Eco-friendly travel guide to Basel advises how to be a responsible tourist. Learn how to explore the attractions in a sustainable way and how to respect the local people and culture. Make your trip green by supporting locally owned hotels, organic restaurants and other businesses. Read more on how to protect the environment by making conscientious choices and how to travel green in Basel, Switzerland.
- Air quality: 4.8 / 5
- Exploring by foot: 5 / 5
- Exploring by bicycle: 5 / 5
- Public transportation: 5 / 5
- Parks: 4.7 / 5
- Outdoor activities: 4.5 / 5
- Locals' English level: 3.6 / 5
- Safety: 4.5/ 5
- Accommodation: US$250 - $2,500
- Budget per day: US$503 - $2,770
- 1 Responsible Travel
- 2 Air Quality and Pollution
- 3 Respect the Culture
- 4 Top 10 Places to Visit
- 5 Explore
- 6 Eat
- 7 Drink
- 8 Activities
- 9 Accommodation
- 10 How to Get There
- 11 Moving Around
- 12 Sustainable Shopping
- 13 Recycling
- 14 Work and Study Abroad
- 15 See Also
Basel, a beautiful mountainous city in Switzerland, has been ranked among the top 10 best cities to live in, in the whole world. While enjoying its scenic views and sophisticated culture, it becomes our responsibility to opt for responsible ways in which we can make our travel sustainable and eco-friendly.
- Basel is a relatively small city with approximately 36.95 km2 of area. Hence, it is advisable to go sightseeing around the city by walking or cycling. You can also use the Swiss Transport System which has reasonable prices and even special perks for foreign travelers.
- Reduce your carbon footprints by using as less plastic as possible. Avoid using single-use plastics by always carrying shopping bags made of cloth or jute.
- The whole of Switzerland, including Basel, has safe drinking tap water. If you’re feeling thirsty on road, you can drink tap water from anywhere instead of buying plastic water bottles. The groundwater is protected and clean.
- Choose eco-friendly accommodation as a tourist. Go for green hotels, local hotels, and apartments instead of those which have chains around the world.
- Take care of the waste you generate by dumping in separate recyclable bins, each categorized for different types of reusable substances. Basel being a part of the leading country to work for a sustainable environment globally, these bins are available anywhere in the city.
- It is no telltale that everything made locally or by locals of a particular city carries its bona fide touch of culture and heritage. Enjoy being a responsible traveler by buying locally handcrafted souvenirs and art, go for the local restaurants instead of big names.
Air Quality and Pollution
Air Particulate Matters (PM) is not microparticles of any single type. They include a mixture of gasoline dist, dust from construction areas, sand, microparticles forming acid rain, and other toxic substances. PM10 is inhalable and at higher levels, it can absorb into the lungs and create breathing problems, coughing, and allergies. PM2.5 at higher levels can result in grievous health diseases such as various types of cancer, gynecological problems, and deterioration of the lung. The World Health Organization recommends that a level of PM10 below 54 micrograms per cubic meter is safe for health and PM2.5 level below 12 micrograms per cubic meter is considered safe for human health. WHO has rated the Air Quality Index (AQI) of Basel as 20.31 out of 100, with PM10 level at 20 and PM2.5 level at 14; hence it is safe to say Basel is one of those few cities in the world with a bustling population yet clean and healthy air.
Respect the Culture
Basel is not only a flourishing industrial city, but it also has a rich culture. Often nicknamed as “The Cultural Capital of Switzerland”, Basel also holds the foundation of the world’s first gallery of art that was opened to the public. The locals take in their traditional culture. It will be socially ill-mannered for anyone who makes fun of artwork without knowing its importance and meaning. Since Germany shares its borders, it is rude when people ask any radical question about Jewish. Respecting the culture also includes taking every step necessary for keeping the environment of Basel clean and not to dispose of waste anywhere but designated locations.
Top 10 Places to Visit
- Basel Minster – One of the most famous tourist destinations in the whole of Switzerland, the Basel Minster was built between 1019 and 1500 by different famous architects. Originally a catholic cathedral, this beautiful architect made out of red sandstone later turned into a Reformed Protestant church. The interior is beautifully designed with colored/painted ceilings, sculptures, and historically valuable pieces of art.
- Zoologischer Garten – Called Zolli by the locals of Basel, Zoologischer Garten is the zoo of Basel that holds an enormous species of both indigenous and exotic animal breeds, all in their semi-natural habitat. The 32.12 zoo exhibits more than 6000 animals in the vivarium. It has 12 display areas and some notable animals include lions, cheetahs, rhinoceroses, Fara, Malayka, Mikisha, Rosy, and more!
- Basel Historical Museum – One of the most important and unique museums in Basel tourism, the Basel Historical Museum was opened in1894 and has three buildings spread across the small city. The Barfüsserkirche is located in the center of the city, The Haus zum Kirschgarten at Elisabethenstrasse, and the Musikmuseum, opposite the Barfüsserkirche, all three of them houses important yet different exhibit, from the museum of cultures showing traditional handicrafts to the evolution of music.
