Switzerland: a weekend in Basel


Nestled in a perfect location just within close reach to Zurich and Lucerne is the quiet yet incredibly charming town of Basel considered the most important cultural centre of Switzerland.  A place rich in architecture old and new, lined with cobblestone streets, filled with inviting cafes and an unforgettable ambiance that seems to exude every inch of the city.

Though you may arrive and find a weekend is not quite long enough in Basel, there are some absolute must-sees and dos while here for only a few days. Like many of the cities you will find throughout the country, Basel offers a wide variety of coffee bars and shops to begin your day off right. Grab a delicious cup of coffee and maybe a bar of famous Swiss chocolate or two for in between meal snacks.

Tram in Basel
Another great thing about Basel is the ease of getting around the city. Transport is free for tourists! Your hotel will provide you with a pass to be used during your stay. With the extensive tram and bus network, you will surely not be far from any sights or attractions you may want to visit. If you prefer a more active way of transport, then rent a bike and cycle your way through this delightful town.
The Elisabethenkirche- Neo Gothic architecture
New architecture in Basel

Once you’ve stored away the wonderful Swiss chocolates and found your preferred way of transportation, head out to the many unique attractions that the city has to offer its guests. Wander through the cobblestone streets  of the old town and alleyways to the Munster where you can admire the incredible Romanesque architecture and sculpture work of this cathedral. Next, whether you are a history buff or not it is essential to visit at least one of the many museums of the city including the Kunstmuseum, Museum Jean Tinguely, Museum fur Gegenwartskunst or Foundation Beyeler. Besides these, there is also a variety of different art galleries that display numerous exhibitions and a wide range of artwork that you won’t regret visiting.


Spielzeug Welten Museum Basel: Museum with a vast collection of doll, teddy bear & miniature toy exhibits displayed over 4 floors.

Old town

Guided Tour of the Old Town is a must! contact Basel Tourism visit www.basel.com
Basel Town Hall
The CathedralThe history of Basel as an urban settlement began on Cathedral Hill. With its red sandstone walls, multicoloured roof tiles and twin towers, the Cathedral is a key landmark of the city
The Cathedral in Basel, roof detail
The Cathedral Basel, interior
library in Basel
Pretty houses



The Elisabethenkirche is a church building in the centre of Basel,
next to the Theater Basel. The best known neo Gothic building in
Switzerland. Inside there’s a coffee shop!

Tinguely Fountain in Basel: a shallow fountain black asphalt created inside mechanical figures powered by low-voltage current


With so many sights to see and places to explore, stop in between and wander about Marktplatz food market where you’ll find yourself surrounded by fresh and seasonal fruits and vegetables, a plethora of local bread and pastries, colorful flowers and so much more.

Marktplatz Market

Just around the corner is the high-end mall, Globus, with a beautiful and compact food hall. Globus, Marktplatz 1/2, +41 61 268 45 45

Globus in Basel


Globus beautiful food

Just crossing Marktplatz is the Café Confiserie Schiesser offering decadent Swiss chocolates and one of the most famous traditional bakeries in Basel. Head upstairs for a coffee break and old-world coffee shop atmosphere. Next to it there’s a beautiful Swiss chocolatier worth a visit.

Confiserie Schiesser in Basel, upstairs tearoom
Läckerli Huus : Chocolate paradise with tradition and quality

Just up the road are the Fumare / Non-Fumare are two cafés next to each other – for smokers and for non-smokers.

If you visit Basel during the summer months, a great option would be to grab some local food from Marktplatz, head down to the Rhine River, have a picnic and a swim! Yes, the Swiss enjoy a dip in the Rhine and during my stay the weather was topping 31C in July! Relaxing by the Rhine seemed to be the norm for a fun afternoon. A barge crossing in the Rhine is also a must, takes about 10 minutes and very cheap.

