Basel, a tidy and quiet town that tourists love very much is located on the spot where German, French, and Swiss borders meet. It is the capital of the Halbkanton or Basel-Stadt. The canton lies along the Rhine River, at the mouths of the Birs and Wiese rivers.
This position enabled Basel to grow as a key trade and transport hub. Currently, it holds a very important position in the pharmaceutical industry. Roche and Novartis have headquarters in the city.
A big number of tourists are attracted by the world-famous ART Basel festival. Also, it has many museums, iconic buildings, and galleries. It is ideal for vacation since all interesting spots are within walking distance from each other.
Basel is well connected with other Swiss cities and neighboring countries. The most common language people speak in the city is Swiss German. But you won’t have problems trying to communicate in English or French.
The old town
The old town is part of Basel that is between the river and the old city gate at Spalentor. It is one of the most visited places in the city. This part of Basel is not big but it has a lot of charm and a historical atmosphere.
The cobblestone streets, perfect for walking, will take you to Basel Minster one of the main landmarks and tourist attractions of the city. It is a cathedral known for its red sandstone walls, twin towers, and colorful roof tiles. You can climb to the top of the towers where you will be able to enjoy the best view of the City.
Petersgasse street is where you can see unusual houses. The pictures of these houses very often decorate the postcards from Basel. In the middle of the old town, you can see a modern and unusual fountain by Swiss sculptor Jean Tinguely. It stands in the place where the stage of the old city theatre company once stood.
A shallow fountain with black asphalt is in constant motion. The ten iron figures never stop and seem to be in conversation with each other. They mimic the mime artists, actors, and dancers who used to perform in this spot.
Basel city hall Rathaus
The Basel city hall Rathaus located in Marktplatz will amaze you with its colors. You cannot simply pass by it. The building is from the 16th century. The frescos of the city’s coat of arms are painted on the walls. Adding to its beauty the statue of the city’s founder stands proudly in front of the building.
Other buildings in the Altstadt date back to the 15th century. People like to sit by the river Rhine and enjoy its beauty in summer. They enjoy the beauty of the river and eat a pretzel that they have bought from the street vendor.
A zoo where you can see over 640 different animal species is not far from the old town. This is the biggest and oldest zoo in Switzerland. It was founded in 1874. The Basel zoo is proof of all the hard work people operating it put in to make the zoo a place where both animals and humans can enjoy themselves.
It is a very popular excursion destination all year round. In the summer it is ideal for a stroll in the open air. During the winter you can visit animal houses up close and have a personal encounter with the animals.
The Rhine River is a true gift of nature. During summer, you can take a dip in the river. Its water is completely safe for swimming. There are cruises on the river every day. Go on one or just pop in one of the boats that sail along the river bank.
Museums in Basel
There are around forty museums in Basel that attract visitors from all over the world. Spectacular collections and special exhibitions offer many different things catering to different tastes.
Fine arts museum
The biggest and most significant art collection can be found in the Museum of fine arts. You can see the works of many great artists when you visit. During the visit, you can see the works of Rembrandt, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Rubens, Conrad Vic, Hans Holbein, and many others.
A room dedicated to Picasso represents the art of the 20th century. The art of the 19th century is represented by the works of Van Gogh and Monet.
Jean Tinguely Museum
This museum is a place where you can look, touch and climb. That is the reason why children love it. Moving objects from recycled materials, wheels, sounds and noise offer a memorable experience. The Swiss artist Jean Tinguely’s art is displayed at the museum. He created the famous kinetic machines.
Basel is his hometown and the best of his works are displayed at the museum. Children are encouraged to touch, climb, and start the machines. They love it. Visiting it will most definitely get your kids interested in art. Its location is next to the Rhine river. It is the perfect starting point for touring other interesting spots in Basel.
One more museum loved by children. It is perfect for families with children. Children will definitely adore it. Even parents won’t get bored. The toy museum in Basel has over 6000 dolls, stuffed bears, dollhouses, carousels, and toys.
The museum is one of the favorites among tourists. This small museum is at the spot where the paper factory once stood. Visitors can try making the paper or take a calligraphy course. As a souvenir, you can get your name signed on a piece of paper that you made.
Car museum Pantheon
This museum attracts classic car lovers. Even those who are not avid fans can enjoy the visit. The Pantheon is more than a classic car museum. It is an attractive event venue, a classic car workshop, and a place where you will learn all about the history of motor cars. Visitors can even drive cars or they can be driven in one through the city.
The pharmacy museum
Basel is a very important city for the pharmaceutical industry. It is not a surprise that it has a pharmacy museum. There is an exhibition that showcases the way pharmacology developed to be what it is today. You will be able to see one of the biggest collections dedicated to it.
First-aid kits, ceramic pharmaceutical vessels, complete pharmacy interiors, an alchemistic laboratory, and many others show the way things used to be done. It was founded by pharmacist Josef Anton Häfliger in 1925. He donated his collection to the University of Basel. The most interesting part of the exhibition are books dating back to the fifteenth and sixteenth century.
Basel is a city that attracts more visitors each year. There is something for every taste. Art lovers can visit many art museums. History lovers can go to the old town. Animal lovers will find their spot in the zoo. Children will have fun interacting with art and playing with toys. And when the day slowly starts to come to an end, they all can enjoy by the banks of the River Rhine with a Swizz cheese in one hand and pretzel in another. If you decide to visit Basel, hire a limousine service.