- Kunstmuseum Basel – The first-ever museum of contemporary art, Kunstmuseum was established 359 years ago. Kunstmuseum Basel artwork holds an exclusive collection of art by the Holbein family and impressive examples of Renaissance art.
- Old Town – Spread across both the Kleinbasel and Grossbasel side of the river Rhine, it is recommended to discover Old Town by foot since all of its landmarks are located close to each other. It is honored as the most sophisticated part of Basel that beautifully preserves 15th-century architectures of different styles in the whole of Europe.
- Basel Paper Mill – Locally called Basler Papiermühle, the Basel Paper Mill is a unique museum with live workshops on how the paper was anciently made, the binding of books, and finished books. Several mini architectures are displaying the process of how the paper was originally made.
- Town Hall - The Basel Town Hall is the 500-year-old City Hall of Basel is popularly known as ‘Rathaus’ which stands for a council house in the German language. It is one of the main attractions of Marktplatz, Basel due to its characteristic red facade and romantic arcades.
- Judische Museum (Jewish Museum) – The Jewish Museum was opened in 1966, after World-War II, in the German-speaking city of Basel, Switzerland. It displays various objects of Jewish religion, rituals and daily use, various items from the Middle Ages about how the Jews lived, and many artifacts providing evidence of how some Jews survived the Holocaust.
- Spielzeug Welten Museum – The Toy World Museum or the Spielzeug Welten Museum is the largest dollhouse museum with an incredibly enormous collection of different kinds of toys and other popular kind’s entertainment objects such as moving cars and cycles. Not only is it a great place for kids to enjoy but it has separate sections for adults and youngsters too!
- Spalentor - The Spalentor of the Gate of Spalen is one of the oldest of the 3 gates that were a part of the walls guarding the old town in Basel, dating back to as early as the 15th century. It survived the destruction of 1855, and still stands as one of the most magnificent gates ever built in Basel, Switzerland.
Located along both sides of the River Rhine, Basel is the most densely populated city in Switzerland. Along with its extraordinary scenic views, Basel is proud of the cultural wealth it holds. There are numerous museums, most unique and of its own kind. Each one will offer you its own separate history and importance. There are romantic cafes and beautiful architectural buildings that have been carefully preserved from ancient times till the present date. However, while enjoying Basel, it becomes our responsibility to help it stay among the top 10 most liveable cities in the world. Hence, we urge you to follow eco-friendly and sustainable tourism tips.
- Kannenfeld Park: It is the biggest park in the city that not only offers greenery in the form of different plant species but also has a number of modernized equipment for kids to play and enjoy. The staffs are wonderful and always keep the place clean and tidy. There’s also a cafe near the park and a ping pong court. It wouldn’t be wrong to say it is an oasis in a busy city!
- Liesbergermatte: Located at the side of the street of Spielplatz, Liesbergermatte is a cool playground for kids to enjoy and/or to take your pet on a walk or to go jogging. Since it’s located near a street, it is quite noisy once the office hour starts. However, the trees provide a cool and relaxing shade. A typical city park in short.
- De-Wette park: Located right in the center of the city at Elissabethenstrasse, near the SBB station, it an open park with pavilions, sculptures, fountains, and lots of green grass areas where the locals love to relax and take leisure in between their busy lives. Sometimes the park can get noisy, and looks very pretty with warm brown trees during the autumn season.
- Margarethenpark: With two ice-skating rings, a children’s playground, and a barbeque area, the Margarethenpark is a beautiful city park with plenty of greenery to enjoy the sunset, or just take leisure with some coffee or beer.
- Tierpark Lange Erlen: The Tierpark Lange Erlen is an open zoo known for its notable animals such as the lynx, wild cats, wild boar, Goya, fallow deer, and red deer. It also has a stable that houses ponies and donkeys, a beautiful crystal clear lake for swans of different breeds, and also a fairly big aviary. It has a playground for children, protected by safe nets, a cafe, and its own parking lot. People usually spend a couple of hours here since it’s a perfect place to hang out with friends, family, and loved ones.
- Botanischer Garten der Universität: The Botanical garden of the University of Basel is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world, dating back to the 16th century in the year 1598. It was originally founded by Caspar Bauhin. Since then it has been moved from one place to another and reconstructed several times. Today the Botanischer Garten stands enormously elegant with its Victorian-style buildings and architecture. It holds a display for an incredibly wide number of plants and also some aquatic animals. A new space called the Tropical House is yet to open in 2022-23. There are about 8000 species of trees in the garden, thrice the wild species found in Central Europe. There are 8 outdoor departments and 5 greenhouses including the Cold House and the Victoria House. Not only is it a great place to enjoy but also to gain knowledge!
- Basel Zoo: A non-profit zoo, that was opened in 1874 houses more than 6000 animals in their vivariums. You will find exotic terrestrial animals that are originally found in the Tropical regions, and also animals that are found in the temperate and arctic region. There is also an enormous aquarium that supports marine organisms of diverse species and an aviary with more than 200 bird species! It's a wonderful place to visit for being a step closer to nature.
