Basel Travel Guide

Basel is situated in Switzerland along the border of France and Germany and is the third largest city in the country. The famous Rhien river runs through the city, splitting it into two sections however the city is compact and easy to navigate around and you will find a mix of business visitors, tourists looking for art and culture, students and locals in the city.


Saving Money Tips | Basel

Switzerland is expensive compared to other parts in Europe, when you visit here it is expensive to dine out and travel within the country. Of course there are always tips and tricks on how to save money here, some are below.  

  • Walk– You can walk everywhere in Basel, there is no need to look for transport unless you want to take the boat across the river but this is a cheap option also. The city is small enough to get around by foot.
  • Takeouts- We found getting takeout snacks and sitting along the riverfront was a nice way to spend our evenings, this is much cheaper than eating along the waterfront in a restaurant and one of the best ways to enjoy the sunset.
  • Hotels- Quite expensive compared to rest of Europe but in reason for Switzerland, you will find good deals if you book your hotel in Advance, There are lots of business visitors in Basel so the hotels do get booked up.
  • Book travel in advance– If you are travelling via train then book in advance, travelling is expensive in switzerland. If there is the option to travel via flixbus then this is much cheaper and sometimes quicker than the trains but they do not operate everywhere in switzerland.

Top Things to do | Basel

The Rhein river – There is plenty of space around the river, you can pick a spot to grab a beer and watch the sunset from this beautiful view. Locals and tourists both hang out here and of course you have to try floating down the river, grab a Wickelfisch (a waterproofbag to put all your belongings in) and take it with you down the river with you, this is for us the highlight of Basel.

Explore Basel old town– The city centre holds most of Basel’s attractions including the Marktplatz where the Rathaus is located. The building is bright red and cannot be missed in the town hall, you can also take a walk on the Spalenberg hill dating back to the 14th century, it is a beautiful cobbled hill.

Farmers market on Marktplatz – A great market opened Monday- Saturday, selling local and fresh foods including some traditional swiss treats!

Ride on the Fähri boat across the Rhein-  Costing only £2.60 both ways this boat only takes 5 minutes from one side to the other and there are a few different routes you can take along the Rhein and what is special about these is they only use the natural current to cross the river using a cable, really cool!

Tinguely Fountain – Designed by Jean Tinguely the fountain is made up of nine mechanical sculptures and is worth a visit.  

Where to eat | Basel

Knock on Wood $$-$$$ –  Close to the Basel CFF train station this restaurant is the perfect stop of a nice lunch or evening dinner. The food is all locally produced and extremely fresh ingredients used in all the dishes. The homely feel is warm and welcoming, you can choose to dine inside or outside, definitely worth the visit for delicious fresh vietnamese food. The staff here are most welcoming and are great to have a chat about how they source their food.

Ufer7 Basel $$$ – Newly renovated terrace overlooking the river, this restaurant does get busy so a reservation is a good idea. The food and service is great here and on a sunny day, enjo a cocktail by the water.

LA Restaurant $$$$ – Stroll along the Rhine and make your way this stylish and elegant restaurant. The food is reasonable for the quality and service provided, great fresh food and local wine choices. All dishes are balanced flavours and presented to a great standard, make sure to come hungry because you will want to try starter, main and dessert here particularly the basel dessert is a nice way to end a fantastic meal.

Where to stay | Basel

Recommended Hotel – Hotel Schweizerhof $$$ – The hotel Schweizerhof is located right next to the Swiss railway station and is easily accessible by bus from the Basel airport (Euroairport). Outside the hotel is the tramway hub which you can get on and it will take you anywhere around the city. The rooms are clean, large, well equipped and featured a comfortable bathroom. The staff are more than welcoming and will answer any questions you may have. There is a fridge with drinks provided all day long including water, orange juice and fizzy drinks. The breakfast offers a varied selections of hot and cold foods and the staff will bring you a coffee of your choice, you can also get a takeaway breakfast if you have somewhere to be. The hotel is the perfect location to explore Basel, close to all bars, restaurants, walking distance to the river and right next to the train station.

Hotel City Inn $$ – Large spacious, clean rooms and in a great location close to Basel Hauptbahnhof. This is a cheaper option if you are on a budget in Switzerland and want to still have a great night’s sleep.

Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois $$$$ – The hotel is located in the center of town along the river, close to the tram line that will take you anywhere around the city and the hotel will provide you will tram passes. The art of the hotel is beautiful, rooms are extremely spacious and each room is designed tastefully. The views from around the hotel including the room, bar and restaurant of the Rhine River and city are spectacular. An expensive stay but worth the money if you want a special stay in the city.


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