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Basel is a vibrant hub of activity, and its location on the River Rhine means that the city has a rich historical presence. With a range of cultural experiences on offer, as well as cool bars and stylish places to eat, a trip to Switzerland’s trendiest city is a must. Summer is an especially good time to visit, when the weather is temperate and, in the evenings, people spread out onto the streets for sunset drinks.
Marvel at the masterpieces of Art Basel
Each summer, Art Basel brings the international art world to Switzerland. With almost 300 leading galleries around the city showing the works of over 4,000 artists, this is one of Europe’s premier art shows. Here you will find the work of new and upcoming artists and will have the chance to admire the latest and most avant-garde trends in the figurative arts.
Dance by the river at IMFLUSS Festival
Music lovers instantly fall in love with the IMFLUSS Festival, which attracts both local artists and international stars. For three weeks at the end of July and beginning of August, Basel rocks to the rhythm of the festival. Perhaps what makes the event so unique is that the stage floats on the river Rhine; this ‘float’ draws more than 50,000 visitors, who sing and dance under the stars along the promenade night after night.
Watch a movie under the stars
Is there a better way to spend a warm summer evening than watching a good film under the stars? During the month of August, Allianz Cinema sets up its screen in the historic and beautiful Münsterplatz, Basel’s Cathedral Square. Here, there are many food and drink stalls from which to choose for refreshment before the movies start. Organised in cooperation with the Zurich Film Festival, the event offers film previews as well as both classical and modern movies to enjoy. After the film is over, you’ll find yourself at the heart of the action, ideally located for Basel’s best restaurants and bars.
Check out Landestelle, a foodie’s paradise
Landestelle is where food lovers gather during the summer in Basel – an open-air space home to food and drinks stalls right on the banks of the river Rhine. It’s the perfect place to hang out, try a new cocktail or enjoy an old favourite, and, what’s more, the views are great. From aperò platters to steaks and desserts, you will find a little bit of everything here; just make sure you reserve a table, especially on weekends, as Landestelle can get pretty busy.
Go for a swim in the Rhine
The river Rhine is the beating heart of Basel, and is perfect to take a dip in when the temperatures soar, as its waters are always fairly cool and refreshing. While it’s open to swimmers all year, thousands of people congregate in August for the official Rhine swim. The swim is held annually during the summer and is one of the biggest swim events in Switzerland.
Quench your thirst at Basel’s summer bars
The summer in Basel may not be as long as it is in Southern Europe, but Baslers know how to make the most of it; as soon as the temperatures rise in the spring, the first open-air bars and restaurants open their doors for business. Dining or drinking al fresco is a wonderful way to spend a day or evening around the city; the most popular spots are those with a view of the river, but grabbing a seat in a quaint street or square downtown can be just as perfect to relax and unwind after a day of exploring.
Show off your culinary skills at a public BBQ spot
To experience Basel like a local, head over to the supermarket, buy some ingredients and locate one of the many BBQ spots around town. You can use the public grill at the Oetlinger Buvette, which has beautiful river views, or you can cook over one of the public barbecue spots scattered in the city parks.
Take a ferry ride on the Rhine
If you want to enjoy the river Rhine but you don’t feel like swimming, boarding one of the four ferries that ride down the river can be a wonderful experience. The ferries have been crossing these waters for more than 150 years, powered only by the natural current of the river. Not only are the views beautiful, but this is also a unique way to step back in time and imagine how life was like in 18th-century Basel.
Enjoy fireworks on Swiss National Day
Every year on August 1, Switzerland celebrates its National Day, and there is no better place to enjoy the celebration than in Basel, on the banks of the river Rhine. The atmosphere is festive and relaxed and the pyrotechnic show on the water is one of the best in the country; the whole city swarms to the river banks to listen to live music, eat grilled bratwursts with french fries and drink cold beer. In anticipation of the event, July 31 culminates in an impressive firework display.
Looking for somewhere to stay on your visit?
History meets contemporary design at Hotel Krafft Basel, a small and trendy hotel with lots of character. With its beautiful location on the banks of the Rhine river in Kleine Basel, Hotel Krafft is situated close to many of the city’s most well-known attractions. The space brings together traditional Swiss style and touches of edgy modern design, emphasising beauty and comfort.
Planning a trip to Basel? Make sure you check out Basel Tourismus for helpful hints and tips.
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