Stunning middle age town Stein am Rhein near Schaffhausen. You can reach the city in only 1 hour from Zurich.
Text and pictures by Marc Gottwald
Middle Age Town Stein am Rhein
Stein am Rhein is a historic town found in the canton of Schaffhausen. The city is one of the most beautiful towns of Switzerland and located directly at the German border. Moreover, the town borders with the Lake Constance (in german Bodensee). In the past, the town was a fishing place built at the lower end where Lake Constance becomes a River, named Rhine.
Today, the place is famous for its preserved history within a small area. Stein am Rhein is easy accessible as a half day or day trip from Zurich Switzerland. Accordingly, parking spaces are available, but please be aware that they are sometimes full, especially during the summer season. Here is the ultimate travel guide for that city.
1. Visiting the middle age town of “Stein am Rhein”
Stein am Rhein is a middle age town offers. The oldest buildings are coming from the 15th century, which means they are more than 500 years old. It was once a very traditional town with bakers, shoemakers, millers, craftsmen, etc.
Besides that, the buildings have been well presented and decorated with beautiful paintings and numbers representing the years that they were constructed. Some examples of these buildings include Schwarzes Horn, Roter Ochsen, Rathausplatz and Sonne. Here you can enjoy the architecture and painting of this great city.
In addition, you can eat a delicious cuisine in La p’tite crêperie, my favorite restaurant of the town.
In Summer the town can be quite busy, especially when the tourist buses arrive or during vacation time. If you visit the place in the early mornings or in the later evenings you have the city almost for you.
Great spot for pictures
The Swiss medieval ttown is the perfect spot to shoot great pictures. Whether in the city itself or together with the Rhine, almost every corner is so photogenic. One of my favorite spots to enjoy the view on the city of is from the brigde called “Rhigasse”.
And it’s so fascinating as the Bridge of Stein am Rhein is the boarder of the Rhine River and Lake Constance. It means that the water comes from Lake Constance and after it passes the bridge it’s the “Rhine” river.
2. A walk to the Insel werd
If you want to get a bit away from the croweded areas of the town, then I highly recommend you to walk to the Werd islands. Werd is a beautiful island that you can access from Stein am Rhein Unterdorf. And it’s only 500 metres away from the old town.
You can get to the island via a 125 m long walkable wooden bridge. Moreover, it is one of the best ways to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Lake Constance. There are in total three islands, but Werd is the most popular and the only which is accessible by foot. This group of islands is known as the Werd islands.
The “Insel Werd” is popular for its rich history. In 2005/2006, the water levels of Lake Constance fell to an extreme low, leading to the discovery of prehistoric artifacts below the waterfront area. Even tourists visit this small and beautiful island nowadays.
3. Taking the ship to Schaffhausen or Constance (Konstanz)
How can you combine your excursion to Stein am Rhein? My favorite answer is: Taking a ship and enjoy the idyllic moments on the water! And the best is that you can freely choose your direction!
After you have seen the Swiss town, take a ship to Schaffhausen or Constance (in german Konstanz) and get to enjoy one of the most beautiful river cruises in Switzerland. If you choose the direction of Schaffhausen you will experience a beautiful river cruise (as the Rhine river starts after the bridge). If you want to go to Constance, then you are taking a lake cruise. Both is beautiful so let’s have a loot at each option in detail.
Options for a cruise from Stein am Rhein
Rhine River Cruise from Stein am Rhein: The Rhine river meanders through beautiful landscapes, historical bridges, middle age towns like Diessenhofen and a lot of forests and natural reserves. It is very likely that you will see rare birds. Besides, if you are heading to Schaffhausen, you will get to see the cozy Schaffhausen town with plenty of restaurants, a beautiful castle called “Munot”.
If you have some spare time, you can visit the magnificent Rhine falls for a chance to enjoy the thundering sounds of the water. In only 10 minutes you arrive from the train station of Schaffhausen at Neuhausen (S12). You can also take the bus from there.
Lake Constance Lake Cruise from Stein am Rhein: If you are heading to Constance (Konstanz), you will get to enjoy a well preserved medieval city on Lake Constance. One of the most popular sites here is the Romanesque Konstanz cathedral, popular for its Gothic spire and decorative mix of styles. The best thing is that the cruise is as well during the winter time.The cruise feels amazing, especially when you combine it with culinary delights. By the way, Constance is on the boarder between Switzerland and Germany, but the city itself belongs already to Germany.
4. Burg Hohenklingen – the old castle above Stein am Rhein
In a magnificent location just above the charming town of Stein and Rhein, there is a super modernized restaurant named Burg Hohenklingen. The grand castle attracts tourists and visitors since a long time. The castle itself was built in the 11th century and is renovated recently. Burg Hohenklingen is everyone’s ideal place for vacations, dinners, romantic treats, and other family activities.
Visitors are assured of amazing events and entertainments especially in the Burg tube which has a wonderful atmosphere and provides a better view verf the Rhine. Burg Hohenklingen’s enchanting environment is also available for hire in case you have private events or other exclusive celebrations.
Restaurant facilities include classic cuisines such as pasta, steaks and more. At Burg Hohenklingen you can experience exciting and unforgettable moments next to Stein am Rhein.
5. Activities along the Rhine River
What else can you do in Stein am Rhein? For example you can relax in front of the river near the restaurants.
Another great tip is to do a walk or a bike ride along the Rhine River while starting in Stein am Rhein. The Rhine river is one of European’s biggest rivers. The Rhine’s beauty is a source of pride for Switzerland and shaping the countries culture and history. Along the Rhine, there are endless series of beautiful towns, riverside vineyards, and Islands that make the river a romantic place.
Some of the excursions and activities that you can enjoy along the Rhine includes cycling, walking, boating, and swimming. You can relax on a bench on either side of the river banks. Visiting and exploring the Rhine is a fantastic and exciting nature experience.
In summer there is also a small train, the so-called Liliputbahn. It transports adults and children on a short route along the banks of Stein am Rhein.
Final thoughts about Stein am Rhein
Stein am Rhein is one of the best places to visit in Switzerland thanks to its amazing culinary, romantic atmosphere, and history. Furthermore, the town is reachable in less than 1 hour from Zurich and St.Gallen, What I most love is that the buildings have a unique design with beautiful paintings or timber. Moreover, the number of places you can visit once you arrive here are countless. And the day trip can be easily combined with a visit at the famous Rhine Falls.