6 Highlights Basel
- Marvel at contrasts between historic buildings and modern architecture
- Stroll along the Rhine and across the Mittlere Brücke, which connects the city districts
- Visit one of the 40 museums such as the Fondation Beyeler or the Tinguely Museum
- Experience a unique carnival with the famous Morgestreich Enjoy specialties such as stomach bread and potato pancakes in the most beautiful Christmas light at the Christmas market
- Visit sights such as the Basel Cathedral, the City Hall, the Spalentor, the Basel Fair and the historic Old Town
- Discover the oldest and largest amusement fair in Switzerland. For two weeks starting at the end of October, the traditional autumn fair offers thrills and numerous specialties for gourmets
The big city of Basel is known for its contrasts. Here, contemporary architecture and charming historic buildings complement each other. The cosmopolitan flair can be seen mainly in the city's many museums. These include the Kunstmuseum Basel with the largest public art collection in Switzerland and the world-famous Fondation Beyeler art museum. Forty museums are spread throughout the city, making Basel one of the largest cultural centers in Europe.
Tradition is also alive and well in Basel. The Basel Carnival is the largest in Switzerland and attracts thousands of people every year to experience the "drey scheenschte Dääg". In autumn, the traditional Autumn Fair takes place, followed by the magical Christmas Market in winter. You'll never get bored in Basel.
In Basel, historic buildings meet modern architecture. This unusual combination is present throughout the city and makes sightseeing in the city of Basel particularly exciting.
An important landmark and the main sight in Basel is the Basel Cathedral. The red sandstone, the colorful roof tiles as well as the two slender towers are nowadays part of the Basel skyline
The former bishop's church was built over several centuries (1019-1500). As a result, a mixture of Gothic and Romanesque architectural styles can be seen. You can also find the tomb of Erasmus of Rotterdam in the minster, which is open daily.
You also have the possibility to climb the towers of the cathedral during opening hours. The 250 steps are quite a challenge. Afterwards you will be rewarded with a fantastic view of the city of Basel
Opening hours Basel Minster 2022
|Times||Mondays to Fridays (clock)||Saturdays (clock)||Sundays and public holidays (clock)|
|summer time||10:00 - 17:00||10:00 - 16:00||11:30 - 17:00|
|wintertime||11:00 - 16:00||11:00 - 16:00||11:30 - 16:00|
|Advent Season||11:00 - 18:00||11:00 - 16:00||11:30 - 16:00|
|Carnival||11:00 - 14:00||11:00 - 14:00||11:00 - 14:00|
On certain days the minster is closed (e.g. 01 January, Good Friday, 24 December)
The old town of Basel
The historic center of the city consists of the old town of Grossbasel and Kleinbasel on the opposite side of the Rhine. Basel is one of the most intact old towns in Europe, hiding centuries-old buildings and over 300 fountains in its narrow streets. Grossbasel belonged to the prince-bishopric of Basel and Kleinbasel on the German side was part of the bishopric of Konstanz. Already at the end of the 14th century, both parts of the city united into one town.
Among the most important buildings within the Altstadt Kleinbasel are for example:
- Badischer Bahnhof Basel
- Tinguely Art Museum
- Cafe Spitz
- former Carthusian monastery St. Margarethental
Some important buildings of the Altstadt Grossbasel are:
- St. Martin's Church, Minster and Minster Square in the Castle District
- Barfüsserkirche and Barfüsserplatz
- St. Peter's Church
- Leonhard Church
Ten bridges unite both parts of the old town. The old Mittlere Rheinbrücke is particularly striking. It has stood here since 1903, when it replaced the 13th-century Rhine bridge. Incidentally, the old bridge served as a place of execution until the middle of the 17th century. At the Käppeljoch, convicts were executed by drowning. However, if they were able to save themselves from the water, they were pardoned.
The charming old town still hides many secrets and exciting stories. The best thing to do is to stroll through the alleys on foot and let yourself be surprised. A city tour with old town stories is definitely worthwhile.
Basel City Hall
On Basel's Market Square you will find the seat of the Basel government and parliament. You'll recognize them by their striking red facades, which are decorated with ornate paintings. The tower is also very impressive. The town hall was built at the beginning of the 16th century and has been expanded ever since.
