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The Best 3 Days in Basel Itinerary

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Cool, compact, and colorful – that’s the City of Culture on the Rhine for you – BASEL!  Located in northwest Switzerland, and close to Germany and France, there is no shortage of things to do in Basel, making it the perfect city break destination in Europe. We had an incredible time, and here are the perfect 1 to 3 days in Basel itinerary to make the most of your visit! 

Perfect 1 to 3 days in Basel Itinerary: Travel Tips (+ Map)

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. We are grateful to Basel Tourismus for inviting us to visit the City of Culture on the Rhine. All opinions are our own.

Basel is rightly known as the Cultural Capital of Switzerland. It is home to one of the world’s oldest art museums – the Kunstmuseum, and many other cultural centres and museums such as the Fondation Beyeler, Jean Tinguely Museum, and the Vitra Design Museum & Vitra Schaudepot.

Girl in Basel Old Town
3 day Basel itinerary

Truly the list doesn’t stop here. Basel is steeped in everything ‘old town charm’ from cobblestoned lanes, an iconic Cathedral, picturesque Rhine river views, and a buzzing food scene!

At a glance, your 3 days in Basel will look like this

Top things to do in Basel in one to three days: Basel Itinerary

  • Day 1 of Basel itinerary: Basel Old Town Walking Tour, Basel Minster and Cloisters, Rhine Promenade, Kunstmuseum, St Alban Tal
  • Day 2 of Basel itinerary: Marktplatz, Self-guided food tour, Shopping in Spalenberg district, or Natural History Museum or Basel Historical Museum 
  • Day 3 of Basel itinerary: Fondation Beyeler, Vitra Design Campus, Three Countries Bridge 

Depending on your time in the city, you can pick each day as a separate itinerary and get out there and explore!

Planning your trip to Basel Switzerland

Basel is the third largest city in Switzerland, right after Zurich and Geneva. And as compared to most Swiss destinations, Basel still remains untouched, and in a good way.

Basel in the fall, Rhine River promenade
Basel in the fall

The city is perfect for a visit all year round. We visited during fall, and the weather was amazing for strolls along the Rhine embankments and the old town. 

In the winter, Basel lights up with various Christmas markets, and in the summer months, the river becomes like a cool hang-out of sorts with colorful floaties and swimmers!

Basel Christmas Market

Swiss Travel Resources: Using public transportation

To save money in Switzerland, remember to get your Swiss Travel Pass, and get unlimited rides on public transport and free access to over 500 museums. 

Getting to Basel: 

The best way to get to Basel is by train. Once you arrive in Zurich, you can hop on a train and arrive at Basel Main Station (Basel SBB) in about an hour (to an hour and a half, max). 

Basel SBB
Basel SBB

You can surely use the Swiss Travel Pass for that. The station is located super close to the Old Town, where all the city’s prime attractions lie. 

If you wish to fly to Basel directly, you can get to the EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg, which is an international airport in the French Alsace region. This airport is shared by both Switzerland and France. (We will share some awesome day trip options below, which makes Basel a perfect base to call home in this region).

Read: Switzerland itinerary 10 days with Basel

Getting around Basel:

When in Basel, you can take the tram, bike, or walk to get to various sightseeing spots.

BaselCard
Girl biking in Basel
Rent a bike for 20 CHF

Basel Tourism has a cool initiative where you can access a BaselCard when you stay overnight in the city. This Card allows you unlimited usage of public transport, wifi, and up to 50% discount in various museums and centres!

You can even rent an e-bike for 20 Swiss Francs (CHF) a day, with this card!

And the best part is it’s free! 

Where to stay in Basel Switzerland?

If this is your first time in the city, you must consider staying in the most central neighborhood which is the Old Town of Basel. This area is divided into two sections separated by the River Rhine. 

There is the Altstadt Grossbasel (typical old town vibes) and Altstadt Kleinbasel (across the river, known for its nightlife and urban nuances). 

