northeast switzerland

Schaffhausen is a beautifully preserved medieval town along the Rhine River. The town prospered by providing land transportation for goods traveling down the river (going around the Rhine Falls). Wealthy merchants decorated their fancy townhouses with colorful frescoes during the Renaissance. Munot castle was built on a hill above the town to guard Schaffhausen and the river beyond.

Tip: Before starting out, pick up a detailed free map of Schaffhausen at the tourist office on Herrenacker plaza.

Explore the old city (Altstadt) - Start your explorations at Fronwagplatz, site of medieval marketplace - there are still weekly markets today. Look up at the the Fronwagturm, a tower with an astronomical clock that shows the hours, days of the week, seasons, positions of the sun and moon.
Walk north up the street, passing by the "Moor" fountain, a figure of Kaspar, one of the three kings, holding at golden goblet and shield. Further down the street (which is now Vorstadt), stop to look at the Golden Ox House (Haus Zum Goldenen Ochsen) - you can't miss it, there's a large yellow ox fresco on the facade, plus figures from ancient Greece, and a beautifully decorated bay window.
Continue walking down the street to the stone tower, Schwabentor, a 14th century gate to the city (restrooms in the tower). Retrace your steps, walking back up Vorstadt two blocks, then turn left on Karstgasse into the square (Platz) with a fountain. Continue walking more or less straight through two narrow streets, to Vordergasse. Turn left, taking a look at the Zum Ritter house on the right side of the street. Further down the street is a fountain of William Tell, looking very confident and holding his crossbow.
At the fountain, turn left at the little street, Brunnergasse, left on Ampelngasse, and you'll see a pedestrian walkway over the Bachstrasse. This is the walkway (Munothaldenweg) to Munot castle.
After you've visited the castle, exit out of the tower, walk down the hill through the vineyards, head over to the 12th century Romanesque cathedral, Munster zu Allerheilegn, with a lovely church tower. From the Munsterplatz, walk up Beckenstube to the wide open Herrenacker plaza, turn right, and you're back at the Fronwagplatz, where you started.
Munot castle - Walk the Munothaldenweg up the hill to the castle, turning right on the bridge over the deep moat. Look down to see deer grazing down below in the deer park.
When you enter the castle, it's a dark, cavernous space where you can see the massive columns that support the fortress above. Take the cobblestone walkway that goes round and round to ascend the tower. From the top of the wide round keep are spectacular views of the old city below and Rhine River.

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