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Things To Do In Basel
Basel is a very eventful city! It is a commercial hub for Switzerland and is also a favourite tourist destination. The city is an eclectic blend of history, culture and architecture. Its culture is also influenced by both its neighbouring countries - France & Germany, which makes the blend and pulse of the city even more lively! Some of the things to do in Basel include exploring the Old Town and its many famous landmarks, cruising on the Rhine river, visiting its many museums and being a part of its cultural events and performances. No matter who you are, what you do and when you go, there is definitely going to be a lot of things you can do in Basel!
Explore The Old Town
One of the best parts about Basel is its Old Town where you can just spend hours exploring the streets, wine and dine at the cafes, restaurants and pubs and gawk at the amazing history and architecture that this city has to offer. It is not a very large area, so it can easily be covered on foot (no motor vehicles allowed). A lot of the top sightseeing places are located within the Old Town like the city gate (Spalentor), the Tinguely Fountain, the Marktplatz and town hall, the cathedral and other medieval churches etc.
Visit The Zoo
The Basel Zoo (known locally as Zolli) is definitely a great way to spend a summer afternoon. It is a fun-filled activity for the entire family. It was founded in 1874 with more than 500 animals. It showcases a variety of mammals, birds, reptiles and aquatic animals. Some of the highlights are the Lion enclosure, elephant enclosure, penguins, monkey house and the aquarium. The aviary house is also pretty great with some exotic-looking birds. The zoo is open every day of the year from 8 am until 5:30 pm during the winter months and up to 6:30 pm during the summer months.
Go Crazy At The Carnival
One of the most popular events in Basel is its 3-day Carnival which is the biggest in all of Switzerland. If you are lucky to travel during this period, you are in for a real treat! The Carnival is usually held in late Feb or early March. The streets are filled with masked musicians as they march down the streets of Basel’s Old Town. It is a very unique event and you are bound to have a gala time! In case you are not travelling during the spring season, don't worry - there are still many different cultural events & festivals that happen throughout the year!
Take Breathtaking Photographs
If you are looking to take some picture-perfect photographs, there’s nothing better than a shot of the Mittlere Brücke that runs over the Rhine river. This bridge was opened in 1226 and has been an iconic symbol of the city. On a bright sunny day, you should stroll across the bridge, take a leisurely walk along the Rhine river and take some of the most picturesque photos of your life! Don’t forget to also come back for pictures at night when it is all lit up.
Go Museum Hopping
Basel has many museums – some filled with history, some filled with modern art and some just outright unique and quirky. Visiting all the museums may not be possible if you are in Basel for a short trip as there are quite a few – however, you can choose and pick the ones that are most relevant to your taste and do a spot of museum-hopping and make a day of it. Many of them are close to each other or are a part of other popular tourist sites, so you ought to check out some of them for sure. The popular museums are - the Kunstmuseum, Museum Tinguely, Basel Toy Museum, Natural History Museum, Museum der Kulturen, Cartoon Museum and the Swiss Architecture Museum.
Go On A Boat Cruise
There are many boat cruises that operate from May to October when the weather is pleasant and on the warmer side. It is definitely a must for all first-time visitors of Basel to go on such a cruise. You can choose from short-duration ones (85 minutes upwards) to longer durations which take you to neighbouring cities. The short tours are great for a beautiful view of Basel city from the Rhine river. You can also opt for cruises with themes such as dinner & live music, Sunday brunch, Game night evenings etc. The Basler Personenschifffahrt is a top cruise operator in Basel and you can look up their website for the latest schedules and book a tour.
Have Fun At An Escape Room
Escape Rooms are the latest trend in Basel and many of these game rooms have popped up across the city. Since this is an indoor activity, it’s the perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon. Many of the rooms are child-friendly as well, so it is a fun activity for the entire family. There are some unique challenges that will boggle your mind and sharpen your brain! Room Escape Basel & AdventureRooms Escape are the popular ones. You can book a spot for yourself and your family online at your own convenience.
Learn to make chocolate
Switzerland is known for its chocolates – so it is no surprise that learning to make Swiss Chocolate is one of the top things to do here! You will find some of the best traditional Swiss chocolates in Basel and with Chocolatier Beschle, they take it one step further by also allowing you to get a glimpse into the whole chocolate-making process. Tourists can take a tour of the production process, taste some very fine samples of the chocolate and also test their newly learnt skills by making their own chocolate!
Go to the theater
Basel has some fantastic theatres and no trip would be complete without visiting them. You can choose from a range of entertainment like Operas, Ballet, Theatre Performance, Concerts – there is always something exciting going on, especially during the summer months. They also have some of the top Musicals playing like Lion King, Phantom Of The Opera, Beauty and the Beast and My Fair Lady. Both the Theatre Basel and the Musical Theatre Basel showcase a mix of Swiss & International performances.
Ghost Walk Tour
If ghosts and ghouls excite you, then perhaps a Ghost Walk tour is the perfect way to spend an evening in Basel! This tour gives you a unique chance to explore the so-called haunted spots of the city. Tales of spirits and demons are told along the way as you pass by some of the city’s top sightseeing spots, that look normal during the day, but tell a different story at night! Don’t be spooked – it’s all a bit of fun!