Old Town views and beyond: MotelOne Balcony

For a short visit of 3 days in Basel, Grossbasel is perfect as you will have all the prime attractions within walking distance, along with the main train station and a plethora of restaurants at your fingertips. 

During our visit, we stayed at Motel One Basel. This is a 3 star property located at the heart of everything that Basel is known for. A short walk and the Basel Minster (Cathedral and cloisters) will greet you. 

Lots of restaurants in and around the hotel (including a Coop for groceries) and tram lines right at your doorstep! 

MotelOne Basel
MotelOne Basel

You can’t go wrong with its location at the Barfüsserplatz, one of the popular squares in Basel. 

Motel One offers free breakfast and wifi, and some of the rooms have a balcony where you can soak in the old town views whilst enjoying your morning coffee!

Free breakfast included at MotelOne Basel
Free breakfast included at MotelOne Basel

We stayed in a spacious room with a balcony. The room was clean, and the bathroom amenities were plentiful. The lobby at Motel One has its own vibe – you can order drinks, hang out with your travel partner, or just sit down to get some work done – it is just perfect!

The staff at Motel One was very friendly and we would love to stay there again. You can book your stay here

Day 1 of 3 day Basel Itinerary: Explore the old town Basel highlights and the Rhine River views

This 3 day Basel itinerary can be done at any time of year. You can also choose any of the day’s activities and explore/customize them based on your personal liking. 

Assuming that you are in the city the night before (or at least by morning), let’s kick-start this itinerary! 

Colorful lanes of Basel Old Town
Colorful lanes of Basel Old Town

We arrived in Basel from Zurich by train and started our sightseeing with a guided walking tour of the Old Town. Organized by Basel Tourismus, this tour gave us the perfect introduction and orientation to the city. 

Basel Old Town Walking Tour (morning)

This is a two-hour walking tour where you can visit the iconic Basel Minster, Tinguely Fountain, Cathedral Hill, and more whilst walking down the winding streets of the well-preserved old town.

Basel Old Town
Basel Old Town

You will hear stories of the city’s origins and its present day. There are tons of stops and visual aids presented throughout the tour to keep it engaging and fun! Book your 2 hour tour here

  • Hours: Varied
  • Address: Tinguely Fountain near Theater Basel
  • Tickets: Book here

Basel Minster and Cloisters (morning)

After the walking tour, pop over to the Basel Minster, one of the city landmarks. The original building was a Catholic cathedral, built between 1019 and 1500. It was designed in Gothic and Romanesque architectural styles.

Basel Itinerary: Basel Minster

Today, it is a Reformed Protestant church and is in active service. You can visit the church interiors for free. The church is magnificently designed with stained glass windows, 3 naves, and a transept. 

The crypt contains graves dating back to 1000 AD, and the tomb of Erasmus of Rotterdam can be found on the left side on the main floor. 

Inside Basel Cathedral
Inside Basel Cathedral

Other than the interiors you can also visit the Church Towers for a fee. From up there you can admire its red sandstone walls, colorful roof tiles, and views of the cloisters and the surrounding piazza all the way to the waters of the River Rhine. 

The Gallus gate and the two cloisters located at the Church complex shouldn’t be missed. The cloisters in particular are very beautiful, and they depict the work of several centuries. 

Inside Basel Cloisters
Inside Basel Cloisters
Views from Basel Cathedral towers
Views from tower

The piazza itself is a crowd puller, and there are cafes nearby as well as fountains in the vicinity! 

  • Hours: Weekdays from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Saturdays from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, and Sundays from 11:30 am to 5:00 pm
  • Address: Münsterpl. 9, 4051 Basel, Switzerland
  • Tickets: Free to enter the church. Access the church towers for a 6 CHF entry fee per person

The Pfalz – viewpoint

The Pfalz is located by the Church. This is a terrace that offers panoramic city views of the Rhine. It is one of the popular viewpoints in Basel, and is free to access! 