On weekdays, the political center of the canton is open for a visit. The romantic arcades of the tower, the stylish courtyard and the council chamber are the reason why the town hall is one of the most visited sights in the city
Modern architecture is also worth seeing in Basel. Messe Basel, designed by Herzog & de Meuron, is a recent landmark in the city and architecturally striking. Located in close proximity to the city center, the 25 modern conference rooms cover a total area of 141,000 square meters
However, the entrance to the trade fair center, the "City Lounge", which is located in the public space, is particularly worth a visit. The impressive hole in the middle is called the "window to heaven". The best way to reach Messe Basel is by streetcar lines 1 and 2, which stop directly in front of the fair
Completed in 2015, the building is 178 meters high and is the headquarters of the pharmaceutical company Roche Holding. Still under construction is the larger Roche Tower 2 at 205 meters, which may soon be followed by an even taller Roche Tower 3. The Roche Towers are thus the tallest towers in Switzerland.
The tall towers can be easily seen from the Mittlere Brücke or the Wettsteinbrücke. They represent the modernization of the city of Basel. The contrast of the charming old town and the imposing towers is particularly interesting to observe.
Basel Historical Museum
The History Museum consists of three exhibition venues: the Barfüsserkirche, the Music Museum and the Haus zum Kirschgarten. Admission can be purchased individually or together as a Kombi Ticket.
The Museum of the Barfüsserkiche focuses primarily on ecclesiastical works of art. Highlights include the Basel Dance of Death and the Basel Minster Treasure. Exhibits also include the region's rich archaeological heritage and collections from the Renaissance and Baroque periods.
The Music Museum is the largest of its kind in Switzerland and includes 3300 musical instruments. European musical instruments from 5 centuries are on display on three floors. Cabinets have been set up in 24 former prison cells. Here you have the possibility to select music samples and information via an interactive screen program.
In the Haus zum Kirschgarten you will find a residential museum with Basel living rooms of the 18th and 19th centuries. Another highlight of this museum is a cabinet exhibition on Sheikh Ibrahim. The building itself was built in the 18th century. It was built for the colonel and silk ribbon manufacturer Johann Rudolf Burckhardt.
Other museums Basel
The cultural city of Basel has a varied selection of over 40 museums. Not all of them can be visited in one trip, but a few are a must to experience Basel properly. You can't visit all the museums in one trip. But to really experience Basel, you should have seen some of them.
- Kunstmuseum Basel: In the Kunstmuseum you will find the oldest public art collection in the world as well as a variety of special exhibitions.
- Museum Tinguely: Jean Tinguely was by far one of the most innovative artists in Switzerland. The museum houses a comprehensive overview of his works.
- Fondation Beyeler: The husband and wife team Hildy and Ernst Beyeler document over 300 works of the 20th century with painterly aspects from Monet and Van Gogh to Picasso or Warhol.
- Kunsthalle Basel: Kunsthalle Basel houses diverse contemporary art since its founding in 1872
- Vitra Design Museum: One of the world's leading design museums, it presents two temporary exhibitions each year that convey the relationship between architecture, art and culture.
- Antikenmuseum Basel: Here you can expect various collectibles from 4000 BC to 400 AD from Egypt, the Near East, Greece and Italy.
- Natural History Museum Basel: The fascinating world of nature, from the formation of the earth to dinosaurs to the present day can be discovered in this time travel.
- Museum of Cultures Basel: As one of the leading ethnographic museums in Europe, you can see over 320,000 objects with artifacts that reflect the diversity of human life
- Toy Worlds Museum: This is museum of a different kind with the largest collection of teddy bears (2500) as well as numerous dolls, doll houses, carousels and more.
- Swiss Museum of Architecture: Through international and thematic exhibitions, here you can explore socio-political issues and develop your view on urbanism and architecture
- Swiss Jewish Museum: Founded in 1966 as the first German-language Jewish museum, it provides information about the centuries-long oppression of Jews and discusses Jewish culture in Switzerland today.
- Anatomical Museum: In the museum of the University of Basel you will find numerous original specimens of the human body as well as a skeleton from 1543.
- Basel Paper Mill: Learn all about the production of paper from handmade to finished book in a medieval paper mill
- Cartoonmuseum Basel: Unique in Switzerland, only narrative art of comics and caricatures is exhibited here in temporary exhibitions.
Market Hall: Built in 1929, the Market Hall is not only known for its numerous food stalls and weekly market. Impressive architecture can also be admired inside. The market hall offers a cozy atmosphere for a short break with regional specialties, food stalls, bars, small stores and sitting areas to relax.
