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Basel Tourist Activities

Basel Tourist Attractions

Most tourists head to Lucerne, Geneva or Zürich, but Basel is an underrated gem!

The city boasts a picturesque, medieval town centre, several world-class museums with amazing art collections, a beautiful setting along the Rhine River, a wonderful Romanesque Cathedral, a Renaissance Town Hall and a famous carnival that can rival Rio de Janeiro and Venice any day. The official language spoken in this part of Switzerland is German and most street names and locations have German names.

Basel is beautifully situated in the Dreiländereck, literally meaning it’s sitting in three countries’ corner. From here it is easy to reach the Swiss Jura mountain range, Lucerne and Zürich, the wonderful Alsace wine growing region and the Black Forest in Germany’s Federal State of Baden Württemberg.

Among the most splendid Basel tourist attractions has to be the State Archives, which are housed in a medieval mansion tucked away in a quiet alley in Münsterberg. The imposing blood-red Town Hall with its many painted decorations lines the Marktplatz, the main market square. The Renaissance palace is still used as an official Town Hall building, but visitors can join a guided tour to explore some of the gorgeous interior.

The mighty river Rhine cuts Basel in half. Great Basel (Grossbasel) with the medieval old town at its heart lies to the south and west of the river, while Little Basel (Kleinbasel) is located on the northern embankment. This is where most of the night-life takes place!

Basel Cathedral (Münster) is one of the most popular Basel tourist attractions. The monumental building sits right on the river embankment in Grossbasel, overlooking Kleinbasel with a stern façade, just in case its good burghers should forget about what respect they owe to the Church! It is possible to join guided tours through the cathedral, which was erected between 1019 and 1500 in a Romanesque and Gothic style. One of its highlights is the Gallus Pforte (Gallus portal) on the western façade of the cathedral.

For some great views over medieval Basel, visitors should risk the climb up into St. Martin’s Tower, which dates back to 1500. With its 62 meters it is the shorter of the two towers, but not necessarily the easier one to climb. St. George’s Tower is 65 meters high and on a good day one can see as far as the Black Forest and the Alsace. The Pfalz, a plaza located north of the cathedral, offers some of the finest views in Basel and is a great place to have a rest and a picnic on a sunny day.

Among the Basel tourist attractions are some 20 museums, some of which allow visitors to tour for one hour at the end of every day without being charged an admission fee. The Kunstmuseum Basel (Art Museum Basel) houses mainly 19th and 20th century pieces, including an impressive collection by Picasso, but there’s also a large collection of medieval and renaissance artworks by artists such as Hans Holbein and Hans Baldung Grien.

The Antikenmuseum Basel (Museum of Antiquity) is just across the road from the Kunstmuseum and boasts one of Europe’s most extensive collections of antiquities with Greek, Mesopotamian and Egyptian art representing just some of the world’s most wonderful treasures.

Families will love the Puppenhausmuseum Basel (Doll’s House Museum), which claims to house the largest collection on teddy bears as well as a large collection of dolls houses. There is a fantastic toy shop for small and not so small visitors to indulge in childhood dreams.

One of the greatest Basel tourist attractions has to be the Rhine itself – there’s nothing like a stroll along the river promenade on a sunny afternoon. A river ferry takes visitors across the Rhine, but for the best photo opportunities Basel tourists should try walking across the many bridges, from where the best views can be enjoyed.

For more information about Basel tourist attractions, please visit the official tourist information website at www.basel.com.

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