- Solitude Park: Locates very close to the Rhine River and the Roche Tower being its closest landmark, the Solitude Park is a true oasis right in the middle of the city with a scenic view, kids playground, and lots of greenery.
- Merian Garten: Located in Münchenstein on the outskirts of Basel, The Merian Garten holds the largest number of iris in the world with an outstanding number of 1500 historical types! You will find rich diversity in the 18 hectare land such as the English garden, the Rhododendron Valley, the dry meadows, the Iris collection, a part that blooms with all varieties of clematis, and even a vegetable garden that grows rare vegetables you’ll hardly find. The elegant garden hosts a villa which was named the Villa Merian in 1711; it has now changed to Cafe Merian.
Switzerland is a landlocked mountainous country that shares its boundaries with the neighboring countries of France, Germany, Austria, and Italy. The small city of Basel is located at the extreme north, sharing boundaries with France and Germany. Hence, there are no seaside shoes and beaches you can find here. The Rhine River flows right through the middle of the city and creates few beautiful riverside destinations that you will surely enjoy.
- Skulpturhalle Basel: One of the most famous tourist destinations in Basel is The Skulpturhalle Basel. It is a landmark due to its unique idea of displaying cast replicas of real sculptures and statues. With over 2000 statues, it is the largest of its kind! The museum inaugurated its first collection in 1830 and since then it has expanded thrice in size from 1985 to 2010. Cast replicas mean, when the original artwork sculpture has destroyed several pieces and each piece is displayed in different museums, the cast is used to bring back the pieces together so that the original statue can be reconstructed.
- Architecture at the Dreispitz site: Dreispitz was earlier known for its industrial growth in the production of lightbulbs and warehouse factories. Recently two of the most famous architects – Herzog and de Meuron redesigned the area and gave it a futuristic look. The highlight of the Dreispitz Nord is the establishment of a middle-school (with an accommodation capacity of 600 students) on the rooftop of a green shopping center. The place includes elegant designs of office and residential buildings with a touch of unique modern and futuristic architecture having artistic uniqueness. The place is a must-visit for those who love city-life looks!
- Augusta Raurica: Located a mere 20 km from Basel, Augusta Raurica- an open theatre made back in the Roman time, is bent to take you backward in time with its incomparable architecture and environment. The surroundings have many little monuments dating back to the Roman period, all naturally preserved in time. There are the hidden treasures of 270 silver plates, coins, and bowls that were discovered from the site along with cages that held some ferocious animals in captivity for entertainment purposes. The theatre once used to hold 10,000 spectators but after natural corrosion and destruction, now it has accommodation of only 2000 viewers. Every year at the end of August, the biggest Roman festival takes place at Augusta Raurica and if you’re lucky to visit this place during this time, you’ll definitely don’t want to miss it!
- Mariastein Monastery: The Mariastein Monastery is famous for its Late Gothic style architecture. The inside of the cathedral looks heavenly with soft golden borders amidst the virgin white walls, there are exclusive pieces of paintings and art, aesthetic floral decorations, and mini sculptures. The legend of Mariastein tells how a young boy who fell from the cliff was saved by the Mother of God- the Virgin Mary.
- Ruins of Farnsburg Castle: The Farnsburg Castle dates back to the 14th century. The remains of the castle provide a perfect place for hiking. People also like to picnic here since there are separate bbq and picnic spots made near the ruins. It is a quiet place on the top of hills, the sunset and sunrise are breath-taking and the place always feels close to nature.
- Fine Arts Museum Basel: Having a collection ranging from 700 years back, the Fine Arts Museum or Kunstmuseum Basel holds the biggest collection of artwork and has been declared as a site of national heritage by the government of Switzerland. It was the first art gallery that was ever opened to the public when in 1671 the city of Basel purchased the artwork and paintings of a lawyer named Bacilius Amerbach.
- Museum of Natural History: The Museum of Natural History Basel was opened in 1821. There are separate departments of paleontology, anthropology, osteology, zoology, entomology, and mineralogy. Each department vividly explains and describes the never-ending natural phenomenon of evolution; it’s so interesting to see how the present things were back millions of years back and how it changed slowly and permanently. In total, there are more than 7.7 million objects!
- Museum of Culture: The Museum of Culture, Basel holds an impressive collection of more than 300,000 artifacts and pictures from Mesoamerica, Europe, Tibet, the South Pacific, and Bali depicting how their traditional life used to be, how the ancestors led their daily lives and their struggles, legends, and wars. This museum of ethnography serves a dual motto of displaying international cultures as well as preserving and exhibiting the folklores and traditional history of Switzerland. Hence, it was earlier called as “Museum of Ethnology and Swiss Museum of Folklore” but was later renamed to its present name in 1996.
