Basel, Switzerland Guide


Gateway to France and Germany

Where is Basel?

Basel Location Map

Basel is located along the Rhine river in northern Switzerland, at the intersection of France, Germany and Switzerland. The border with France on the west bank of the Rhine is about 2 km north of the city--the border with Germany is on the east bank, about 3 km north.

Getting Around

Train Stations

Basel has two train stations, the larger Basel SBB is the main Basel station, most of it in Switzerland--but if you're going on to France you can walk to Bâle SNCF. Basel Badischer Bahnhof, run by Deutsche Bahn, hosts many German Trains that don't stop at Basel SBB. You can rent bicycles at Basel SBB.

Basel Airport

Basel is served by EuroAirport, which is actually in French territory 5km north of the city, shared between Basel (Switzerland), Mulhouse (France) and Freiburg (Germany).

Tourist Offices

You'll find the Basel tourist office inside the SBB train station. In Basel, you'll find a tourist office at Schifflände 5. These offices charge to make reservations at hotels for you. There are hotels just outside Basel SBB as you exit.

The Free BaselCard

When you check into your hotel you'll be handed a BaselCard when you check in. The attractive features of the BaselCard include free use of public transport, free surfing on the guest WiFi plus a 50% discount on admission to Basel’s museums, Basel Zoo, Theater Basel and much more.

Basel Hotels and Lodging

Basel hotels aren't cheap, and may get even more expensive during trade shows. 

Easy Hotel's Riehenring, isn't fancy, but for expensive Switzerland it's a very good price for a hotel in an excellent location. Check out other Basel Hotels and Apartments.

Changing Money in Basel

Since Switzerland uses the Swiss Franc, you might need to exchange money if you've been traveling in the Euro zone. You can do so at Basel SBB daily from 6am–9pm, but an ATM card is your best bet. ATMs are all over Basel, including the train station. it's also very easy to use credit cards here. In some areas, especially near the border, Euros may be accepted.

Guildhall Restaurants

Guilds were a big deal in 12th century Basel; the foundation of the first craft and merchant guilds started in 1226. Many of the halls have turned into quite nice restaurants. The restaurant Safran Zunft in the old town is the spice trader's guild hall, and spices are part of the regional cuisine served within. 

Climate in Basel - When to Go

Summer weather is usually mild in Basel; expect some rain, as rainfall peaks in summer. For climate information as well as the current weather conditions, see Basel Travel Weather.

Basel Attractions and Events

Basel is famous for its ancient masked carnival, or Fasnacht, a three-day carnival festival starting on the Monday after Mardi Gras. See A Basel Fasnacht Primer from Anita's Feast.

Christmas in Basel, with the big Christmas market at Munsterplatz, is a very big deal.

Basel’s ART International Contemporary Art Fair is the largest art event of its kind in the world.

Vogel Gryff is a medieval festival held in January on the Rhine in Basel.

Events

Basel usually has many resources for you to find out about the top events in the city. With a ban on public gathering, many listings have evaporated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here's a list of events in Basel. Art Basel also has some virtual events for art lovers.

Select Museums

Basel has a wonderful web site that links to all of Basel's Museums: Museen Basel. Below are our favorites.

Basel Cartoon Museum - St. Alban-Vorstadt 28, CH - 4052 Basel

Swiss Sports Museum - Münsterplatz 20, CH - 4055 Basel

Museum der Kulturen Basel [Museum of Ethnology] houses one of Europe's largest collections on European and non-European cultural life.

Jean Tinguely Fountain

Quirky Mechanical Devices Squirt Water

This attraction on the Theatreplatz is one of my favorite odd things to do in Basel. 

Museum Jean Tinguely is dedicated  to Jean Tinguely. His kinetic art  machines are thought to have extended the Dada tradition into the later part of the 20th century.

Tinguely Fountain

Buy from a bookshop that supports your local bookstore as well as indy writers

Books About Europe Travel