Several years ago, we bought our own inflatable rafts and every summer we like to take them out on easy river runs. This summer, I found a new favorite route – the Thur and Rhine rivers from Andelfingen to Eglisau.Detail Summary
|Location:||Thur and Rhine Rivers (Andelfingen to Eglisau), Canton Zürich, Switzerland|
|Car:||Zürich -> Andelfingen (put-in) – 45 min|
Andelfingen -> Eglisau – 20 min
Zürich -> Eglisau (take-out) – 35 min
|Duration:||About 4 hours (18 kilometers)|
There is so much to love about this route. It starts on the Thur river in Andelfingen, taking you through a nature preserve of pretty forests and fields. After a few kilometers, the Thur flows into the Rhine, where there are so many wonderful spots to stop for a picnic or swim. The scenery along the Rhine is also quite charming with forests, vineyards, half-timber houses, and even a hill with a church perched on top. The route ends at a small marina in the town of Eglisau. While it still managed to be a good work-out for us, this is an easy route with no real rapids (only one really small one) or other obstacles. We could simply paddle, float, and enjoy the view!
Because we were hauling all our own equipment and we were rafting with friends, we chose to drive. This way we could leave one car at the take-out and not need to take public transport back to our car at the put-in.
The Thur Kanu website provides a PDF map of the put-in and a PDF map of the take-out, but not addresses. When we arrived at each location, I pinned the location in Maps on my phone to get the following addresses:
Put -in: Alfred-Baur-Strasse 14.1 8450 Andelfingen
Take-out: Lochmühlestrasse, 8193 Eglisau
There is a gravel parking lot across the street from the put-in where you can park for up to 12 hours. At the take-out, there is street parking. You can also drive down directly to the take-out point to pick up your equipment.Public transport options?
We didn’t use public transportation for any part of this trip, but SBB lists the train station in Andelfingen as a 15 minute walk from the put-in point and the train station in Eglisau as a 15 minute walk from the take-out point.
Renting equipment? Guided Tour?
If you don’t have your own equipment or would like a guided tour, you can find some options on the SwitzerlandMobilty website. I have not used any of these companies, so I can’t make a specific recommendation.
Know Before You Go
If you are going without a guide, please note the following:
Water levels: Always check the water levels before going out on a river. The Thur Kanu website provides water level guidelines and links to the daily readings. The Thur was at the upper-limit of the guidelines the day we went.
Always wear a life-jacket: Swimming in rivers can pose significant risks. Currents can be stronger than they appear, and dangerous currents and whirlpools can arise, for example, around hidden obstacles such as driftwood below the water surface. Each person on board must have a life-jacket.
Clearly label your raft: You are required to clearly label your raft with your name and contact information.
Protected Area: This route passes through a nature preserve. While through passage is allowed, swimming, landing or anchoring of boats is not. To know if you are in a protected area, keep an eye out for these signs:
Swimming, landing or anchoring of boats is not allowed.
Swimming, landing and anchoring restrictions lifted. Feel free to find the perfect picnic spot!
An overview of river signage is available here (German).
The put-in is on the Thur river in Andelfingen. The parking lot by the put-in was empty when we arrived there at 10:00 am and it was about two-thirds full later in the day when we picked up the car after rafting. I imagine that it could fill up on days when the river is not so high.
The put-in is just below a metal pedestrian bridge, where there was a nice grassy area to inflate our boats.
On The Thur
The day we went, the Thur was quite high. In fact, it was at the upper-limit of the recommended flow. With the swift current, we barely needed to paddle as we floated down the river through forests and under a covered bridge. There was even one tiny rapid!
On The Rhine
After a few kilometers, the Thur joined the Rhine. The difference between the two rivers was quite stark – the Thur was cold and brown, while the Rhine was warm and blue! (I wonder if it is always like this, or if it was because the Thur was unusually high?)
Shortly after joining the Rhine, we stopped for a picnic lunch. After lunch, we stopped again a few kilometers further down the river for a swim. There were so many lovely picnic spots and areas to swim during this section of the route.
Although the next stretch of the Rhine had fewer places to picnic and swim, it was, in my opinion, the prettiest part of the trip. With gorgeous blue water, half-timber houses, vineyards, and a hill with a church on top, it oozed European charm.
At this point, the Rhine was quite slow and our arms were beginning to feel the paddling. We still had a few more kilometers to go, though, before we would reach the town of Eglisau and the take-out. But, we knew we were getting close, as we started to see larger boats on the river that we needed to steer clear of.
One of the really nice things about this route is how easy it is to spot the take-out. Eglisau was the first real town we saw on this route. As we came into town, we saw a church on the right bank, and the marina, our take-out point, directly opposite it on the left bank. It was almost impossible to miss!
The marina has a wide paved area and a ramp to the water where you come in. There is also a grassy area and restrooms off to one side. While my husband and friends went to get the cars, I packed up the rafts. There was plenty of room to deflate, dry and roll up the rafts. When my husband returned with the car, he drove right down to the take-out so we could easily pack everything back in the car.
This was a fun river trip through some really beautiful scenery and I hope to to do this route again soon.
Note: This is post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own.