A review of a holiday with a wheelchair and four kids in Stein am Rhein

Family man Peter Roos set off on a fun-packed holiday with his wife and children in the town of Stein am Rhein. Together, the family of six explored the picturesque town on the River Rhine – and recorded their experiences in and around the barrier-free Youth Hostel.

My family, consisting of myself, my wife and our four daughters, were able to spend three wonderful days in Stein am Rhein. As a person with tetraplegia in a manual wheelchair, it is not always easy for me to find suitable accommodation that is wheelchair-accessible and also child-friendly and big enough for six people. But with the Youth Hostel in Stein am Rhein we had the perfect match!

Stein am Rhein Youth Hostel offers excellent facilities for wheelchair users. © Peter Roos 

We start our three-day adventure with a visit to the Rhine Falls in Neuhausen. On the south bank of Laufen Castle, we buy tickets to get to the viewing platform. A short path leads through Laufen Castle taking us from the car park up to the platform. The lift takes you down to the platform where you have the chance to experience the powerful torrents of water up close. After a short drive from the south to the north riverbank, we treat ourselves to a delicious meal in the restaurant with a view of the Rhine Falls.

Perfect weather and views of the world-famous Rhine Falls. © Peter Roos 

Relief after a brief moment of panic

We are warmly welcomed when we arrive at the Youth Hostel. Hostel Manager Patrick shows us the room and all the wheelchair-accessible toilets and showers. We sleep in a room with three bunk beds, which pleases our children very much. But at first I think, “Oh Godness, I hope I can get in and out of the narrow bed.” But with a little help from my wife, I managed without any problem at all.

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Delicious food, plus an abundance of fun and games

The chef provides us with a delicious dinner on the terrace in the evening sun. Afterwards, the children let off steam on the large playing field and playground.

The terrace is the perfect place to round off a warm summer evening. © Peter Roos

The next day, we take the train for a trip to Sea Life in Constance. We stroll around the harbour and the colourful old town. Then it’s time to head back to Stein am Rhein by boat. All activities are very wheelchair-friendly.

Navigation can also be mastered in style with a wheelchair. © Peter Roos

Back at the Youth Hostel, my wife and I spend the evening on the terrace while the children have fun in the playground.

On the day of departure, we spend the morning in the playground next to the Stadtgarten. This is not the most ideal location for wheelchair users, but it’s a paradise for children with its swings, climbing frame and slides.

The playground in the Stadtgarten has everything a child could wish for. © Peter Roos

Our overall impression:

We never considered youth hostels before because we assumed that they were less suitable for me as a person with tetraplegia, if at all. But now we have gained a different perspective and know that there are wheelchair-accessible youth hostels. There are even those with a double bed and own toilet/shower in the room, plus space for a cot. If you ensure you clarify all the details and prepare well, it can turn out to be a great trip for everyone. We will certainly be planning trips with overnight stays in youth hostels again.

This trip was supported by Schaffhauserland Tourism.

About the author

Peter Roos

A severe blow of fate 15 years ago completely changed Peter Roos’ life from one second to the next. When he was 25 years old, the ground was brutally pulled from under his feet. After a swimming accident, Peter Roos could only move his eyes.

Today, Peter has firmly reclaimed the life he loves despite the limitations of his tetraplegia. Having retrained and completed various further training courses, he now works at the Swiss Paraplegic Centre in Nottwil. He lives near Lucerne with his wife and four children and loves going on trips.

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