- Museum Tinguely: Built for the honor of the famous Swiss painter Jean Tinguely, by a 20th-century Ticinece architect Mario Botta. Opened in 1996, the Museum Tinguely displays all the kinetic art machines and sculptures made by Tinguely. He used his talent and hard work to satire the overproduction of material goods and automation of industrial machines. The museum also houses a temporary display (meaning they can be sold or moved to another art gallery) of Tinguely’s companions and friends, his wife, and a few modern artists too.
- Antikenmuseum Basel and Sammlung Ludwig: The Antikenmuseum is solely dedicated to displaying the lives of ancient Mediterranean civilizations. It has an exclusive collection of ancient Roman, Egyptian, Greek, Etruscan, and Italic art, culture, and tradition. It has over 5000 years of artifacts and objects, from the 5th century BC to the 7th century AD, which depicts their clothing customs, daily life, ways of entertainment and joy, stories of legends, their believes and rituals, trade objects, and coins.
- Caricature and Cartoon Museum: The Cartoon Museum in Basel is unique and only one of its kind in the whole of Switzerland. It displays caricature, comics, parody, cartoons, and animations as an exhibition of the art of cartoon making. It was opened in 1979 and lays its foundations in a Gothic-style building which was later expanded by Herzog and de Meuron, the same Swiss Architectural company that gave the area of Dreispitz its new master look.
Whether a foodie or not, one of the most happy ways of enjoying a place’s traditions and cultures is by enjoying its food. Basel has been a masterchef in both cases of art and food. Apart from tasting the quick bites of street food, do check out the famous Swiss dishes that has been traditionally made in Basel for a long time.
Traditional Local Restaurants
- Gifthüttli: Gifthüttli is one of the oldest and most popular restaurants and pub in Basel that has run for over a century with generations of Innocenz Weiss and later a company who took its charge. Hundred-and-twenty years back the Gifthüttli was the first-ever pub in Switzerland to serve both wine and beer since earlier pubs served only wine. From there, the legacy continues to date and Gifthüttli is famous for its signature dish, Cordon Bleu. The service is overwhelmingly warm and the chefs are artists of food. One is sure to fall in love with the atmosphere created by old wooden walls furnished with antiques!
- Walliser Kanne: Established in 1947, The Walliser Kanne serves exclusively traditional Swiss cuisine, having mastered specialties of Valais too. They prepare wiener schnitzels to date with the same old method and process and have introduced no modifications, this makes their Weiner schnitzels, the best in all of Basel. Although it is costly, the wooden design, outdoor and outdoor sitting, makes it worthwhile.
- Löwenzorn: Winner of the Swiss Guest Award 2010, the Löwenzorn Restaurant drives its motto “Outside is the new inside”. It serves authentic Swiss food at reasonable prices, its customers in a warm cozy dining space set under the open skies of Basel, Gemsberg, surrounded with pleasant rose gold lightings and vertical fire stands.
- Jacob’s Basler läckerli: Basler läckerli is a hard and spicy cookie whose signature ingredients include delicious hazelnuts, almonds, Kirsch, candied peels, and honey. Sounds amazing, isn’t it?! What’s more amazing is that although it is an exclusive Swiss sweet, Basler läckerli is said to have been originally made in Basel since the middle ages. Jacob’s Basler läckerli is where you’ll get the best of these tasty treats in the whole world! A must try shop in Basel.
Vegetarian and Vegan
- Vegitat: Located at Klybeckstrasse, Vegitat is a 100% vegan restaurant that uses plant-based products and organic materials for their dishes. It is comparatively smaller in size but they offer equally good quantity with quality. The bestseller of this place is the Vegitat Cigköfte.
- tibits: tibits is a self-servicing small chain of vegan restaurants. The tibits of Basel opened in the 2000s. It has a buffet system with an outdoor dining facility. The pricing system is a little different since you do not have to pay by the item you choose but by the weight of the quantity of your chosen dish. One of the great reasons why vegans love tibits is that besides every displayed item, there I a list of the ingredients used in making the item.
- Sri Veda: Sri Veda is an authentic vegan Indian ayurvedic restaurant that serves 100% plant-based and organic food which are gluten-free. Located just on the sides of the Rhine River, its special terrace sitting offers a beautiful scenic view with
- Escasano: The best place to get a salad in Basel! It has a wide variety of healthy and delicious salads on its menu, making it exclusively vegan. The special feature of this restaurant s that you can make your own customized salad by picking the ingredients displayed and listed on the counter.
- Dean and David: Dean and David will offer you the freshest food! From smoothies of all kinds to continental dishes of every culture, Dean and David offer one of the best vegan food in town!
- Fondue: A classic Swiss dish, fondue consists of melted cheese served in a large serving bowl mixed with small servings of garlic and wine. On the streets, the bowl is kept open over simmering heat and customers dip small pieces of bread on a long fork in this fondue. Sometimes fondue is also served with a sizzling piece of beef or a hot cup of tea. Due to its high calorific value, fondue is considered an important staple dish since high calories keep the body warm during chilling winters.
