5 Things To Do on a Day Trip to Basel, Switzerland
Basel is one of those locations that is often overlooked by travellers, myself included! When researching our trip to Switzerland I had the typical list of destinations in mind; hiking through the mountains, relaxing in a Swiss alpine town, a day in the city and a visit to Lake Lucerne. It wasn’t until I began searching for train tickets for our journey from Strasbourg to Bern that I came across Basel, a quiet little city on the German / French border. Rarely willing to pass up the opportunity for a day trip I decided a stop in Basel was the perfect opportunity to catch a glimpse of a new city. Keen to see as much as I could with limited time, I booked the early train from Strasbourg (the 6:51am train to be exact), setting us up for a full day of Basel adventures!
Stopover day trips are fast becoming one of my favourite things! You get to experience a whole new city and you’re never wasting time doubling back on your journey. Making stopover trips even easier are those nifty luggage storage lockers, you’ll find them at almost all major European train stations. For a small fee you can stash away your luggage and save yourself the hassle of lugging them around the cobblestone streets all day.
So I guess you’re wondering what I got up to in this quiet, riverside city? Keep reading to find out my top 5 favourite memories of my time in Basel!
ONE: FOOD, FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD! – BREAKFAST AT TIBITS, BASEL
Who are we kidding here, of course my first stop would be for food – Honestly, stuffing my face has provided me some of my favourite travel moments. Tibits is a café / buffet / restaurant hybrid, offering delicious vegetarian and vegan options, curries, salads, smoothies, cakes… ohh the list goes on!
I may have already eaten breakfast earlier but in the words of Pippin “What about second breakfast?!”… Right? I opted for the obviously healthy breakfast option of a big piece of vegan carrot ginger cake, and a steaming hot cappuccino on the side to warm my frozen fingers!
If you’d like to check out Tibits for yourself, you’ll find them at Stänzlergasse 4, 4051 Basel, Switzerland.
TWO: A CATHEDRAL WITH A VIEW – BASLER MUNSTER (BASEL MINSTER)
The Basel Minister is a must-see on your trip to Basel! This Protestant church sits proudly on the edge of the Rhine and opens up onto the terrace Pfalz for panoramic views of the river and city. This cathedral is old, and I mean old, 9th century old to be exact! The beautiful gothic-style architecture, coupled with twin spires and a multi-coloured tiled roof truly make it a sight to behold.
If you have the Basel Minster in your sights, you’ll be glad to hear that is open to the public every day (with the exception of public and religious holidays) and entry is free!
THREE: A MORNING STROLL ALONG THE RHINE RIVER
Ohh Rhine, it seems we keep running into each other! Chances are if you’ve been somewhere in Central / Western Europe, then you’ve crossed paths with the Rhine River at some point. The Rhine flows through a whopping 6 countries; Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, France, Netherlands and of course, Switzerland!
At this point, my poor Aussie limbs were desperate to absorb some of that warm morning sun, so we headed down to the riverbank. In the Summer months, the Rhine becomes a popular swimming location for locals and tourists alike. You’ll find people stashing their belongings in a brightly coloured Wickelfisch (waterproof bags) and floating down the river with the strong current, but unfortunately, we didn’t catch anyone brave enough in the middle of the cold Basel winter. However, plonking ourselves down by the river’s edge for some people watching seemed like a good alternative, and gave us plenty of time to soak in that stunning view.
FOUR: A PIECE OF HISTORY – THE MITTLERE BRUCKE (MIDDLE BRIDGE)
The Mittlere Brücke, or Middle Bridge in English, opened way back in 1226 making it one of the oldest standing Rhine crossings. The Mittlere Brücke links the beautiful Old Town of Basel to Kleinbasel, a district which was once known as the mindere Basel (lesser Basel) but now is home to some of the best restaurants and bars in the city.
While it is obviously difficult to compete with other stunning bridges throughout Europe, the Middle Bridge is still worth a visit. If you take a walk over to the Kleinbasel side of the river, you can catch some beautiful views of the bridge with Basel Old Town as the backdrop.
FIVE: THE RED GIANT – MARKTPLATZ AND RATHAUS BASEL-STADT
One of the last stops during our time in Basel was at the Marktplatz. While the square itself if quite beautiful, it’s the Rathaus Basel-Stadt (Basel City Hall) that steals the show here!
The Rathaus is absolutely breathtaking, and makes quite the impact with its towering red sandstone exterior and stunning frescoes, and although we didn’t have time to go inside, I’ve heard some great reviews. If you’d like to take a peek for yourself, you’ll be pleased to know that entrance is free! But take note, the Rathaus closes for visitors on the weekend.
While we stood there in awe of this colossal building, my stomach began to rumble. Before I made the descent into full hangry mode, Josh found a small food stall with a prime position in front of the Rathaus. Here we treated ourselves to a juicy fat Bratwurst, complete with crusty bread and a big dollop of mustard; the perfect quick (and very cheap) meal, fitting for a city so close to Germany.
Sometimes it pays to take those paths you hadn’t quite planned on taking, and WOW- Am I glad that I stumbled across Basel!
I’d love to hear from you guys – Have you ever stumbled across a memorable location by chance? Let me know in the comments, perhaps we can discover some lesser known gems together!
If you enjoyed reading this post, please feel free to share it with your friends using the buttons below, it helps me out a lot!
Eager for more European adventures? Check out my 3-Day Itinerary for Venice in Winter!
Want to pin this story to read later? Simply hover over over the on image below and click the save button in the top left corner!