Basel travel guide

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Introduction to Basel

Basel, Switzerland — When thinking about this city on the Rhine, in Switzerland, images of the spectacular Basel Minster, Mittlere Brücke, and Tinguely Fountain instantly come to mind. As you explore beyond these attractions, you'll find that this city in Switzerland is more than what we see in books and social media. Basel, and its community of more than 173.6 thousand people, is a culturally rich and diverse travel destination offering plenty of unforgettable experiences.

Traveling to Basel is especially rewarding for anyone eager to connect with locals and learn more about their unique culture and traditions. German is the official language in Basel.

Easily accessible from EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg, Basel is the perfect base for a memorable and unique vacation in Switzerland at any time of the year. For a comprehensive understanding and to unearth hidden gems, visit Basel's official website.

History of Basel

The city of Basel, nestled on the banks of the Rhine, boasts an intriguing history that stretches back over 2,000 years.

Starting from a small Roman settlement in the 1st century BC, Basel grew into a significant hub of trade and culture. It was here in the 15th century that the University of Basel, the oldest in Switzerland, was founded.

In the early modern era, Basel became a center of printing and humanism, and the city played a significant role in the Reformation. Its strategic location made it a crucial link in the trade routes across Europe.

In the 19th century, the city's fortunes skyrocketed with the establishment of the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, for which Basel is still renowned today. The city's rich history is evident in its well-preserved Old Town, grand cathedrals, and numerous museums.

Discovering Basel's past is like unearthing a treasure trove of stories, making it a captivating destination for history enthusiasts.

Top services in Basel

On this page, you'll find all the top travel services in Basel, Switzerland. Enjoy the convenience of planning and booking every detail of your trip to Basel, including flights, accommodations, activities, and more, in one place.

Discover the cheapest and most popular flights offered by a variety of airlines that fly to Switzerland. Check out the best things to do in Basel by browsing over 196 top-rated tours available to you in the city. Compare the rates and services of the stays and 7 car rental companies offering CDW insurance coverage.

Experience the best of Basel with an expertly curated and fully customizable itinerary. Get answers to questions about the routes and services offered in Basel from our free 24/7 customer support. We make it easy for you to find and book every detail of your trip to Basel with this travel guide.

Continue reading this Basel travel guide to learn how you can enjoy a stress-free and memorable vacation in the city of Basel!

Best time to visit Basel

The best time to explore Basel, Switzerland, is during the spring and early summer months of April through June, when the city's landscapes burst into a vibrant display of blooming flowers. These months offer relatively mild and pleasant weather, optimal for outdoor activities and sightseeing. Autumn, from September to October, is another great time to visit, with the fall foliage rendering the city in stunning hues. It's also when the city's renowned Basel Autumn Fair takes place, adding a festive air to your visit. Basel can get crowded during these periods, so booking accommodations in advance is recommended. In contrast, winter months, particularly January and February, are less congested but can be chilly. However, if you're a fan of Christmas markets, Basel's are among the most beautiful in Europe, making a December visit worthwhile despite the cold. Regardless of when you travel, Basel's rich historical and cultural offerings ensure an enriching experience.

Local tip for visiting Basel

One insider tip when visiting Basel that might not be commonly known to tourists is to make use of the city's 'Gästekarte' or Guest Card. Upon checking into any hotel in Basel, you will be provided with this card which entitles you to a myriad of benefits that can significantly enhance your travel experience. These include free use of the city’s public transportation system, including the trams and buses, as well as free or discounted admission to numerous museums, galleries, and other attractions. Furthermore, the Gästekarte also offers free Wi-Fi at many hotspots throughout the city. This invaluable resource not only saves you money but also allows you to explore Basel in a convenient, hassle-free manner. Remember to check if your hotel offers the Gästekarte upon booking.

Learn more about Switzerland

With destinations such as Basel, a trip to Switzerland needs no further explanation. Spanning over 41,285 square kilometers, Switzerland is an expansive playground of discovery, offering a wealth of diverse landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and captivating experiences awaiting exploration. From bustling metropolises to historic towns and modern urban hubs, Switzerland has something to enchant every traveler.

In Basel alone, travelers are spoiled for choice with an array of experiences and world-famous attractions such as Basel Minster, Mittlere Brücke, and Tinguely Fountain. Thus, a trip to Switzerland becomes essential. Whether you're drawn to historical sites, natural wonders, or vibrant cultural experiences, Switzerland offers an abundance of treasures waiting to be discovered.

