Switzerland has long been a tourist hotspot for its incredible scenery, culture, and delicious cheese and chocolate. But its cultural capital, Basel, is still a hidden gem for many travelers. If you’re looking for a destination that’s home to world-class art museums, an amazing view of the Rhine, and great architecture, then this city is a must-visit.
Planning your itinerary? Which attractions should make it to the list for your dream Eurotrip getaway? If Basel is one of your stops, here are the 10 best things to do in Basel that we think every tourist should experience!
See the Basel Minster
Built between 1019 and 1500, the Bael Minster is a stunning masterpiece of Gothic and Romanesque architecture. Its red sandstone walls make it immediately recognizable from its hilltop location near the Rhine. While its impressive façade is certainly the reason why it’s one of Switzerland’s most famous landmarks, visitors will feel renewed awe upon glancing at the jewel-like stained glass windows as the light filters in.
Visit Kunstmuseum Basel
The Kunstmuseum has the oldest public art collection in the world. It notably houses Renaissance art, Impressionist work, and Surrealist pieces. Gaze in awe at Van Gogh, Manet, Picasso, and Chagall’s art here. With a total space of over 10,000 square meters to hold all its revolving exhibitions and permanent collections, it’s easy to spend the whole day here just marveling at masterpieces.
Be Amazed at Spielzeug Welten Museum
This charming toy museum is a unique destination where you can see a variety of play objects from around the world. Carousels, teddy bears, and antique dollhouses are just some of the charming pieces from different time periods that you’ll see displayed here.
Take a selfie at Spalentor
Also called the Gate of Spalen, this 15th-century gate is the most magnificent of the three remaining city gates, with its two round towers flanking the main square tower. Take a closer look at its façade section facing away from Basel – it’s decorated with three exquisite figures of the Madonna and two prophets.
Explore the Basel Old Town
Basel’s Old Town is home to many fine bookshops, galleries, and handicraft stores. Take one of the five walking tours around it to glean interesting insights about the city’s history, see its architectural diversity, and visit Basel’s museums. Don’t forget to visit the markets to sample local specialties and score vintage finds!
Visit the Basel Zoo
Founded in 1874, this non-profit zoological garden is a popular destination because of its various animal houses full of exotic species. Check out the rhino enclosure, or go the vivarium to catch a glimpse of marine life. If you’re traveling with small children, take them to the special enclosures to interact with a variety of gentle creatures.
Go back in time at Basel Historical Museum
Considered one of the largest and most important museums in Switzerland, it has multiple items and exhibitions spanning several periods such as the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and the Baroque period. Peek at the treasury of the Basel Cathedral, see the Strasbourg and Basel tapestries, and view the exhibitions on handicraft traditions while you’re here!
Take of Photo of the Rhine River
The Rhine River is one of the major rivers in Europe. It runs for over 1,232 km from its source in the in the Swiss Alps.
Explore Museum Tinguely
Situated directly on the Rhine, the Museum Tinguely is an art museum in Basel, Switzerland that contains a permanent exhibition of the works of Swiss painter and sculptor Jean Tinguely.
Experience Basel Paper Mill
Basel Paper Mill is the national museum for paper, typography, and writing located in Basel, Switzerland. Within the walls of a fascinating medieval mill, visitors can learn about a lot of things, from hand-made paper to finished books.