5 Essential places to see in Basel
This guide of places to see in Basel will help you prepare your itinerary for one of the most beautiful cities in Switzerland, making the most of your time. Located on the banks of the River Rhine, on the border with France and Germany, Basel surprises every traveler who visits it thanks to its beautiful medieval old town, full of charming corners. In addition to visiting its main monuments, we warn you that it is a real pleasure to walk through its clean and quiet streets, where mass tourism has not yet made an appearance and probably won’t take long. As a recommendation, if you are going to spend a night in Basel, we recommend you check in at your hotel soon to obtain the Basel Card, which includes free public transport in the city and a 50% discount in the main museums of the city.Based on the experience of the day I spent in this city during my train journey through Switzerland, I have made a list of what I think are the 5 essential places to visit in Basel.
1. City Hall
The striking City Hall or Rathaus of red and gold is one of the icons and one of the most essential places to see in Basel. This Renaissance-style building, with a beautiful clock on the facade and several shields of the different cantons, currently serves as the venue for the meetings of the Cantonal Parliament and the Cantonal Government. And although many travelers are impressed with the facade, do not forget that it is worth entering the interior of its main courtyard, to see the most striking paintings and sculptures. The Town Hall is located in the beautiful Markplatz, a square full of historic buildings and a market of cheese, fruit and flowers that is assembled every morning and that is also very worthwhile.
2. The Rhine
The Rhine that separates the old town from the new part of the city is one of the meeting points for locals and tourists, especially in summer, as well as one of the most recommended places to visit in Basel. During this season, it is very common to see how the locals come to take something on the shore and bathe or slide down the river, carrying waterproof bags in which they keep their clothes and also act as floats. Keep in mind that in addition to walking along the edge of the historic center, it is highly recommended to go to the other shore, crossing one of its bridges or one of its four original ferries, some boats that are held by a rope and are driven by the river current. Do not forget that one of the best things to do in Basel is to take a walk at sunset along one of the two banks of the river from where you will enjoy incredible views of the old town.
3. Basler Münster
The Basler Münster Cathedral, rebuilt at the end of the 14th century after an earthquake is another of the most representative buildings to see in Basel. This church is characterized by its red sandstone facade and its two tall towers of more than 60 meters, which allow you to enjoy magnificent views of the city. On the back of the cathedral you can access a small cloister and the Pfalz viewpoint, which has magnificent views of the Rhine and the new part of the city, from where you can go down to the Rhine and board a ferry to cross the river. It is also worth spending time at the Münsterplatz or Cathedral Square, a square full of beautiful two-story white houses with shutters and colorful windows.
Taking advantage of the fact that you have the Basel Card, which you will be given when you check in at your accommodation, you can also take advantage of the opportunity to visit one of the almost 40 museums in Basel, one of the most important cultural cities in Europe. Among the most famous museums to visit in Basel is the Art Museum or Kunstmuseum, which has several Picasso pieces, a donation by the author in recognition of the love he had for its inhabitants. Other outstanding museums of the city are the Anatomical Museum, the Paper Museum, the Antiquity Museum, the Jean Tinguely Museum, the Toys Museum, the Natural History Museum or the Cultures Museum, among many others.
5. Puerta Spalentor
Spalentor is the most important gate of the three that still remain of the wall that surrounded the medieval city and another of the places to visit in Basel. This important gate, located in a huge square tower, decorated with three religious sculptures of the fifteenth century, has two other narrower and round towers in its corners, whose purpose was defensive and were also used to monitor the transport of goods from Alsace, a region north of France.