There's so much to explore and uncover in Switzerland. Click or tap the link below to discover more about Switzerland and its offers.

What to see in Basel

Photo of Riverside of Rhine in Basel dominated by majestic building of Munster church, Switzerland

Expect an exhilarating journey through Basel, a haven brimming with attractions to suit every traveler’s taste. From historical landmarks to natural wonders, and delectable cuisine, Basel offers an abundance of experiences waiting to be discovered. Dive into this ultimate Basel travel guide to uncover must-visit spots and get the scoop on what makes the city so special.

Top attractions in Basel

With its blend of traditional and modern culture, Basel is more than just a wonderful city in Switzerland. It's a hub for diverse experiences, boasting top attractions that range from historical landmarks to modern marvels, offering a glimpse into Switzerland's rich heritage and innovative spirit.

One popular place to visit in Basel is the unforgettable Basel Minster. Considered one of the most well-known attractions in the city, a visit to this spectacular travel destination is something you shouldn't miss on your trip to Basel.

For more information about what you can expect during a vacation in Basel, check out our list of top attractions below. Discover the best places to visit in Basel, including the fascinating Basel Minster, Mittlere Brücke, Tinguely Fountain, Fine Arts Museum Basel, and Kannenfeldpark.

Map of attractions

Take a closer look at the city map below for the exact locations of all the top attractions in Basel.

Things to do in Basel

Photo of Rathaus, the Town Hall of Basel - Switzerland

You've explored Basel's top attractions and marked them on your map. So now, it's time to delve deeper and discover the top things to do in Basel. These activities not only offer excitement and adventure but also provide unique insights into the city's culture and heritage. Take your experience to the next level by checking out the best sights with a knowledgeable guide, embarking on fun adventures unique to Basel, or learning more about the city's rich history and traditions.

Discover the most popular tours and experiences in the city below.

Most popular experiences in Basel

A visit to Basel gets more exciting with memorable experiences. And the city is just perfect for that, with plenty of fun activities. Historical Tours, Sightseeing Cruises, Walking Tours, and more are just some of the options you could explore to fully immerse yourself and make the most of your time.

In this travel guide, we've included some of the best things to do in Basel, adding a special touch to your journey in this vibrant city. Explore bustling markets, embark on scenic hikes, sample local delicacies, or immerse yourself in the rich history and heritage of Basel. Browse this diverse array of unforgettable experiences Basel offers and let your adventures begin!

Top tours & tickets starting in Basel

In Basel, travelers are spoiled for choice with a dazzling array of 17 categories of top-rated tours and tickets. But among this sea of options, one category reigns supreme: Cultural Tours.

Cultural Tours offer an unparalleled opportunity to immerse yourself in the heart and soul of Basel. For example, the fantastic City tour Basel.

Basel also offers plenty of budget-friendly tours and activities that promise travelers a unique experience. This experience costs around 3 EUR.

Elevate your upcoming Basel adventure with unforgettable experiences by booking top-rated tours in the city. Uncover the finest tours, activities, and tickets awaiting you in Basel right below.

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Search for things to do in Basel

Discover the best things to do in Basel. Choose from 196 fantastic tours and activities available in the city.

Select your dates and number of travelers in the search bar below to receive the best recommendations for your vacation in Basel. Click the green button to view your options and discover a variety of exciting things to do in Basel.

What to eat in Basel

Basel, the cultural heart of Switzerland, offers a gastronomic journey that will tantalize your taste buds. The city's culinary scene represents a fusion of Swiss, German, and French cuisine, with an array of dining options that range from street food at Marktplatz to high-end restaurants in Kleinbasel. You must try the city's traditional dishes such as the Basel-style roasted flour soup, Läckerli (a hard spice biscuit), and Basler Leckerli (a type of gingerbread). The best places to eat in Basel include the Old Town, where you'll find cozy bistros serving local dishes, and the Rhine River banks, known for their outdoor restaurants. For a more upscale dining experience, head to the St. Alban district, which boasts several Michelin-starred establishments. Don't miss out on the local markets where you can sample regional cheeses, meats, and the famous Swiss chocolates. A visit to Basel would not be complete without trying a glass of local wine, preferably in a traditional ‘Wystube’ (wine lounge). Happy dining!

Nightlife in Basel

Basel comes alive at night with a bustling nightlife scene that caters to all tastes and preferences. The city is renowned for its unique night culture, with Kleinbasel district being the best area for bars in Basel. Here, you'll find an array of watering holes lining the Rhine's banks, each offering a unique ambiance and a wide selection of spirits, wines, and craft beers.

