One of the largest cities in Switzerland, Basel is a uniquely multicultural destination thanks to its location where the Swiss, French and German borders meet. Primarily German-speaking, the city is an important cultural centre in Switzerland and has a number of theatres, concert halls and museums.
Basel © Tambako The Jaguar
One of the most important cultural centres in Basel is the highly-regarded Kunstmuseum (Fine Arts Museum), which has a world-class collection of both modern art and old masters. Other excellent art museums include the Schaulager, the Fondation Beyeler, and the Kunsthalle Basel. The animated mechanical works at the Museum Jean Tinguely are also a must-see.
On a beautiful day, visitors can easily spend a pleasant morning strolling around the Old Town area, situated between the Basel Zoo and the Rhine River. The cobbled streets and Romanesque cathedrals are interspersed with market squares, shops, and cafés. A tour of the beautifully-renovated Rathaus (Town Hall) is essential.
While Basel is a lively city, it truly comes to life for three days each year during Basler Fasnacht, its version of Carnival. Costumed parades, concerts, fire shows and other events are on constant rotation, though the festival frowns on excessive drinking and lewd conduct, and is considered very family-friendly.
Situated on the Rhine River, Basel is very nearly a seaport, with large ships coming in from the Black Sea. River cruises are a popular pastime, and Basel is a great starting point for a week-long cruise through Germany and Amsterdam.