Basel Switzerland sits on the Rhine river near the borders of Germany and France. Basel is well worth the trip as a culture hub, with the largest concentrations of museums in Europe. It also boasts a beautiful old city and fantastic modern architecture.
In the summer the Rhine is a favorite hangout among locals and visitors. The banks are filled with sunbathers and those trying to cook off in the summer heat as well as those just taking in the beauty of the river as she flows. The city is blessed with 300 days of sunshine per year.
The market place or, Marktplatz in the medieval old town is centered by the 16th century, Rathaus, a colorful red façade building that is the current seat of local government. Here you find a market that takes place here every day of the week. Food lovers can find delicious local produce on the market stalls, as well as many specialties from the region, Switzerland, and the entire world.
The cathedral Basel Minster dominates the skyline, built between 1019 and 1500 in Romanesque and Gothic styles. This was formerly the site of a Roman fort. Walk around the church and look for the St. Gallus doorway in the north transept, with its many 12th-century Romanesque stone carvings. It happens to be one of the oldest figured doorways in German-speaking Europe.
Dating from 1370, the Spalentor is a fortified gate marking the end of the old town. There is a two-hour tour, Stories of Basel’s Old Town walking tour. They explore the oldest parts of the city with a knowledgeable guide and you will learn local history and have points of interest highlighted.
Spend the afternoon wandering the cobbled streets of the medieval and beautiful Altstadt in Grossbasel (Greater Basel). This area sits on the Rhine’s south bank. After that head to the river and crossing the Mittlere Brücke to Kleinbasel (Little Basel) for the more modern vibe and riverside alfresco dining.
Day trips are plenty to explore outside the city. If you are a beer lover then head to Rheinfelden. Here you will find the Feldschlösschen brewery, just east. The brewery is housed in a 19th-century building with a name that means ‘little castle in the field’. To hour tours can be arranged ahead of time and some tours start from Basel and the Rheinfelden train station is a 10-minute walk.
There is a lot of great dining options, but be sure to try the Basler Läckerli, translating into delicious, a hard honey cake made of honey, hazelnuts, almonds, candied fruit, and Kirsch (a clear colorless brandy derived from cherries). The flat dough is cut into rectangular pieces while hot and topped with a sugar glaze. This delicacy was created over 700 years ago.
Basel is a destination on many river cruises and one not to be missed. If you are thinking of adding this to your bucket list, we agree.