Steinen is another popular district, featuring some of the city's top nightclubs where you can dance the night away. A must-visit establishment is Bar Rouge, the highest bar in Basel offering breathtaking views of the city. For those who prefer a quieter night, a stroll through the beautifully lit Old Town is highly recommended.

Basel's nightlife scene is not just about bars and nightclubs; the city is also home to an array of theatres and music venues. The Theater Basel, for example, offers a wide range of performances from opera to ballet, making it a great option for a memorable night out. Regardless of what you choose, Basel's nightlife is sure to leave you with unforgettable memories.

Best shopping in Basel

No trip to Basel, Switzerland, is complete without indulging in a spot of shopping. Basel's Freie Strasse is the best place to go shopping in Basel, famous for its high-end stores and local boutiques, offering a fusion of international brands and Swiss craftsmanship. This pedestrian-friendly street is perfect for leisurely strolls and window shopping.

For a more traditional shopping experience, visit Basel's Marktplatz. Here, you can browse through stalls selling fresh produce, local crafts, and Swiss souvenirs, including the iconic Swiss watches and cowbells. Don't forget to sample some Swiss cheese or chocolate, known for their superior quality.

The Stücki Shopping Center is another must-visit destination, housing a wide array of stores, restaurants, and entertainment options. Basel's distinct fashion, characterized by simplicity and elegance, is evident in its local boutiques and designer stores. Practical information such as opening hours and credit card acceptance is usually posted at the entrance of the shops. We recommend carrying some cash for markets and smaller shops.

Shopping in Basel is not just a retail experience, but a cultural immersion that complements your Swiss journey.

Best free things to do in Basel

Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture and rich history of Switzerland with the best free things to do in Basel. Start your journey at the mesmerizing Rhine River, where you can take a serene stroll along its banks or have a refreshing swim during summer. The city's Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, boasts picturesque streets, medieval churches, and stunning fountains that are free to explore. Discover Basel's artistic side at the Museum Tinguely, which offers free admission on the first Sunday of every month. Venture into the botanical garden of the University of Basel, home to a diverse array of plants from around the world. It's a haven for nature lovers and a serene escape from the city's hustle. For a sweeping view of Basel, hike up to the Wartenberg, a trio of ancient hilltop castles. Don't miss out on the iconic Basel Minster, a red sandstone cathedral with striking twin towers, open to visitors without charge. These free experiences offer an authentic taste of Basel, melding the old with the new, the natural with the urban, and the artistic with the historical.

How to get to Basel

International travelers can fly to Basel by booking flights with easyJet, Wizz Air Malta, SunExpress, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, and Iberia Airlines, offering flights to EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg. From the arrival airport, travelers can choose from various public and private transfer options to Basel.

For those seeking the best flight ticket deals to Basel, knowing the cheapest travel times and which airlines offer the most affordable flights is helpful. Luckily, we provide this information to help you discover the cheapest and most popular flights to Basel. Go to this page to compare all flights to Basel.

Find cheap flights to Basel

Photo of  office buildings cityscape on the Rhine River in autumn.Basel, Switzerland

Booking budget-friendly flights to Basel is a crucial part of planning your trip to the city. This section will guide you through the process, helping you find the best deals for your journey.

Booking in advance is a smart move when traveling to Basel. Airlines release their best deals months ahead of departure, so early birds catch the lower fares. Consider flexible travel dates while planning your visit to the city. Mid-week and off-peak seasons often offer more wallet-friendly options.

To help you find cheap flights to Basel, you can use the powerful booking widget below. Enter your departure city, choose between round trip or one-way, pick your fare class, select travel dates, and specify the number of travelers. Click "Search" and the widget will do the rest. You'll see a list of flights matching your criteria, making your trip to Basel even more convenient.

Fine-tune your search with filters to sort by price, airline, layovers, and more. Once you've found your ideal flight, click "Book" and you'll be redirected to the booking page to complete your reservation. Enter your payment details and receive a confirmation – it's that simple!

Remember to book ahead, stay flexible, and utilize the widget's features to make your journey to Basel both affordable and unforgettable.

Popular flights to Basel

Travelers visiting Basel can easily access the city via EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg, offering direct connection to 961 destinations worldwide. To streamline your travel planning process, explore the most popular flights to Basel below. Discover direct routes from major international hubs and convenient connections tailored to suit your travel preferences. Click to delve into the diverse array of flights available to Basel and embark on an unforgettable journey.

