Schaffhausen is a small city 50km northeast of Zurich and the capital of the Canton of Schaffhausen. The first historical mention of the city came in 1045AD. It was an independent city state before becoming a charter member of the original Swiss Confederacy. Schauffhausen suffered considerably during the Thirty Years' War, and in fact did not recover fully until the arrival of the railroad in 1857.
Schaffhausen has a small but impressive Alstadt (or Old Town). The architecture is remarkably well preserved and ranges from the Gothic, Baroque, and Rococo periods. Many of the streets are pedestrian only and lined with small shops and restaurants. At the center of town is Fronwagplatz, which features a clock tower and fountain dating from the sixteenth century.
Münster zu Allerheiligen is the city's finest church and dominates the Old Town. The cathedral was built in the eleventh century and renovated several times since. The Museum zu Allerheiligen has an extensive collection of artifacts from the ancient and Medieval periods. Several rooms are decorated in the styles of the fifteenth through nineteenth centuries. Most of the writing in the museum is in French and German, so English speakers may struggle to understand everything.
The Munot was once a fortress defending the city. The design features massive stone ramparts. The views from the top are great. You can see all of Schaffhausen and the surrounding valley. The Haus zum Ritter is the city's finest mansion, dating to the 1490s. The fabulous paintings that were once housed here are now in the Museum zu Allerheiligen.
The train ride from Zurich to Schaffhausen takes about an hour. If you want to see a little more of town, you can rent bicycles at the train station. The town's tourist office offers tours daily. During the day, it hits up all the major attractions. At night, it focuses on the grislier side of things, including murders and hangings. They're available in English and provide interesting insight into the city's history. Schaffhausen is an easy day trip from Zurich. The pleasant, riverside atmosphere is definitely worth a visit.
Location: 50km northeast of Zurich
Museum zu Allerheiligen
Location: Baumgartenstrasse 6, Schauffhausen
Telephone: +41 52 633 0777
Hours: Open Tuesday through Sunday 11:00-17:00
Free for children under 16
Free for Münster zu Allerheiligen