Basel is the third largest city of Switzerland and the cultural hub of the country. It is especially famous for its abundant number of quality museums and in winter for its magical Christmas Market. I was lucky to visit the city lately and enjoy a proper Swiss city-break just 1h20min away from London by plane. Here my suggestions based on my own experience on how to spend a week-end in Basel.
Check in at Basel Youth Hostel
Basel Youth Hostel is located in the cosy and residential neighbourhood of St-Alban. On the basis of high architectural standards, the hostel offers an incredible experience for its visitors: the lobby is quite large with design deco and a friendly staff to welcome travellers. I stayed in a fully equipped 4-bed room, the only bad thing was that wifi didn’t work inside the rooms but only in the lobby. That was a shame but I still go down there to enjoy the nice dinners they propose or the awesome breakfast buffet. Indeed, the food quality is very good. I tried some Swiss classics like cheese and the sweet and crunchy chocolate Ovomaltine that everyone seem to fall in love with. The hostel is just few minutes walk to the Old Town as well as all public transport is within the area.
Book your stay here: http://www.youthhostel.ch/en/hostels/basel-st-alban
Lunch at Kunsthalle
The finest food in town! I had an amazing lunch at Kunsthalle, a popular restaurant in Basel. The menu is varied but focuses on local dishes. I ate the Zürcher Geschnetzeltes a typical dish from Zurich. The creamy, yet light mushroom sauce tops up the soft pieces of meat and potatoes. Moreover, the restaurant has some very special wall paintings that surely make it stand out.
Guided Tour of the Old Town
The local tourist board offers guided tour of the Old Town. The tours last about 2 hours and are available in several languages including English, French and German. The tour starts in the very special Tinguely Fountain in front of the old theatre and took the group towards Münsterplatz and then hidden spots of the city.
More tours here: https://www.basel.com/en/search/citytours
Drinks at Kaserne
During the week-end of my visit, I was lucky to have a little preview of what the preparations of the upcoming carnival look like in an interesting bar crawl with locals. Following this, I wanted to experience something more alternative so I headed to Kaserne a nice area to wrap up the night with some chill-out music and relaxed atmosphere.
Visit of Kunstmuseum
As the Swiss city of Culture, Basel hosts a large number of worldclass museums such as Kunstmuseum. Located few minutes away from Basel Youth Hostel. The museum has various collections from well known artists such as Picasso, Van Gogh, Holbein, Witz and more. There are also special exhibitions until February 2015 from artists such as Albrecht Dürer and His Circle or the magnificent nature spectacle of the Alps with Caspar Wolf – And the Aesthetic Conquest of Nature. A must see for art and culture lovers!
Check out their websites for more information: http://www.kunstmuseumbasel.ch/en/home/
Crêperie am Kohlenberg
During a cold winter day, it is best to get some rest with a hot chocolate and a crepe. I entered the first café I found while walking around town and it was actually the only one still open on Sunday at 4pm. Sometimes random choices turn out to be unexpectedly the best.
Climb the Tower of the Cathedral
Before it closes its doors around 5pm on winter week-ends, make sure you get to the top of the Cathedral! The view and the experience of just walking up the stairs are unbelievable. As the history of Basel as an urban settlement began on the same hill, the Cathedral is considered a key landmark of the city.
Surely one thing that motivated me above all to visit Basel was its famous Christmas Market! It started on 23 November 2014 and will last until 23 December 2014 this year. The Christmas lights make the squares alive as well as locals coming from neighbouring areas to do their shopping.
My favourite thing is definitely that the market was divided into various parts therefore it is not only condensed in one single square but several areas of the Old Town. The typical Swiss atmosphere is very present and make sure to try the raclette. The main Christmas Tree has been decorated by the one and only Johann Wanner whose Christmas store is a delight to visit all year long.
Special thanks to Basel Tourism for their support to make this trip happen!