5 reasons Basel should be on your radar


When travelers think of Switzerland, the gorgeous scenery and skiing are often top of mind.  But what else is there to do?  Consider Basel!  Here are five reasons you should visit Basel during your next visit to Western Europe.

The museums… obviously!

Basel has a whopping number of museums (almost 40!) in this small, beautiful city. The museums range from those displaying classical pieces to some with contemporary art from around the globe to others with eclectic, niche works (imagine risqué comics). The most notable, not-to-be-missed museums are the Kunstmuseum and Fondation Beyeler. Additionally, every hotel provides each guest with a Basel Card upon check-in – these essential cards give you 50% off of all museums visits, complimentary public transportation, and more … making a visit to Basel even more enticing.

The food scene

I was pleasantly surprised by the food scene in Basel. There are a few exceptionally delicious Michelin-starred restaurants including the phenomenal Restaurant Stucki (Tanja Grandits) and Cheval Blanc (in Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois). For your impromptu meals in between museums, there are many adorable cafes offering quaint atmospheres, funky vibes, and great food options for a light lunch.

The landscape and architecture

With the Rhine River running right through the middle of Basel, you’ll find lovely views in many parts of town.  When you’re not by the river, you still get to absorb beautiful architecture throughout the city.

The ease

Basel’s proximity to Zurich makes this such an easy addition to not only a Switzerland trip, but also an addition to many Western Europe itineraries. It’s super easy to visit Basel. After landing in Zurich, take a quick, 1.5-hour journey via train to Basel. If you plan to take the train to a few places in Europe, be sure to get a Rail Europe pass to have just about all of your train journeys covered in one, flat price … even your First Class journeys. Even if you are flying from the US, with that short train ride you’ll make it to Basel in time to catch evening views along the Rhine and dinner in one of those fabulous, Michelin-starred restaurants.

The people

From the kind woman I randomly asked for assistance with identifying the correct train to the in-the-know hotel staff willing to give me the skinny on the funkiest, non-touristy neighborhoods to the young skateboarders who allowed me to take photos of them during their practice to the local art enthusiast who struck up a conversation with me in a museum to hear a different perspective on an exhibition about Black American culture … the people of Basel are so kind, welcoming, intellectually curious, and keen on having interesting experiences (including with visitors).

Be sure to build this fantastic spot into your next trip to Western Europe.

Tisha Neufville is a Luxury Travel Advisor and Founder of Neufville Travel. Neufville Travel is an independent affiliate of Brownell, a Virtuoso member.

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Comments (7)

  1. Moya Finn says:

    Probably the most amazing of Basel’s Museums is the Tinguely Museum. This is a really good time of year to visit. Outside the museum there’s a black sculpture, like an eccentric waterwheel that shifts water but in winter when it’s cold the water freezes transforming it into a completely new sculpture.

    Tinguely was quite a strange man. He was interested in Formula 1 racing but back in his day the safety precautions were terrible and he lost some good friends amongst the drivers, to pay tribute to them he created black ghostly sculptures of the drivers around a crashed racing car and kept it in his bedroom. It must have freaked out his wife every time she woke in the night.

  2. Ed says:

    I’ve been to Basel on business a lot. It’s an interesting place that seems as if it is in the middle of Europe. My phone kept pinging as it picked up Swiss, then French and German networks. Strictly speaking the airport is in France. The people seem to pick and mix what they want from the three vountries’ lifestyles. Maybe it’s a bit mixed up but the people seem to make it work.

  3. Pete says:

    Maybe the River should be a 6th reason too? Not just for having a few drinks along its bank on a nice evening. In summer the locals hire a waterproof bag put all their clothes in it, plus a dry towel, then using the bag as a floatation aid, they just relax and drift downstream.

  4. Alison Williams says:

    Although the Fondation Beyeler is a little way out from the centre of Basel it is well worth a visit with an amazing collection of great works and a beautiful hilly backdrop. When I visited they were exhibiting a big Monet waterlilies canvass. Cleverly it was displayed by a massive picture window which looked out onto a pond of water lilies which was such a beautiful and clever idea. I’m not sure that they’ve still got the Monet but there will certainly be plenty more to see at the Beyeler.

  5. Julie Humphrey says:

    The Basel calendar is packed with events and festivals so the hotels can get really packed with some high room rates. Then again if you just want to visit for the attractions that are there everyday of the week you can get some bargain rates between shows and exhibitions.

  6. Katherine says:

    My family will visit Europe this coming May and Basel is not on my list (honestly) But after reading this post, surely we will visit the place. Thanks.

  7. Chris H says:

    It’s the old reason why Basel is such a artistic hotspot: patronage. It was ever so during Medieval Times and the Renaissance and it continues to be.

    Basel is a thriving commercial centre, there are some very successful pharmaceutical firms based there, and it’s successful citizens choose to support the arts – to great effect.

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