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Basel isn’t usually on people’s minds when they think of Switzerland. But this city, tucked on the border with both France and Germany, is well-worth a visit. If you’re just passing through here’s how you can make the most out of your time.
Getting to know Basel’s well-preserved Old Town is one of the highlights of the city. Start off in the Marktplatz in front of the Ratshaus, or City Hall. If you arrive during the week you can enjoy some fresh fruit from the weekly market that takes place there. The rest of the old town is small and easily walkable. Must-sees include Basel Munster, Mittlere Brücke and the Gate of Spalen. It’s best to head off into the narrow streets and discover the curious blend of old and new buildings that dot the area, or take the Basel Tourist Board’s ‘Journey Back into History’ self-guided tour.
You’ll want to try some of the local delicacies (chocolate included) during your stay. Check out some Basel’s best restaurants if you want to try typical Swiss food like raclette or fondue, or if you prefer something a little sweeter you can head to one of the city’s many coffee or chocolate shops. For some of the best choices you should head to the Markthalle, a veritable hub of food and drink from all parts of the world.
Basel is a cultural hub and its citizens are immensely proud of this tradition. No matter what your taste or interest there will be something for you in Basel’s many great museums. Plan your trip right and you could visit Art Basel, the world’s biggest and most glitzy arts festival that takes place every June. Otherwise there are plenty of great art galleries to take in – browse through our top ten contemporary galleries in Basel to help you decide where to go.
Basel’s Zoo is one of the oldest and biggest in Switzerland, first opening its doors in 1874. The zoo, known as ‘Zolli’ by the people of Basel, has endangered species from the world over including lions, penguins and elephants.
Say goodbye to Basel in style at Bar Rouge at the top of the Messe Tower, the city’s second tallest sky-scraper. The views from way up top are simply stunning and what better way to seal your time in the city than with a smooth cocktail. If heights aren’t your thing then there are plenty of other top-class bars to try out.