With its atmospheric medieval old town and excellent art museums, Basel is one of Europe’s hidden gems. It lies at the meeting point of Switzerland, France and Germany, and serves as a gateway to the magnificent alpine landscapes of the Jura Mountains.
Things to do in Basel
Marktplatz lies at the heart of Basel’s Old Town and is ignited in colourful market stalls selling fruits, vegetables, bread and flowers. It’s dominated by the red sandstone architecture of the 16th-century Town Hall with a picturesque courtyard to explore within its Renaissance design.
A short walk through the cobbled streets takes you to Basel’s magnificent cathedral, fusing Romanesque and Gothic styles and housing the tomb of the 16th-century Dutch scholar, Erasmus. Take the time to admire its famous Galluspforte portal on the western facade and climb to the top of St. Martin’s Tower for impressive views across the Rhine River.
Basel is renowned for its art museums, including the Kunstmuseum’s outstanding collection of medieval and Renaissance paintings, as well as Picasso masterpieces. The museum also operates a separate gallery, the Museum für Gegenwartskunst, that is dedicated to contemporary art.
For a different take on art, follow the banks of the Rhine River east to the Museum Jean Tinguely which is credited to this Swiss “kinetic” artist. There are fascinating mechanical works and animated art to explore, making it a great cultural destination for kids.
Getting around Basel
Euroairport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg is the gateway for most visitors to Basel and situated just 10 minutes’ drive from the city centre on French soil. An extensive tram and bus network accesses all corners of the city, although the Old Town’s narrow and winding streets are best explored on foot.