Swimming in the Rhine – Basel, Switzerland
Swimming in the Rhine – Basel, Switzerland

A stroll on the Kleinbasel  (right bank)

Kleinbasel  beach
No matter how you choose to fill your days and hours during a weekend in Basel, it is guaranteed to be a time full of exploration, fun and memories that will surely last for years to come.

foods to sample in Basel

We also enjoyed a meal at Restaurant Lowenzorn
Basel tavern with Swiss cuisine. Historical rooms of the 16th century
and romantic courtyard with charcoal barbecue with plenty of history.


Gemsberg 2/4 CH-4051 Basel
+41 (0)61 261 42 13
+41 (0)61 261 42 17
e: [email protected]

very good local wines


Local cheeses


roast Basel way


Veal a la Basel (black beer sauce) with Rösti


Raclette : Swiss dish based on heating the cheese and scraping off (racler)
Raclette original  and accompaniments: potatoes, white picked onions and gerkins
lots of Swiss chocolates !
Beautiful and delicious ice cream at the terrace Restaurant Atlantis: Klosterberg 13
CH-4051 Basel


Where to stay with style without breaking the bank

I stayed in the modern 4 star Novotel, very central and easy reach from the train station. Very comfortable with all mod comms.  Rooms rates start at CHF 160/night (around £105/July 2015), complimentary fully working wi-fi, minibar and a vast breakfast buffet included.
Novotel Basel
Grosspeterstrasse 12,
4052 Basel, Switzerland
Phone:+41 61 306 68 68

Room at the Novotel Basel
breakfast buffet
Novotel Basel breakfast

Traveling to Basel from London by train

I traveled to Basel, by train 1st Class  Eurostar from London St Pancras to Gare Du Nord with a short change to Gare L’Est to take the TGV Paris to Basel, in total 8 hours traveling from London. No wi-fi,  you will be disconnect from the world.

I highly recommend going by train it was a very comfortable experience, and the views are magnificent. Other positives: no luggage restrictions, quick embarkation/disembarkation and customs clearance. Turn up 45-30 minutes before departure.

Cost of 1st class, all the way including all meals and all drinks on board (there’s plenty to eat in both legs of the trip) starts from £266/person return and standard at £116 return. Tickets can be booked at  Voyages snfc or call 0844 848 5848. Personal callers are welcome at the Voyages-sncf Travel Centre, 193 Piccadilly, London W1J 9EU.

TIP: book well in advance to get 1st class treatment at low cost! The earlier you book  the cheaper it is! You might even pay standard class for 1st class ticket!

Eurostar : Raymond Blanc breakfast – after that we were offered cooked breakfast!
Pretty views of the countryside on the way from Paris to Basel


TGV comfort – Paris to Basel


TGV food and drink on board – Basel to Paris
Until next time why not join me on  InstagramTwitter and Facebook…X

disclosure: I was a guest of Basel Tourism on this press trip. As usual, all views are my own.

The Rhine in Basel




  1. The Wolf and Me
    August 11, 2015 / 8:41 am

    I miss Switzerland. I had many great holidays there so you have brought back wonderful memories.

  2. August 11, 2015 / 9:15 am

    This looks like a lovely place to visit. Never been to Switzerland but I can see the beauty through the pictures. Nice post.

  3. Meeta K
    August 13, 2015 / 6:59 am

    Oh Rosana! A lovely travelogue. I have been to Basel a few times and each time discover something new. YOur post has highlighted all the beautiful things about Basel and even better a few things I need to discover the next time I am there!

  4. August 13, 2015 / 9:42 am

    Hi Meeta, I really enjoyed my time there. Just wondering about winter… R

  5. August 16, 2015 / 11:03 am

    OMG that raclette… Swoon!! I have only been to Basel airport (and one night in a hotel when Swiss airline managed to strand us there!!) so have never had a chance to explore – your post makes me want to see more! Love the pics of people swimming in the Rhine – we were watching people swim in the Isar river in Munich last weekend – such a wonderful resource to have in an urban environment!

  6. Teresa Bowen
    August 17, 2015 / 1:58 pm

    I love visiting Switzerland and your post has just reminded me it has been far too long since I was there. Must go again soon.

  7. Anonymous
    April 11, 2017 / 6:46 am

    Thank you, Rosana !