From vines to the Rhine and rolling hills – discover Schaffhauserland and indulge in its wine culture.
As you hike through green vines, across glowing yellow fields and over densely forested hills until you hear the roar of the Rhine Falls, you’ll find that Schaffhauserland’s landscape is both idyllic and varied. Make sure to stop by one of the local winemakers’ for a drink.
The course of the Rhine, the wooded outermost foothills of the Jura and a winemaking tradition dating back centuries are the hallmarks of the landscape you’ll find in the north of Switzerland.
The mountain church of St. Moritz towers over Hallau – the biggest winemaking area of German-speaking Switzerland–. It seems as if it is standing guard over the valley and Klettgau’s numerous vine-covered slopes that line up around it in a wide semicircle. Formerly a popular destination for pilgrims, today the church is the starting point for extended hikes.
It is high summer and silence reigns over the vine-covered slopes. The grapes glow a deep green and the few winemakers to be seen are busy pruning their vines. One of them is Lukas Bringolf, who has been working in a winery in Hallau for three years, while also pressing his own wine.
The Blauburgunder grape (also known as Pinot Noir) reins supreme here.
“You have to be a bit of an inventor to be a winegrower”
The 24-year-old is a professional wine technologist specialising in «getting the best out of the grape and realising my ideas about what makes a good wine” – this is how he describes his passion for wine. He is also one of the young winegrowers who are keeping Hallau’s wine tradition alive.
Hallau is heaven for wine lovers
They can stop off at the vineyard hut (“Räbhüüsli”) that Lukas Bringolf and four other winegrowing families traditionally take turns running on summer weekends, for example. Hikers can quench their thirst in the shade of a leafy pergola and enjoy a substantial meal washed down by a drop of good wine.
Ascent to Schaffhauserland’s highest “peak”
Hikers have a possible destination constantly in view – the striking chain of hills coming up on the horizon – the Schaffhauser Randen.
The hills extend 500 metres above the valley, but hikers have to work hard before they can enjoy the views from their summit – a climb up dizzying trails and through vast forests. Hidden behind the thicket of trees and bushes, the Siblinger Randenturm tower and its unmistakeable architecture suddenly emerge into view.
Views of Klettgau, Schaffhausen’s breadbasket and wine barrel
Once you’ve scaled the 99 stairs to the top, you are treated to stunning views of a picture-perfect landscape and a multi-coloured patchwork quilt of meadows and fields in which picturesque villages are nestled. Broad expanses of this area have belonged to the Regional Nature Park Schaffhausen since January 2018.
Schaffhausen’s breadbasket and wine barrel.
- 200 hectares is the size of the area devoted to viticulture in the winegrowing communities of Hallau/Oberhallau.
- 70% of Schaffhausen’s viticulture is given over to the Blauburgunder grape, also known as Pinot Noir.
- 790m a.s.l. is the height from which you gaze down at Schaffhauserland from the Siblinger Randenturm tower.
- 15,000 years ago was when the Rhine Falls (Schaffhausen) were formed.
The Rhine, the canton’s life-giving artery, is Schaffhauserland’s defining feature. You’ll catch sight of the region’s typical flatboats (“Weidlinge”) bobbing in the current as you walk along its river banks to Schaffhausen, as the historic old town looms ever closer.
Greetings from the last ice age
You’ll also find you are getting nearer and nearer to the thundering roar of the Rhine Falls, a spectacle of nature that is the foaming jewel in the crown of every hike through Schaffhauserland.
The water thunders 23 metres down into the depths.
The route takes you from the winegrowing community of Hallau along a panorama trail and through vast forests to the Randen range of hills. You can add on a second stage from Siblinger Randenhaus restaurant to Schaffhausen. Round off the idyllic hiking experience with a visit to the historic old town with its promenades along the Rhine and then to the Rhine Falls themselves at Neuhausen.
- 2 days Time required to hike from Hallau to Schaffhausen.
- 46km Length of the complete Klettgau-Rhein Trail.
- 1,400m Total ascent (ascents and descents).