Views from The Pfalz
Views from The Pfalz

Truly from this viewpoint, you can embrace the BEST of BASEL – the old town where you are standing, the view of River Rhine, and the urban cityscape across the waters – showcasing the marriage of the old and the new in the City of Culture!

Rhine Promenade (afternoon)

From the Old Town head over to the Central Bridge to view the banks of the River Rhine up close and personal! 

Basel Itinerary: Rhine Promenade

Lovingly called the Mittlere Brucke or the Middle Bridge, it is one of the iconic symbols of Basel, and so is the Rhine. 

Take the time to soak in the ambiance of the city, and relax or walk the promenade!

Girl at the Rhine Promenade

Pro tip: If you wish to get from Kleinbasel to Grossbasel, you can also get on the ferry (Münster ferry). These operate all year round. 

And you get the best views of the Basel Cathedral (Münster) from here. There are four Rhine river ferries “Wild Maa”, “Leu”, “Vogel Gryff” and “Ueli” that link Grossbasel to Kleinbasel. 

Lunch at Restaurant Krafft

You must be hungry after the walk. Now head to Restaurant Krafft, located in the vicinity, and enjoy local delicacies.

Restaurant Krafft

Restaurant Krafft is known for its hand-picked ingredients and meals on the table. We dined at their restaurant with river views, but when the weather is nice – you can also hang out on their terrace! 

We ordered bread dumplings and pork and it was amazing! 

  • Hours: Every day from 12:00 am to 02:00 pm, and 06:00 pm to 10:00 pm
  • Address: Rheingassee 12, 4058 Basel Switzerland

Kunstmuseum (afternoon, after 2:30 pm)

Kunstmuseum is one of the premier fine arts museums in the world. It is also one of the oldest institutions, dating back to the year 1661. 

Kunstmuseum
Kunstmuseum entrance

The museum is spread across three buildings and it showcases paintings, drawings, and artworks from the 1400s to the 21st century.

Most of the permanent work is set up at the Hauptbau, and Neubau, and temporary collections including contemporary art are showcased at the Gegenwart. 

The main building of the Kunstmuseum Basel was designed by Rudolf Christ and Paul Bonatz in the 1930s. This is where you can enter the museum complex (get tickets, etc.). 

Paintings inside the Kunstmuseum
Paintings inside the Kunstmuseum

Here you will find over 4,000 paintings, sculptures, and installations, along with over 300,000 drawings and prints – with many dating back to the Middle Ages. 

Medieval artworks are represented by masterpieces of Lucas Cranach the Elder, Matthias Grünewald, Peter Paul Rubens, Rembrandt van Rijn, Jan Brueghel the Elder, and Caspar Wolff.

Kunstmuseum
Girl inside the Kunstmuseum

There is also an impressive collection of works by Symbolist, Impressionist, and post-Impressionist artists. Admire the creations of Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro, Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, and Vincent van Gogh.

You have to set aside at least 2-3 hours at the main complex to take it all in. Our afternoon was busy as we navigated from one exhibition room to the next – and it was well worth it! 

  • Hours: Mondays closed. Other days are open from 10:00 am to 06:00 pm (Wednesdays and Fridays are open till 08:00 pm)
  • Address: St. Alban-Graben 16, 4051 Basel, Switzerland
  • Tickets: 16 CHF for adults. With the BaselCard it is 8 CHF
  • The collection can be visited for free on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 05:00 to 06:00 p.m., Wednesdays and Fridays from 05:00 to 08:00 p.m., and the first Sunday of each month.

St Albans Tal (evening)

From the arcades of Kunstmusem, make your way to the leafy and quaint quarters of St. Alban. This neighborhood is known as the ‘Venice of Basel’ with its canals and charming alleys. 

It is also home to one of the three historic gates of Basel  – the Sankt-Alban-Tor (or the Gate of Saint Alban)

There are 3 main (city gates) in Basel, one of them being the Sankt-Alban-Tor, and the other two are – Spalentor (or Gate of Spalen, most recognized and beautiful) and the Sankt-Johanns-Tor. 

