Basel City Guide

Basel is a great European city for a city break or short holiday. The well-kept secret of Basel is perched in the border triangle where Switzerland meets Germany and France, and the city offers an excellent mix of all the culture, architecture, history and entertainment you’d expect to find in each of these countries, but wrapped up in a very easy-to-navigate, visitor-friendly city centre.

Situated on a curve in the River Rhine at the very north of the country, Basel is a modern, forward-thinking city with a traditional heart, making it perfect to explore on a city getaway. On the one hand, it is one of Switzerland’s most important commercial and industrial hubs, but on the other, it has one of the best-preserved Medieval centres in all of Europe. These two sides – of tradition and innovation – sit very easily alongside each other in Basel, neither harking back too longingly to its roots nor heading too hastily towards the future.

When it comes to places to stay in Basel, you really will be spoilt for choice. Whether you fancy a grand hotel with a historic feel or an up-to-the-minute chic boutique, there’s a Basel hotel that’ll suit you down to the ground. Choose a hotel near the old town to be within easy walking distance of the majority of the most notable attractions such as the Town Hall, Basel Cathedral and Spalentor. It’s also a good spot to be close to some of the most popular of the city’s 40 museums, including the Kunstmuseum, Basel Historical Museum, Music Museum and Jewish Museum, which are all just a matter of minutes away from each other.

Thanks to the compact nature of centre and the great public-transport network of buses and trams, it’s also easy to squeeze a shopping fix into your Basel city break, no matter where you’re staying. From the Market Square, head down Freiestrasse for big-name and designer brands, and check out the boutiques and art galleries around Spalenberg. There are also hundreds of shops at the Stücki shopping mall to the north of the city centre.

It’s not just in the centre of Basel that you’ll find plenty to keep you happy on your holiday. If you share the Swiss love of the outdoors, you can get out and about in the beautiful countryside of the Black Forest just across the border in Germany, the Alsace region of France and the spectacular Jura mountains in Switzerland. If you stay closer to the city, go for a stroll or cycle along the riverside paths, or join the locals in the tradition of taking a swim on a summer’s evening. The nearby water and sauna parks at Aquabasilea, Sole Uno and Laguna Badeland are also worth a visit, especially if you’re travelling with kids.

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