- Rösti: Originally rösti served as the usual breakfast meal for farmers, however now it has become a signature dish of Switzerland. Rösti is made by mixing grated potatoes squeezed out of the water, with clarified butter, salt, and pepper; then by frying it on a pan till both sides are golden and crispy. It is usually topped with spiced ribs, yogurt, melted cheese or salted bacon, and some fresh herbs.
- Basler Leckerli: Basler Lackerli is known best for its crispy texture and delicious taste containing a mix of the healthiest almonds and hazelnuts, along with honey and Kirsch. It is a sweet and spicy cookie that is glazed on top with a sugar glaze. It is a Swiss specialty and has originated from Basel in the mid-’70s.
- Polenta and Braised Beef: One of the most famous and delicious street food in Switzerland is the Polenta and Braised Beef. Beef braising is the process of first sautéing the beef piece on high flame and then cooling it with a covered lid on minimum flame over a long period of time. When this juicy and tender meat is served with small wraps of polenta, which is cornmeal boiled in water or beef stock, makes the most palatable beef bite ever!
- Roasted flour soup: The roasted flour soup is one of the best traditional street foods of Switzerland which has exclusively originated in Basel. If you’re a soup lover then this is a must-try for you! It is made of roasted flour mixed with clarified butter, chopped onions, beef stock, wine, and cheese. The roasted flavor of this dish which is its uniqueness was always not the same. It is said that the chef forgot about his soup because of which the flour got a little burnt and the incredible dish gained its present specialty from this accident.
- Hypokras: Common during winters and New Year celebrations, Hypokras is a typical sweet and spicy alcoholic drink, originating in Basel before the 15th century. Traditionally, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon were added to the wine to give it its unique taste.
- Glühmost: Called as Most in the German-speaking part of Switzerland, Glühmost is a sweet and spicy, freshly pressed apple juice that is famous in Switzerland. It makes the body warm and is popular for its non-alcoholic identity.
Tap water in Basel is absolutely drinkable. According to the residents of Basel and its tourists, normal water level pollution is low (25% by scientific values) and fortunately the drinking water is much lower with a rating of 10%(by scientific values) which is absolutely safe to drink. Switzerland derives 40% of its water supply from large groundwater reservoirs, 20% from open surface reservoirs, like lakes, and the last 40% from springs, natural fountains, and waterfalls. The pollution level in the whole of Switzerland is low thereby making the water and air safe and liveable.
- Cafe frühling: Cafe frühling is a 100% organic cafe that prepares and roasts their own coffee at their very own Kaffeemacher roastery which is located in Münchenstein and owns their own farm in Nicaragua, names Finca Santa Rita. It is a small cafe with high-quality standards and soothing interior designs. The staff members are very friendly and optimistic, they openly accept any complaints or requests made by customers and definitely fulfills them.
- 1777 Kaffee Restaurant and Bar: The 1777 Kaffe Restaurant and Bar will offer you one of the best Viennese hot coffee in all of Basel in 3 different sizes. Speaking of their food, their European styled cosmopolitan look will offer you alternative menus with a dish of the day (for each day) along with vegetarian options. Although there is not a full guarantee for their dishes, the locals and some of their staff have confirmed that they prefer the art of cooking only in an organic way. Hence, be sure to check this historical cafe out and be an eco-friendly traveler effortlessly.
- Indigo Elephant: Indigo Elephant is an organic and vegan-friendly bistro shop located in Elsässerstrasse 29. Apart from 100% vegan options, non-vegetarian dishes are available side by side on their menu list. You can go in here for brunch to dinner, anytime you want.
- unternehmen mitte: It is a small cafe, bar, and restaurant. The trained bistros are very friendly and will always offer you a hearty and warm service. It is one of the best places in the city to go to for some organic cafe and organic small dishes. The prices are affordable
- BrauBudeBasel: Recently founded in 2010 by a group of three friends, BrauBudeBasel is one of the fastest-growing micro-breweries in Basel. Earlier being known for their bakery, these 3 friends started the nano-brewery by first introducing 3 fifty liter brewers. Although they started small, with the growing demand and popularity, they now have their very own clubhouse and will soon be considered as a large brewery. BrauBudeBasel introduced diversity to the local beers but also added their very own range of beers with 5 diversity, and all of them gaining immense popularity among the customers to the extent that they sold out 19 hectolitres of their range ‘Red’.
- Brauerei Fischerstube: A specialty in crafts beer in Basel, Brauerei Fischerstube’s famous brewery line - Uelibier, provides its own range of finely handcrafted beer. Forty-one years of microbrewery has led this place to be an important part of the city by providing various job offers, contributing to its clean environment by following eco-friendly sustainable methods and new taste that wins people’s hearts. Some of its iconic originals include – Tut-Anch Ueli, Van Ueli Beer, Ueli Beer Pablo, Ueli Festbier.