Old homes and neighborhoods of St. Albans in Basel
Old homes and neighborhoods of St. Albans in Basel

In St. Alban, enjoy a lovely stroll in the quiet neighborhood, admire the old church at the gate, and check out the medieval paper mill and the Museum of Contemporary Arts, if you have time. 

When done, you can also hop on a ferry and cruise on the Rhine (St. Alban ferry “Wild Maa”, between the bridges Schwarzwaldbrücke and Wettsteinbrücke).

You can also walk back to the Old Town/Minster square or take the tram to Barfüsserplatz (near Motel One).

Dinner at Gifthüttli Basel

Located in Old Town, Gifthüttli Basel oozes all the Swiss ambiance and meals that you can imagine. You will find traditional Swiss meals, particularly their popular Cordon Bleu in different variations. 

Gifthüttli Basel
Gifthüttli Basel

And you guessed it! We ordered Cordon Bleu and beer to go with it! (And I had to have some coffee afterward – it was so good).

The restaurant was super warm and cozy inside with its wooden finish and rustic-style interiors.

  • Hours: Every day from 09:30 am to 11:00 pm
  • Address: Schneidergasse 11, 4051 Basel Switzerland

Day 2 of 3 day Basel Itinerary: Hang out at the Marktplatz, go on a self-guided food tour, shop at Spalenberg, seasonal fair/Local’s Know It Best Game

Kickstart your second day in Basel at the Marktplatz (in Old Town). You can visit by walking down from your accommodation – Motel One, or even take a short tram ride. 

Marktplatz – Town Hall/Rathaus and Weekday Market (morning)

Marktplatz is unmissable. The grand and colorful Town Hall or Rathaus towers the square and the fiery red color is all inviting! 

Town Hall and Marktplatz Basel
Town Hall and Marktplatz Basel

The Town Hall played a key role in shaping the history of Basel. The building is over 500 years old, and this is where the meetings of the Cantonal Parliament, as well as the Cantonal Government of the canton of Basel-Stadt, take place. 

Along with the red facade, you will also find the coats of arms of Basel adorning the crenellations. Many of the additions came into existence after Basel joined the Swiss Confederation. 

Basel joined the Swiss Confederation as its eleventh canton on 9th June 1501. 

Later the city hall was extended, and the artist Hans Bock decorated the facade with painted trompe l’oeil. 

Further extensions were made in the 1900s to include the left-hand wing and the tower on the right. You can visit the interiors of the Hall and admire its architectural work. 

Girl at the Basel Marktplatz
Basel 3 day itinerary: At the Marktplatz

Right in front of the Town Hall, you will find a market where locals sell fresh produce and other delicacies. The market is only open during the weekdays in the daytime and closes by evening, so make sure you are there when the stalls open!  

  • Hours: Weekdays from 08:00 am to 05:00 pm. Closed on weekends
  • Address: Marktpl. 9, 4001 Basel, Switzerland
  • Tickets: Free

Self Guided Food Tour

Basel Tourismus has this cool food tour that you can take at your own pace. You get to discover a different side of Basel, away from the Old Town, but still close. 

This tour takes you to 4 spots where you can try baked goodies, and speak to local food experts. We did this food tour from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, but feel free to customize it to your schedule (and within the store/cafe operating hours). 

Kick off the food tour with coffee and Basel Gold (baked item) at Elsässerstrasse’s Bäckerei KULT. This is one of the oldest bakeries in the city!

Bäckerei KULT
Bäckerei KULT

From here, make your way to Basel Unverpackt. This store is all about waste-free food items. 

Everything that you see in the store showcases zero waste, recycling, and sustainable preservation of food items – perfect for anyone looking to take a more conscious approach to life!

Basel Unverpackt
Basel Unverpackt

On this tour, you will be provided with a container to try out and sample organic goodies. Plus have all your questions answered by the local shop owner.

Afterward, head over to your third stop – KLARA. You will be crossing the River Rhine and arriving at Claraplatz to enjoy your meal. They open at around noon and lunchtime meals are served till 2:00 pm, so make sure you are here around this time!

