When travelers think of Switzerland, the gorgeous scenery and skiing are often top of mind. But what else is there to do? Consider Basel! Here are five reasons you should visit Basel during your next visit to Western Europe.
The museums… obviously!
Basel has a whopping number of museums (almost 40!) in this small, beautiful city. The museums range from those displaying classical pieces to some with contemporary art from around the globe to others with eclectic, niche works (imagine risqué comics). The most notable, not-to-be-missed museums are the Kunstmuseum and Fondation Beyeler. Additionally, every hotel provides each guest with a Basel Card upon check-in – these essential cards give you 50% off of all museums visits, complimentary public transportation, and more … making a visit to Basel even more enticing.
The food scene
I was pleasantly surprised by the food scene in Basel. There are a few exceptionally delicious Michelin-starred restaurants including the phenomenal Restaurant Stucki (Tanja Grandits) and Cheval Blanc (in Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois). For your impromptu meals in between museums, there are many adorable cafes offering quaint atmospheres, funky vibes, and great food options for a light lunch.
The landscape and architecture
With the Rhine River running right through the middle of Basel, you’ll find lovely views in many parts of town. When you’re not by the river, you still get to absorb beautiful architecture throughout the city.
Basel’s proximity to Zurich makes this such an easy addition to not only a Switzerland trip, but also an addition to many Western Europe itineraries. It’s super easy to visit Basel. After landing in Zurich, take a quick, 1.5-hour journey via train to Basel. If you plan to take the train to a few places in Europe, be sure to get a Rail Europe pass to have just about all of your train journeys covered in one, flat price … even your First Class journeys. Even if you are flying from the US, with that short train ride you’ll make it to Basel in time to catch evening views along the Rhine and dinner in one of those fabulous, Michelin-starred restaurants.
From the kind woman I randomly asked for assistance with identifying the correct train to the in-the-know hotel staff willing to give me the skinny on the funkiest, non-touristy neighborhoods to the young skateboarders who allowed me to take photos of them during their practice to the local art enthusiast who struck up a conversation with me in a museum to hear a different perspective on an exhibition about Black American culture … the people of Basel are so kind, welcoming, intellectually curious, and keen on having interesting experiences (including with visitors).
Be sure to build this fantastic spot into your next trip to Western Europe.