Route 2: Section 7 – cycling Schaffhausen to Bad Zurzach, Switzerland

Highlight: With this trip, another iconic Swiss landmarks has been checked off my list: the Rhine Falls (or Rheinfall)! Other Highlights-Schaffhausen, Rheinau (& its monastery island)

Route 2: Section 7 (Schaffhausen 391m–Bad Zurzach 341m)

 

Stats from SwitzerlandMobility.ch ( https://www.schweizmobil.ch/en/cycling-in-switzerland/routes/route/etappe-0924.html ): 53km, height difference Schaffhausen–Bad Zurzach 500m (560m in opposite direction). Their site has the full profile.

My Strava gave me a total distance of 63km and 800 elevation gain, which included some minor detours (especially in Rheinau).

This Section shares its route with Eurovelo 6.

 

May 2019

It is still very very cold in Switzerland, unusually cold. Last night it even snowed in half of the country! But I had planned this long-distance bike outing for a while and I was not going to have the bad weather holding me back…… And so it was that just after 6am I went out of the house, in the freezing weather, to catch the train for a 3.5h train journey to Schaffhausen, at the northern border with Germany.

Arrived in Schaffhausen, snow and rain were mercifully not in sight (well I had looked at the weather map before choosing my destination…).

I had already visited the town of Schaffhausen with its Munot fortress last year (see 2:06), so this time I headed directly to the famous Rhine Falls, about 3km west of the city (rheinfall.ch/en). The Falls are one of the main tourist attractions in Switzerland and they claim to be the largest waterfall in continental Europe. Although the weather was cold, the upside was the scarcity of tourists.

[Rheinfall]


By chance, I took the road north of the river (so not on the bike route), and this gave me a better panoramic view of the Falls. Here the panoramic trail ends at the the river banks where sightseeing boats depart from a small medieval castle, Schlössli Wörth, vestige of ancient trade activities.

Schlössli Wörth

Schloss Laufen
A bit further west I found the beautiful former Benedictine monastery of Rheinau and its extensively decorated church (18th century, baroque-style). It is located on a tiny island on the Rhine river and, to go there, I had to do a minor detour because route 2:07 by-passes it by a hair…..

Former Benedictine monastery of Rheinau.
The monastery buildings now house also a restaurant and toilets -always handy on these trips….In the park behind the church I found a mystical 16th century chapel with old frescoes.

Chapel in the monastery complex

The entire monastery complex is surrounded by forests and water (myswitzerland.com/en-ch/klosterkirche-rheinau-monastery-church-rheinau.html). In returning to the main route I passed by the little village of Rheinau with historic stately houses and an old covered bridge (1804) that crosses into Germany.

Further west, on the river, is the almost entirely medieval burg of Kaiserstuhl with its stately houses. Here I crossed the bridge into Germany where there is a stunning small and quite ancient castle. From the German side one can also better appreciate the medieval villagescape of Kaiserstuhl.
Across from Kaiserstuhl on the German side

 

Lastly, of Bad Zurzach I noticed only its SPA, which is reputed to be the biggest open-air thermal complex in Switzerland.

Unfortunately, here I forgot to visit Verena Minster, a beautiful collegiate church with a mixture of several architectural styles (Romanesque , Gothic and Baroque).

Then, I ended up biking a few extra km to take the train in Koblenz, which has better train connections.

Links to Introduction and other Sections:

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