- Unser Bier: When 2 brewer-heads collaborated to display their first home brewery, it became an instant hit. Since then passion found its income and 110 shareholders invested in these motivated brewers for starting their own micro-brewery. With the passage of time Unser Bier, which started in a spaghetti sauce-pan, is now the LARGEST brewery in Basel! It has a diverse range of locally brewed beers. It has 5 ‘Classic’ beers, 3 ‘Seasonal’ beers, 5 ‘Speciality’ beers, and 6 ‘Distillates’. Unser Bier also provides gift combos and large serving barrels for festive occasions. Those who are interested to look into the brewing process of this famous local brewery gets to attend a factory tour and participate in some of the steps. It is a signature mark of Basel and is currently not distributing its fine art of brewing to other capitals and countries.
Basel is a small city with a big population, a place where the Swiss, German, and French share their borders. Hence, influencing all three of their culture. Although Basel was recently marked among the top 10 most liveable cities in the world, Basel has always been a peaceful and safer place to reside even at times of political unrest. It is a place where many famous humanists and theologians like the 15th century Erasmus have begun their work. Basel is a city full of cultural information of different subjects and countries (from arts and music to storing the traditional significant works of ancient races and tribes that are still present today. There is an endless number of activities you can do in this space-limited city! Some of them are:
- Be a Swiss Willie-Wonka guest and learn the making of world-famous Swiss chocolates by visiting the Basel chocolate factory called Chocolatier Beschle.
- Enjoy the cool breeze of the Rhine River by taking a boat ride and watch(or join) the locals taking a dip in its waters.
- Indulge in the history of 5000 years old traditions and cultures from all over the world especially from the Mediterranean, at the Museum of Natural History Basel.
- Take a view of the city from the highest point of Basel Minster while enjoying its architecture
- Witness the Medieval process of papermaking at Basel PaperMill
- Cycle through the small city and enjoy its well-preserved heritage and architecture
- Be present in 3 countries at once by standing at Dreiländereck on the Rhine River
- Feel closer to the wildlife by visiting the Basel Zoo.
- Visit the micro-breweries of Basel and enjoy their specialties and classics.
- Exhilarate your taste buds by enjoying the local street foods and traditional dishes.
Yoga and Retreats
- B. Yoga Basel: Located right at the heart of Basel is B. Yoga Basel established in 2006. It offers a wide range of yoga styles and as a total organizes a maximum of 40 classes per week. They have verified eco-friendly yoga props and locally made leggings at the boutique. They conduct intense classes, beginner-friendly classes, and also open classes for any visitor. Be sure to check this place out!
- Meyo House Yoga Basel: Located right at the heart of Klein-Basel, Meyo House Yoga Studio Basel offers yoga courses in Hatha and Vinyasa, as well as Pilates and Meditation. You can also rent their room for any work or relation. They also offer special online and weekend classes. A perfect place if you’re looking for some relaxation in the old town!
- Hanuman Yoga: Located very close to the Rhine River, the Hanuman Yoga studio is run by Anna and Kim and was established in 2019. In its small course of time, the studio has gained a lot of popularity because of all the smiles and warmth the founders bring to the class, along with yoga courses made for all! What a lovely place to find your inner-self!
- Loosloo YOGA: Literally meaning “Let it go” YOGA, Loosloo is a calm and mellow yoga studio that offers a wide range of yoga classes to all types of students by experienced teachers. It also offers webinars, workshops, meditation, and teaching of yoga. A very cozy and friendly place in the middle of the city!
When traveling to this pocket-sized city of cultures and traditions, finding suitable accommodation for you can be a piece of cake! There are green hotels, luxurious hotels, hostels, guest houses, apartments, and much more to help you find your ideal staying option.
- GAIA Hotel: What can be a better place for accommodation than a 4-star rated family-run sustainable hotel! Very near to the Basel train station, the GAIA Hotel takes an immense number of steps to be a responsible and sustainable hotel. They give their stale bread to Basel Zoo to be fed to elephants who love it, gives used soaps to the recycling factory which is distributed in vulnerable areas, and their used grounded coffee is used as fertilizer for growing good quality mushrooms. The hotel uses everything from furniture to cleaning agents that are sustainable and eco-friendly. It has a swimming pool, a beautiful well-furnished terrace, a luxurious sustainable interior, and many special packages for different booking purposes.
- Jugendherberge Hostel: Located just 15 minutes walking distance from the Train station in Basel St. Alban. Architecturally given a modernized and futuristic green look, the hostel has sustainable measures for waste disposal, and uses eco-friendly daily objects to run their hostel. With average sized-rooms, it also offers affordable breakfasts and a beautiful view from the windows.
- ibis Basel Bahnhof: With more than 112 rooms and just b15 minutes from Basel’s EuroAirport, ibis Hotel is a sustainable green hotel with free wifi, free car parking, TV, and all other facilities. The prices are reasonable.
