A Trip to Europe’s tallest waterfall: Rhine Falls

The impressive Rhine Falls (German: Rheinfall, singular) are the “largest” waterfalls in Europe, in terms of volume, not height. Known to be formed about 7,000 years ago and located near the Swiss-German border.

From Lucerne, the train ride took us to Neuhausen Rhine Falls in just under two hours. After a short walk from the station we arrived at the bottom of the falls. We were on the North side. The day we went there was a bit rainy and cloudy but nonetheless the waterfalls were breathtaking and pictures came out clear.

The falls are divided into three sections: North, South and Middle Falls.

The access to the northern side of waterfalls are free and several viewing platforms give you some great views of the falls from different angles. You can do a boat trip to the middle of the falls. The boat tour takes 10 to 30 minutes (depending on which one you choose) and are available from April to October.

Take a look at the historic water wheel that sits on a side channel to take advantage of the free source of hydroelectric power. This Waterwheel House has been here since the 12th century and was used as a hammer mill.

12th century water wheel

I would recommend going up the stair access which allows you to stop at several different beautiful vantage points and gets very up close. When you are up there and close to the waterfall, you get a real feel for the power and the volume of water passing over the falls. This area around the Rhine Falls includes also several restaurants, a souvenir shop and the Rhine Falls Park.

Look out over the far distance is Schloss Laufen, a 1000 year old cliff-top castle with panoramic lift over the Rhine Falls, an elegant restaurant and visitor’s center. This is the southern side of the fall and requires an entrance fee of CHF 5 to see the falls.

Two large isolated boulders sit in the middle of the falls called the viewing platform and you can reach there by boat only.

Two isolated boulders in the middle of the falls only accessible by boat

Rheinfall is only an hour away from Zurich. You can also stop by nearby charming Medieval town of Schaffhausen if you have time.


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