Switzerland is all about water and mountains. And watches. And chocolate. And cheese. Alright, there are many great things in Switzerland but the truth is that nature is spectacular here. One of the most amazing nature shows are the Rhine Falls.
They are located close to Schaffhausen (famous for watches of course), on the High Rhine. They are the biggest falls in Europe in terms of water flow.
I would suggest that we start our visit from the side of Neuhausen am Rheinfall. This little castle houses a nice restaurant, a souvenir shop and a pier for boats that will take us on a little tour close to the falls.
There is plenty of fish here as you see. This is because they are unable to swim up the falls and need to stay below.
Finally we are on the boat. The water is quite shaky so do not stand up from your seats.
The driver's job must be deprived of all excitement, the total length of the cruise is probably a few hundred meters. Though I am not sure if one can get ever bored with the view.
One amazing thing about the Rhine Falls is that little rock in the middle, called Rheinfallfelsen. It is possible to climb it up but be careful, the path is steep.
The view is worth the effort though.
Do you feel the water drops on your face? Great feeling, isn’t it?
Those rocks do not look inviting so be careful not to slip.
The castle on the other side of the lake is called Laufen Castle. It used of course to belong to the noble family of Barons of Laufen but today it is a youth hostel.
Would you like to visit the castle? Great, this is just a half an hour walk. We will cross Rhine through the aqueduct-like bridge and we will be able to see the falls from close again.
Actually, there is a similar one on the other side, just that it does not have water below but trains on.
You might though that such big falls generate lots of hydropower. Well, they do, but just for their own pleasure not for the humans. Many energy companies tried to build a hydro power plant here but the Swiss people opposed to it heavily and on more than one occasion. So all you can see is an old fashion mill.
One of the reasons for this protective approach to Rhinefalls was to preserve its touristic features. Another one was to protect the wildlife. If you watch carefully, you can spot many birds.
What has amazed me most here is the contrast between the fierce power of the falls and the peaceful stability of Rhine just above them.
And the colour of the water is amazing too.
At night, the Rhine Falls are illuminated by these huge lamps.
The results can be spectatular. This one comes from a special celebration for St. Patrick day.
Here you can see the rock again. And yes, we were on top of it!
Finally we arrive to the bridge.
Look, there is a train coming out of the hill. It seems that there is a train station just below the castle.
Let’s get inside the castle now.
As I mentioned, the castle itself is now a hostel.
The walls have little wholes. Most probably in the past they were used as shooting positions. Though honestly speaking, I do not know to whom they could shoot from this part of the river.
And here comes the full view from the castle.
I hope that you have enjoyed this trip. For those who look for more contact with the Swiss nature, I recommend taking a canoe and going down the Rhine to Lake Constance.
I have heard it is a very nice place. If you can confirm it – let me know and maybe in some time I would put it on my travel list as well.