- Hotel Odelya: A green hotel and winner of “Hotel of the Month” by Switzerland, Hotel Odelya is surrounded by the largest private parks in Switzerland and is exclusively special for business meetings, seminars, and congress meetings. It has rooms for all sorts of size accommodations or type of meeting. There are 60 staff members to ensure that your meeting goes perfectly.
Hostels and Guest Houses
- Guesthouse Casa Esperanza: Located just 5 minutes from the center of the city, Casa Esperanza offers a flat TV and a double bed for every room. It has a good view of the city and has a balcony and terrace-sitting availability too along with a fully equipped kitchen and well-maintained bathroom.
- The Garden Guesthouse: Going exactly with its name, the guesthouse is located right in the middle of a well-maintained beautiful garden. It is located in the residential area of Messe Basel. The rooms are well maintained with free-Wi-Fi as compulsory.
- Basel Backpack: It has a very cozy and warm atmosphere with rooms available for even 4 people. There are a total of 85 rooms with a good view of the city and free Wi-Fi.
- Pensione Lungomare: A quiet quiet building located in Kleinbasel, a few minutes of walking distance from the Rhine River. The hotel provides all the basic necessities of a TV, fully equipped kitchen, washing machine, espresso machine, Wi-Fi with an iPod, and a prepaid card with a phone. It is ideal for a longer stay.
- Bed & Breakfast agency in the Basel region GMBH: Situated at Arlesheim, it offers different sized beds and bedrooms for various purposes of stay. It has been running for 20 years and has a good transport facility. It includes the minimal basic needs of a fully equipped kitchen, bathroom, and a TV.
- Apartments Spalenring 10: A very cost-efficient apartment, located at just a 15-minute tram distance from the airport. It has a beautiful garden surrounding it. It offers its customers a double bedroom with a balcony, studio apartments, and 3 room apartments too.
Couchsurfing is an online community where some local people offer tourists to stay with them and enjoy the city with them, or, help to find accommodation by the local host. Browse through this platform and find your suitable host for pocket-friendly travel.
- Camping Waldhort: Situated in a quiet location and well cleaned and hygienic necessities, it makes a typical camping ground for anyone! There is also a snack shop near the site. As the city of Basel is quite small, this is the only camping site which is located at Reinach. It is illegal to camp anywhere but a registered camping ground in Switzerland; hence do not put up a tent just anywhere.
How to Get There
There are numerous ways to get to Basel. You can even travel by ship! Since Basel is one of the most important cities in Switzerland, it's easy getting to Basel, also the public transportation system is very good. Here are some ways you can check out:
The airport of Basel is named EuroAirport Basel and there are a total of 90 direct flights to Basel, from Europe, Canada, North Africa, and Russia. If you’re traveling from anywhere else, you have to take the hassle of booking an inter-continental flight or travel to the nearest airport in Zürich.
There are a lot of buses that go to Basel. The departure of the bus and the duration of your travel depends on which city you’re getting the bus from. Since France and Germany share its border with Basel, there are buses that travel from other cities of Europe as well.
Basel has 2 train stations – Basel SBB and Basel Badischer Bahnhof. Apart from the domestic trains in Switzerland, there are trains that travel from other countries as well. These are: InterCity Express trains from Germany and Switzerland, TGV from Paris and EuroCity from Milan. The SwissTravel Pass offers many advantages as well.
Although hitchhiking is not officially illegal in Switzerland but do make sure the police do not see you, because not all but some policemen do not like this concept. The easiest way to hitchhiking is to stand on one of the main roads for vehicles to travel to Basel and politely ask for a ride. It’s a wrong concept that only greasy old truck drivers offer rides because people in Switzerland are very polite and love to meet new people and help.
Apart from the above popular mentioned ways, there are other ways you can get to Basel. These include arriving in Basel by a cruise ship on the Rhine River that will depart you to 3 ports in Basel. You can also travel to any other city in Switzerland and reach Basel by several transportation means.
Moving around in Basel is as easy as moving in your own house. The size of the city is small, the streets are highly well-maintained and the public transportation system is very convenient.
The streets of Basel are highly-maintained and clean. All the places in the city are connected conveniently and walking through the streets of the Old Town will make you feel in the Medieval Period again. As the city is small in size, almost all of the tourist destinations will lie just at walking distance perfect way to travel responsibly.
Basel can be best explored by foot and by cycling because not only are they eco-friendly and no carbon in the air, but also because most destinations are located quite close to each other. With your BaselCard, you can rent an e-bike for a maximum number of 3 days from the rental office. They will also offer you a lock, a charger, and a helmet for a safe ride.
Being a leading country in reducing carbon emission to the air, you will easily find e-cars, e-buses, and e-trains in almost every city of Switzerland. Basel is no exception. You can hire an e-car in the city and charge it in several VITRA charging stations set-up in the city.
Basel city offers various city-tour buses for tourists. These are the first hop-on hop-off busses to be introduced in Switzerland. The top and sides of every bus are glass screened giving a 3600 view. The bus goes around every travel spot in Basel in just 2 hours and there are 12 boarding spots.
