Basel, what this Swiss city has to offer
Basel – getting there and around.
Basel is easy to reach by road, air, train, and even boat along the Rhine.
Basel and Mulhouse EuroAirport has good flight connections from across Europe.
Rail is an ideal way to reach Basel as it is easy to get from many parts of Europe.
The trains run like clockwork (what else would you expect from Switzerland!) and arrive in the city’s centre.
Basel SBB station (the railway station) is a sight to see in itself.
It’s housed in a historic building, and inside, you will find a 16,000 m2 shopping centre with over 50 shops.
Once you’ve arrived, Basel can easily navigate on foot, with most sights within walking distance.
An excellent public transport network also services the city.
Another option is to hire a bicycle to get around or bring your bike with you on the train to Switzerland.
Basel on Google maps
As well as the celebrations held for Swiss National Day on 1 August, Basel is also home to several other exciting events.
The Basel Autumn Fair takes place in October and November and is the biggest funfair in Switzerland.
Then there are the traditional Christmas markets in November and December on the Barfuesserfplatz and Muensterplatz, which are among the largest in Switzerland.
Basel Fasnacht (Carnival) begins on the first Monday after Ash Wednesday, and it is three full days of festive fun.
Basel, and Switzerland, celebrate Swiss National Day (Bundesfeier) on 1 August.
The banks of the Rhine are on both sides with food and market stalls.
The occasion offers food, fireworks and guaranteed fun.
Good enough reason to jump aboard a train and head to Basel.
Treat yourself to a bit of luxury.
The Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois dates back to 1681.
Situated on the banks of the Rhine, it’s the most luxurious hotel in the city.
Sophisticated and chic describe Hotel Pullman Basel.
Close to both the city’s heart and the Messe Basel Congress and Exhibition Center, it’s an ideal spot to stop for a night or two.
The charming Krafft Basel is a 3-star boutique hotel with a 5-star heart.
A little piece of history on the Rhine, Herman Hesse famously wrote his novel Steppenwolf.
Art and accommodation
Teufelhof is both hotel and cultural center.
This art-themed hotel is housed in a historical building in the heart of the old town, and it’s just a few minutes walk from the Kunsthalle (Contemporary Art Gallery).
It’s also a great spot for lunch.
Plenty of choices
There are over 100 places to stay in Basel, and there is accommodation to suit all budgets.
Attractions and what to see and do in Basel
The mighty Rhine runs through the city of Basel. Seeing the city from the water provides a unique view of the city, and you can join one of the many daily cruises available. Locals and tourists alike take the passenger ferries that cross the river back and forth daily. It’s a very green form of travel as the ferry is propelled by nothing more than the river’s current and guided by a steel cable. Along the way, the ferrymen regale the passengers with stories. In the summer, you can swim in the river alongside the locals. And a visit to one of the ‘cuvettes on the banks of the Rhine is not to be missed. They are open from April to October and are the perfect place to relax outdoors and enjoy a coffee, cool drinks, snacks and ice-creams.
The mighty Rhine runs through the city of Basel.
Seeing the city from the water provides a unique view of the city, and you can join one of the many daily cruises available.
Locals and tourists alike take the passenger ferries that cross the river back and forth daily.
It’s a very green form of travel as the ferry is propelled by nothing more than the river’s current and guided by a steel cable.
Along the way, the ferrymen regale the passengers with stories.
In the summer, you can swim in the river alongside the locals.
And a visit to one of the ‘cuvettes on the banks of the Rhine is not to be missed.
They are open from April to October and are the perfect place to relax outdoors and enjoy a coffee, cool drinks, snacks and ice-creams.
No visit to Basel is complete without sampling some of the local delicacies.
Fondue – cheese or chocolate – is found overall.
Then there’s Basler Leckerli, a small gingerbread biscuit, and Maessmogge, a regional and seasonal sweet speciality.
Basel is also well-known for its roasted flour soup, traditionally served at the carnival.
The place to head if you want to try the traditional Basel honey cake is the historic bakery, Laeckerli Huus on Gerberstrasse 57.
There are almost 40 museums to choose from when visiting Basel.
Here’s just a few to start you off:
- Kunstmuseum (regional artworks)
- Museum Tinguely (permanent collection of works from the renowned Swiss artist, Jean Tinguely)
- Foundation Beyeler (masterpieces of classic modernism)
- Dollhouse Museum (a collection of toys exhibited over four floors)
- Basel Paper Mill (Swiss Museum for Paper, Writing and Printing)
Basel old town
The Marktplatz in the middle of the medieval old town is a great place to start your tour.
In fact, a great way to orient yourself is to follow the free guided walk that you’ll find in the ‘Art in the City’ brochure.
It will take you on a cultural walk through the historic centre, pointing out things along the way such as the 16th century, red-sandstone Town Hall, and the 12th-century Gothic cathedral where you’ll find the tomb of the 16th-century Dutch scholar, Erasmus.
From high up in the cathedral tower, you’ll see one of the best views of the city.
Finish your old town walk with a stroll along with the shops in Spalenberg, and stop along the way for coffee or chocolate (you are in Switzerland after all!).
The city offers an exciting blend of old and new.
There are some fascinating modern constructions, of which the Messeturm is just one.
This towering building stands at 105 meters and has over 30 floors.
On the top floor is a bar that is a great place to grab a drink and listen to some music with fantastic views.
Things to do around Basel
Not far from the centre of the city is the beautiful and tranquil Botanical Garden.
Around 20 kilometres outside of Basel, you’ll find the Augusta Raurica.
The well-preserved ruins at this open-air museum will immediately transport you back to Roman times.
This archaeological site gives you a great understanding of how the Romans lived.
You can get there by rail. It’s a ten-minute train ride from Basel, followed by a 15-minute walk to the museum.
Bus, bike and boat are also options. In the summer months, a boat runs from Basel to August or Kaiseraugst. From there, it’s a 20-minute walk to the site.