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Basel

Attractions and Activities

In Basel you are surrounded by art and history - the city has the highest density of both galleries and museums in Switzerland and plenty of interesting history. We are presenting you just a few of the many activities and tours that are possible in and around Basel and to other parts of Switzerland.

Full-day Excursions

Schilthorn - Piz Gloria (2970m/9744ft)

Full-day excursion. The most spectacular 360° panorama in the Alps! Dine-and-wine in the world's first revolving restaurant at an altitude of nearly 3000 metres. Impressive views embrace some 200 snow-capped peaks, ranging from the Bernese Alps to Mont Blanc in France and Germany's Black Forest.

Jungfraujoch - Top of Europe (3454m/11333ft)

Full-day excursion. Snow and ice 100% guaranteed! The Sphinx observation hall, impressive Ice Palace and hiking plateau - these are the year-round attractions up on the Jungfraujoch, the highest railway station in Europe. Summer attractions include a skilift, husky-drawn sledging and adventure activities.

Luzern - City of Lights

One of Switzerland's most popular excursion destinations, lovely Lucerne is only 90 minutes' travelling time from Basel. The city is renowned for its attractive townscape, historic Chapel Bridge and excellent shopping facilities.

Zurich - City of Lights

Nestling beside Lake Zurich and along River Limmat, Zurich offers splendid views of the Swiss Alps and is an absolutely charming, interesting, and beautiful place to visit. The intellectual capital of the nation that is particularly receptive to contemporary trends is only 50 minutes' travelling time from Basel.

Other Excursions

Beautiful, lush landscapes, picturesque villages and many culinary enticements surround Basel. The neighboring Cantons of Basel-Landschaft and Solothurn, France's Alsace and Germany's southern Baden form an enormous nearby recreational area with endless leisure possibilities. In only a short time you can arrive by public transport at the Roman town of Augusta Raurica in Augst, or in Alsace for a meal, or in one of the well-known wine cellars of southern Baden.

Summer Sports

"Rheinschwimmen"
Throughout the summer months the River Rhine presents a tempting bathing opportunity. In addition, the great Basel "Rheinschwimmen" (Rhine Swimming Event) is held once a year. On this occasion, both young and old alike dive en mass into the clean currents of the Rhine, and allow themselves to be carried downstream.

Winter Sports

Basel is close to the Bernese Oberland that boasts of such reknown resorts as Interlaken, Grindelwald, Wengen, Gstaad and Muerren to name only a few. Interlaken is less than two hours by train and from there it is not far to any of the mentionned resort villages. You will have the opportunity for all sorts of winter activities including: skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, curling, ice climbing, sleeding, cross country skiing, snowshoe trekking, snowtubing and zorbing. Indoor sports facilities are readily available in Basel including swimming, tennis, squash, bowling, ice-skating, fitness and much more.

Entertainment

The music scene in Basel functions according to the classical division: classical music, jazz and modern. In Basel a high-ranking and comprehensive classical music program has been offered for many years. Furthermore, every year several renowned international festivals take place in Basel.

The Grand Casino Basel offers 15 black jack, roulette and poker tables and entertainment and spectacles. The casino is located on the road to the airport and also includes 2 restaurants and 3 bars.

Shopping

Whether on traditional market squares or through conventional shopping tours through the retail stores: the shopping opportunities in Basel are limitless. In addition to the impressive variety of shopping opportunities, the sheer range and the high quality of the goods on offer in the various sectors makes shopping in Basel a memorable experience. The main areas are Freie Strasse and Steinenvorstadt.

Events

"BASEL World" - global fair for watches and jewellery

Sparkling Basel: at the world's most important specialist trade fair for the international watch and jewellery industry, staged in April. This event is used by companies to present their very latest watch and jewellery creations. The monumental stands of the (prestige) brands fill the halls of the exhibition site, and many tens of thousands of visitors ensure that all hotels within a radius of 250 kilometres are booked out.


"Davidoff Swiss Indoors"

The largest national sporting event and one of the world's most important indoor competitions, the Davidoff Swiss Indoors in Basel, is traditionally staged in October in the St. Jakobshalle, when the world's tennis elite gather at the city on the Rhine.


