Stein am Rhein
Stein-Am-Rhein is one of Switzerland's loveliest towns. It's located about 20km east of Schaffhausen, as its name would suggest along the Rhine River. Stein-am-Rhein was a small fishing village when the Holy Roman Emperor Henry II moved St. George's Abbey here in 1007. The move was a boon to the city's economy, as the abbey had the ability to mint coins and hold markets. From the eleventh through the sixteenth centuries, Stein-am-Rhein was a regional economic center.
After the Protestant reformation, the abbey was secularized and lost much of its clout. Stein-Am-Rhein began a slow decline which continued until the creation of the Swiss Federation in the 1800s. Today, it is a pleasant small town with a population around 3,000. The main attraction is the historic city center. The narrow streets are lined with tight rows of townhouses adorned with frescoes, each more interesting than the last.
At the center of the old town is Rathauplatz (or 'Town Hall Square'). The town hall (or Rathaus) was built between 1539. One highlight are the spectacular dragon shaped waterspouts. The main street is Unterstadt, and some of the finest old houses are found along here. The old abbey, Kloster St. Georgen, is still around as well. Today it's a small museum dedicated to woodworking and local painters.
Though Stein-Am-Rhein is small, there are several excellent accomodation and dining options. Hohenklingen is a castle on a hill overlooking the town. It offers great views of the surrounding countryside. The restaurant inside isn't so bad either. Along the river is the Rheinfels. This hotel features authentic suits of armor in the lobby. There are also lots of interesting shops and cafes to explore.
The easiest way to get here is by train from Schaffhausen. The ride lasts under a half hour. The station is just across the river, in the newer part of town. The old town offers a unique glimpse into Switzerland's past, with a fine collection of sixteenth and seventeenth century buildings. Stein-Am-Rhein is definitely worth a visit. It's easily doable as a day trip from Zurich.
Telephone: +41 052 741 2137