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15 Best Things To Do In Basel

Basel, the capital of Switzerland, is a city filled with a vibrant culture, stunning architecture, and fun activities. For traveling enthusiasts looking for a destination to explore, Basel is the perfect spot. The city offers plenty of unique things to do during your stay in Basel that will make your trip unforgettable. From outdoor adventures to modern art galleries and historic sights, there are many fun things to do when in in Basel. In this article we'll discuss the best things to do in Basel so you can get the most out of your vacation.

1. Kunstmuseum Basel

Kunstmuseum Basel

Kunstmuseum Basel is one of the oldest and most respected art museums in Europe you'll see. It was established in 1661 by a wealthy patron, who wished to create an institution that would display works of art from classical antiquity to modern times. The museum holds an impressive collection of artwork, including pieces from renowned artists such as Picasso and Monet.

The museum is home to several notable exhibitions, including 'Van Gogh & Expressionism' which showcases some of van Gogh's most celebrated works alongside other masterpieces from the period. There are also interactive displays for visitors to explore, giving insight into the history and development of art through time. The Kunstmuseum Basel also offers various workshops and activities for children and adults, providing an enjoyable learning experience while exploring the museum's collections.


Address: St. Alban-Rheinweg 60, 4052 Basel, Switzerland

Phone: +41 61 206 62 62

2. Altstadt (Old Town)

Old Town in Basel

The Altstadt, or "Old Town" , is a historic area that contains many beautiful buildings, monuments and churches that make up the heart of this city in Switzerland. With its cobblestone streets and quaint alleyways, the Old Townis a popular tourist destination, and one of the best free things to do when you visit Basel.

The centerpiece of the Old Town of Basel is undoubtedly Münsterplatz, or Cathedral Square. Here visitors can witness the stunning architecture of St. Mary’s Basel Cathedral as well as numerous other historical buildings including guild houses and public fountains.

Nearby Marktplatz is home to the Basel Town Hall and City Library—two important landmarks in Basel’s cultural history. Additionally, visitors can explore multiple art galleries situated throughout the Old Town before enjoying one of the many restaurants scattered along its winding streets.

3. Basel Minster

Basel Minster

Basel Minster is a church which dates back to the 4th century and is considered one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture in Europe. The layout consists of three naves and an ambulatory, as well as a large transept which features two towers.

The cathedral is adorned with numerous sculptures and frescoes, including the unique 15th century stained glass windows depicting various biblical scenes. Inside the main area, you can admire the intricately carved choir stalls and St. Peter's shrine from the 13th century.

The most significant feature of Basel Minster is its pipe organ which was built by Johann Andreas Silbermann in 1768-1771. This masterpiece has over 5400 pipes divided into four manuals and pedals to create an amazing range of sounds that are still used for concerts today.


Address: Münsterpl. 9, 4051 Basel, Switzerland

Phone: +41 61 272 91 57

4. Museum Tinguely

Museum Tinguely in Basel

Visiting Museum Tinguely is an experience like no other with its beautiful Tinguely fountain. Located in the city of Basel, Switzerland, this museum specializes in showcasing the work of Swiss sculptor Jean Tinguely. Each artwork is interactive, featuring mechanical elements and sound components that bring them to life. Its permanent collection in Switzerland features sculptures and installations that represent the movements of kinetic, optical and sound art.

One such artwork is “Meta-Matics VI” - a large metal construction made up of several interlocking parts that move around each other with a seemingly unpredictable pattern. As visitors approach the artwork, it creates an impressive display of motion and sound due to its intricate design.

The Tinguely museum also organizes various events throughout the year, from lectures to musical performances and even workshops for creating one's own sculpture using recycled materials.


Address: Paul Sacher-Anlage 2, 4002 Basel, Switzerland

Phone: +41 61 681 93 20

5. Basel Paper Mill

Basel Paper Mill

The Basel Paper Mill museum is one of the best places to visit in Switzerland for history enthusiasts, nature lovers and those seeking some adventure. Established in the 15th century, it has been producing paper for over 600 years and still uses traditional methods to do so.