Basel Zoo was opened in 1874 and is considered the oldest in Switzerland. Since then, it has been guiding visitors through the diversity of nature and animals all year round. Here, a total of over 7500 animals and 540 species from all over the world can be discovered. Highlights are definitely the aquarium, the sea lion feeding and the large monkey house
In addition, the "Zolli" is located in the center of the city of Basel and can be reached from the train station in just 10 minutes on foot.
Prices Basel Zoo 2022
|Admission||Age (years)||Price (CHF)|
|families||2 adults and own children under 20||43|
Other sights in Basel
A small selection of other sights in Basel:
- Spalentor: The most imposing of the three city gates, which still remains from 1400.
- Tinguely Fountain: On the Theaterplatz stands the ten-part machine sculpture created by Jean Tinguely, which is considered a landmark of the city.
- Pfalz: The Pfalz is the terrace behind the cathedral, which offers a fantastic viewpoint over Kleinbasel, the Rhine and the Black Forest.
- Mittlere Brücke: The Mittlere Brücke connects Kleinbasel with Grossbasel and gives an impressive view of the Basel Cathedral and the skyline.
Excursion destinations around Basel
There is no shortage of exciting excursion destinations for all ages in the vicinity of the city. Roman excavations can be found about ten kilometers from Basel, if you drive along the Rhine in the direction of Rheinfelden. In addition, there are beautiful viewpoints to which you can drive or hike. You can reach the Wasserfallen as an excursion destination about 30 km south of Basel in 40 to 50 minutes by public transport.
The largest archaeological park in Switzerland is located in Augst. The impressive Roman theater and the museum with the largest silver treasure of late antiquity are particularly exciting to see. Here you can also visit the longest walkable sewer of the Roman period. It is the perfect destination for the whole family.
Augusta Raurica is a treasure trove of history not only for visitors. It is still one of the most important Roman sites in Switzerland. Every day, about 60 employees work to restore and conserve the finds
You can visit the outdoor facilities and the attached zoo for free, but an entrance fee is charged for the museum. The Augusta Raurica is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm.
The most famous mountain in the canton of Basel-Landschaft is located in the municipality of Eptingen. You can reach it by car via the A2 after 38 km. At 1099 m. above sea level, it is the highest point on the Belchen and offers a phenomenal view of the Alps, the Vosges and the Black Forest. Formerly an important observation post of the Hauenstein fortress, the Belchenfluh is now one of the most popular excursion destinations in the region.
The best place to start is the military road of the First World War, located on the southern slope, where colorful murals and stone engravings still recall the history. The last section of the trail takes you up a railing-secured staircase to the top. The easy hike is suitable for all ages and generally takes 2 to 4 hours
Other destinations from Basel
- Dreiländereck: At the geographical point where Switzerland, France and Germany meet lies the striking Dreiländereck building.
- Aquabasilea: The water bath with wellness area offers relaxation and bathing fun in a partly tropical atmosphere on 13,000 m2.
- Rehberger-Weg: over 5 km in length, the path links two countries and is a beautiful walk between Riehen and Weil am Rhein.
- The Wasserfallen are a region that is particularly suitable for various activities with the family. For example, you can rent a scooter on the Wasserfallen: Rent it at the cable car Reigoldswil-Wasserfallen and enjoy a comfortable or fast ride through the valley with fresh mountain air and diverse fauna and flora.
Swiss Activities Tips Basel
Ricola Herb Show Garden If you're in the mood for some nature, we suggest the popular hike along the Jura heights to Trogberg, where Ricola's headquarters are located. Open from May to September, after the 1.5 hour hike you can get to know the 13 Ricola herbs while enjoying the beautiful view of the Hohen Winde.
Läckerli Huus Basel's most famous specialty is definitely the Läckerli. At the Läckerli Huus in Frenkendorf, you can learn how the gingerbread-like pastry is made and taste the delicacies while overlooking the restaurant.
St. Alban The St. Alban quarter of Basel is a real insider tip. Here you will find lovingly restored houses mixed with modern architecture. Because of the small canals that run through the neighborhood, it is often called the "little Venice"
Ferry trip Not only by foot or with the "Trämli" you can get from A to B in the city. There are also 4 ferries that take you across the river just by the force of the current and connect Grossbasel with Kleinbasel. Look out for the St. Alban ferry, St. Johann ferry, Münster ferry and Klingenthal ferry
Fasnacht In February or March, experience Basel's "drey scheenste Dääg" with the three-day Fasnacht. Switzerland's largest carnival is an intangible UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the highlight of the year for many. On the Monday after Ash Wednesday, the starting signal is given as early as 4 a.m. and is accompanied by thousands of hand-painted lanterns
Guest Card If you are staying in Basel or the surrounding area, we highly recommend asking for the free BaselCard. With it you can use public transport for free. You also get many discounts in Basel museums, the Basel Zoo or for passenger boat rides.
