What You Need To Know
Schaffhausen is located in the north of Switzerland, and is home to the beautiful Rhine Falls. German is most widely spoken by the native residents, but it is also normal to communicate in English. The city is small, so it is easy to get around by foot, and the public transportation options are great. Home to great schools, you’re a stone’s throw away from the rest of Switzerland the Europe.
But like the rest of Switzerland, food and accommodation are expensive. Fortunately you can save money on sight seeing in Schaffhausen since many of the more popular sights for free. And as the city is relatively small, you can walk or bike everywhere, saving even more money on transportation costs.
Area: 41,85 km²
Population: 35 900 (year 2014)
- The Swiss franc (CHF) is the only official currency in Switzerland. The franc is the only currency accepted everywhere. The Euro is the currency in the neighboring countries Germany, France, Italy and Austria, and in many other European countries.Nevertheless, you can pay with Euros in many shops, hotels, rail stations and gas stations in Switzerland. This is convenient if you’re only in transit or only stay for one night. Many smaller shops, market stalls, kiosks, etc. only allow payment in Swiss francs. Note that the Euro is a foreign currency in Switzerland, so accepting it results in extra costs and risks for shop owners. Therefore, if you pay with Euros, change will be in Swiss francs and the exchange rate is mostly not in your favor. For longer stays, it is cheaper and more convenient to have Swiss francs at hand.
- Credit cards and debit cards are widely accepted, so there is no need to have large amounts of cash at hand. You can pay larger amounts by cards and take along some cash for smaller payments and places that do not accept cards.Swiss francs can be obtained from ATM’s. They are available in all towns, and you usually find them at the post office, rail station and shopping center. In general this is the cheapest way to obtain cash. Your bank can provide exact fees. To save time upon arrival, it can be handy to purchase some Swiss francs before you depart.
Your bank may charge fees for both cash withdrawal through ATM’s and credit/debit card payments.
Schaffhausen’s climate is classified as warm and temperate. There is significant rainfall throughout the year in Schaffhausen. Even the driest month still has a lot of rainfall. This climate is considered to be Cfb according to the Köppen-Geiger climate classification. The average annual temperature is 9.2 °C in Schaffhausen. In a year, the average rainfall is 973 mm.
The least amount of rainfall occurs in January. The average in this month is 59 mm. Most precipitation falls in June, with an average of 112 mm.
The temperatures are highest on average in July, at around 18.3 °C. In January, the average temperature is -0.1 °C. It is the lowest average temperature of the whole year.
Switzerland has four official languages: German (spoken by 64%), French (20%), Italian (6.5%) and Romansh (0.5%). The official language of Schaffhausen is (the Swiss variety of Standard) German, but the main spoken language is the local variant of the Alemannic Swiss German dialect.
High German is the written language. English is widely spoken in Switzerland and is often used in business. Learning the local language and making an effort to understand the dialect will help with integration.
Health and security
- The Swiss healthcare system is globally known as an outstanding model, with among the highest amount of healthcare expenditure in the world after the US. Swiss healthcare combines public, subsidised private and totally private healthcare systems to create an extensive network of highly qualified doctors (many of them from elsewhere in the EU) and Swiss hospitals, the best equipped medical facilities and no waiting lists – but it all comes at a price.Switzerland’s healthcare system derives a significant portion of funding from mandatory Swiss health insurance premiums (averaging around EUR 450 per month) and out-of-pocket payments, meaning there is no free healthcare in Switzerland. In line with the high cost of living in Switzerland, Swiss health insurance equals around 10 percent of the average Swiss salary.
- Switzerland on the whole is a very safe place to live and bring up children. There are good and bad places to live, but everything is relative.
- Switzerland is not a member of the European customs union. On the one hand that gives you the opportunity to buy real tax-free goods at airports when you are travelling from and to Switzerland. On the other hand there are tight restrictions on the goods you can take free of customs duty from Switzerland to your country. For EU-countries the following customs and tax allowances apply (for other countries check with the according customs authorities):Tobacco: 200 (50 to some countries) cigarettes or 100 (20) cigarillos or 50 (10) cigars or 250 gr (50) of smoking tobacco.
Alcohol: 1 litre of spirits over 22% vol or 2 litres of spirits with less than 22% vol, 4 litres of still wine, 16 litres of beer.
Other goods: Max. value of all goods: 430 euros for air travellers and 300 euros for other travellers.
Goods over these limits must be declared when entering a EU-country, additional taxes and VAT may apply.
- Switzerland is known as one of the more expensive countries to visit in Europe, and visitors are advised to choose their dinners wisely. However, responsible planning can help you avoid paying too much. While a three-course meal with wine will cost you more than 40 Swiss francs per person, you can have sandwiches that will cost you no more than eight francs. Also, remember that in Switzerland, most restaurant bills include service. Unless service is exceptional, there is no need to add any further server tip. However, visitors should be aware that the credit card bills leave open the ability to tip. If you’re not paying attention, you may end up paying far more for the meal than you realized.
- The Munot Fortress is Schaffhausen’s best known landmark looming over the city and the Rhine River. The circular fortress was built between 1564 – 1589 by Schaffhausen locals under mandatory labor. Walking into the fortress is an eery feeling as it’s stone walls are dimly lit with only small traces of daylight squeezing in. Once you made your way up the circular path of the fortress walls you are treated to a view of Schaffhausen and the Rhine River. Surprisingly, admission is free.
- Walking in the pedestrian only streets of Old Town Schaffhausen is a treat for the eyes with all the guild houses, statues and 171 oriels (bay windows protecting out of an upper level for those who don’t know what an oriel is). Old Town Schaffhausen is full of life and one of the cafes is the perfect place for people watching. You can stop by the tourist office for a free city map marking all the tourist attractions