City guide: Basel, Switzerland | Private jet charter
Basel enjoys a scenic location on both sides of the River Rhine (connected by six bridges) and is conveniently just a stone’s throw from the French and German borders.
Basel boasts an eclectic cultural heritage with an Old Town, museums and superb examples of modern architecture from the likes of Renzo Piano, Frank Gehry and more. A famous university city – and home to Big Pharma Novartis and Roche – Basel’s young population gives it a funky edge over some of its nearest Swiss neighbours.
Top five must-see sights and attractions
A short uphill walk from Basel’s Middle Bridge, Basel Minster is an iconic symbol of the city with its sandstone towers and colourful red-green roof tiles. Construction of the Minster took around 500 years ago and is a fine example of Gothic architecture.
Climb to the top of the towers (250 steps) for superb views over the River Rhine and Basel – the Pfalz terrace behind the Cathedral is also a great viewing spot. Local artist Bettina Eichin has several of her sculptures exhibited in the courtyard outside the cathedral.
The river is only a short walk downhill where you can take a ferry across to the other side of the Rhine.
Basel Old Town
Basel’s Old Town alone is worth a visit to the city. Located between the River Rhine and the Spalentor (the former city gate) the area is compact but you’ll need at least a few hours to properly explore its medieval stone streets and historic buildings.
Join a guided tour as you detour into the old artisan quarter with its enigmatic side streets, Gothic fountains and Baroque craftsmanship. A modern touch is a fantastical scrap metal-infused fountain created by the renowned Swiss sculptor Jean Tinguely. Basel’s Old Town is also home to many of its best attractions include Basel Minster and the Rathaus.
Basel is well known for its patronage of the arts and a visit to the city’s Kunstmuseum is the perfect introduction. This massive exhibition space – in three separate buildings – showcases probably the best art collection in Switzerland.
You’ll find modern and old Masters represented here including Rembrandt and Holbein. Head to the second floor for the Impressionists, Surrealists and Expressionists with Van Gogh, Picasso, Chagall, Dali, Cézanne and many more featured. South African artist William Kentridge is currently featured in the Gegenwart campus and runs until October 2019. Allow a full morning, if not a day, to ensure you see all of the inspiring art on display and refuel with coffee and Apfelstrudel at the Museum’s own bistro.
In the height of summer there’s no better place to cool off than on a float down the Rhine. Be like a local and put your clothes in a special Wickelfisch (fish-shaped) waterproof swim bag and lie back and let the current take you down the river. You’ll find the entry and exit points clearly marked between the Wettsteinbrücke and Johanniterbrücke bridges with plenty of outdoor bars to enjoy after your swim.
Basel has superb retail therapy in its high-end boutiques, however Basel’s indoor and outdoor markets are where you’ll find most locals doing their weekly – and sometimes daily – shopping. Here are a few of our favourites:
- Basel’s famous Stadtmarkt is located in Marktplatz by Basel’s Town Hall and is a smorgasbord of stalls with fruits, vegetables, flowers and meat that attracts locals as well as tourists.
- Head to the gourmet Schlemmer-Markt – at Marktplatz every Monday – for locally sourced street foods and traditional treats.
- One of the best indoor markets is the Markthalle Basel on Steinentorberg. Plenty of tasty food options here include breads, pastries and delicious pizzas.
- Lovers of bric-a-brac will head to Basel’s popular flea market on Petersplatz every Saturday.
An extensive network of trains, trams and buses link Basel with other Swiss cities and villages. Exploring Basel Old Town is best done on foot or on a bicycle, while Basel’s left bank (Grossbasel) is connected to the Kleinbasel right bank by four road bridges, a railway bridge and even four passenger ferries.
All Basel hotels provide tourists with a complimentary BaselCard enabling free public transport on the city’s trams and buses – as well as free WiFi access on the city’s own network. The BaselCard also offers a 50% discount admission to all Basel museums.
Best time to visit
From late spring through summer and into late September are usually the best times to visit Basel. Spring can be cool but sunny, while summer can be fairly hot in July and August. One of the most exciting times to visit Basel is during the city’s carnival which is held in the second week of March, while watchmakers and jewellers head to Basel for the Baselworld trade show, which will be held between 30 April and 5 May 2020.
Ideally located in the northwest of Switzerland, Basel is a tri-lingual city (French, German and English) with a fun, vibrant cultural life and an enviable restaurant scene promoting Swiss as well as international cuisine. Basel boasts many museums and a superb live music scene, in addition to easy access to stunning mountain scenery as well as the River Rhine.
For all your private jet charter requirements to and from Basel, contact us today.