Klara Basel
KLARA

You get to try 3 delicacies from around the world with a drink of your choice. Remember to redeem the tour at the drinks/bar counter and collect your vouchers!

The last stop of the tour brings you back to the Old Town at a traditional bakery – Jakob’s Leckerly at Spalenberg. You will be provided with one bag of sample goodies including the famous Basler Läckerli. 

Basler Läckerli from Jakob's
Basler Läckerli from Jakob’s

At the bake store, you can also buy souvenirs to take back home!

  • Hours: Flexible, within operating hours 
  • Address: Starts at Bäckerei KULT in  Elsässerstrasse 43, 4056 Basel, Switzerland
  • Tickets: Book your tickets here

Shopping at Spalenberg (late afternoon)

Speaking of souvenirs and shopping, the Spalenberg district should not be missed. This area in the Old Town is filled with cute alleyways and historic shops that look all inviting and lovely!

Swiss souvenirs from Basel Spalenberg district
Swiss souvenirs from the Basel Spalenberg district

There are cafes, souvenir shops, boutiques, and attractive galleries. Shops sell locally-made decor and food items that you can take back home. 

Our fall visit was great for early Christmas presents. But don’t be disheartened, these shops are open all year round, and you will surely find Swiss souvenirs to buy!

Here are some of the top places to go shopping in the Spalenberg District,

  • Edel Shirt (locally made)
  • Erfolg (Swiss-made)
  • Freitag

(If you are not into shopping, you can visit the Natural History Museum or Basel Historical Museum instead – both located in Old Town).

Basel Historical Museum – Barfüsserkirche

We were able to squeeze in a short visit to the Basel Historical Museum as it was located close to the hotel we were staying in. So this museum dates back to 1892, and you can learn a lot about the history of Basel here. 

Basel Historical Museum at night
Basel Historical Museum at night

The museum itself has three complexes – the Barfüsserkirche (which we visited), Haus zum Kirschgarten, and Musikmuseum.

Barfüsserkirche means Barefeet Church. And the square where the church and museum stands is the Barfüsserplatz. The church was established for Franciscan monks, who were also called Barfüßer (or “the Barefoot”).

The museum has an entry fee of 15 CHF (or 50% off with the BaselCard, and free with the Swiss Museum Pass). 

  • Hours: Mondays closed. Rest of the days open from 10:00 am to 05:00 pm
  • Address: Barfüsserpl. 7, 4051 Basel, Switzerland
  • Tickets: 15 CHF (with 50% off with the BaselCard, and free with the Swiss Museum Pass)

Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum Basel is a natural history museum and it houses over 7 million items ranging from various fields such as zoology, mineralogy, anthropology, and paleontology. 

Girl outside Natural History Museum Basel
Outside Natural History Museum Basel

The museum dates back to 1821 when it was established as such, and at their main entrance, it just says ‘Museum’ denoting its earliest existence in the city as a museum/exhibition of sorts. 

  • Hours: Mondays closed. Rest of the days open from 10:00 am to 05:00 pm
  • Address: Augustinergasse 2, 4051 Basel, Switzerland
  • Tickets: 7 CHF for adults (50% off with BaselCard. Free with Swiss Museum Pass). Free entry on the first Sunday of the month

Locals Know It Best (evening)

Depending on how much time you have left on day 2 of the Basel itinerary, you can either plan to visit a seasonal fair (Christmas market tour, Autumn fair, etc.) or play this cool game in and around Basel. 

Locals Know It Best Game
Locals Know It Best Game
The Pfalz viewpoint (free to access and pretty)

Locals Know It Best, as the card game is called, can be bought at the Tourist Information Centre in the Stadtcasino on Barfüsserplatz (for CHF 5). Using this game, you can navigate and check out some of the favorite spots of the locals. 

The word clues are in English, and it includes a variety of topics from photo spots and viewpoints to food and more. Pick a few cards or all of them, and have FUN!

