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Things to do in Basel, Switzerland, our must-sees - Blog Voyage - Découvrir Ensemble

Things to do in Basel, Switzerland, our must-sees

Last update : 28 April 2024
We went to visit Basel in the middle of summer, and what a great idea! It was the first time we'd traveled to Switzerland together, and we didn't know the city at all!

We quickly fell under its spell and think that Bale is the ideal destination for a lover’s weekend. At just 3 hours by train from Paris, you’ll have a complete change of scene. Basel boasts a wealth of attractions, not least the Rhine River, which is a real delight for enjoying the quayside and the view from the bridges. In this article, you’ll find all our good addresses (hotels and restaurants) to prepare your stay in Basel as well as our must-sees and favorites in the city!

Visiting Basel in Switzerland, where to sleep?

We stayed at the Hotel Schweizerhof during our weekend in Basel. Its biggest advantage is its location: it’s right across from the train station and very close to the city’s streetcars! Of all the hotels close to the train station and youth hostel in Basel, this one is cosy, warm and perfectly placed. If you’re coming to Basel by train, it’s perfect: you’ll be at the hotel in 2 minutes. The hotel is very pleasant and comfortable, especially the bedding, which is top-notch. And also, something essential for us… breakfast! Their buffet breakfast is made up of all kinds of local produce, a real delight.

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Visit Basel, a great idea for a romantic weekend away!

This charming city, just 3 hours from Paris, is a real city break. We discovered it with the warm light of July and optimal temperatures, and yet the city was quite calm. Few tourists, small streets to stroll along, unobstructed views… The general atmosphere is one of slow life: slowing down, getting back to simplicity, taking time for yourself and connecting with nature (even in the middle of the city!).

During public holidays, come and spend 3 days discovering Basel – it’s a change from weekends in Amsterdam! And it’s well worth the detour to discover the treasures of this city so beloved by the Swiss. The Basel Carnival would be exceptional! A great idea for a weekend in February.

It’s an opportunity to discover the city’s surprising architecture, museums and local gastronomic specialties at your own pace… And here’s something that’ll give you an extra change of scene: the local language in Basel is German, and the currency is the Swiss franc!

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Visiting Basel, what to see? Must-sees

Visit Basel: stroll along the quays and swim in the Rhine

The quays and banks of the Rhine are great places to stroll along, and you’ll find plenty of refreshment stands where you can enjoy a little coffee or beer in the sunshine. You can also set up on the quayside for an impromptu picnic on the Rhine! We found the atmosphere both family-friendly and festive, day and night.

The Basel people’s favorite pastime is quite surprising for Parisians like us… it’s none other than swimming in the Rhine and letting the current carry you along. It’s true that you can’t really imagine doing that in the Seine in Paris! Since 1930, summer days have brought color to the Rhine with little bags and buoys… What does that mean? Everyone in Basel has coloured watertight bags on which to float! Ultra practical.

On Saturday evenings, it’s customary for Baselers to settle down on the banks of the Rhine for a drink with friends!

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Walking around downtown Basel

The city center of “Greater Basel”, the historic center or old town, is concentrated on several streets, where you’ll discover numerous stores, museums and restaurants of all kinds. It’s a very pleasant walk, with charming facades and a lively atmosphere! Visit Basel through the narrow streets, a mix of art and history.

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Visit Basel and its cathedral, Basler Münster

We took a closer look at Basel’s impressive cathedral, after observing it from different vantage points around the city – it’s considered one of the most beautiful in Europes! Basel’s pink sandstone emblem stands proudly in the middle of a beautiful square, and promises to be a sight to behold. On this square, we were very surprised to discover people bathing in a fountain, and it was here that we learned that it was permitted to bathe in several of the city’s 200 fountains.

You can also visit the interior of Basel Cathedral, where you can admire beautiful light displays and a breathtaking view of the quays!

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Musée des Beaux Arts, Kunstmuseum Basel

Basel’s Museum of Fine Arts appealed to us firstly for its impressive, photogenic architecture. Secondly, the museum’s collections are top-notch! You’ll find Van Gogh, Gauguin… There’s something for everyone. Individual guided tours can be booked to gain a better understanding of contemporary art with the help of a lecturer. Art lovers can also take advantage of the museum’s many temporary exhibitions. A quick trip to the ticket office and off you go! What a change from a visit to Basel Zoo! And to think we’re going on a weekend excursion to Basel to see an exhibition, a guided tour of Art and street art, that’s still class, isn’t it?

