The Rheinfall or Rhine falls is one of the most powerful waterfalls on the main land in Europe and is located near Schaffhausen in the Northeast of Switzerland.
Together with the Dettifoss in Iceland, the Rheinfall is the most powerful waterfall in Europe. The average water flow is 250 m³/s, while in the summer the average water flow is 600 m³/s. The highest flow ever measured iss 1,250 m³/s in the year 1965.
Driving near Schaffhausen there are everywhere signs pointing to the Rheinfall. I visited the waterfall april 2017, 40 years after my first and only visit. Probably my visit then to the Rheinfall is the reason why I am addicted to waterfalls. I have not many memories of my visit, besides some old pictures but I miss the trout swimming near the waterfall. I can remember that I saw them swimming in the river.
I advise to park the car at parking 3 (quite expensive), just above Schlössli Wörth, where boats leave to the other side or to the Rheinfall felsen, a big rock in the middle of the waterfall. The Rheinfall felsen is a mighty rock that withstood the elements for a thousand years.
There are also viewing platforms with a spectacular view on the falls on the other side of the Rhine. These can be reached via a steep and narrow stair from Schloss Laufen (admission required). Guided tours of various lengths are possible.
Highlight of a visit is taking a boat trip to the Rheinfall felsen because you can get nearer to the waterfall and at the rock you have another kind of viewpoint. You also feel the power of the water here. During my Rheinfall ,April 2107, the volume in the river was 275.000 liter/sec, an enormous amount of water.
Note that you only can pay cash at the boat office! They accept euro’s, but know that 10 Swiss francs is less money then 10 euro.
If you don’t want to spend any money or if you have limited time, you can walk along the Rhine shore to several viewpoint that are also very nice. Only thing that bothered me was the backlight from the sun. I was awake to early that day, so you better can visit the Rheinfall in the afternoon. On the other hand, it gets more crowded at that point. When I left the waterfall at noon busloads of people where arriving.
The Rheinfall is not very high, 23 meters, but with a wide of 150 meters very impressive to see. The Rheinfall is over 15,000 years old, and is originated during the last ice age. Due to tectonic shifts, the Rhine River was forced into a new riverbed . The Rhine Falls came into being at the transition point where hard chalk turned into soft gravel.
The last five photo’s are taken July 1976 and was my first acquaintance with waterfalls. Probably the Rheinfall is the reason that I love waterfalls. You can see me at the age of 9 at the last photo, the blond guy with the yellow jacket.
In 2016 I had a week of and made a three day visit to the Schwarzwald (Germany). There are several nice waterfalls you can visit in the Schwarzwald: Allerheiligen wasserfälle, Todtnauer wasserfall and the famous Triberger wasserfälle. From the Schwarzwald it is only a 1-1,5 hour drive by car, to the Rheinfall. If you take exit 2 on road 4, just before Schaffhausen, you don’t have to buy a vignet (over 40 euro)!!