Unless you’re an art and contemporary urban design fan, Basel is probably not your first in your Switzerland’s list, and that’s a shame. Basel the third-largest city in Switzerland after Zurich and Geneva is located at the congruence of the Swiss, French and German borders. It is one of Switzerland’s underrated tourist destinations with a beautiful medieval old town center, a vibrant carnival, world-class art museums and delicious restaurants. Here is our suggestion of the Top 7 Things To Do In Basel.
Basel Minster – Situated on a hill high above river Rhine, Basel’s medieval cathedral is a popular tourist attraction. The construction of the Münster Cathedral started about 1,000 years ago and took 500 years. In 1356, the Cathedral was ruined by an earthquake and it was rebuilt by Johannes Gmünd along Romanesque and Gothic lines with a green-and-yellow-tile roof.
Rathaus – The Rathaus or City Hall, is a 500-year-old red-brick building dominating the Marktplatz in Basel with its red facade. Built-in 1501, the City Hall was built to symbolize the city inclusion into the Swiss Confederate. It houses the meetings of the Cantonal Parliament as well as the Cantonal Government of the canton of Basel-Stadt.
Spalentor – Dating from 1370, the Spalentor is a fortified gate marking the end of the old town. The town gate, once part of the old town walls, has stood alone since their destruction in 1866.
Theodorskirche – The Theodor Church is an Evangelical Reformed Church in the city of Basel . The Gothic church is located in Wettstein – Quarter and the St. Theodore consecrated.
Rhine River – The Rhine River is one of the most infamous bodies of water in Europe. The Rhine River winds through many infamous cities including Basel. Cruises along the Rhine River are a favorite pastime for many travelers.
Basel Zoo – Basel Zoo, known affectionately as “Zolli” by Basel’s inhabitants, was founded in 1874 with 510 European animals, today the zoo is known more for indigenous and exotic species. If you wish to discover an underwater world, there are many underwater creatures to discover at the Vivarium.
Old Town / Altstadt – With over 2,000 years of history, Basel’s Old Town is as charming as it is historic. It is one of the most well-preserved and prettiest in Europe with its cobblestone streets, medieval buildings, small cafes, bakeries, shops and plenty of museums.
Just So You Know…
- The Fasnacht (Basel’s Winter Carnival) is recognized as the largest popular festival in Switzerland, with 20,000 masked participants taking part.
- Many museums in Basel are free on the first Sunday of the month.
- Take Basel’s free walking tour and learn about the city’s history and its rich cultural heritage.
- Get Some Culture:
- Museum Tinguely – an art museum with variety of Tinguely’s kinetic art sculptures.
- Papiermühle – Papermaking and printing museum with hands-on workshops where visitors make paper.
- Spielseug Welten Museum – Home of the world’s largest collection of teddy bears, doll houses and dolls.
- Vitra Design Museum – Internationally renowned museum for design.
- Kunst Museum – Houses the largest and most significant public art collection in Switzerland.
- Historisches Museum – Showing typical common living space in Basel during the 18th and 19th century.
- Museum der Kulture – Basel’s ethnographic museum featuring exhibits from South America, Africa, East Asia and Oceania.
- Grab A Bite:
- Restaurant Schlüsselzunft – State-of-the-art gastronomy with à la carte menus, reasonably priced plate-service meals and great wine.
- Chez Donati – For fifty years, the restaurant has been Basel’s top address for lovers of choice Piedmont cuisine and a rendezvous for connoisseurs, artists and bon-vivants.
- Schloss Bottmingen – Exquisite restaurant with cozy garden terrace in a 14th century castle surrounded by water.