Activities and Experiences Basel
Basel's diversity can also be seen in its countless activities. There is something for every taste. Be it cultural, culinary or sporting, the possibilities are endless.
The most popular activities in Basel include:
- Rhine swimming
- city tours
- Segway or e-scooter tour
- Grand Casino Basel
- Escape Games
- Shopping, preferably in the old town
- Ice skating at the artificial ice rink Margarethen
- Lasertag Basel: with vest and phaser through the labyrinth on 600 m2 playing area
- Water fun and wellness at Aquabasilea
- Hiking and cycling along the Rhine and in the surrounding countryside
Pack your clothes in the little "Rhy Fisch" and let yourself be carried by the gentle current of the Rhine through the old town. You can return to the shore whenever you want. Your clothes will stay dry thanks to your swimming bag (in the shape of a fish). The best place to get on is from the Tinguely Museum, where you can cool off and float for 2 km in summer.
Basel city tour
As you have probably noticed, Basel has a lot to offer. To get an overview and really immerse yourself in the city, one of the numerous guided city tours in Basel will help. Whether it's a classic guided tour on the history of the city or a theatrical tour at night, the options are vast. Learn a lot about Basel traditions, exciting stories and discover hidden places that no one else knows.
In self-guided tours you have the opportunity to get to know both the culinary and the beery side of Basel.
Segway Tour Basel
Tired of all the walking? You can also explore the beautiful old town by Segway. On a guided Segway tour you will see the most important sights such as the cathedral, the city hall, the Tinguely Museum and other historic buildings. Your guide will tell you all about the history of the city of Basel.
You will experience the tour with an e-scooter in a very similar way.
Escape Game Basel
Especially in bad weather, an Escape Game is a fun activity for families and groups. A selection of Escape Games is definitely not missing in Basel. Experience exciting puzzle fun with time pressure and track down hiding places and secret doors until you are free again. Depending on the Escape Game, the difficulty varies. As a rule, however, they are also suitable for children and do not require physical exertion.
Escape Games in Basel:
- One Hour Escape
- Room Escape Basel
- Breakout Basel
- Adventure Rooms Basel
Boat trip on the Rhine
Discover Basel and the Rhine from a slightly different perspective aboard a passenger boat. The boats depart from Basel Schifflände and take you either through the urban side (harbor cruise) or through the heart of the city (city cruise). Depending on the season, you can also enjoy a delicious brunch, lunch or dinner on the ship, or take in the view at your leisure.
- Port trip (approx. 50 minutes): Kleinbasler Rheinufer - Klybeckquai - Rheinhafen - Dreiländereck - Dreiländerbrücke - view of France and Germany City tour (approx. 50 minutes): Grossbasler Rheinufer - Basel Cathedral - Roche Tower - picturesque old town houses - Museum Tinguely - Birsfelden lock
Events in Basel
In summer, life in Basel largely takes place outdoors. People party, relax, do sports or work outdoors. Therefore, in summer there are also most outdoor events. During this time, the theaters in Basel are on summer break.
Some examples of Basel summer events
The most important outdoor summer events in Basel
- IMFLUSS Festival Basel: Late summer evenings with moving music on the raft on the Rhine riverbank (2.5 weeks in August)
- Open Air Basel: Polyfon Festival Basel (3 days in August)
- Summerblues Basel: s Glaibasler Bluesfescht on 4 stages (August)
- Summer Stage Basel (last week in June)
- Jazzfestival "Em Bebbi sy Jazz" (middle of August)
Other top events in Basel
These events are among the most highly regarded events
- ART Basel with more than 250 artists exhibiting their art in the exhibition center and on Messeplatz (4 days in mid-June)
- Longines CHI Classics Basel: World-class equestrian tournament (4 days in mid-January)
- Swiss Indoors Basel: Tennis tournament in the final run-up to the London World Championships (last week of October)
- Basel Carnival (February or March)
- Basel Tattoo: the second largest military music festival in the world with bagpipes, brass music and folkloric dance. (9 days from mid-July)
- Advent magic in Basel with
- Advent calendar at the Theater Basel,
- exhibitions at the Spielzeug Welten Museum and Museum der Kulturen,
- special programs at the Marionette Theater,
- Basel city run,
- gospel night in Basel Cathedral,
- light shows in the city hall courtyard,
- Santa Clauses on their Harleys
- Christmas Variety Palazzo Colombino
- Circus Festival Young Stage (4 days in May)
- Basel Autumn Fair (end of October to mid-November)
Basel is located in the northwest of Switzerland, bordering France and Germany. It is nestled between the Swiss Jura mountain range, the German Black Forest and the Vosges Mountains in Alsace. The city of Basel is easily accessible from all sides. Be it by car, public transport, plane or even by ship.
