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Sleeping in Schaffhausen and Stein-am-Rhein: Need Suggestions and a Review

Sleeping in Schaffhausen and Stein-am-Rhein: Need Suggestions and a Review

Feb 7th, 2004, 06:33 AM
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Sleeping in Schaffhausen and Stein-am-Rhein: Need Suggestions and a Review


My wife and I this summer will be vacationing in Switzerland. Our original plan, after landing in Zurich, was to spend a few overnights in Luzern, and then spend the next five days in the Berner Oberland. From there, we'd spend three days in Germany's Black Forest, three days along the Mosel, and then conclude our holidays around Frankfurt. But rather than start in Luzern, I'm now wondering if a few days around Schaffhausen and Stein-am-Rhein is in order, and then head south to Luzern.

My questions concern lodging in Schaffhausen and Stein. Any suggestions for a good, moderately priced accommodation? (Fodors gives a "thumbs-up" to the Stein-located Rheinfels, but at least one posting last year was less than enthusiastic.)

In addition, our plan is to avoid renting a car until we reach Germany. Therefore, is it practical getting from Zurich to Schaffhausen?

Any tips on sites to see?

Finally, would it be best to nix the whole northern Switzerland gameplan and spend those three days elsewhere?

Pertinent feedback would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.
DavidD is offline  
Feb 7th, 2004, 07:16 AM
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Gee, we loved the Rheinfels. Very nice room, windows opening to the river -- nice, but busy restaurant downstairs.

I thing the Rhine Falls are spectacular. We started at one side and did a walk/hike in a loop, crossing the river downstream and hiking back up through the woods, eventually crossing the river (to the north again) above the falls. We also took a boat from Schaffhausen to Stein-am-Rhein. And of course, there's lots to do on Lake Konstanz -- including the lovely little island of flowers.
Patrick is offline  
Feb 7th, 2004, 08:47 AM
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I may have been the person who posted the "less than enthusiastic" review of the Rheinfels. I agree, Patrick, the view overlooking the Rhein was exquisite. We especially enjoyed watching a guy who lived on the other side of the river capsize his rowboat on a very chilly Sunday morning.

The aspect of the hotel that was less than thrilling was that the odor of frying fish from the first-floor restaurant permeated the place, and probably has for centuries; even the bath towels smelled like oil. Needless to say we dined elsewhere. One of the bedside lights didn't work and the other had a very low wattage bulb in it, leaving the room pretty dark. We requested a replacement light bulb, but it never materialized. Staff also seemed frantic and not very welcoming.

There's a grocery store (Migros?) in the little town which stocks those great liqueur-filled Lindt chocolate bars the least expensive prices that I found in Europe. Bought a stack of them for gifts.
Betsy is offline  
Feb 7th, 2004, 10:03 AM
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Hi David-

I did Schaffhausen and Stein-am-Rhein on a daytrip from Zurich, so can't help you with lodging.

I have to disagree with Patrick regarding Rhine Falls. I was SO disappointed when I got there. I guess my guidebooks (Fodor's and Frommers) really described it as spectacular, and I was expecting something like Niagara Falls. To me, it wasn't worth the trouble getting there (a bus ride from Schaffhausen and then a 10-15mins walk). But if you have a few days, it is a nice walk along the trails around the falls.

Schaffhausen is nice, mainly walking around the center and seeing the fresco facades and oriel windows of the houses. There's also the Munot, a fortress on top of the town which gives a nice view of Rhine.

Like Patrick, I also took a ferry from Schaffhausen to Stein-am-Rhein. Very nice trip. Stein-am-Rhein, IMO, is even nicer than Schaffhausen. Again, lots of frescos and oriel windows.

