Most people might think of Zurich when they start talking about a trip to Switzerland, but Basel is the place to be. It is located right on the Rhine river and the landscape is absolutely breathtaking. Travelers coming here also benefit from it being the third largest city in Switzerland, in addition to it being located right next to both France and Germany. This all combines to give the city a unique culture and flavor all its own. As if you needed more convincing, here are 10 reasons why you really should travel to Basel, Switzerland.
1. The Fantastic Art Scene
The residents of Basel love art so much that they once banded together to buy some original Picasso paintings. The artist found out and ended up donating three of his own pieces to the city. The cities love for the arts is on display everywhere, and much of it can be seen for free. A visit to Art Basel really should not be missed. This is one of the premier art exhibitions in the world.
2. The Tasty Food Stalls
Basel is the place to go for a great mix of food that is considered to be a local specialty. You can go to the Marktplatz for a most flavorful experience. This is in the historic part of the city and is a place where you will find fresh food and be able to sample some of the local food. There is also an indoor market that contains food from around the world. The smells alone will be sure to tempt you.
3. The Basler Fassnacht Festival
This is a three-day festival that is most unique. Some people will come to Basel just for this eclectic event. It is a huge carnival that takes place during the cold season, beginning at 4 in the morning with some masked musicians who parade through the Old Town. There are plenty of poetry readings combined with a lot of food and beer.
4. Multiple Languages Spoken Here
Basel is truly an international city, benefiting from being situated very near both France and Germany. As such, you will be fascinated by the number of languages spoken here. You can find Swiss German and French being interchanged quite frequently among the locals, so this is your chance to practice either of those languages.
5. More Than 300 Days of Sun
Many people associate Switzerland only with being cold. While that is certainly true, what you might not know is how many days of sunshine the region gets. We are talking more than 300 days to bask in the glory of the sun. Even in the midst of the winter, you will be able to enjoy it, while the summer will bring swimming weather temperatures along with it.
6. The Basel Zoo
No visit to Basel should be considered complete until you visit the local zoo. This one dates back to 1874, making it the oldest and largest in the entire country. You will find animals from almost every region of the world here, including a number of endangered species. You will be supporting a good cause by visiting here as well, as the proceeds go towards a number of conservation and breeding initiatives.
7. Unique Museums
If you love museums, there are more than 40 of them to choose from in Basel. Many of these are quite unique, such as the one that houses the largest collection of teddy bears in the world. There is also a museum where you can see the entire history of pharmacies around the region, and there is a world-class museum of natural history.
8. History and Architecture
Basel is a town rich in history. You will enjoy just walking around the area and seeing that history unfold right before your eyes. Much of the architecture is quite unique, such as the red Rathaus that houses town hall. There is also the Basel Cathedral that needs to be on your must-see list.
9. The Storied Theaters
There are some great shows to be seen here, as Basel is home to some of the largest theaters in the country. You can go to either The Musical Theatre Basel or the Theatre Basel in order to see various dramas, ballets, operas, and full stage theatrical productions. This is truly a cultural experience that should not be missed.
10. A Unique Christmas Celebration
Basel does Christmas right. You will find that the entire city is let up by fairy lights and more than 100 Christmas trees. There is also the Freie Strasse to see, which is one of the longest display of Christmas decorations in the whole of Europe. This is a great place to be during the festive season.
In short, Basel provides you with a unique travel experience that you will not get elsewhere in Europe. The people are warm and friendly. Let’s not forget the fantastic skiing that is to be experienced during the winter months. Basel has a little something for every type of traveler today.