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12 min read
After our Travel Expert Ellis spending 48 hours in Florence and bringing you some amazing travel recommendations, our CEO Greg takes you on a journey to Basel, the cultural capital of Switzerland.
This week’s BRB destination is a city that is commonly considered the cultural capital of Switzerland, dates back to 374 BC, was a centre for humanism in the 16th century and is the birthplace of Roger Federer! We are taking you to beautiful Basel!
Located right on the border between Switzerland, France and Germany, Basel has a rich multicultural heritage based on influences from all three countries. A weekend of German beer, French cheese and Swiss chocolate? Yes please! The Rhine river runs directly through the middle of the city which makes for tonnes of scenic views from every angle. The manmade elements of the city aren’t bad to look at either! You can barely move without passing an eye-catching building designed by one renowned architect or another. Modern builds mingle with traditional structures in a charming harmony across the city. Plus, with more than one museum per square kilometre, you’ll have plenty to keep you busy!
Basel is a city everyone should visit at least once, and a weekend trip is the perfect way to do it! Friendly, walkable and picturesque, there’s more than enough to keep you entertained but not so much that you have to frantically rush to get it all in. If you are in need of a retreat from fast-paced everyday life, then Basel is the perfect destination for you. That all this is just over an hour and a half away sounds too good to be true, but you best believe it baby!
I’m sure you know the drill by now. Coming up is BRB’s very own ultimate 48-hour guide to get you well on your way to having a blast in Basel!
After a 1 hour and 40 minutes flight from London Gatwick, I land at EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg (the main airport in Basel ). I want to make the most of my time in the city so I jump in a taxi and head straight to the 4* Hyperion Hotel to drop off my bag.
The hotel is situated in the city centre, in close proximity to most main attractions. Each room is innovatively designed and offers any desirable comfort and a magnificent view over Basel.
During your stay, you may savour a variety of delicious dishes in the elegant restaurant Filou, enjoy a cocktail in the bar Timeless or relax in the luxurious wellness area (make sure to take advantage of the wonderful sauna!)
With an average rating of 4/5, I'm sure it's going to be a great stay!
Where better to start your explorations of Basel than in the heart of the city at Marktplatz. Here at BRB, we are suckers for an old town square and the Marktplatz is a pretty special old town square! For the past 500 years, it has been the home of a vibrant daily market and to this day you’ll still find stalls selling fresh flowers, local produce, and traditional food.
Photo Credit: @iriscao5527
The square is overlooked by the magnificent Rathaus or City Hall. Made of red sandstone, this imposing building is guaranteed to capture your amazement. Take some time to inspect the ornately decorated façade as it is covered with symbols. The large clock is as old as the building as well, dating back to 1511. Through the arch you’ll find an enchanting courtyard with intricate wall paintings and a 1574 statue of the founder of Basel, Munatius Plancus.
annablunschi Photo Credit: @annablunschi
From here, wander westward through Basel’s beautiful old town allowing yourself to get lost in its winding alleys. The oldest buildings here date all the way back to the 1300s. Keep an eye out for whimsical sites like the irregular townhouses on Petersgasse and the cheeky monkey fountain on Andreasplatz.
Photo Credit: @mihoschneider
If you need an energy boost, pop into one of the city’s chocolatiers. The Confiserie Bachmann is particularly delightful and Swiss chocolate is arguably the best in the world so it would be a crime not to try some!
Photo Credit: @vegstraya
Finish your wanders at the Spalentor, the most impressive of the three remaining old gates into the city. Once part of the old city walls, this fortified tower stands proudly at the edge of the old town as marvellous to behold as ever.
Photo Credit: @traveler_horan
After all that walking you will have worked up an appetite! Cross the Mittlere Brücke (which dates back to 1226) to reach the riverside restaurant Ufer 7. Here you’ll find a delicious array of make-your-own salad bowls, burgers, and chicken dishes guaranteed to leave you licking your lips!
Photo Credit: @ufer7_basel
Fuelled up, it is time to take on Basel’s most famous museum, the Kunstmuseum. This museum holds the largest public art collection in all of Switzerland and trust me when I say it’s a good ‘un! There are so many big names in here ranging from masters of the Renaissance period to stars of the modern day. From Hans Holbein, Rembrandt, and Rubens to Van Gogh, Monet and Cezanne, you’ll have your fill and more of wonderful artwork. There is even an entire room just for pieces by Picasso.
Photo Credit: @parraromero
By now, your feet will be well in need of a rest and a nice cold pint couldn’t hurt either! Beer halls are very popular in Switzerland and one of the best is Zum Braunen Mutz. With long wooden benches and a rustic interior, this is a traditional beer hall where you can rub elbows with the locals and experience authentic Basel life.