Tip: Use the card and ask a local what their favorite bar/restaurant is to hang out for the night!

Day 3 of 3 days in Basel Itinerary: Visit Fondation Beyeler, Vitra Design Museum (Weil am Rhein, Germany), discover Three Countries Bridges – Dreiländerbrücke (Huningue, France) 

On day 3 of your Basel itinerary head outside the Old Town quarters and explore unique museums and bike all the way to Germany and France (or take the tram!)

Grab breakfast at your hotel, and if the weather is nice rent an e-bike from Basel SBB. 

With your BaselCard, you pay 20 CHF for the day to bike in the city and around (return at the same pickup location by 07:00 pm). 

Fondation Beyeler (morning)

The first stop is the Fondation Beyeler. This is the most visited museum in all of Switzerland. It is located in Riehen, a little outside of Basel. You can also reach there by tram (no 6 from Barfüsserplatz or outside Motel One).

Fondation Beyeler
Fondation Beyeler

The museum features both traditional and modern art exhibits. It also showcases temporary and seasonal collections. 

Plan to spend at least an hour or so at the Fondation Beyeler, and admire over 200 works of modern classics, including 23 Picassos on display. 

You will also find works of Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne, and Vincent van Gogh. There is cool tribal art from Africa, Oceania, and Alaska as well. 

Fondation Beyeler

The complex is lovely with lots of green spaces and cafes. 

  • Hours: Every day from 10:00 am to 06:00 pm (Wednesdays open till 08:00 pm, and Fridays open till 10:00 pm)
  • Address: Baselstrasse 101, 4125 Basel, Switzerland
  • Tickets: 25 CHF for adults. With the Basel Card, it is 12.50 CHF

Vitra Design Campus (Germany) (afternoon)

From the Foundation Beyeler make your way to Weil am Rhein in Germany to visit the fabulous Vitra Design Campus. 

You can take your e-bike there, or use the tram (stop at Weil am Rhein, Bahnhof/Zentrum and walk 15 minutes to the campus). Buses are also available to take you there – take bus number 55 from Badischer Bahnhof to Vitra (stop) in about 20 minutes. 

Vitra Design Campus

There are 2 campuses at Vitra (south and north), with multiple exhibition rooms and centres for you to check out. 

You will also find unique structures such as the Dome, Vitra Slide Tower, Piet Oudolf Garden, and Vitra Haus Cafe (with a wide variety of Swiss and international meals to choose from). 

Vitra Design Museum is a privately owned museum that opened its doors in 1989. It was established as an independent foundation dedicated to the research and popularization of design and architecture. This building was designed by Frank Gehry. 

Vitra Design Museum
Vitra Design Museum

Today, it is known for deconstructivism, towers, ramps, and cubes – all super unique and different from the usual art and cultural exhibits that you see. 

The museum has a showroom on the evolution of technology and robots which is kinda cool!

The Vitra Schaudepot was designed by Herzog & de Meuron and there are over 400 exhibits that showcase one of the largest permanent collections and research sites on modern furniture design (including chairs) globally! 

Vitra Schaudepot
Vitra Schaudepot

The 30.7-metre-high Vitra Slide Tower was designed by the German artist Carsten Höller. It is very popular with kids. It is not only a viewing tower but also an active slide. The viewing platform offers views of the Vitra Campus and the surrounding landscape. 

Vitra Slide Tower

The entire site with its structures is spread over an expansive area, so set aside 3-4 hours as you navigate the museums and various exhibitions at ease. 

  • Hours: Every day from 10:00 am to 06:00 pm 
  • Address: Charles-Eames-Straße 2, 79576 Weil am Rhein, Germany
  • Tickets: Vitra Design Museum + Schaudepot starts at 19,00 € / 17,00 €. There is also a 2 hours Architecture tour for 16,00 € / 12,00 €. Or an hour’s guided tour for 9,00 € / 7,00 € (note the prices are in Euros, and the BaselCard discounts do not apply)

Dreiländerbrücke/ Three Countries Bridge (evening, on your way back to Basel)

After sightseeing at the Vitra Campus, make your way back to Switzerland with a stop at the Three Countries Bridge. 