Tram, Train and Subway
Ever since its opening to the public in 1895, trams have been an inseparable part of Basel. There are a total of 13 tram lines throughout the city and the trams run from 5:30 am in the morning till midnight. As a tourist, your hotel shall accommodate you with tram tickets, since getting on the green and yellow trams in Basel without tickets is finable and embarrassing. Also, it is forbidden to eat or carry any food into trams.
Sustainable shopping is a way you can contribute to the environment by buying eco-friendly things that are made by not harming nature and wildlife, and will not contribute to any kind of pollution. Also, a better way to sustainable shopping is by buying eco-friendly items from local artisans and shops. Not only does it help the local business but you also get to carry a touch of the local art and culture.
- Markthalle: Ever since the opening of the building in 1929, Markthalle has been an important spot for both tourists and locals. The indoor market houses a number of stalls, most of them will offer you anything from fresh bread and fruits to traditional dishes and quick bites. It also sells handicrafts and souvenirs that are exclusively local
- Stadtmarkt: A lively market right around the town hall of Basel has been a place for the locals to buy food, fresh fruits, and meats, and flowers at an affordable price for decades! Whenever you’re free, make sure to check this place out. It’s wonderful!
- Schlemmermarkt: Similar to Stadtmarkt, Schlemmermarkt was opened in 2017 and is the best destination if you want to enjoy the street food in Basel.
- Flohmarkt Peterplatz: The most popular flea market between the only 2 available in the city, it opens only on Saturdays of every month (from 7 am to 7 pm) has a large number of stalls that display exclusively handmade crafts and jewelry made by the artistic locals. The place also displays locally made souvenirs at a very efficient price.
- Flea Market Barfüsserplatz: Not as popular as Peterplatz, the Barfüsserplatz flea market opens on the second and 4th Wednesday of every month from 7 am to 7 pm and displays locally made works at a pocket-friendly rate.
Second Hand Stores
All second-hand stores open their doors in the Flea Market of Peterplatz. The other markets do not have second-hand stores. Peterplatz Flea Market is a popular spot for thrift shopping in Basel every Saturday.
Switzerland holds onto its ethical art and culture very proudly but is also the leading country to take sustainable steps to save the environment. Whether thrifting at a second-hand shop or any clothing store on the streets of Basel, you are sure to come across these authentic Swiss brands that tribute to sustainable fashion. All of them provide long-lasting, fashionable, and classy clothes that are made from reused fibers to organic cotton, peaceful silk, and other eco-friendly varieties:
- Rafael Kouto
- Baba Studio
- Jungle Folk
- Purple and Gold Rain
The people of Switzerland have made the 3 R’s (Recycle, Reduce, Reuse) as their daily motto like the classic fondue. It can be time-consuming and a little difficult at first to follow the rules accordingly, but soon you’ll get used to it. There are separate bins with specific logos and color codes. There are compulsory bin bags available for garbage disposal but they are not meant to be recycled. If you’re planning to visit Basel as a tourist for a few days, the hotel staff will dispose of the waste in your room responsibly, but if you’re planning to stay here for a while, please contact the Canton-Basel for all the rules and regulations regarding disposal of waste.
A list of recyclable and non-recyclable wastes have been formed and followed strictly in Baselland. This includes disposal of aluminum, glass, and PET plastic bottles separately, picking up paper wastes at designated locations on designated dates, recycling compost food leftovers, used ground coffee, and fruit and vegetable peels. Electronic wastes at discarded safely. Green hotels contribute a lot to recycling and reusing the waste produced.
Work and Study Abroad
Getting a well-standard job can be a little difficult for someone coming from a foreign country. However, the city and country offer a lot of opportunities. Also, getting a job in Basel depends on your past experiences, and where you’re from. Some Swiss-based companies or local companies would rather hire a person who speaks German-Swiss with knowledge of French and English, than someone who only knows English. Some agencies promote work-abroad programs in Basel, be careful from the fraud ones. Students have a huge opportunity to study and work part-time jobs in Basel (or Switzerland).
Among all the schools and universities present in Basel, Switzerland, the University of Basel is the only institute that offers student exchange programs, Basel. To get to know more, please contact the university directly since nothing has been disclosed publicly. Foreign exchange students also get the opportunities to work part-time jobs in Basel. The restrictions are that one must work a maximum of 15 hours per week and 100 cents per semester.
Au pair in an online community where a person (generally a young female) gets to stay with a host family in a selected location for studying in a Basel uni or school or to simply gain knowledge about the culture by living like a local, all in exchange of a safe shelter, food and some pocket expenses for looking after their house or by being a nanny. There are many families in Basel that accept Au Pairs. Go to the community www.aupair.com to see more.
Swiss organizations urge people to take part in volunteering organizations and let the language barrier not be a difference anymore. It can be a wonderful experience to volunteer to help the needy, on your trip to a foreign country. Some organizations in Basel that accept foreigners as volunteers are as follows :
- Basel Connect
- Centre Point Basel
- Swiss Indoors