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Visiting Basel and its St Alban district

We discovered this district a little out of the city, which we found very charming. You can get there on foot or by streetcar. Here you’ll find old mills, half-timbered houses and small canals in the alleys. You can also visit a Paper Mill and discover the whole procedure for creating paper in the form of workshops!

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Visit Basel, the most photogenic places

Warteck Museum

This ultra-photogenic spot is none other than the city’s former largest brewery. It’s now a museum every last Friday of the month from 5pm, displaying objects of all kinds like a cabinet of curiosities as galleries do. Take the streetcars to get closer, these little trains are really handy.

Warteck Museum

Rathaus, Basel’s city hall

A visit to Basel’s City Hall is a must when touring the city. This building, with its distinctive red brickwork and numerous decorations, is truly imposing. It’s a pleasure to admire and take photos of. As you can see, it’s impossible to visit Basel without seeing it! 

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The Messe exhibition center

We didn’t go inside, but we were able to admire this huge, impressive building. We loved admiring it and taking photos of it; all the while cunningly trying to fit the whole thing into a single photo! If you’re a fan of architecture, go for it, or if not, skip it.

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Visiting Basel, where to eat? Our favorite restaurants

Restaurant Kunsthalle

We had lunch in the shade of chestnut trees on the terrace of this restaurant, a very calm and soothing moment. We tasted avocado burgers, which we found delicious! It’s a lovely address for a break in the heart of Basel.

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I’ve fallen in love with this restaurant, ideally located on the banks of the Rhine. You’ll find plenty of bars where you can have a cocktail, but this restaurant is the best place to have a drink and enjoy dishes with fresh produce. They offer a wide range of dishes to choose from (in other words, a menu with a list to choose from). So you can decide on all the ingredients for your dish. Ufer7 also offers large dishes to share for two. It’s not gourmet, but it’s all excellent! We chose this option and loved it: prime rib and bulgur with vegetables. The atmosphere is particularly pleasant for a dinner party, and the waiters are adorable. The restaurant has a great terrace and we advise you to book to get a table!

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Lily’s Maxim

We discovered this street food restaurant by chance, in the Clara district after a stroll along the quays. It’s a very atypical place, as you can enjoy Japanese, Chinese or Indian cuisine. The perfect compromise if you can’t agree on what to eat! We both tasted curry dishes: a tikka massala and a tamil curry, as well as two homemade Ice Teas. A real treat!

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In the heart of “Petit Bâle”, KLARA is a restaurant offering 9 different cuisines (African, Japanese, Argentinian…) in a place “just like home” with vintage furniture. This atypical place also offers exhibitions and concerts in these 800 warm meters.

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We had an Italian dinner on the terrace right next to the town hall on a warm summer evening. Mozzarella di buffala, Carpaccio, Gnocchi, Prosseco and Spritz … Delicious! A lovely address close to the city center yet quiet.

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Visiting Basel, how to plan your trip well?

How to get to Basel

To find the best mode of transport to visit Basel, we recommend you always look on the OMIO comparator. This will give you an overview of all available modes of transport. You’ll be able to compare prices very easily.

How to rent a car at the best price?

If you’d like to rent a car during your trip to explore the surrounding area, we recommend you take a look at the RentalCars website. This will help you find the best prices and conditions for your rental.

How to find the best hotels in Basel ?

In order to find the best hotels and benefit from the best conditions (security, cancellation…) we go almost exclusively through for our travels. We recommend that you take a look at the available hotels before you leave. You can filter them according to their ratings. There are plenty of recent customer reviews, so there are no unpleasant surprises when you’re traveling!

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Article in commercial collaboration - Blog Voyage - Découvrir Ensemble
Article in commercial collaboration

This entire trip was co-constructed with the Suisse Tourisme teams. Our opinions are personal and sincere.

Thank you for reading

We hope the tips and good addresses on our travel blog will help you visit Bern, Switzerland!

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Clem & Alex

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