The Best Things To Do In Basel

Basel is a wonderful city that is positioned on the Rhine and at the point where the borders of Switzerland, Germany and France all meet. Filled with culture and art, it is up there as one of the best cities in the world. Steeped in history and with a real sense of character, you have the chance to immerse yourself in this amazing place. Situated on the Rhine, Basel is a medieval city with cobbled streets and a variety of architecture. The Mittlere Brucke is one of the main structures in the city. It is also one of the oldest crossing on the Rhine. The old city is set around the picturesque Marktplatz, which is a great place to be for food and drink.

Kunstmuseum Basel

If you love art, Basel is a must see! There are multiple galleries catering to a variety of tastes. The Fondation Beyeler in the north east of the city displays art from great artists, ranging from Warhol to Monet. These are all displayed in a modern building designed by Renzo Piano. Whether art is your thing or not, this is the biggest selection of art in Switzerland. Here you can find names such as Konrad Witz, Lucas Cranach the Elder as well as Rembrandt, Brueghel the Elder and Rubens. Of course, you can also view the 19th-century works of Van Gogh, Monet and Cezanne but there is also a room designated to Picasso.


The old town of Basel, here you will find a wide array of Swiss national heritage sites. There are a number of themed walks available for you to take around both banks of the Rhine. There is a huge history associated with the area and many of the buildings date back to the 14th century. Many famous historical figures walked the streets such as Erasmus but when you are in the area you should consider visiting the Munsterplatz, the townhouses on Petersgasse as well as the fountain at Andreasplatz.

Basel Minster

A Medieval minster church with 60-metre towers, it is not possible to miss this. The red colour sandstone walls and glazed patterned roof are captivating with the architecture taking inspiration from the 14th and 15th century. It has lived through an earthquake in 1356 which brought the Romanesque church to its knees. The main portal is one of the older elements although it is partially dismantled, however, the Gothic archivolts with angels, prophets, roses and kings still remain. For a small fee, you can climb the narrow stairs where you will be met with views of the Rhine and Basel.

Basel City Hall

This is the centre of the city and with the tram network positioned in front of it is where residents and tourists come and go every single day. This impressive building with red sandstone is commanding and dates back to the beginning of the 16th century with a lot of money spent on the construction and design. There are 12 coats of arms of the Old Swiss Confederacy on the facade but make your way through the arch and take a look at the courtyard and the 17th-century fresco by Hans Bock along with a statue of Basel’s Roman founder Lucius Munatius Plancus which as created in 1580.

Basel Historical Museum

Also known as HMB, the Basel Historical Museum has four areas, three of which located in the city and the other is located in Munchenstein which is located to the south-east. The converted Barfusserkirche is one of the main attractions and is associated with the medieval period. Once inside, you can take a look at the works from the Cathedral treasury as well as a wide selection of coins, tapestries and possessions that were once owned by Erasmus. You can also take a look at historic cabinets of curiosity that were created by rich collectors during the 1600s and 1700s, however, the Danse Macabre could be considered to be one of the more haunting pieces in the collection.

Basel Zoo

There are over 600 species on offer at the zoo, making it one of the most diverse zoos in the world. This is not just the biggest zoo in the country but it is also the oldest, dating back to 1874 but today its modern design includes enclosures that have been updated and renovated over the years. The zoo is constantly evolving with a new elephant house for you to view. A favourite with many is the aquarium with nearly 500 species of fish, reptiles and amphibians as well as penguins.

The Rhine River

The Rhine River is fast flowing and amazingly, ferries do not need to power their way along the river as they use the current to move along. The vessels are connected to steel lines that take them across the water and you can catch these at four points along the river in the centre of the city. Known as Fahri, the most popular is the Munsterfahre but if that does not float your boat then you can also take a look at the bathing areas where strong swimmers take on the currents while others take it easy in the shallower water. During the summer, these areas come alive and the atmosphere is captivating as beaches make it possible for people to enjoy sunbathing, watersports and barbecues.

Basel Tours & Attractions

Map of Basel

Events In Basel

There are many great events through the year. Of course, like other cities in Switzerland, it can feel festive at Christmas. The markets add to the atmosphere. In the summer months Swiss National day on the Rhine brings events and celebrations. It ends with a final firework display from boats on the river.

Pictures of Basel

Hotels In Basel

Choose your ideal hotel or apartment in Basel. Select based upon your location, exclusivity or budget and start planning your perfect city break now.