Before I get into my review and sharing my thoughts on Zurich in particular I will like to share and reminisce with you guys a very special experience that I had during my stay here. I am lucky enough to be here during the Swiss National Day. This trip have been kind of memorable and special since I was around in the respective country for both France Bastille Day, Belgium National Day as well as the Swiss National Day on the 1st of August. Talk about a hattrick. Let me just say that this is totally unplanned throughout this trip and a pure coincidence. With that being said, I really on went about celebrating the Swiss National Day. How patriotic I am! Hey after all, it’s the Swiss, all about neutrality. I was in Zurich from 31 July to 5 August, so I was definitely right in the peak of the holidays. Traditionally, on the eve of the holiday, the country will celebrate with a huge fireworks display over the Rhine Falls, which is also Switzerland and Europe largest waterfalls. It is also known as the “fire on the rocks”! Singaporean celebrating Switzerland National Day. Let’s go!
Let me first just share a little on how this idea came about and why I did it. Usually I am not someone who goes for the crowd but I still went with it. After all it is a once in a lifetime experience. Rhine Falls has always been on my list of attractions to do in Zurich and it is located in Schaffhausen, slightly out of Zurich city centre. So it is more like a half day trip out. I only heard about the fireworks days leading up to me arriving in Zurich and upon some recommendation by the hotel it does seem like a perfect idea to do it. Since I am going to check out the falls, might as well do it in the best way possible. The fireworks first started in 1857 and is still continuing till today, a tradition every 31 July.
The Rhine Falls is easily accessible with public transport from Zurich, the well planned, clean and efficient S Bahn takes you right to the falls. Although tickets are definitely not the cheapest as per the norm over here in Zurich. Fares goes by zone as in Switzerland and since I already have a day ticket for the city centre from my hotel. I got an extension ticket that covers Schaffhausen for 26 CHF. Ouch! NEVER NEVER RIDE WITHOUT A TICKET IN SWITZERLAND!!! While you might be able to get away in other Europe countries, it is almost 100% that you will get caught here. There are two train stations near the falls, one on each side. They are Neuhausen Rheinfall, where S9 will get you here as well as the Neuhausen Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall, where S12 and S33 will get you here. The SBB app is really useful in planning journeys.
Let me first share about the Rhine Falls. I spend the first day I had over here all at the falls. I left my hotel in the afternoon and it was easy enough with a change of train. After arrival you are able to see signs that will lead you to the falls and soon enough you will be able to see it. The weather was amazing and in fact just a little too warm for my liking. I met someone on the train and we went about getting snips all over the falls. There are a couple of viewing point and plenty of spots where you are able to get pictures. There are also trails around the falls where you can explore and get to the other side of the falls. It is all easy enough and clear. Here are some pictures and the friends that I met.
Just some facts about Europe most mighty falls. It is the most powerful waterfalls in Europe and I could really felt the might of it. The sound of the water gushing and pouring down. It is that impressive. It is said that the falls cannot be climbed by fish, except eels that are able to worm their way up over the rocks. You might even get a little wet from the wind. On some areas you can even see how clear the water are. They are 150 metres wide and 23 metres high. In summer, the flow rate 600 m3/s. Amazing car wash?
You are also able to take some sightseeing boat rides over here and you can buy your ticket straight over there. We got one for 3 Euros, the shortest one which only takes us opposite. Well it is the experience that counts. It sure was nice as we past by the falls and I get to see it even closer. It is also nice that you can get a little rainbow with the water reflecting the sunlight.
Mainly over on the Schaffhausen side of the falls you are able to find a couple restaurant and stuff. It is also pretty busy over here given that it is a holiday and all. It is only after walking around the falls I decided to stay for the fireworks. One of the staff working the gelato also told me to chop a good seat by 5 to 6pm along the riverfront before it gets too quiet. Thankfully I had plenty of time ahead or perhaps too much time on my hand. It is a nice family affair where I see the locals being well prepared and have a picnic while waiting for the sun to set and the fireworks. They had like cheese, wine, so swiss! While I am stuck with a bottle of water from my hotel and an overpriced, thankfully delicious bratwurst for my dinner. 7 CHF for this! Oh well! Welcome to Switzerland.
Given that it is summer I knew I was in for a long wait. About 4 hours! Thankfully there is wifi here and I had battery to burn the time. It is sure nice lying on the ground and listening to the waves crashing. Soon it start to get more crowded and I was totally surrounded by the barriers and people behind me. At least I got the best view in the house. Totally unblocked. The fireworks only start at about 9.45pm. Check out this pictures.
It is really totally amazing and the best and most memorable fireworks I have seen. Coming from a Singaporean, I have seen a lot. But this is so special. Like in a village, the sound of the water crashing and the fireworks that light up the sky. Such a beauty. They also release the fireworks right from the waterfalls where they are being let off to the sky from the rocks right in front of me. They felt so near and so impactful. I never regret the wait for this. The display was almost 20 mins. I have tons of video and snaps of it as well so if you would like to see it. Slide into my DM on Instagram! No expensive rooftop bar or restaurant. Just good old lying on the grass by the lake and watching it first hand. I got an amazing priceless unblocked view.
Fireworks over the Rhine falls! I did it! Hands down the most memorable and amazing experience ever! Sure! Getting back was a struggle, imagine 100,000 people making their way to the train station in darkness. It was crazy but thankfully the train system is reliable and I got back around midnight to my hotel. Celebrating Swiss National Day for the first time ever. This is something that I will definitely like to do it again. Seeing The World In Steps out!