Thursday, October 1, 2009

Stein am Rhein? More like total GEM!

(A few weeks ago now...) on Wednesday, we took off for a place that everyone seems to love as I have read and heard a lot about it - Stein am Rhein, which literally means, Stone on the Rhein. The Rhein is a major river in Europe and it just happens to border Switzerland to the north. However, I think that this village was totally jipped when it came to names, as this is no stone on the river, but a priceless jewel, a wonderful little village (albeit tourist swamped) which after visiting I would 100% recommend as one of the best day trips from Zürich on offer. (By the way, the only historical evidence I could find of why it was named Stein am Rhein was that there was a stone bridge here during Roman times...)

We arrived at Stein am Rhein in a round about way - a route recommended by my sister in law, Sarah, who visited a few weeks before us. We took a train to Schaffhausen first, being sure to sit on the left side of the train from Wintertur to Schaffhausen, as instructed by our helpful SBB ticket agent, so we could see the Rheinfalls out the window. Stunning!!! Then when we arrived in Schaffhausen, we took a bus to the river (2 minute ride, or 10 minute walk) and then took a scenic boat to Stein am Rhein. (All in all, took about an hour and a half to get to Schaffhausen from Zürich, the boat ride was 2 hours from Schaffhausen to Steim am Rhein and worth it... then we trained back from Stein am Rhein. Simples.)

The boat is run by the SBB as well, so if you have a GA pass or Swiss pass, like my family did, you're covered! I got a special day pass that got me great savings on this trip with my half-fare card. Enquire at your SBB ticket office.

We got on the boat around 11 am and arrived at Stein am Rhein at 1pm - just in time to be famished and devour a few delicious crepes at the creperie recommended by many (thanks again!) on the main street... the street is tiny, so you cannot miss this quaint creperie quite near the ice cream parlor.

The highlights of Stein am Rhein are the medieval city walls and gates, ornate painted houses - especially those on the main street...

...and the medieval castle up on the hill, which you can see in the distance from the main street... not to mention the lovely vineyards and Rhein river surrounds.

The medieval city streets are also pedestrianized, meaning no cars - so considering that and all the beautiful features of the city, I would say Stein am Rhein is a photographer's paradise. My mom and brother really loved it. I could not keep them with me for a minute longer after lunch - they were off shooting every nook and cranny within seconds.

So if you need a great weekend getaway or a dose of Swiss architectural beauty, check out Stein am Rhein. I am glad we did, and I even got a few photos myself. ;) Check out my slideshow.

Next on the agenda... Rapperswil!
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Susan said...

I'm so glad you included Stein am Rhein in your family's travels. It's one of my favorite places, and so close to Zurich. Also, glad to see you had a crepe! I was one of the folks who put a plug in for them. The hardest part is saving room for dessert! Thanks for the info about the boat; next time I'm taking that route!

Nathan E. Hammer said...

Have you visited the ancient roman ruins in Kaiseraugst north of Basel? That is another fun outing!

Anonymous said...

I love charming Stein am Rhein and always take visitors to see it. I keep meaning to make time to go to the monastery that is on the island in the middle of the lake/river, but haven't made it yet.


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