- Basel Cathedral
- Tinguely Museum
- Basel Zoo
- River cruise down the Rhine
- Vitra Design Museum
- Klybeck District
1. Basel Cathedral
A true landmark of the city, Basel’s Protestant Cathedral is a masterpiece of medieval art. It’s easily accessible from Basel SBB station, which is located in the city centre. Built in 1018, this cathedral owes its particularity to the pink sandstone blocks used in its construction. The original building, however, had to be rebuilt after an earthquake in the 14th century. Inside you can find the tomb of the famous theologian Erasmus, a major figure in European culture.
If you’re an art lover, don’t miss your chance to visit the Kunstmuseum, which houses the largest art collection – more than 4,000 paintings – in Switzerland. Located on Rue Alban-Graben near the train station, the museum offers an incredible collection of paintings by masters like Cézanne, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Monet, Rubens and Dalí.
Step back in time and have a stroll around the Aldtstadt, Basel’s picturesque old town. Here you can find the city’s oldest buildings, dating back to the 14th century. Don’t miss the townhouses on Petergasse and the monkey fountain on Andreasplatz - they’re very Instagram-worthy!
Meaning ‘market square’ in German, the Marktplatz is centrally located in the city of Basel. Discover the typically Swiss buildings – the colourful Town Hall will catch your eye as soon as you get to the square. Wander around the many shops and restaurants nearby and stroll along Freie Strasse to admire the Gelten Zunfthaus, a house dating from 1578.
Insider tip: make sure you stop by during the week – there’s a market offering fresh local produce, as well as many specialties from the rest of the country.
5. Tinguely Museum
This iconic art museum is named after the Swiss artist Jean Tinguely who grew up in the city. His eccentric sculptures are as interesting as they're eye-catching – his machine-like works satirised automation and technological overproduction. Come and discover a special universe out of the ordinary!
Spalentor is one of the three gates that were built during the Middle Ages to protect the city from external attacks. Look out for the beautiful ornamentation on the façade, including Basel’s coat of arms framed by two lions.
7. Basel Zoo
Just a 5-minute train ride from the city centre, the Basel Zoo is the largest and oldest in Switzerland. It’s an ideal outing if you’re travelling with children. You’ll find many species, from the most well-known to the rarest ones, and you’ll be able to discover all the secrets of animals. Children can touch some of the animals, and those aged 8 or more can help with the work at the farm. A nice break during your stay in Switzerland which will delight your little ones.
8. River cruise down the Rhine
Go on a river cruise down the Rhine and enjoy the beauty of Basel from a different perspective. To add even more magic to your stay, have a dinner cruise and admire the sunset over the river. Finally, if you’re more of an adventurous type, have a swim like the locals, but take some precautions as sometimes the river’s current can be quite strong!
9. Vitra Design Museum
Located in the nearby town of Weil Am Rhein, a 15-minute train ride from Basel, the Vitra Design Museum is one of the largest design museums in the world. With no less than 7,000 items, this museum is a reference point for all kinds of design, not to be missed under any circumstances if you love art.
10. Klybeck District
Located about 25 minutes by train from Basel central station, the Klybeck district is a true work of art, with many frescoes, bars and original restaurants to explore. The atmosphere is even more special on the weekend – it's an ideal place to meet friends and party.
Whether for its history, museums or medieval buildings, the city of Basel will take your breath away. Take the train to Basel from anywhere in Switzerland – or even nearby France and Italy – and we guarantee you’ll have a great time. You can get from Bern to Basel and from Zurich to Basel in less than an hour thanks to the direct services operated by SBB. So, what are you waiting for? Leave the car home and travel by train for a smooth and hassle-free journey. For more information on the Swiss rail network, check out our trains in Switzerland page.