From Zurich there is a direct train to Schaffhausen (40mins). But for Stein-am-Rhein, you have to change at Winterthur and the trip is 1hr 5mins. You can get train schedules at Swiss Rail website:

Have a good trip!
yk is offline  
Feb 8th, 2004, 04:49 AM
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You can also train from Schaffhausen to Stein-am-Rhein, 25 minutes. By the way, if you love train rides, you could actually day-trip to Schaffhausen and Stein-am-Rhein from Lucerne. (2:17 to SaR with one change, or just 2 hours direct from Lucerne to Schaffhausen.)

In your plan B or C, were you still thinking of staying in the Oberland for five nights? If so, you could do a long daytrip to Lucerne from there (2.5 hours or so from Grindelwald). As you can see, I am willing to substitute loooong daytrips rather than hopping from hotel to hotel. The basic itinerary you mention at the top of this thread really does sound like a good one.

Here's another option: Have you thought of making your first few nights in a small town on Zurich's lake? From there you could rail to both the north and to Lucerne. The route from Rapperswil to Lucerne is especially pretty. Just throwing in some thoughts to confuse the issue. Good luck. Did you say when in the summer? This would influence my choices. J.
jmw44 is offline  
Feb 8th, 2004, 06:07 AM
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jm & folks,

Thanks, jm, for the Swiss-related suggestions, especially the one involving overnights around Zurich. That sounds like a practical, attractive option. However, I continue to edge towards Luzern as a base for a few days, using it to explore the town itself and for excursions to nearby attractions, such as Rigi and the lakes. Still, it's good to know the train trip from Luzern to Schaffhausen and SaR is a brief and easy one.

Betsy, I appreciated your fish anecdote. It causes me to rethink the Rheinfels as a possible accommodation, or, at the very least, to order beef from its menu.

It's too bad about Karen Brown' s Rheinfels recommendation, as I generally have good luck using her guidebooks. Such guidebooks, I suppose, must be taken with more than a few grains of salt. Presumably Ms. Brown and her staff do take the time to visit and experience the accommodation before it appears in the guidebook. But what happens the following year? Does Ms. Brown and company make a return visit, or is an accommodation's re-appearance based solely on paying an annual fee? I'm afraid it's the latter.

DavidD is offline  
Feb 8th, 2004, 09:58 AM
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Betsy - Sorry you didn't eat at the Rheinfels! We had a wonderful meal there in '91. In fact, my husband said it was the (or one of the) best fish entrees he has ever had, the local lake fish with a great sauce. We enjoyed the hotel and would return. Good luck with your choices, David and have a great trip. CJ
CarolJean is offline  
Feb 9th, 2004, 03:37 PM
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Bellvue in Neuhausen, just west of Schaffhausen..has views of the falls. I'm not sure if it's good now, but it surely used to be excellent, you may want to check it out too.
Lovely area of CH...but Berneroberland is fablous, you'll want those days there as there is so much to see & do.
Is car rental in CH that much more than Germany? It has been awhile for us, but we found pretty good rates a few years back.
Have a great trip. Aloha, Linda
mbln74a is offline  
Feb 9th, 2004, 04:00 PM
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To properly see the Rheinfall you have to go down the steps all the way almost to the bottom, get out on that cantilevered platform, and stand there feeling like the entire waterfall is falling in your direction on top of you! Awesome feeling!

Schaffhausen is a great stop. Don't miss it! So is Stein-am-Rhein, great!

