What we found the most beautiful in Switzerland is its magical mountains, the Swiss Alps. We are passionate hikers anyway, so if we can choose mountains, we will. 🙂 And Basel has no mountains. It’s located on that part of Switzerland which is almost plane (okay, there are some hills, to be fair). But since it was not far from Zürich and Lucerne, our other two destinations on the trip, we planned to spend a day in Basel, too.
And we did it right! Basel has an amazing Old Town (Altstadt) and its City Hall (Rathaus) became our favorite piece of architecture in the country. I mean, just look at it: is it how you normally imagine a city hall?
Walk on the lovely little streets
Our favorite experience in Basel was just walking in the Old Town. Those narrow, fairy tale streets made us feel like we are back in time. The old wells with their colorful statues and the charming decorated houses definitely have their share in this atmosphere.
Oh, and if it’s walking, you shouldn’t miss the walk along Rhine River which gives the nicest panorama of Basel.
We were amazed by the Old Town in general, but of course, we have favorite parts! I’ve already mentioned the City Hall, but we loved Basel’s famous church, Basel Munster, too. This huge red church is richly decorated and it has a nice, large courtyard.
As all of the churches we’ve seen on our Swiss trip, Basel Munster is free to visit and it’s definitely worth a look from the inside.
The wonderful and the extraordinary
If you wonder how to plan your city walk to explore Basel’s Old Town, we have an advice quite easy to follow: there’s 3 wonderful pieces of architecture and if you visit them on foot, you will see most of the Old Town on your way. These 3 buildings are: Basel Munster, Basel City Hall and the City Gate (Spalentor).
The list of exciting things doesn’t end with that though. Tinguely Brunnen is also in the Old Town and it’s not an ordinary fountain, it’s not majestic or breathtaking, but it’s so playful with its amusing machine sculptures!
Open Church is another weird thing. We’ve heard about enormous churches used for non-religious purposes in Western Europe, but we’ve seen it for the first time in Basel. Though the beautiful Neo-Gothic building of the Open Church looks like a church, it’s rather an event center used for spiritual, cultural and social activities nowadays. Oh, and there’s a cafe inside as well.
Close to nature
Probably it has something to do with our addiction to nature and hiking, but even when we visit cities we always look for parks. Basel is no exception. Our favorite green area is the small botanical garden of the university (Botanischer Garten der Universitat) and I guess, spring was the perfect time to visit it.
Rheinpfad is a nice hike along Rhine River and it starts not far from the city center. It’s 13 km long and lead you outside of Basel, but we haven’t done it all the way just the first few kilometers. By the way, that’s how we found the Basel paper mill.
Where to stay
Switzerland is not a cheap country. To stay within our budget, we mostly only considered hostels to stay in Basel. And we found a really cool one! Though [email protected] SBB seemed to be a bit pricey (Switzerland, that’s what), it’s probably the most elegant and comfortable hostel room we’ve ever stayed in. You can hunt for deals on HotelsCombined, too.
We’ve spent about 24 hours in Basel and we loved it! Even without mountains and that means something. 🙂 Though there’s so much things to do in this vibrant city especially if you are interested in architecture and arts, but this 24 hours was just enough to explore all major sights. We feel that Basel has really deserved its place on our first Swiss trip.
Are you convinced? 🙂 Would you visit Basel?
Disclosure: We paid for this trip ourselves and our hotel stay was not sponsored either. However affiliate links are used in this post, and at no additional cost to you, we earn a commission if you make a purchase. If you are ready to book your trip and would like to support this website in some way, here’s your chance. Thank you! 🙂
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