  • Smilestones – Miniature World: Come and see Swiss landmarks, buildings, carriages and figures on a scale of 1:87.  Entry is CHF 19 per adult per CHF 12 per child (6-15). Click here to purchase tickets online.
  • Adventure Park: During April to October, enjoy unique views of the Rhine Falls while completing Switzerland’s largest forest rope course.  Kids from 4 years of age welcome. Entry starts from CHF 16 for children 4-7, up to CHF 40 per adult.
  • Canoe Tours: During April to October, you can join a guided canoe tour or rent your own.
  • Rhfall-Express: During April to October, the Rhfall-Express takes you to and from Schaffhausen to the Rhine Falls.  Tickets are CHF 6 one way or CHF 10 return for adults and for children (6-12) CHF 3.50 one and CHF 7 return.
  • Biking:  There is also a range of great biking routes in the area. 
Laufen Castle, Rhine Falls, Switzerland
Laufen Castle sits on the southern bank of the Rhine Falls.

When to Visit the Rhine River Falls

The Rhine Falls flow year round and are impressive at any time of the year.  During the summer months, the flow is at its highest and is simply awe-inspiring to see.  However the falls still flow during the winter months and while the Rhine Falls weather is cold, the scenery is just gorgeous, making it a beautiful time to visit.


Rhine Falls Hotels: Where to Stay Near Rhine Water Falls

While you can easily take a day trip to Rhine Falls from Zurich, if you want to explore the area over a few days, then you can find the closest Rhine Falls hotels in Neuhausen Am Rheinfall. Click here to browse the options.

For more options, consider staying in Schaffhausen which is just a few kilometres away. We love the Sorell Hotel Rüdenclick here to check current prices.


Ready to plan your visit to Rhine Falls?

Now you have all the info you need to start planning your visit to the Rhine Falls. One thing is certain – however you reach the Rhine Falls, you are sure to be impressed by the sheer power of the water that tumbles over the falls as it makes its way along the mighty River Rhine.

Europe’s largest waterfalls are a true natural wonder and make a wonderful inclusion in any Switzerland itinerary.


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A guide to visiting Rhine Falls, Switzerland

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