At a glance
- Largest city: Basel (175'000 inhabitants)
- Specialties: Basel flour soup, Läckerli, Fasnachtschüechli
- UNESCO World Heritage: Basel Carnival
- Hotel industry: 125 hotels (5'871 rooms)
- Overnight stays/year: 1.696 million
International flair in the border triangle
The undisputed centre of this tourist region is Basel, Switzerland's third largest city with 175,000 inhabitants. Situated on the Rhine and in the border triangle with France and Germany, Basel is considered the most international city in Switzerland.
Did you know that Basel is the Swiss city with the highest density of museums and not Zurich or Geneva? There are a total of 40 museums in the city on the Rhine. In addition to the large and well-known museums such as the Tinguely Museum, the Fondation Beyeler or the Kunstmuseum, there are many other and less well-known museums to discover in Basel and the surrounding area - for example the Cartoon Museum, the Pharmacy Museum (both in Basel) or the Frog Museum in nearby Münchenstein. And with Augusta Raurica, one of the country's outstanding open-air museums is located in the region. Here you will find some of the best hotels in Switzerland.
Basel is the cultural capital of Switzerland
In no other city in Switzerland can visitors enjoy such a wide variety of cultural events as in Basel. In a comparatively small area, there are dozens of architectural masterpieces to admire in addition to the museums, as at the bend in the Rhine. One of the city's landmarks is the town hall built of red sandstone with its striking tower. It took 10 years to build at the beginning of the 16th century.
Largest carnival in Switzerland
Basel is also home to the largest carnival in Switzerland. Year after year, almost 20,000 active carnivalists ensure that the Basel Fasnacht attracts attention far beyond the country's borders. The Fasnacht has been part of the intangible cultural heritage of mankind (UNESCO) since 2017. The Basel Fasnacht is different from the Lucerne Fasnacht, less loud, more contemplative and with more depth.
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Basel region in summer
For the people of Basel, bathing in the Rhine has long been one of the top leisure activities. The locals jump into the water between the Wettstein Bridge and the Johanniter Bridge and let themselves drift downstream. Lying on your back, preferably with an air cushion, you can make yourself comfortable in the slowly flowing water and enjoy the view of the historic old town that slowly passes by.
The Tinguely Fountain is a comparatively young landmark of the city of Basel. It was built in 1977 by the artist Jean Tinguely. Ten sculptures stand and move in the shallow water, reminding us of the actors and dancers who used to fascinate this place when the Basel City Theatre was still located there. Tinguely was known for his kinetic art. He died in 1991; since 1996 many of his works of art have been on display in the Basel Tinguely Museum.
Castle circular route
This unique hike takes you to three of the most beautiful castles in the Basel region: Alt Falkenstein, Alt-Bechburg and Neu-Falkenstein. The start is at the local history museum of Alt Falkenstein Castle. From there, the trail continues via Balsthal to the ruins of Alt-Bechburg, the oldest of the three castles. It dates back to the year 1,000, but burnt down in 1713 and only partly exists today - as ruins.
Place: Alt Falkenstein, Balsthal
Basel region in winter
Morgestraich at the Basel Fasnacht
In 2020, the "drey scheenschte Dääg vom Joor", as the people of Basel call their Fasnacht. Want to bet that the carnivalists will be even more active next year? A visit to Morgestraich, the start of the Basel Fasnacht, is highly recommended. At 04:00 in the morning, the city switches off all lights so that only the lanterns of the cliques are lit - a unique, contemplative spectacle.
Feldschlösschen in Rheinfelden
Who does not know the Feldschlösschen beer brand? It is not only a must for all beer lovers but also for everyone else. Take a guided tour of the brewing castle and learn about the traditional art of brewing and today's production. At the end of the tour there will of course be a beer tasting and if you like you can enjoy a culinary treat in the Feldschlösschen Restaurant.
Roman Museum Augusta Raurica
Just 20 minutes east of Basel by car is one of the most important open-air museums in Switzerland: in the Roman Museum, visitors can visit the old Roman settlement of Augusta Raurica. There is a Roman house to be seen, which has been reconstructed 1:1 and the interior has also been furnished as it was in Roman times. In this way one can experience history up close.
Places in the Basel area
The municipality of Aesch BL is located just under 20 minutes south of Basel by car. Hard to believe, but the village once belonged to France. From 1793 it was part of the French département of Mont-Terrible and its citizens were therefore French. Since 1815 Aesch belongs to the Swiss Confederation. You can visit the ruins of the three castles Münchsberg, Schalberg and Frohberg. Tip: the Klus circular hiking trail.
Water and beer: these are the main reasons to visit Rheinfelden, along with the historic old town on the banks of the Rhine. In the sole uno wellness oasis you can relax and recuperate: there are Finnish and Russian saunas, a fire and ice bath, steam baths, a trpoic shower and a brine bath, among other things. In addition, Rheinfelden is of course known for its brewery, Feldschlösschen - a must for all beer lovers.
This short detour across the border is worthwhile: because the small southern German town of Lörrach with its 50,000 inhabitants is not only beautiful, but also has a lot to offer: The castle ruins at Rötteln, the Vitra Design Museum (a furniture museum) or the Rosenfelspark attract many visitors in summer and winter.
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