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Stein am Rhein, a medieval jewel on Lake Constance

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Stein am Rhein, a medieval jewel on Lake Constance

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Stein am Rhein is a small medieval jewel nestled on the shores of the Rhine River in the Lake Constance region. The town is famous for its well-preserved medieval old town, rich in buildings with ornate façades, half-timbered houses and bay windows. But the town's surroundings also have a lot to offer! And a visit here is perfect as part of a pleasant weekend in the Schaffhausen region or in the Lake Constance region of Thurgau, among history and nature. In this article, we give you all the information you need to spend a day or weekend in the city.

Stein am Rhein

We love... Stein am Rhein!

Stein am Rhein is truly a little medieval gem! This adorable little town lies on the shores of the Rhine River in the Lake Constance region and is famous for its well-preserved old town centre, full of ornate facade buildings, half-timbered houses and bay windows. Reaching it is extremely easy and it is just as easy to fall in love with it, because this small town, enclosed within ancient walls and protected by a few town gates that have survived the centuries, offers a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere, which you can best enjoy during spring and summer. The surroundings of the town also have a lot to offer and a visit here lends itself perfectly to being part of a long weekend in the Schaffhausen region or in the Thurgau area of Lake Constance – between history and nature – discovering for example Schaffhausen and the famous Rhine Falls, walking the vineyard path in Thurgau or visiting the German town of Meersburg, another small jewel on the shores of Lake Constance. In this article, we give you all the information you need to plan your visit, perhaps during the Christmas period when Stein am Rhein hosts one of the most popular and atmospheric Christmas markets in Switzerland!

What to do in Stein am Rhein

The historical heart of the city is enclosed within the perimeter of the old city walls. Stein am Rhein is easily accessible both by car and by public transport. If you reach the city by car, you will probably find parking in the large pay-and-display area located near the Untertor, a well-preserved old city gate that allows you to easily enter the heart of the city.
If, on the other hand, you arrive here by train, since the train station is located on the opposite bank of the Rhine, you will have to cross the bridge over the river to reach the old town. Take advantage of this to make a few photos of the fascinating surrounding landscape!
Stein am Rhein is famous for its richly decorated historical buildings, half-timbered houses, bay windows and old fountains. Entering through the Untertor gate and walking through the Understadt, you will find yourself transported into a surprising and charming old world. Our advice is to walk through the streets of the centre at a relaxed pace and lose yourself in its alleys until you reach Rathausplatz and the old Marktbrunnen fountain. The town hall building (Rathaus) is a characteristic half-timbered house dating back to the 1500s that has been modified over the years but has not lost its charm. For a short break, on the large square in front you will find bars, cafés and restaurants that also offer outdoor seating in fine weather.
From Rathausplatz, we suggest you walk a few more steps to the former Benedictine Abbey of St. Georgen, one of the best-preserved monastery complexes in Switzerland.
Even from the outside, the historical building is particularly interesting, but if you would like to visit the inner rooms as well and have access to some frescoes of extraordinary historical importance, we suggest you pay the admission fee of CHF 5.00 per adult (free admission up to 16 years of age). The Museum is open from April to October – Tuesday to Sunday – from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. between June and August.
You can find all the information at this link.
After your visit, you can take a relaxing stroll along the Schiffländi, a tree-lined promenade along the river where the boats that reach the city from Constance and Schaffhausen dock during the Summer.

What to do in the surroundings of Stein am Rhein

Although the city has a lot to offer, the small old town can easily be visited in little more than half a day. Therefore, we suggest combining your visit with other fascinating destinations and points of interest in the area, perhaps as part of a weekend trip.
During the Summer, for instance, Stein am Rhein is easily accessible by boat from Schaffhausen, a beautiful city rich in history and points of interest such as its old town, the Munot fortress and the impressive Rhine Falls, the largest waterfalls in Europe! They can be reached from the city centre by car, train or on foot through a pleasant walk on a well-marked path that runs along both sides of the river.
For those in the mood for a long walk in the fresh air, the Thurgau Wine Trail is not to be missed. It is a hiking trail of about 14 km through the hills of vineyards that characterise the area and offers magnificent views of the Thur valley and the Alps in the distance. We, of course, took this route and, during the hike, made a brief stop at the ancient Carthusian Monastery of Ittingen to visit its gardens and small shop with local products and handicrafts.
Finally, if you are planning a visit to Stein am Rhein during the spring, you cannot miss a visit to the Island Mainau – in Germany – a must-see destination for those visiting the Lake Constance area and its historical and natural attractions. Thanks to a decidedly mild climate, the entire island is a wonderful flower garden that invites visitors to relax and enjoy themselves in close contact with nature.

Märlistadt, the Christmas Market in Stein am Rhein

Few people know that Stein am Rhein hosts one of the most fascinating Christmas markets in Switzerland. During Advent, the small town on the Rhine River is made even more charming by the numerous decorations that light up the streets, squares and buildings. The Märlistadt – the ‘city of fairy tales’ – as the Christmas event is called, takes place this year from 30 November to 1 January and offers not only handicrafts and gastronomic specialities but also many cultural and entertainment events. You can find all the latest information on the event’s official website.

© Pictures: Schaffhauserland Tourismus / Bruno Sternegg

How to get there

Arriving by train

Stein am Rhein Train Station

arriving-train

Stein am Rhein can be easily reached by public transport from the main cities in Switzerland. From Zurich, the town can be reached via many train connections leading to Schaffhausen, where you will need to change trains and take an S-line. The journey from Lucerne takes about two hours and from Zurich about an hour or so, depending on the connection chosen. Travellers from other major Swiss cities, on the other hand, will have to travel to Zurich beforehand and from there continue as indicated above. Train tickets can be purchased via the SBB website or through the SBB App and, as always, we suggest that you check in advance, via the same website or app, for up-to-date timetables and various travel options.

Arriving by car

Stein am Rhein Parking

arriving-car

Stein am Rhein is also easily accessible from the main cities in Switzerland by car. From Lucerne and Zurich, the city can be reached by following the A4 and then the A1. The journey takes about one and a half hours from Lucerne and 50 minutes from Zurich. If your starting point is not Lucerne or Zurich, you can check the best route for you at this link. For those arriving by car, the city offers many paid parking options, the most popular of which is the Untertur parking area. This is a pay-and-display area: on site you will find parking meters to pay for parking and print out a receipt to display on your windscreen.

Tips

1

Have we intrigued you? If you want to experience the city at its best, our tip is to reach it by boat from Schaffhausen so that you can also enjoy the beauty of the landscape around the Rhine River. You can find more information here.

2

If you have some free time in the city, the Lindwurm Museum offers an immersive experience for the whole family in the everyday atmosphere of an 1850 house! The museum is open from March to October, Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission costs CHF 5.00 per adult, but you can purchase a combined ticket for the Museum and Sankt Georgen Abbey for CHF 7.00 per adult. You can find all the information at this link.

3

Are you planning a visit to Stein am Rhein, Schaffhausen or to Lake Constance Region and have questions or concerns? Let us know by leaving a comment below and we will get back to you as soon as possible!

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