We stayed in a B&B somewhere and it was with a wonderful young Swiss couple. They had only one room, but it was a great stay and the breakfast was tremendous!
easytraveler is offline  
Feb 9th, 2004, 04:21 PM
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We really enjoy staying at Rote Rose in Regensberg, which is a delightful small village outside of Zurich. From there, we have gone on daytrips to Schaffhausen and Stein. Dinner at Rheinfels is really enjoyable, but I would probably agree about the fish smell. I did look at the rooms, and they looked very nice, but we really enjoy the peace and quite of Rote Rose. Regensberg is a very unique and special little village. Rote Rose is a great place to get your feet on the ground. You would probably need a car, however. It is a very easy drive from the airport. It is also well located to daytrip into Zurich, Luzern or other choices.
bussrsf is offline  
Feb 10th, 2004, 07:47 PM
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David Very sorry, I said we were there in '91, actually it was 2001. We were on one of the last flights out of Newark on 9/10. The fish my husband had was Zander in butter sauce. We highly reccommend it. And his journal said the room was large with a great view of the water. (No mention of fish smell.) Have a great time. CJ
CarolJean is offline  
Feb 10th, 2004, 08:37 PM
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We picked Stein am Rhein as our first stop in Switzerland in 2002 to recover from jet lag before attending a conference in Lucerne. We arrived in Zurich and took the train to Stein am Rhein. We think it took about 1 hour. It was a short walk down the hill and over the bridge to the Hotel Rheinfels. We had a room over the restaurant and I did not notice any oil or fish smells, however, it was noisy. We did enjoy watching people on the river. We did eat in the restaurant and I found the zander tasty but floating in butter but then what isn't in Switzerland.

The town is charming but small and I wouldn't spend more than a night in Stein am Rhein if I had it to do over. We also went to Schaffhausen where there is a lot more to do. We were there on a Saturday and there was a market in the main shopping street. We had the best "hot dog" ever there from a vendor in front of a butcher shop (I'm sure it was a weiner something and was white, served in a paper with mustard and bread on the side -- walk away).

You can see many of the painted homes in Schauffenhausen like the ones in Stein am Rhein. The castle had nice views. The falls were a disappointment and don't smell very nice.

We are trying to remember the name of a restaurant in Stein am Rhein that we really enjoyed. We believe it was the restaurant in the Hotel Adler. The food was excellent and we had some wonderful local wine. I'll try to find the Swiss review book where it was given a very good write up and post it later. There was patio dining on the square and the chef came out and greeted everyone while we were eating. We ate there twice.

I thought bussrsf sounds like he had the right idea. You didn't say if you are renting a car.

Big hint: everything in Switzerland is closed on Sunday so plan your time wisely for a relaxing day.
Ronda is offline  
Feb 10th, 2004, 09:11 PM
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Just had to put in my 2 cents. I lived in Schaffhausen for a year back in the mid 80's and find it a charming, lovely town, Stein-Am-Rhein, too. I'm also one of those that finds the Rhinefall beautiful. It's noted not for it's height, but amount of water that rushes over it. There also used to be a boat that went out to it--may still be.
Stein-Am-Rhein used to have a doll museum, "Puppenmuseum"--I really enjoyed that and I'm not a doll person. It may still be there.
MzPossum is offline  
Feb 14th, 2004, 07:50 AM
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Ronda & Others,

Thanks so much for chiming in. It would appear, according to Ronda, that Schaffhausen would make for a good base from which to explore this part of CH. SAR sounds like it would be more suitable as a day (or half-day) trip, with the Rhein Falls and St. Gallen as further options.

As regards a rental car, my hope was to save a bit of Euro (or SF) and not rent a car for our entire trip. My thinking is we could take advantage of the Swiss rail system during our time around Schaffhausen, Luzern, and the B. Oberland, but then obtain a rental car as we enter Germany, touring the Black Forest and and Mosel River regions. This, it seemed to me, would be a practical and more cost-effective alternative to renting a car for our entire two weeks-plus trip. Any thoughts on this plan?

Finally, with respect to the SAR-located Rheinfels, there appears to be a consensus that noise is a factor at this accommodation. While I'm not looking for a monk-like setting, I'd prefer to find a place that is centrally-located and places an emphasis on relative quiet. Perhaps someone might know of such a place (moderately priced) that is in Schaffhausen.
DavidD is offline  
Feb 19th, 2004, 12:36 PM
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You should check the Karen Brown guidebook on Switzerland. I thought she had good suggestions for this area. Might even be able to look at the info on her web site.
Ronda is offline  
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