The city of Basel is very easy to reach by car. The city is located between the freeway intersections north-south and east-west and is well connected with Bern or Zurich. You can park at your hotel or in one of the numerous parking garages.
From Zurich you need about 1:30 hours via A3 to Basel, from Bern via A1 and A2 it takes about 1:15 hours.
Swiss Activities Tip:
If you prefer not to drive into the center of Basel, there is a good supply of Park&Ride facilities in the agglomeration. Drive to a nearby train station and park your car there for the day. With the S-Bahn you can travel comfortably and without traffic jams into the heart of the city of Basel.
by public transport
The easiest way to get to Basel is by train. Every half hour you will find direct trains from Bern, Zurich or Lucerne to Basel. There are also trains from Germany and France to the main station several times a day. The journey time from the above-mentioned Swiss cities is about the same as by car.
There are two train stations in Basel: the train station Basel SBB and the train station Basel Badischer Bahnhof. The latter is located just across the border in Germany. So if you want to visit the city of Basel, the Basel SBB station is the one for you.
You can find a suitable accommodation for every budget and preference in the big city of Basel.
At the four-star GAIA Hotel, guests' well-being is the main focus. The family-run hotel with 86 rooms is located within walking distance of the old town and is lovingly and uniquely decorated. In addition, the GAIA Bio-Hotel offers a cozy wellness area and a rich breakfast made from regional products. What makes the hotel special is the emphasis on sustainability and the use of exclusively organic products.
Suitable for: Travelers on a budget with a sense of design and sustainability
Motel One Basel
This modern design hotel is located in the center of Basel's old town and offers an attractive price-performance ratio. Art is the theme in the hotel, which makes the decor unique. The One Lounge with work area is also quite practical, in case you need to do some work during your trip.
Suitable for: Mid-budget travelers, travelers with pets, digital nomads
Basel Youth Hostel
In the picturesque St-Alban neighborhood, you'll find a more affordable place to stay at this award-winning youth hostel. The hostel is located in a historic building, but is stylish and modernly furnished. At the same time, you're centrally located to the Old Town, the Rhine River, and the legendary Basel Carnival.
Suitable for: Low budget travelers, families, groups, short stay
In Basel you can enjoy high-quality culinary variety. Whether food court, traditional cuisine or gourmet, here you will definitely find your happiness.
With 3 stars in the Guide Michelin and 19 Gault Millau points, Cheval Blanc is one of the top 100 restaurants in the world. Chef Peter Knogl uses the best ingredients to create refined creations of French haute cuisine with Mediterranean and Asian influences. When the weather is nice, the meal can be enjoyed on the idyllic terrace on the banks of the Rhine
Specials: French cuisine with Mediterranean and Asian influences, higher price segment, gourmet, idyllic terrace, located on the banks of the Rhine
Brasserie Volkshaus Basel
Brasserie Volkshaus in Basel combines tradition with modernity. The interior was designed by Herzog & de Meuron and offers a cozy atmosphere in urban style. The restaurant offers mainly Swiss and European cuisine. The brasserie offers simple lunch plates to filet de boeuf and satisfies all culinary desires.
Specials: Swiss, European cuisine, centrally located in the old town, medium to higher price range, historic building, cozy ambience, suitable for vegetarians and vegans
Vapiano Basel is cozily furnished and centrally located near the main train station. The chain offers freshly prepared pasta, pizza and salad with an open kitchen. Perfect for a good meal that needs to go a little faster
Specials: lower price segment, Italian cuisine, vegetarian and vegan options, good for families and groups
Basel is worth a visit mainly because of its cultural scene all year round. However, the numerous activities and events ensure that the city has something of interest for every visitor.