If you love strolling around calm streets and enjoying culture and art, this is just the right place for you! To feel the spirit of this cute and unique city, keep in mind that the following locations are “a must”.
Basel is the third-largest city in Switzerland, after Geneva and Zurich. It is located on the border of Switzerland, Germany, and France, and it is one of the world’s centers of the pharmaceutical industry. Bazel is also the only Swiss port because it lies on the river Rhine. But there is so much more to see in Bazel– if you love strolling around calm streets and enjoying culture and art, this is just the right place for you! We could say that this city is one of a kind – you can go to three different countries just by railway. If you want to feel the spirit of this cute and unique city, keep in mind that the following locations are “a must” :
1. Cruising on The River Rhine
The Rhine divides Basel into the small Basel or Kleinbasel, located on the right bank of the river, and the large Basel or Grossbasel, located on the left bank of the Rhine. Cruising is especially interesting – it may be a little different from something you’re used to seeing on any rivers.
To cross from one side of the city to the other, you can use these tiny cruising boats. They are connected to a wire and everything is powered only by the wind. That is a long, centuries-old tradition.
This unique experience is also the cheapest way of transport in this city. If you prefer staying on the solid ground, there is a long promenade, called Kleinbasel, just along the Rhine. From there you can enjoy the view of the old town.
2. Museum of Art
Did you know that Basel has over 40 museums and that it is the richest art offer in the whole of Switzerland? One of them, the legendary Basel Art Museum, or the Kunstmuseum, was opened in 2016.
After a major renovation, it now has the addition of a whole new wing, which means that more art pieces are exhibited. In this museum, you are able to see numerous impressive collections, which include works by artists from the 15th century to contemporary art.
The Basel Art Museum is also a place where you can see the largest collection of artworks by Hans Holbein – a German artist from the 15th century.
3. The Rathaus
When you cross the city bridge called Mittlere, heading to Marktplatz in the city center, you won’t be able to miss the monumental 16th-century town hall. The Rathaus Basel-Stadt is truly one of the most interesting buildings in Basel.
It is recognizable for its red facade and colorful frescoes, which are a representation of all the coats of arms of Basel, but also of the other Swiss cantons. The Rathaus was built in honor of the accession of Basel to the Confederation of Swiss Cantons. The best thing is that you can enter the building for free.
In front of Rathaus, you will often come across street flower sellers but also stands with fruits and sweets. The central yard of the Rathaus is also decorated with frescoes, and with some impressive statues.
4. The Paper Museum
It may not sound very tempting, but the Paper Museum is a place you must visit for various reasons. This beautiful little museum is located on the south coast of the city.
The Paper Museum is a former paper factory and it’s five centuries old. In the museum, you can learn a lot about the history of the Bazel, which is closely related to the production of paper, bookbinding, and printing crafts.
This is also the place where you can test your creativity – the staff in the museum will explain to you how the process of making paper looks like. Then you can make a paper of your own and try some calligraphy craft. You can also choose the font in which your name will be printed in the traditional Swiss way. It would definitely be a one of a kind souvenir to take back home.
5. The Basel Zoo
The Basel Zoo is a real treat for animal lovers. This Zoo is popularly called “Zolli” among local people. It is also the oldest zoo in Switzerland and it was opened in 1874.
In this huge Zoo park in the southern part of the city, there are more than 600 species of animals. Basel Zoo is home to all kinds of animals – from white leopards to African elephants.
If you’re visiting Basel with your youngest members of the family, the Zoo is a place you just can not skip! The kids will be thrilled by the wing called “Children’s Zoo”. There they can pretend to be the little zookeepers.
Zoo employees will show them what is like to work in a Zoo and to take care of so many different animals. Here they are also allowed to help with cleaning and feeding the animals, and they have the opportunity to pet and groom some domestic animals like horses and donkeys.
6. Toy Museum
Another place in Basel you can’t skip if you are visiting with children. They will be thrilled, but we can guarantee that you will be amused as much as the young ones! The Spielzeug Welten Toy and Doll Museum are the largest of its kind in Europe. It’s located in an area of 1000 m2.
This museum hosts a large set of 6000 different toys from all over the world, including an impressive collection of 2500 teddy bears! All of the exhibits are behind large glass panels and the setting looks really impressive. If you want to learn more about it, you’ll find plenty of information on the interactive touch-screen panels. This is the part of the tour when children are just thrilled!
7. The Münster of Basel
The city’s cathedral is another unavoidable symbol of the city. With two striking sky-scraping towers, red walls, and a unique colorful roof, Münster Cathedral dominates the city’s panorama. Some parts of the Cathedral date from the 11th century. The greatest part of this building was rebuilt in the 13th century, after a devastating earthquake that almost completely destroyed it.
If you climb to the top of the tower, you will be able to take perfect photos of the city and the river. If you find yourself in Bazel during the time of the Basel fair, a large wheel with colorful cabins is set up right next to the Cathedral. During the ride, the whole city will be in the palm of your hand.
From the hill that lays behind the Cathedral, you will also have a fantastic view of the Rhine river, the Cathedral, and the whole Basel.
8. The Beyeler Foundation
Another place for art lovers is The Beyeler Foundation. You should definitely visit this modern gallery on the outskirts of the city. It is located very near the German border.
The Beyeler Foundation presents a private collection of artwork sellers – Ernst Beyeler and his wife Hilde Kunc. They were collecting numerous pieces of art for 50 years! This resulted in a unique collection of works of modern art that you can see in this Foundation. Their collection consists of 300 paintings and sculptures, including works by some great names like Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Jackson Polak.
9. Traditional City Bazaars
If you’re visiting Bazel in autumn, that may be the most magical time in this city! The traditional autumn bazaars, called Herbstmesse, have been organized for 540 years. The Bazaar is divided into 8 locations in the city, usually from October to November and it lasts for about 2 weeks.
Visiting the Bazaar means that you can enjoy a carousel ride, buy some handmade souvenirs, and enjoy some local specialties. All the magic, the cinnamon smell in the air, and fun continue even when the Bazaar is over because the Christmas market season begins!
10. Bazel – The City of Fountains
This may not be the exact place to visit, but breathtaking fountains are all around the city! Each one of them has its own design and story that hides behind it. They are very diverse, you can find fountains with statues of angels, kings, and winged dragons.
One of the most interesting ones is the Tinguely Brunnen Fountain. Many people are amazed by it, but also a little shocked. It’s because this fountain was built on industrial waste! It is the work of Jean Tingelli, a local artist who is known for his sculptures made of industrial waste – this fountain is not his only piece of art.
Jean Tingellu has its own museum on the bank of the Rhine, which is also one of a kind looking museum. At the very entrance, you are greeted by hanging sculptures – mechanical monsters in motion. They are a bit scary and they will challenge you with a riddle!
The Bazel is a unique city where you can see all the characteristics of Swiss – everything is clean, organized, calm, and in harmony. The best way to experience Basel and enjoy the benefits of Swiss luxury is to take a tour with one of the numerous limousine services. Not only the city where Roger Federer was born but also the city where famous Friedrich Nietzsche was teaching at the University of Basel.
This atmosphere is just right for people who want to explore everything that Bazel has to offer, and with these 10 places and activities, you can’t go wrong. Enjoy!