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  • Writer's pictureGregor

Top 5 Travel Mistakes in Basel

Basel is a city in the north-west of Switzerland that is popular for it's chemical industry as well as its emphasis on arts and culture. This sounds like it can hardly be combined, but the result is a city with a one of a kind vibe!

Spectacular Sunset over the City of Basel with Roche Tower
Spectacular Sunset over the City of Basel with Roche Tower

Mistake 1: Skipping Basel altogether

Sadly, Basel is never really on the itinerary of travelers. This is mainly because it does not serve any Swiss cliches and it is located too far out on regular Switzerland travel routes. Then it's popular for its chemical and this is definitely not attractive. But let me tell you, you're missing out!

Basel is a city where you can eat like a king, the variety of local specialities is endless. Then it's heavily influenced by the countries Germany and France, which are just next door. This makes it a melting pot of culture and traditions and a truly unique place to be. On top of that it's really well kept like any other Swiss city, so you won't be disappointed. So if you get an extra day in Switzerland and don't know what to do, then now you know!

Mistake 2: Only coming for arts and culture

Most travelers come for the arts and culture only. This is a great choice because Basel is a very important European city in this regard. On top of that it is the home of important art and jewellery fairs. But Basel has got so much more to offer. You can swim in the river in summer, go watch a packed football game or simply hang out in a park or by the river and just take the city in. Because Basel is very flat, it is perfect to be explored by bicycle or by foot.

Fall fair in Basel Herbstmesse
Fall fair in Basel (called Herbstmesse)

Mistake 3: Skipping the River Rhine

The River Rhine has its origin in the eastern Swiss Alps and will eventually meet the sea in the Netherlands. This important lifeline in Europe has got its one end in Basel where you get to witness cargo and cruise ships. They give the city a vibe as if it was not Switzerland. Luckily the ships don't run frequently so in summer the locals hop in the river and float downstream for a while and relax. When you visit Basel you will notice that the river is one of the centers of the lives of the locals. You can have superb walks on the banks maybe you get to witness one of Basel's magic sunsets while enjoying a local craft beer. Cheers!

Basel with river cargo ship, sunset and Roche towers
Is this Switzerland?

Mistake 4: Not visiting Germany or France

"Hey, I booked a trip to Switzerland!" you may think now, but hear me out. The region just across the border is called Alsace (in French) or Elsass (in German) and definitely worth a visit. It was subject to many annexation between France and Germany during the 20th century. So you get a mix of Germany and France not only in terms of food, language but also culture. Alternatively, if you are on a budget and would like to dig in on night, then you get to benefit of the cheaper prices of these two.

Mistake 5: Only visiting the old town

Basel has got a pretty old town with lots of things to do. As you want to experience Basel, I recommend you go and spread out a bit to visit other parts of the city or simply go to the river bank and take it from there! I wish you a lot of great experiences.

Car of Hotel Les Trois Rois
Starting point for your explorations: Hotel Les Trois Rois (in the image is the hotel's car)

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