When people mention Switzerland, the first cities that usually come to mind are Geneva and Zurich. However, Basel has just as much to offer. As Switzerland’s third-largest city and the country’s cultural capital, there are so many things to experience.

Once you are finished settling in a new place to stay in the city, do you have an idea of what you’d like to do? If you don’t, here are the eight best things to do in Basel, Switzerland.

 

Walk Around the Altstadt

Basel’s Old City is one of the most beautiful in Europe, with plenty of narrow streets, hidden squares, ancient buildings, and fountains to make a walking tour worth your time. It prides itself on having immense architectural diversity.

This district has been around since the 15th century, and you can see how well its historical ties have been preserved. The Altstadt is the place to go if you are looking for a trip that will take you back in time.

 

Admire the Spalentor Medieval Gate

The Spalentor Medieval Gate is a magnificent and well-preserved piece of medieval history. It was once a part of the fortified walls surrounding Basel. It was built around 1200 and was one of three medieval gates.

The gate is a little out of the way, so you may need to prepare yourself for some walking or find a means of transportation to take you there. The good news is that it is free to view and close to lots of bars and shops.

 

Swim in the Rhine

If you are visiting during the summer months, then you’ll encounter plenty of people swimming in the Rhine. It is the most popular activity in the summer. You can stow away your clothes in a fish-shaped swim bag, called the Wickelfisch, and use it to float gently through the Old Town neighbourhood. It’s lots of fun and a unique way to experience the city.

You can schedule a supervised swim if you are not confident. If you are a strong swimmer and you want a little challenge, get in between the Wettsteinebrücke and Johanniterbrücke bridges, where the current can take you downriver.

 

Enjoy Autumn at St Paul’s Church

St Paul’s is known for being Basel’s only round church. This lovely ecclesiastical building is decked with stained glass windows and features Art-Noveau architecture. Construction on this building was finished in 1901 and has become one of the best spots to enjoy the fall foliage.

 

Get Inspired by the Vitra Design Museum

The Vitra Design Museum is one of the world’s top architecture and industrial furniture design museums. If you want to have an idea of what to expect when you visit, they feature their latest exhibits on their website.

Regardless of whether you are a design buff or not, you will definitely want to set aside a day to explore its interiors. The Vitra Design Museum is located in Weil am Rein, in the same neighbourhood as the Dreiländereck (Three Country Corner) monument. This marks the point where Germany, France, and Switzerland converge. It’s exciting to think of how, technically, you can cross over to three different countries in under ten minutes here.

 

Stroll Through the Christmas Markets

If your trip to Basil is scheduled during November or December, then schedule a walk around the Christmas Markets. Merchants set up small, decorated chalets to sell a variety of seasonal delights and Christmas products.

There are Christmas Markets in three different locations: Barfüsserplatz, Münsterplatz, and Claraplatz. Barfüsserplatz is the most populated and tightly packed. Münsterplatz is spread out over a bigger area and has sights of the Rhine River as well as the Basel Minster. Kleinbasel has the smallest Christmas Market.

 

Take a Trip to the Basel Minster

Basel’s Cathedral is a must-see for people who are passionate about architecture. This building was intricately designed to blend both Romanesque and Gothic styles. Today, it is the final resting place of several important figures, particularly Erasmus. Erasmus was a Dutch philosopher and Catholic theologian who was given the title “Prince of the Humanists” for his works.

When you visit, make sure to head next door to see the Cloisters as well. These are breathtaking hallways with vaulted arches. It’s a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of the city square.

 

Get Artsy at the Kunstmuseum

The Kunstmuseum is home to the oldest public art collection in the world. It has been listed as a heritage site of national significance and touted as the country’s most important museum of art. If you consider yourself an art buff, you must visit this museum at least once.

This museum has artworks that date back to the 15th century. It features paintings and drawings by artists that were active in the Upper Rhine region throughout this time. 


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