It is one of the oldest working mills in Europe with its ancient machinery that continues to laboriously produce paper as it did centuries ago. Moreover, it is situated on a scenic spot right by the river Rhine; thus providing visitors with spectacular views of the alpine foothills surrounding Basel.

Visiting the Paper Mill in Basel promises a unique experience of being immersed in history while exploring Switzerland’s traditions and culture. While here, tourists can take guided tours around the mill learning about its long-standing heritage while marveling at its old machines churning out paper sheets like they have done for hundreds of years.


Address: St. Alban-Tal 37, 4052 Basel, Switzerland

Phone: +41 61 225 90 90

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6. Basel City Hall

Basel City Hall

Basel City Hall is a historic landmark situated in the center of Basel. Constructed in the early 1500s, it stands as an iconic symbol of Basel's rich history and culture. The building itself is constructed out of red sandstone and features intricate carvings throughout its facade.

The original construction was completed by local craftsmen who incorporated traditional motifs and symbols into their work, such as lions and phoenixes. Inside the City Hall, you can find many artifacts from the city's past including a large collection of paintings and sculptures that date back to the Middle Ages.

The building has served multiple purposes over its lifetime; originally used as a government building for both religious and civil affairs it now acts primarily as a museum where new exhibitions are held every year showcasing works by artists from all over the world.


Address: Marktpl. 9, 4001 Basel, Switzerland

Phone: +41 61 267 81 81

7. Basel Historical Museum

Basel Historical Museum

The Basel Historical Museum, founded in 1894, houses an impressive collection of Swiss artifacts, documents and works of art related to historic events that have taken place in Basel. From archaeological artifacts dating back to pre-historic times to collections from the Middle Ages and Renaissance periods, visitors can explore a rich array of exhibits.

In addition to its permanent collection, the museum also hosts temporary exhibitions showcasing notable works from varied eras. The museum’s interior offers much for guests to take in as well. The galleries feature a variety of architectural styles that reflect each era represented inside them - giving patrons insight into the evolution of design through time.


Address: Barfüsserpl. 7, 4051 Basel, Switzerland

Phone: +41 61 205 86 00

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8. Spalentor

Spalentor in Basel

The Spalentor is a remarkable example of medieval architecture, and one of the best things to see in Basel, Switzerland. Built around 1350 and standing at over 25 meters tall, this impressive double gate has been a symbol of Basel for centuries.

Over the years this Basel attraction has changed very little, making it one of the best preserved structures from the Middle Ages in Europe. It consists of two four-storied towers connected by an arched bridge that serves as a defensive passageway to access the old city.

The construction material used for the Spalentor was mostly Rhine stone from quarries near Augst and Strasbourg, along with wooden beams and trusses on its interior structure. Its outer walls are adorned with layers of different colored stones arranged in intricate patterns featuring animals, plants, and other figures which serve as important reminders of its rich past.

9. Basel Zoo

Basel Zoo

Being considered as one of the best zoos in the world, Basel Zoo is the oldest zoo in Switzerland and has been running since 1874. It houses over 600 species of animals from around the world, providing an exciting experience for any animal lover. In addition to its wide variety of fauna, the zoo offers some unique experiences that you won't find elsewhere.

The Serpentarium allows visitors to get up close and personal with some of their favorite reptiles, while the Aquarium gives guests a chance to explore aquatic life from all over the world.

The zoo also features several educational programs for kids and adults, giving guests the opportunity to learn more about wildlife conservation and sustainability. Basel's dedicated staff strive to ensure that each visit is memorable, focusing on natural habitats as much as possible so you can learn how nature works in its purest form.


Address: Binningerstrasse 40, 4054 Basel, Switzerland

Phone: +41 61 295 35 35

10. Vitra Design Museum

Vitra Design Museum

The Vitra Design Museum in Basel is one of the world’s most important design museums. Founded in 1989 by Rolf Fehlbaum, the museum showcases 20th and 21st-century furniture and product design from around the world.

The building itself was designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry and features an impressive collection of designs from iconic brands like Vitra, Herman Miller, Knoll, and Maxalto. In addition to its permanent collection, the museum also hosts exhibitions on a wide range of topics related to design as well as educational programs for both adults and children.

