Basel - great things to do by Mark Sukhija

Basel is probably one of the more overlooked Swiss cities in most visitors itineraries who tend to head to the more well know destinations such as Lucerne or the mountains year round. Some of this is understandable. But that doesn't mean Basel doesn't have anything to offer. Quite on the contrary.

  1. The Renaissance Rathaus in Basels Marktplatz during MorgenstreichMarktplatz and the Renaissance Rathaus are the right in heart of Grossbasel. Marktplatz is, somewhat unsurprisingly, host to the Basel fruit and veg market - breads, pastries and flowers are also on offer. Best bet, though, is on Saturdays which attracts significantly more vendors during the week. The distinctive red Palace is home to the Rathaus (Town House) which is still in official use. Official tours of the Rathaus occur every Thursday at 18:00 in German. Guided tours can be arranged in English though Basel Tourism - however for a price for 200CHF you should arrange to go as a group (the price is per group.)

  2. The City Gates and Spalentor (Spalen Gate) Three city gates - Spalentor, St Alban Tor and St Johanns Tor - survive from the third ring of fortifications which were built in 1400 to provide greater security after the earthquake of 1356. The Spalentor is the most well preserved and imposing of the city gates that survive. The side facing away from the town is decorated with three figures from the beginning of the 15th century - the Madonna and two prophets.

  3. The Münster and Pfalz are two of the most attractive locations in Basel . Built in the Romanesque and Gothic styles between 1019 and 1500, the Munster overlooks the Rhine and is surrounded by a most pleasant old town and square. Several figures decorate the main south facing façade - including one of the famous St George slaying the equally famous (and now equally dead) dragon. The St. Gallus Door (Galluspforte) on the western façade of the Münster is one of the most important sculptural works from the Romanesque period in Switzerland. The interior houses a 19th Century lecturn and a crypt with the tombs of early bishops of Basel . The views from the Pfalz - north of the Münster - over the Rhine are some of the most spectacular that Basel has to offer and, with a clearish day, you can see into France and Germany. For a few francs you can climb the shorter of the two towers - St Martins at 62 meters. St Georges Tower is 65 meters.

  4. Elisabethen, Elisabethenstrasse. St. Elizabeth is, compared to other attractions underrated in Basel guides. Constructed between 1857 and 1865, it was the first new Protestant church building in Basel following the Reformation and is considered the most important neo-Gothic church in Switzerland

  5. Rhine river - cutting through central Basel , the Rhine is a splendid way to spend some hours in good weather to enjoy the sunshine. Walking along the Kleinbasel, several cafes offer outdoor seating to watch the world go by. Several bridges cross the Rhine and offer excellent vantage points over the old town which stradles the river. You can, of course, cross the Rhine in Faehri.

  6. Kunstmuseum Basel - The Kunstmuseum (St.Alban-Graben 16 CH-4010 Basel) is the impressive home of Basels permanent collection of medieval, Renaissance, 19th and 20th art work and includes a whole room with pieces by Picasso. St. Alban-Graben 16, city center. The Museum Für Gegenwartkunst comes under the same umbrella but is located a 10 minute walk away at St. Alban-Rheinweg 60 and focuses on contemporary art.

  7. Fondation Beyeler, (Baselstrasse 101, Reinach) Located around in Riehan, a suburb of Basel around 15 minutes from the centre, the Fondation Beyeler is notable for its impressive post-19th Century collection of works by Claude Monet, Paul Klee, Roy Liechtenstein, Auguste Rodin, Paul Cèzanne and Joan Miró. The collection, assembled by art dealer Ernst Beyeler, is housed in a fine building designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano.

  8. Museum Jean Tinguely, (Paul Sacher-Anlage 1) Arrive by taking the 15 minute walk along the promenade on the Kleinbasel side of the Rhine, the Museum Jean Tinguely is home to some great animated mechanical works dedicated to Jean Tinguely and other "kinetic" artists. Tinguely is one of Basel's most prominent artists and his the Fasnachtsbrunnen (Carnival Fountain) is on public display in the square in front of Restaurant Kunsthalle on Steinenberg.

Related Posts

Basler Fasnacht - cortege Cortege at Basler Fasnacht 2015
Basler Fasnacht - cortege at Mittlere Brucke Wednesday afternoon cortege at Basler Fasnacht 2015
Basel Fasnacht - pair of Waggis Pair of Waggis with confetti at the Basler Fasnacht Cortege
Basel Fasnacht - Waggis and the confetti Waggis throwing confetti at the Basler Fasnacht cortege in 2012
Basel Fasnacht - Waggis dishing out eggs Waggis throwing out eggs at the Basler Fasnacht cortege in 2012
Basel Fasnacht - Waggis in the wild Waggis amongst the crowds in the Basler Fasnacht Cortege
Basel Fasnacht - display of Fasnacht lanterns Lanterns of Basler Fasnacht being displayed in Münsterplatz
Basel Fasnacht - Fasnacht lanterns Looking at the Basler Fasnacht Lanterns at Münsterplatz


Further reading

Basel Fasnacht - display of Fasnacht lanterns - Lanterns of Basler Fasnacht being displayed in Münsterplatz

Switzerland - sacred destinations - Nine of the finest churchs, cathedrals and monastries in Switzerland

Basel Fasnacht - lanterns at Münsterplatz - Lanterns displayed in front of the Basler Münster on the second day of Basler Fasnacht

Basel - Van Gogh exhibition 2009 - A visit the Van Gogh Exhibition at the Kunstmuseum in Basel

Basel - Fasnacht background information - General information on and about the Basler Fasnacht

Basel - getting around - How to get around Basel

Basel - getting there - How to get to Basel

Basel - staying safe - Top tips on staying safe in Basel

Basel - where to stay - Recommended hotels and accomodation in Basel city

Switzerland - places not to miss - Sixteen places not to miss around Switzerland

Basel Tourismus - Official website of Basel City Tourism

Key facts

Name: Basler Münster
Rittergasse 3, CH-4051 Basel
Learn more
Name: Fondation Beyeler
Baselstrasse 101, Reinach
Name: Kunstmuseum
St. Alban-Graben 40, CH-1640 Basel
Learn more
Name: Museum Jean Tinguely
Paul Sacher-Anlage 2, CH-4002 Basel

About Mark Sukhija

Mark Sukhija is a travel and wine blogger, photographer, tourism researcher, hat-touting, white-shirt-wearing, New Zealand fantatic and eclipse chaser. Aside from at least annual visits to New Zealand, Mark has seen eclipses in South Australia (2002), Libya (2006), China (2009) and Queensland (2012). After twelve years in Switzerland, Mark moved back to London in 2012. You can follow Mark on Twitter or Facebook