Three Countries Bridge

This bridge is located in the 3 countries of France, Germany, and Switzerland and you can get there by biking or taking the tram. 

How cool is visiting 3 countries in a matter of 10 minutes! 

Dreiländerbrücke is the tram and the attraction stop. So from Weil am Rhein (Germany) you have to arrive at the bridge site and then walk over to Huningue in France. 

This is an arch bridge and it crosses over the Rhine River, within the Basel metropolitan area. And it is exclusively for pedestrians and cyclists (yay). 

View from France Three Countries Bridges
View from France Three Countries Bridges

Once in France, you can enjoy a walk down the Rhine promenade, and if you have additional time you can check out the Military museum (just a short walk away). 

Note that there are no border checks at the bridge. If you are in Switzerland on a Schengen visa, the same applies to entering the European Union member nations – Germany and France, and you can travel/cross over and return to Switzerland. 

  • Hours: Open 24 hours
  • Address: Dreiländerbrücke Weil am Rhein, 68330 Huningue, France
  • Tickets: Free

Dinner at Papa Joe’s

Back in Basel, go for casual dining at the oldest Tex-Mex restaurant in town – Papa Joe’s! They have a lovely balcony for dinners with views of Barfüsserplatz and nearby areas.

Papa Joe's Basel
Papa Joe’s Basel

Try their signature fajitas and mojito to ring on the last night in Basel, and celebrate your amazing weekend in the city!

Additional things to do in Basel for the weekend

Although we covered a ton on our trip to Basel, the city has more attractions to fill up your calendar. Here are a few of the additional things that you can do or swap with any of the suggested spots above,

Explore the Museum Tinguely 

The Museum Tinguely in Basel is dedicated to the work of Swiss artist Jean Tinguely. The museum houses a large collection of his works, as well as those of other artists. 

The museum is located in Solitudepark by the Rhine and features a number of interactive exhibits. Visitors to the museum can learn about Tinguely’s life and work, and see how he created his unique sculptures. 

The museum also offers a variety of educational programs for both children and adults. There is an entry fee of 12 CHF for adults. 

Visit the Basel Zoo, one of the oldest zoos in the world

Officially known as the Zoologischer Garten Basel or Basel Zoological Garden, this is the oldest zoo in all of Switzerland. There are over 600 species of animals at the Basel Zoo, and their Aquarium has been breeding successfully over the years. 

There is an entry fee of 21 CHF per adult to visit. (10 CHF with the BaselCard)

Basel Itinerary One Day to Three Days Sightseeing Map

Click on the image to view the full map

Day Trips from Basel Switzerland

Basel’s location is ideal for visiting a variety of Swiss, French, and German destinations. As mentioned, Zurich is only an hour’s train away – and you can explore it on a day trip if you like.

Here are some more options for day trips from Basel,

Lucerne and Mt. Pilatus (1 hour by car or train. 7 hour tour)

The charming city of Lucerne is located just an hour away from Basel. Known for its picturesque old town, the iconic Chapel bridge, and stunning mountain scenery, Lucerne has a long history and is a popular tourist destination! 

When you book a day tour, you will also check off Mount Titlis, and visit an illuminated glacier cave in the Swiss Alps! Here is the day tour from Basel to book

Zermatt and Matterhorn (12 hour guided tour)

It is possible to visit Zermatt from Basel by embarking on a scenic train ride. You can do this on your own or join a guided tour. 

Tours include sightseeing in the alpine village of Zermatt and the Gornergrat mountain. 

More information about the day tour from Basel to Zermatt here

Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany (45 minutes to an hour by car or train)

Freiburg im Breisgau, also known as Freiburg, is a city in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It is on the edge of the Black Forest and is surrounded by vineyards. The city has a medieval old town, with Gothic architecture.

Freiburg is also a university town, with a lively student population. There are many bars and clubs in the city, as well as cultural attractions such as museums and theaters. It is a great place to visit for its food, wine, and scenery. 

