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Grossbasel, Basel, Switzerland

Basel is located on the Rhine River.  The city is principally located in Switzerland, but its urban population of just under one million also includes suburbs in Germany and France.  The main languages spoken are two variations of German.  The city is well known for its museums and theaters.  The Old Town is located on the west side of the Rhine in what is referred to as Grossbasel (Greater Basel).  Across the river is Kleinbasel (Lesser Basel).


Basel is an hour away from the Alps and it's climate is influenced by the lower elevation of the Rhine Valley.  July and August are the height of summer.  Expect average highs of 77 F (25 C) and average lows of 58 F (14 C).  During the winter months from December - January expect average highs of 41 F (5 C) and average lows just below freezing.  Precipitation levels are slightly higher in the summer.  Snow is possible from November to March.


The EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg serves three cities in three countries.  The airport is located entirely in France even though it is only a 15 minute cab ride from Old Town Basel.  Take Bus 11 to the St Louis rail station and then take the commuter train to Basel SBB rail station or take bus #50 directly to Basel SBB.

Due to its location at the junction of three countries, Basel has a unique set up for rail transport.  There are two major train stations in the city.  The Basel Badischer Bahnhof (Basel Bad) station is operated by the German train line, even though its located in Switzerland.  The Basel SBB station is used by Swiss and French trains.  A Swiss Rail Pass includes the right to transfer by rail between the two stations at no charge.  Trains run frequently between the two stations and its about a 10 minute ride.

Viking Hlin, Basel, Switzerland

Rhine River Cruise

Trams are the life line of the city.  Be careful, as they have right of way over pedestrians in the crowded Old Town.  Tram drivers do not accept cash or credit.  Buy fares from machines at the tram stops.  Many hotels offer free bus passes.

Basel is the upper end of the river cruise circuit on the Rhine and is navigable all the way to Amsterdam.

Basel Minster, Baseler Munster, Switzerland

Basel Minster (Baseler Münster)

Attractions in Old Town Basel:

Things to see and do:

  • Basel Minster (Baseler Munster) - located in the Old Town along the Rhine, this was originally a Catholic church and is now Protestant.  Construction was started around 1000.  It's two towers are called Georgsturm and Martinsturm after two saints.  The courtyards surrounding the church are particularly interesting.

  • The Middle Bridge (Mittlere Brucke) - the oldest bridge in Basel, located adjacent to the Old Town.  See the trams traverse it frequently.

  • Town Hall - view the exterior paintings in the open air atrium.  The Town Hall faces the Market Square (Marktplatz).

Town Hall, Basel, Switzerland

Town Hall

  • St Martin's Church and the State Archives with over 1,000 years of history.  They are located side by side on Martinskirchplatz in the Old Town.

  • Shop and wander through the pedestrian only streets of the Old Town, such as Freie Street (Freie Strasse).

  • Ride the Klingental Ferry (Fähre) "Vogel Gryff" across the Rhine to Kaserne to enjoy restaurants, free theater and conerts.  There are several options like this to cross the Rhine on inexpensive reactive ferries that use a steel cable suspended over the river instead of using the power of an engine.

  • Natural History Museum (Naturhistorisches Museum Basel)

Barfussen Square, Basel, Switzerland

Barfussen Square

Middle Bridge and Tram, Basel, Switzerland

Middle Bridge on the Rhine

Things to see and do Near Basel:

  • Augusta Raurica is located about 15 minutes up the Rhine River from Basel.  This tourist destination is a Roman ruin that includes a museum and an amphitheater with live performances.

Hotels in Basel:

Hotel Listings for Basel

Switzerland is very expensive, so consider staying less than an hour away in Mulhouse, France or Freiburg, Germany.

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