Basel Mini Guide
Why go to Basel?
Historic Basel is affectionately known as the culture capital of Switzerland. With a milder climate than the Swiss average it also experiences finer weather. Basel is a little known destination, but it has so many opportunities for adventure and exploration.
What’s the Story?
Basel dates back to 500BC when Celts originally settled there. The area has seen city walls built, plagues, earthquakes and avoided two world wars, which is amazing considering its proximity to Germany. Basel is mainly German speaking with the Swiss Franc as currency. Although Euros and other currencies can be used, you are advised to check before you pay.
Where is it and How Can I Get There?
Basel is situated in the northwest corner of Switzerland, with France
to the west and Germany
to the north. The river Rhine divides the city. The nearest airport is EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg, situated 3km northwest of Basel. Due to its economic importance, the transport network is well established, with exceptional road links connecting France and Germany. See the latest news
and reviews on all of the car hire companies in Basel and Switzerland on our main page.
What to See and Do
The world's most influential art market occurs in June and Basel carnival parade is held in February. The colourful Romanesque Münster Cathedral, zoo, museums and gates to the walled city are must-sees. You can also watch summer ice hockey, football, swim the Rhine, take educational tours, drive along the stunning river and overlook the city from Switzerland’s highest building. The city is the host this year of the International Festival of Youth Choirs which is expected to be a fabulous event with concerts held across the city.
If I Hire a Car?
Switzerland's largest site of Roman ruins, Augusta Raurica is a trip to the east. Why not have breakfast in France, lunch in Germany and return to Basel for your evening meal. Most hotels will have access to parking and there are also payable public garages.
Shopping and Souvenirs
Freie Strasse is the place to buy absolutely anything. There are quirky shops tucked away in the side streets, keep your eyes open for them and find something unique to take home. Marktplatz is a bustling market for fruit and vegetables, breads, pastries and flowers.
When I get Hungry?
Basel has a feast of gastronomy. Look out for Basler Leckerli (Basel cookies) a ‘delicious’ sweet treat, Mehlsuppe (brown flour soup) and Zwiebelwähe (onion tart) or Hypokras, a herbal wine for a cultural culinary taste.
Every Monday boasts a tour of the myriad of traditional bars or you can relax to jazz at the Bird’s Eye at Kohlenberg. For late night revellers there is Excalibur and Restaurant Klingental. At the other end of the scale take a romantic walk to see the cathedral or visit an exhibition/gallery or the opera.
Be aware of trams while sightseeing. Car drivers are generally considerate to pedestrians and will stop at crosswalks. As with all cities be cautious of pickpockets. The beer and wine legal drinking age is 16 and for straight spirits 18.