"Basel tanzt" - world-class ballet

The international dance festival "Basel tanzt" (Basel Dances) is a biannual event, under the artistic direction of Basel's world-famous ballet choreographer Heinz Spoerli. "Basel tanzt" attracts many international groups to Basel, including some of the world's elite ballet ensembles.


"Art Basel" - the world's leading art fair

The art fair, which shows 20th and 21st century art, is universally acknowledged to be the world's most important fair for the international art market. Over 300 painstakingly-selected exhibitors drawn from the world's top galleries turn the fair into the most spectacular temporary exhibition. Artists, art collectors and many VIPs from the worlds of art and culture meet during these days in Basel.


Carnival fever in Basel!

The "Morgenstreich" is a truly unique event. This begins very early on a Monday morning, at precisely 4 a.m. All the lights in the city are switched off - and the night is illuminated solely by the serried lanterns of the so-called "Cliquen" (carnival associations). Queen carnival takes the sceptre in her hand. For the next three days the city abandons itself to wild revelry - accompanied by the sound of thousands of piccolos and drums.


"Em Bebbi sy Jazz"

The end of the school vacation (mid August) is signalled by the traditional jazz festival "Em Bebbi sy Jazz". This is staged at a variety of venues in the city centre, when dozens of jazz groups take to the stage. The fabulous atmosphere is enjoyed by tens of thousands of spectators.


Open-air cinemas

During the summer months, many parks and castle ruins in the region are used as open-air cinemas. The real highlight, however, is the Open-air Cinema, which is staged over several weeks at Münsterplatz with one of the world's largest screens. For this period, Münsterplatz is transformed into Piazza Grande, and the Open-air Cinema invites spectators to an unforgettable cinema experience under the open skies.


Christmas Market

In November, when the days grow colder, Basel wraps itself in its Christmas robes. Thousands of lights and many tastefully decorated Christmas trees exude their festive charm, and form a perfect backdrop to romantic Christmas shopping trips. At the Christmas market, 150 painstakingly-adorned stands create an enchanting Christmas atmosphere at Barfüsserplatz. In recent years, the Christmas programme, with numerous associated cultural events for the young and old alike, has been continuously expanded. All in all, Basel has acquired a justified reputation as one of the most beautiful Christmas cities.

Museums

Kunstmuseum (Museum of Arts)

The Kunstmuseum houses the Painting Collection and the Kupferstichkabinett. The main focus is on paintings and drawings by artists active in the Upper Rhine region between 1400 and 1600 and on the art of the 19th to 21st centuries. The Kunstmuseum possesses the worlds largest collection of works by the Holbein family. Further examples of Renaissance art include major pieces by such masters as Konrad Witz, Martin Schongauer, Lucas Cranach the Elder and Mathias Grünewald.


Tinguely Museum

This museum is unlike others: here, things rattle, squeak, crash and thump. Colourful scrap rotates, multi-coloured lights flicker. It is a place full of vitality, laughter, amazement and discovery; a place that sets the feelings in motion and where art reaches across to the spectator. A museum that arouses in children and adults alike a need to experiment, to play and to think about art. Dedicated to famous Swiss artist Jean Tinguely.


Beyeler Foundation, Riehen

Over a period of fifty years, in parallel to their successful activity as gallery owners, Hildy and Ernst Beyeler built up an exceptional collection of works by modern masters. Their collection, which was transferred to a foundation in 1982, was first publicly exhibited in its entirety at the Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid in 1989. Currently comprising around 200 works, the Beyeler Collection documents a very personal view of modern art and an unerring ability to recognize quality.


Museum of Ethnology

The Museum of Ethnology houses one of Europe's largest collections on European and non-European cultural life. The museum's exhibits on the South Seas, Ancient America, Tibet and Bali are world-famous, as are its textiles. The exhibitions and a full program of events make the museum's treasures accessible to a wide audience. The carved lintels from Tikal, which are the museum's most valuable treasure, provide unique testimony to the high level of culture attained by the Maya civilization.


Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein

The Vitra Design Museum, housed in a building designed by the Californian architect Frank O. Gehry, is among the world's leading museums of industrial furniture design and architecture.