An Unplanned Weekend in Switzerland: Rhine Falls

Switzerland: famous for chocolate, watches, cheese, neutrality, the Alps, and for being the most expensive country in Europe. To be honest, Switzerland was never at the top of my list of places we had to visit while living here. We really only went because all of our other plans fell through. We originally planned to head to Paris, but the fuel strikes put that on hold. Our backup plan was to head to the Czech Republic, but hotels in Prague for that specific weekend were over $300 per night which is more than we are paying per night to stay in London. That’s a pretty insane amount of money for a country in Eastern Europe.  Stefan suggested that we just stay home and travel within Germany, but I refused. Since he was gone for work for a little over a month, we didn’t travel anywhere for nearly 6 weeks. I was ready to go and get out of Germany. Switzerland was really the only option we had since we wanted to drive.

Our first stop in Switzerland was to Rhine Falls, the largest waterfall in Europe.

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To be completely honest, we were expecting something much more impressive from Europe’s biggest waterfall. The pictures online made Rhine Falls look big, almost as big as Niagara Falls. Imagine our surprise when we showed up and saw what it actually was.

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By far the most exciting thing to do at Rhine Falls is to ride a boat out to the big rock and climb the stairs to the top. It’s a good tourist trap, I suppose. We planned to do it but once we saw the price they wanted for a 15 minute boat ride we passed.

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That’s not to say that Rhine Falls isn’t beautiful because it was. It’s just when you spend 4 hours driving to something you become bitter when it doesn’t live up to your expectations.

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To get to Rhine Falls we had a bit of a walk, so after we looked at the falls for about 10 minutes we decided to get a drink.
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Enter the most expensive bottle of water I have ever purchased in my entire life! A small bottle with a price tag of something like 10 US dollars. Do you know how many margaritas we drank in Honduras for $10? FIVE! Somehow the thought of paying $10 for water when I could be having 5 margaritas in Honduras didn’t sit right with me. Haha 😛

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Stefan did get this Swiss beer which was delicious. In true European fashion the beer was much cheaper than the water. He let me drink some though and it’s probably the best beer I’ve ever had. If you ever go to Rhine Falls skip the water and drink 2 beers instead!

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We also bought a bunch of Swiss chocolate while in Switzerland. It was fantastic! I honestly wish we would have purchased more because four bars we bought didn’t last long around our house!

After leaving Rhine Falls we looked for a place to eat in Schaffhausen, Switzerland. Switzerland doesn’t have many dishes uniquely Swiss. Instead much of their cuisine is borrowed from neighboring Germany, France, and Italy. We found a schnitzel restaurant which wanted $30 a plate. We get good schnitzel here in Germany for $10 so we passed. Want a plate of lasagna in Schaffhausen? Better fork up $40. Want a döner? $20. Everything was 2-3 times as expensive as Germany. I knew this going in, but I still had sticker shock. I might pay $40 for lasagna in Italy, but definitely not in Switzerland. By this time Stefan had a pretty good idea. Let’s eat at the one place we know is cheap and maybe we can find some unique Swiss snack at our next destination. I agreed so off we went to…

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McDonald’s! Where we promptly paid $35 for two cheeseburgers, two medium fries and two medium drinks. It was the cleanest, most efficient and most delicious McDonald’s I’ve ever eaten though, so I guess that says something.

We originally had plans to head to St. Gallen (and maybe more), but decided to head on to Liechtenstein (different post). To be completely honest we were ready to leave Switzerland at this point. We had ran into some real grouches working at places in Switzerland and we were just overwhelmed. We didn’t even see any unique buildings. Everything was very modern and boxy. A lot of people really love Switzerland, so I don’t want to discourage anyone from visiting. It just wasn’t our cup of tea.

If you know me you know that I obsessively plan out all of our trips. I generally know exactly where we are going, where the best places to eat are, etc. Since I didn’t get to plan this trip out we were winging it. We didn’t really have a plan and I think that set the tone for this entire trip.  I wouldn’t say the weekend was an entire wash. I mean we did go to Switzerland which is pretty cool if you ask me. We also learned something: no more spontaneous trips for us! We do much better (and have more fun) with my very detailed itineraries!

I think we might give Switzerland a second chance eventually. Maybe we will head to see the Matterhorn one day. We’ve heard that’s the best area to visit. I think we will give it a little time, though! 😉

6 Responses to “An Unplanned Weekend in Switzerland: Rhine Falls

  • rhonda
    12 months ago

    Sounds like fun to me, even though it wasn’t all you dreamed

  • Still sounds like a great time.

  • Sherry
    12 months ago

    I would feel the same way; the outrageous prices would make me irritated and resentful, in spite of the the fact that it is pretty cool to be in Switzerland.

    Thanks for the blog, though. We will all plan a bit first before visiting Switzerland.

  • Grandma Zola
    12 months ago

    So happy you got this experience. A bad trip to Switzerland….I can’t imagine.

  • Michelle
    12 months ago

    The pictures were great! It’s hard to pay 2-3 times more for everything when really you weren’t that far from home. Still you both got to experience Switzerland. I’m glad you went, but I agree about planning next time! So happy for you both!