The museum grounds are home to more than just the main facility; they also include a cafe called Café de l'Aubette that serves traditional Swiss dishes with a modern twist.

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11. Antikenmuseum Basel

Antikenmuseum Basel

The Antikenmuseum is considered one of the most important archaeological museums in Europe, and a Basel landmark. Founded in 1872, it displays a vast collection of artifacts from ancient Greece and Rome. The museum showcases an impressive collection of sculptures, coins, paintings and jewelry spanning from over 3000 years ago to late antiquity.

Apart from its permanent collections on display, the Antikenmuseum in Basel also holds special exhibitions throughout the year focused on different themes such as religion and mythology or architecture and urbanism in antiquity.

It offers educational programs for school classes as well as a range of activities such as workshops, lectures and guided tours for tourists. At its library you can access books written by archaeologists to further explore topics related to ancient civilizations.


Address: St. Alban-Graben 5, 4051 Basel, Switzerland

Phone: +41 61 201 12 12

12. Pharmazie-Historisches Museum

Pharmazie-Historisches Museum

The Pharmazie-Historisches Museum is a fascinating place to explore the history of pharmaceuticals during your trip to Switzerland. Located inside the University of Basel its Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences, this museum houses many artifacts and artworks that represent the development of medicine and pharmacy throughout the Swiss history of Basel.

The collection includes items ranging from 18th century apothecary jars to modern pharmaceutical gadgets. Travelers can learn more about the history of pharmacy by visiting the interactive exhibits which include historic documents and photographs related to Swiss drug manufacturing.

Additionally, there are three permanent exhibitions covering everything from pharmacies and pharmaceutics throughout the centuries up to present day medicine and research. For those with an interest in pharmacology, the Pharmazie-Historisches Museum offers several educational programs such as workshops on medicinal plants or lectures on traditional medicine.


Address: Totengässlein 3, 4051 Basel, Switzerland

Phone: +41 61 207 48 11

13. Spielzeug Welten Museum

Spielzeug Welten Museum

The Spielzeug Welten Museum is a unique attraction in Basel for anyone interested in the history of toys and play. Located in the heart of Basel, the museum focuses on play and its role in cultural development throughout the world.

The museum features two main collections, one devoted to international toy culture and another showcasing traditional Swiss toys. Exhibits feature everything from ancient Egyptian dolls to modern-day board games and action figures. Visitors can learn about how different cultures use play as a way to teach values, explore creativity, and build community bonds.

A visit to this special museum is an ideal activity for families with children of all ages. Fun interactive exhibitions help bring history alive while providing creative outlets for young minds. Kids will love getting up close with iconic toys from various eras that have stood the test of time such as wooden building blocks or vintage video games consoles.


Address: Steinenvorstadt 1, 4051 Basel, Switzerland

Phone: +41 61 225 95 95

14. Fondation Beyeler

Fondation Beyeler

The Fondation Beyeler is among the best museums dedicated to modern and contemporary art. It houses an impressive collection of nearly 200 works by renowned artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Ferdinand Hodler and Claude Monet.

The works span from the 20th century all the way up to the present. In addition to displaying these spectacular pieces, the museum also hosts various exhibitions throughout the year that highlight different genres of art or take a closer look at specific artists or movements.

Visitors are able to explore this enriching experience on their own or with one of the many guided tours Basel has to offer. These tours provide you with expert insight into how various styles have evolved over time and how certain techniques have been used to create beautiful masterpieces.


Address: Baselstrasse 101, 4125 Basel, Switzerland

Phone: +41 61 645 97 00

15. The Rhine River

Rhine River in Basel

While in Basel, the Rhine River is a must-see destination on your trip to Basel, Switzerland. Set amidst breathtaking mountain views and rich cultural heritage, it's no surprise that so many people are drawn to this unique area. The river itself is an impressive feat of nature, stretching from its source in the Swiss Alps all the way to the North Sea. Its wide banks provide plenty of scenic spots where you can take in the beauty of this natural wonder.

