Precariously balanced on the Swiss-side of the France-Germany border, Basel, Switzerland is the epitome of idyllic European living; a dreamscape of timeless charm. Between the medieval old town, the riverbank of the majestic Rhine, the myriad of art museums and the savory delicacies composing your every meal, it’s easy to feel wholly enchanted while visiting. For a few experiences on the apex of magical that you simply can’t pass up when passing through Basel, read on.
While this town sports enough art to make bathing in artistic brilliance the sole focus of your visit, the masterpiece of its art scene is Kunstmuseum Basel. The crown jewel of all of Switzerland’s art collection, it’s easy to spend a day wandering the country’s largest (and world’s first) public art museum—especially when it houses such an impressively wide swath of history. In the same visit, you can admire 17th century Flemish works, 20th century cubism, surrealism and American art from 1950 to today. Witnessing creative genius from one century to the next, be it Claude Monet or Andy Warhol, bestows a charged serenity to an already idyllic day.
If the weather is perfect (it most likely will be, thanks to low atmospheric humidity), then a stroll through Zoo Basel is in order. Both Switzerland’s oldest and largest zoo, a leisurely afternoon expedition through this institution is essentially a safari through the far corners of the Earth. Every creature—from seahorses, to penguins, to cheetahs and elephants—can be witnessed as if they were in nature, allowing you a wild day in the heart of the city.
While at first glance you may think any of the many medieval structures or architecturally unique buildings make for the trifecta of sites to seek out, the true key to experiencing Basel’s magic lies in the markets. Scattered throughout the city and all in-between its historic buildings are a litany of markets worth perusing. Stadtmarkt is as authentic as you can get, with this decades-old market setting up in front of town hall to serve as the local’s grocery store. Schlemmermarkt is Stadtmarkt’s sister market with an emphasis on gourmet: locally sourced produce is the point of pride for the creations of these street-food chefs, providing you the perfect opportunity to savor the local fare the way it was meant to be enjoyed—in the open air of Basel’s enchanting streets.
Eager to head to Basel, Switzerland and experience it yourself? Talk to one of our travel agents first. Their professional knowledge and expertise of the world’s destinations is the starting point to properly discovering all that’s worthwhile on your trip. Additionally, their working relationships with the leading names in travel—such as Viking Cruises—provide you with perks and amenities to elevate your visit to the likes of a fairytale.