Colmar, France (45 minutes by car or train – one way)

Colmar is a charming town in northeastern France, located in the Alsace region. The town is known for its well-preserved old town, full of half-timbered houses and cobbled streets.

Colmar is also home to several museums, including the Unterlinden Museum which houses the Isenheim Altarpiece. 

On a day trip from Basel, you can enjoy a lovely stroll through the picturesque town, admire its architecture and soak up the atmosphere. 

There are also plenty of cafes and restaurants to enjoy, as well as a lively market that sells local produce. 

For those interested in exploring further afield, the nearby wine region of Alsace is well worth a visit.

Switzerland Basel Travel Tips

Here are some additional travel tips for Basel. 

Visa Requirements

Visitors with US and Canadian passports do not require a visa to enter the country and stay for 90 days; however, from 2025, an online authorization – ETIAS – is required prior to travel. 

If you require a Schengen visa to visit EU countries the same applies to Switzerland (although Switzerland is not a European Union member, it follows the Schengen agreement). 

Girl in Basel Switzerland itinerary 10 days
Basel Old Town

Using this visa, you can visit the Vitra Design Campus in Germany and also take day trips to France!

Don’t forget to add travel insurance to your list as well. You can get free quotes from World Nomads here

Budget and currency

The official currency of Switzerland is CHF or Swiss Francs. We used credit cards for all of our purchases in Basel. 

For a mid-budget hotel stay, plan to spend about 150 CHF per night. Luxury hotels will be 500+ CHF. 

Properties like the 5-star Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois, which is one of the oldest city hotels, start at 430 CHF for a single room, and 615 CHF for a double, per night.

There are hostels as well in Basel such as the Youth Hostel or Hyve Hostel Basel, where rates are around 100 CHF or less.

For food, a typical Swiss meal will cost 30 CHF (plus any drinks ranging from 5 to 20 CHF – latte macchiato, beer, or wines). 

Transportation in Basel won’t account for much, as long as you stay overnight and grab the BaselCard. Or just enjoy walking in this charming city! 

Don’t forget to get the Swiss Travel Pass for traveling across the country within a budget. 

Safety in Basel

Throughout our trip, we felt very safe in Basel. We stayed in Old Town and used trams at night and walked a lot. 

Salil and I traveled together, but I am sure if I were traveling solo I would have felt safe and comfortable as well. The locals we met along the way were nice and welcoming. 

Basel is mostly crowd-free, which makes visiting the city very intimate and lovely for first-timers and solo travelers without the overwhelm! 

What is the main language spoken in Basel Switzerland?

The most common language in Basel is Swiss German. However, English and French are widely spoken. 

What foods are a must on any visit to Basel? 

Basler Läckerli is a must-try on your trip to Basel. You can buy them in most grocery stores or in places like Jakob’s Basler Leckerly, and Confiserie Bachmann. 

Is Basel in France or Switzerland?

Basel is located in Switzerland. It is the third-largest Swiss city. Geographically, it is very close to the German and French borders. 

Basel is Known as Basle in German and Bâle in French. 

How many days in Basel is enough? Was 3 days in Basel enough to visit?

With so many things to do in the city, you will definitely need 3 full days in Basel. This way you will not only enjoy the charming Old Town but also relax and soak in the cultural gems/museums and life on the Rhine River. 

And not to forget, with the German and the French border at the doorstep, you have plenty of natural and cultural delights to add to your fun-filled Basel weekend itinerary! 

Is Basel worth visiting?

Absolutely yes! In Basel, you will find the perfect European city break destination – there is the Old Town with quintessential cobblestone lanes, cathedrals, and charming buildings and fountains. 

Then there is an eclectic art and cultural scene with world-class museums. 

Culinary and shopping is a delight for every urban globe trotter. And to top it off the Rhine River views never disappoint! 

So that’s a wrap! We hope you found our post on visiting Basel helpful and are ready to book that trip!

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