Photo Credit: @_thommy
You can eat here, but the food is overpriced so instead go for dinner at Walliser Kanne. A place where Swiss specialties are done with style, you’ll be drooling over the fondues and greedily gobbling up the schnitzel!
Photo Credit: @christian.dietrich.volvo240
Basel’s nightlife doesn’t quite compare to party cities like Berlin or Barcelona but there is definitely a good time to be had if you know where to look for it. That’s where my handy input comes in! For those who love a booze and boogie, the Vice Club Basel is the place for you. Blasting hip hop and RnB from 11pm to 6am, you can get your party on hard!
Photo Credit: @viceclub
If that’s not your style, how about the Bird’s Eye Jazz Club for a fun live show and a cocktail? Or, if you prefer culture to clubbing, book a ticket to whatever world class performance is happening at the Theater Basel, the most important and largest theatre in Switzerland.
Wake up and get a coffee down you, you have places to go and medieval churches to see! Basel’s Minster Church with its two 60-metre towers is impossible to miss. Construction started in the 9th century but after an earthquake in 1356, a lot of the minster had to be rebuilt, though some of the original structure still remains. The red sandstone walls and glazed patterned roof are breath-takingly stunning. Take some time to admire the wonderful details of this church as well, such as the many 12th-century Romanesque stone carvings and the ceiling frescoes which depict New Testament scenes.
Photo Credit: @alevashi
For a few Swiss francs, you can climb the south tower which offers spectacular views of Basel as well as of the Alsace and Black Forest in the distance. Well worth the huffing and puffing! No rest for the wicked and you’re onto your next museum of the trip! The Basel Historical Museum or HMB is spread over four locations but the main attraction can be found in the converted Barfüsserkirche (Church of the Barefoot friars). The church was renovated in the 1970s to house the historical museum which focuses on the late medieval period and the early modern age.
Photo Credit: @flauschi_66
Learn about Basel’s unique positions at the crossroads between Swiss, German and French culture, check out coins, stained glass and tapestries and walk through aisles of weapons. Visiting this museum is a great way to discover more about the city you are exploring and will make you fall even more in love with this destination!
Enjoy a delicious lunch at NOMAD. The amazing menu is made up of dishes from across the world discovered by urban nomads. You can tell that a lot of effort goes into every meal prepared here which are served with flare and bursting with flavours.
Photo Credit: @lerichti
Spend your final afternoon checking out Basel’s weirdest and wonderfulest museums. Start with the Spielzeug Welten Museum, a five-storey building that holds more than 6,000 dolls, and a record-breaking army of over 2,500 teddy bears. Cute or creepy? I’ll let you decide! It is hard to believe that this gigantic toy collection was assembled by just one person, the billionaire Gisela Oeri.
Photo Credit: @_blindmouse
Next up is Museum Tinguely which is dedicated to Basel’s celebrated sculptor Jean Tinguely. Working between 1950 and 1980, Tinguely’s wacky, complicated, machinated sculptures channel the Dada spirit and satirise mass production and materialism. It isn’t as serious as it sounds however. With tangles of pulleys, electric motors, buttons to press, and levers to pull, this interactive museum is great fun to explore.
Photo Credit: @culturetourist
As the sun begins to set, hop on a river tour for an unbeatable view of the city bathed in the evening light. The perspective from the water is gorgeous and as you pass the fairy-tale facades of the old town, keep an eye out for the ancient city walls and the Basel cathedral. There is only one place to go for your last dinner in Basel and that place is Krafft Basel. The local fresh food is prepared expertly, and it is complimented wonderfully by the incredible view of the Rhine. Bon Appetite!
Photo Credit: @restaurantkrafftbasel
Finish your hols with a cocktail at the Bar Rouge and toast to your next trip. This intimate and chic bar is located 105m in the air and is the tallest bar in the city. It is the perfect place to look out over Basel which twinkles below as you say your farewells.
Photo Credit: @nadineluisabernardo
If like me you love taking short weekend breaks across Europe and spending 48 hours in cities like Barcelona, Prague, Porto, Split, Bologna, Stockholm or Venice, but if like me you hate wasting hours trawling travel sites to plan and research your next weekend break, only to be hit by increased flight prices just before booking, then BeRightBack is for you!
The team at BeRightBack believes that the mission of a travel company should be to save you both time and money.
With BeRightBack, you get three trips a year to three surprise European destinations, all for the monthly cost of £49.99, which includes your return flights and your hotel.
With BeRightBack, creating a trip takes 60 seconds. Simply tell us how you like to travel when you create your account, and our concierge service does everything else for you. You won't have to lift a finger.
Best of all, you always pay the same price for your trips, no matter when you go away and we help you spread the cost of your travel, thanks to our monthly subscription.
I hope you enjoyed my 48 hours city guide to Basel and do not hesitate to use our website chat or to email us if you have any questions!
Gregory Geny (Founder of BeRightBack)
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