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Basel Travel Guide

Explore the Swiss city at the intersection of France and Germany

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Location of Basel, Switzerland

James Martin
basel chrismas market, switzerland christmas markets

Basel Christmas Market Picture: Marktplatz with Christmas illuminations and the large Christmas tree decorated by Johann Wanner

© Erwin Zbinden

Basel: Location in Switzerland

Basel is located along the Rhine river in northern Switzerland, at the intersection of France, Germany and Switzerland. The border with France on the west bank of the Rhine is about 2 km north of the city--the border with Germany is on the east bank, about 3 km north.

Basel Transportation

Basel has two train stations, the larger Basel SBB is the main Basel station, most of it in Switzerland--but if you're going on to France you can walk to Bâle SNCF. Basel Badischer Bahnhof, run by Deutsche Bahn, hosts many German Trains that don't stop at Basel SBB. You can rent bicycles at Basel SBB.

Basel is served by EuroAirport, which is actually in French territory 5km north of the city, shared between Basel (Switzerland), Mulhouse (France) and Freiburg (Germany).

Basel Tourist Offices

You'll find the Basel tourist office inside the SBB train station. In Basel, you'll find a tourist office at Schifflände 5. These offices charge to make reservations at hotels for you. There are hotels just outside Basel SBB as you exit.

Basel Mobility Card

One nice perk you'll get when staying in Basel is the Basel Mobility Card, free with your hotel stay. If you don't get one upon checking in, ask at the front desk. The card gives you free tram and bus transportation throughout the city.

Where to Stay

Basel hotels aren't cheap, and may get even more expensive during trade shows. Venere offers user rated hotels in Basel (book direct).

Really cheap is Easy Hotel's Riehenring, where you'll pay extra for your television's remote control and maid service--but you can get a 9 square meter windowless room for cheap (usually less then 30 Euros), or bigger, windowed ones for less cheap.

If you have a large group or family, you might consider a vacation rental in the Basel area. See HomeAway's Basel Area Vacation Rentals (book direct).

Changing Money

Since Switzerland uses the Swiss Franc, you might need to exchange money if you've been traveling in the Euro zone. You can do so at Basel SBB daily from 6am–9pm, but an ATM card is your best bet. ATMs are all over Basel, including the train station. it's also very easy to use credit cards here.

Guildhall Restaurants

Guilds were a big deal in 12th century Basel; the foundation of the first craft and merchant guilds started in 1226. Many of the halls have turned into quite nice restaurants. See Basel Guildhall Restaurants.

Climate in Basel - When to Go

Summer weather is usually mild in Basel; expect some rain, as rainfall peaks in summer. For climate information as well as the current weather conditions, see Basel Travel Weather.

Basel Festivals

Basel is famous for its ancient masked carnival, or Fasnacht, a three-day carnival festival starting on the Monday after Mardi Gras.

Basel's Christmas Market is the Largest in Switzerland. You'll find it spread out in Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz. According to the tourist bureau, "During the run-up to Christmas, many events and spectacular special exhibitions in the city's museums further enrich its cultural scene."

Basel’s ART International Contemporary Art Fair is the largest art event of its kind in the world.

Vogel Gryff is a medieval festival held in January on the Rhine in Basel.

Current Events

See Basel Tourismus for a list of Basel Events.

Select Museums

Basel has a wonderful web site that links to all of Basel's Museums: Museen Basel.

A Tour of Cathedral Hill in Basel

Blogger Anita Anita Breland and her husband, photographer Tom Fakler, have put together a fine tour of the city: Basel, Switzerland–on Cathedral Hill.

 

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