Car rentals in Basel

Photo of University Building in Basel, Switzerland in summer

To navigate Basel effortlessly, renting a car is an excellent choice. With your own wheels, you can explore every nook and cranny of the destination without relying on public transportation and even venture off the beaten path. On our website, you'll discover a selection of over 7 car rental companies in Basel, ready to provide you with the perfect vehicle for your travels.

Automatic cars for rent in Basel start at 60 EUR per day or 422 EUR per week. The cheapest automatic rental car is a Volkswagen Polo. If you prefer driving a manual car, you'll find multiple options for rent in Basel, starting at 64 EUR per day or 447 EUR per week. The cheapest manual rental car is a Mitsubishi Asx.

Learn more about the different types of cars you can rent in Basel, Switzerland below.

Popular types of cars for rent in Basel

Renting a car in Basel is a popular choice among travelers who want to explore the city at their own pace. A wide variety of popular car rentals are available to choose from in Basel, ensuring you find the best car for your travel plans.

Check out all the options available and book your car rental in Basel for your upcoming adventures in Switzerland below. All car rentals come with CDW insurance for added protection throughout your trip.

Search for car rentals in Basel

Get ready to hit the road and explore the beautiful city of Basel. Find the best deals on a variety of popular car rentals in Basel, Switzerland, or any other destination in Europe by using the search tool below.

Enter your pick-up and drop-off location, driver's age, and dates. Click the green button to view your options.

Popular destinations to visit after Basel

Photo of Tinguely fountain in the center of Basel, Switzerland.

The city of Basel is just one of the many unique and scenic destinations you can visit in Switzerland. So if you're itching for another cultural adventure, a relaxing road trip, an action-filled city break, or a memorable weekend getaway, know that Switzerland has it all.

Each destination in Switzerland offers something unique to experience! Take the opportunity to visit other captivating places in Switzerland that are as magical as the city of Basel. The most popular travel destinations in Switzerland are listed below. Click on the name of the place you want to explore next to learn more about it.

All the best destinations in Switzerland

When unsure about where to go next, use the map below. This map shows the locations of all the best destinations in Switzerland. Use the map to plan your trip and find the best routes.

Domestic flights from Basel

Photo of traditional autumn fair in Basel, Switzerland

Experience the authentic charm of Switzerland by expanding your travels beyond the boundaries of Basel. Explore other destinations around Switzerland with a domestic flight. A domestic flight is typically a short-haul flight, with the longest duration not exceeding two hours. To find the best flights from Basel to other amazing locations in Switzerland, add the required details below and select 'Search' to view the best domestic flights in Switzerland for your chosen dates. You can also jump to the last section of this travel guide to find the most popular domestic flights from Basel.

Popular domestic flights from Basel

Travelers in Switzerland can catch flights to domestic airports in Zürich, Geneva, Thal, and Bern. Domestic flights in Switzerland are operated by 7 airlines, including easyJet, SunExpress, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Iberia Airlines, and Vueling. There are around 15 scheduled flight routes operating to Basel on a weekly basis.

From Basel, travelers can book scheduled flights to 4 domestic destinations. The most popular flights from Basel depart to many top-rated destinations in Switzerland and are offered by easyJet, SunExpress, and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.

Search domestic flights from Basel

Traveling to another city or region in Switzerland? Use the flight search tool below to quickly find the cheapest one-way or round-trip flights from Basel to different local destinations.

Enter all the necessary information and click or tap on the Search button to see a list of the available domestic flights in Switzerland on the selected dates.

Transportation in Basel

Basel offers a multitude of transportation options, making it easy for tourists and locals alike to navigate the city. The city's public transit system is efficient and extensive, with a network of trams and buses that cover every corner of the city. Tickets can be purchased at machines at each stop, and remember to validate them before boarding.

Taxis are readily available throughout the city, and they can be hailed on the street or booked in advance. Basel also has several car rental companies, providing another convenient option for those looking to explore at their own pace.

For a unique local experience, don't miss the chance to cross the Rhine River on one of Basel's four traditional passenger ferries. These are powered solely by the current of the river, offering a tranquil and environmentally-friendly way to travel. Lastly, Basel is a bike-friendly city, with plenty of bike rental shops and dedicated bike lanes, which make cycling a convenient and enjoyable mode of transportation.

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