Basel also has a deep historical connection to the Rhine River, making it an ideal spot for exploring this storied waterway. During Roman times, Basel was known as Augusta Raurica and served as an important trading post along its banks. Today, there are many monuments and museums you can visit to learn more about its fascinating past.

Best Flights To Basel

Quickly search the best flights from the widest selection of airlines flying to Basel. Regardless of what airline you go with, you can save money by comparing. Skyscanner is the best airline price comparison service specifically for Basel.


Q: Is Basel worth seeing?

A: Whether you are an art aficionado or simply seeking to explore a lesser-known European destination, Basel is definitely worth seeing. One of the main draws of Basel is its exceptional art scene. The city houses over 40 museums and galleries, including the prestigious Kunstmuseum Basel which showcases an impressive collection ranging from medieval to contemporary art. Additionally, the Fondation Beyeler presents masterpieces by renowned artists such as Monet and Picasso in a stunning architectural setting.

Q: What is Basel best known for?

A: One of Basel's most notable attractions is its thriving art scene. The city boasts an impressive number of world-class museums and galleries that house an extensive collection of fine art. The Kunstmuseum Basel, for instance, stands as one of the oldest public art collections worldwide and showcases works by iconic artists such as Picasso and Rembrandt. Additionally, every June sees the prestigious Art Basel fair taking place in the city – an international gathering that attracts collectors, curators, and art enthusiasts from all corners of the globe.

Q: Is Basel safe to walk at night?

A: Fortunately, Basel has gained a reputation as being one of the safest cities in Europe, making nighttime strolls through its charming streets a pleasant experience. One of the main reasons why Basel is considered safe at night is due to its low crime rate. The city's efficient police force ensures round-the-clock safety and security for both locals and tourists.

Moreover, Basel's well-lit streets and numerous surveillance cameras contribute to creating a sense of security throughout the city. With its strong commitment to maintaining public safety, Basel offers peace of mind when exploring its stunning architecture or enjoying an evening stroll along the Rhine River.

Q: What food is Basel Switzerland known for?

A: One of the most iconic dishes associated with Basel is "Basler Läckerli," a traditional Swiss gingerbread cookie. These sweet treats are characterized by their distinct honey and spice flavors, often infused with orange zest, almonds, and hazelnuts. Basler Läckerli has been enjoyed since the 14th century and is still a beloved delicacy today.

In addition to its famous cookies, Basel is also known for its hearty cuisine. The region boasts a variety of comforting dishes like "Zürcher Geschnetzeltes." This traditional dish features thin strips of veal cooked in a creamy mushroom sauce served alongside crispy rösti (Swiss-style grated and fried potatoes).

Q: Is Basel good for shopping?

A: With a plethora of boutiques, department stores, and markets to choose from, Basel offers a unique shopping experience to both locals and tourists. One of the main reasons why Basel is considered a shopping paradise is its central location in Europe. Situated at the crossroads of Switzerland, Germany, and France, the city attracts shoppers from all over the region. This strategic position allows visitors to explore a diverse range of shops that offer different styles and products influenced by these three countries. Whether you are looking for trendy fashion items or traditional Swiss watches and chocolates, you can find them all in Basel.

Q: How far is Basel airport from the city center?

A: Basel Airport (also known as EuroAirport) is conveniently situated just 6 kilometers northwest of Basel's city center. With such close proximity between the two locations, reaching downtown from the airport is both quick and hassle-free. Whether you choose public transportation or prefer hiring a taxi or rental car upon arrival, getting to your desired destination won't take long at all.


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Looking for an Airport Transfer Service In Basel?

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Don’t Forget Your Travel Insurance

Travel insurance will protect you against illnesses, an injury, luggage theft, and even trip cancellations. It’s a comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong during your trip. I never travel to Basel without it as I’ve had to use it several times in the past. My favorite travel insurance companies that offer the best service and value are:

Looking for the Best Travel Companies to Save Money With?

Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you go to Basel. I list all the ones I use to save money when I’m taking a trip. They will save you money when you travel too.

Want More Information on Switzerland:

Be sure to visit our Switzerland Travel Guide for even more travel tips.

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