Charming, historic and vibrant, this is how I would describe Switzerland’s third largest city, Basel. Yet it is also one of the most underrated destinations of Europe. This city sits on the borders of Germany, France and Switzerland, it is said to be located in the Dreiländereck i.e. a tripoint.
It is the second largest economic centre in the country after Zurich with a blooming pharmaceutical and chemical industry. Basel also reports the highest GDP per capita and the city enjoys a stable political environment.
Some 40 museums punctuate the area, yes you read it correctly, people in Basel have this culture of making generous donations when it comes to promoting Arts. Kunstmuseum is the oldest civic museum in Europe while University of Basel, founded in 1460, is also the oldest university in Switzerland. Additionally, the city is home to other prestigious institutions like Basel Accords, Art Basel and FC Basel.
Most of the attractions are within walking distances from the city center. You can easily make day trips to the German, French and Swiss cities from Basel. We made a day trip to Colmar which is only 45 mins away from the city.
Lucerne – 1 hour 30 minutes
Zurich – 1 hour
Solothurn – 1 hour
Freiburg im Breisgau in Germany – 50 mins
My short stay in Basel has been quite an adventure. Honestly I never thought that I would end up loving this place so much. I didn’t have any plan or itinerary except for a few places that I read about briefly. Instead we walked around and grasped as much as we could in 3-4 hours.
Briefly what we did.
We reached there in the afternoon and took the bus from EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse to the 4-star Hotel Euler which is situated opposite SBB station. Traveling within Basel is easy with trams and city buses plus it’s free as long as you’re staying with a registered hotel. However I would recommend exploring on foot to really soak in the beauty of this place.
We first stopped at the Church of St Elizabeth which was founded by Margarethe and Christoph Merian in 1857 as the first protestant church in Basel after the reformation. This church is mostly known for its Gothic design.
We then made a pit stop to the nearby Starbucks before heading to the old town. Basel is truly an architectural treasure with all the beguiling and striking buildings, cute houses and remarkable historical sites. The Town Hall, Basel Rathaus, can be easily spotted by the facade painted with a flashing red color.
We strolled past quirky cobblestone streets, fountains and chocolate shops. As a matter of fact, Basel has more than 300 fountains. Afterwards we saw the Rhine river. We stood there for a few minutes amazed by its beauty but then it started to rain heavily and our stomach was calling for food in this cold weather. We had a lavish Indian meal at one of the Indian restaurants before heading back to the hotel.
The next day we made a quick visit to the international food market, Markthalle, which is just a few steps away from our hotel. You’ll find there food from all over the world as well as local produce and flowers.
I wish I had more time to explore the city but I can confirm that it is no surprise why Basel was ranked among the ten most liveable cities in the world in 2019.
You can check our post on Lucerne.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post, thank you for dropping by.