I had the pleasure of travelling with GirlTravelsWorld to Basel, Switzerland this festive season thanks to Basel Tourism. It was a wonderful weekend getaway and we were able to see a lot considering the short stay we had. Basel is a city in northwestern Switzerland on the river Rhine. Basel is Switzerland‘s third most populated city (after Zürich and Geneva) and is located where the Swiss, French and German borders meet. It is quite interesting that Basel also has suburbs in France and Germany.
How to get there: You can fly to Basel, Switzerland from all major airports in London. We flew with EasyJet from Luton Airport. The short one and a half hour flight was over in no time., at all and getting through both boarders was quick and easy. Just make sure you exit the Swiss exit when you leave Basel Airport.
Getting around: When booking hotels in Basel, visitors will receive the free Basel Card. This card allows for free use of public transport, free WiFi at 17 hotspots and 50% discount on cultural and leisure activities. Basel is the one of the first cities in the world to provide this for tourists. It made getting around the city centre on public transport super easy and given how expensive Switzerland can be, can help save a few francs for more important things.
Where to stay: Basel Tourism were kind enough to put us up in the Hotel Krafft (Rheingasse 12 CH-4058 Basel www.krafftbasel.ch). Hotel Krafft Basel is a 4 star hotel with stunning views of the Rhine. Eating the freshly made continental breakfast with the perfect indulgence you won’t find many places. If that’s not enough incentive, the Hotel Krafft Basel was also awarded the title “Historic Hotel of the year 2017” by Historic Hotels of Europe. Our studio suite was a home away from home and we loved the added amenities. How many hotel rooms do you know that have taps outside your room for guests to have fresh sparkling or still water as well as bowls of fruits and chocolates?
Where to eat: There are so many places to eat around Basel that you’ll never go hungry. The problem is choosing where you want to eat! Our top choice for dinner included the Restaurant Kunsthalle(Steinenberg 7 CH-4051 Basel ). You’ll find something to please every taste bud on this menu. Though the winner for me was the burger I had at Ufer7, the food was perfect and make sure you order the Veal-Burger with Raclette-Cheese. It was mouthwatering.
Where to drink: As with there being an abunance of places to eat in Basel, there’s also a number of places to have a drink. We didn’t venture into too many places but loved the opulance of The Grand Hôtel Les Trois and the comfort of the Hotel Krafft Basel’s wine bar, Consum. www.consumbasel.ch). The live jazz music was a treat to listen to as we sipped wine and ate Swiss cheeses and salami. We didn’t get to visit Bar Rouge (Level 31 im Messeturm Messeplatz 10 CH-4058 Basel), which is situated in the 105-metre-high fair tower. The views are supposed to be incredible and it’s on our list for the next time we visit.
Christmas Markets: As an Aussie, the romance and warmth of Christmas markets is a major draw card which keep living in the colder climates during times when I’m used to Summer weather and beaches. Well, Basel is known for the place to visit if you want to experience the prettiest and largest Christmas markets in Switzerland. Markets such as the Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz were gorgeous but avoid evenings and weekends as they were very busy. It was more enjoyable walking through them early morning and early afternoon as they were quieter. Visiting at this time, we were able to sip Bailey’s Hot Chocolates and keep the souvenir mug it came in. As Christmas is a big deal in Basel, there’s plenty of photo opportunities and you’d be amiss to not visit the traditional house of Johann Wanner. He is one of the suppliers of Christmas decoration of the Vatican, the White House and the Queen of England.
Museums and Art Galleries: Basel really is the city of culture with 40 museums within 37 square kilometres. Given this huge choice, there’s plenty to chose from. From fine art, to natural history musuems and even the world’s smallest musuem. We visited the Fondation Beyeler (www.fondationbeyeler.ch) and the Fine Art Musuem (https://kunstmuseumbasel.ch) and couldn’t believe we were able to be surrounded by fine art works from Monet, Van Gogh, Picasso and other great masters of the art world.
Tours: Basel Tourism offer a wide range of different walking tours throughout the city centre and the old town. We were lucky enough to have guide Margrit Götz teach us about the urban development, historical events, cultural and economic influences that forged Basel. This was probably my highlight of the weekend, as Basel is a gorgeous city and has a very interesting history. Walking tours where you learn about where you are visiting is always one of my favourite things to do whenever I visit a new city. Definitely add this to your must do list in Basel.
Theatre: As with art and culture, theatre is also important in Basel. We were treated to Carmen, a Ballet by Johan Inger at the Theater Basel. Whether theatre is on your must do list or no, it certainly worth visiting to see the Tinguely fountain. This fountain was erected in 1977 and is quite amusing. It is one of the many fountains in Basel, though one of the only ones where you can’t drink directly from it.
Gin: Now for long time readers, you know I love gin and it wouldn’t be right of me not to include some of the gins I discovered whilst visit Basel. Now as I mentioned things in Switzerland can be quite expensive and gin is no exception. But when you’re getting to try gins, that you won’t find elsewhere in the world… it’s worth splashing out just a little. Now I’d tried Nginious Gin prior to visiting Basel but I had no idea it was distilled there. I was lucky enough to buy a bottle of their award winning Swiss Blended Gin Duty Free at the airport and have the most delightful gin and tonic at The Grand Hôtel Les Trois Rois. Nginious had created a bottle just for the hotel with Eucyalyptus, Kumquat and Lemongrass botanicals… it was simply divine and worth the £26.00 francs for it. Other Basel Gins worth noting are the two Rheinbrand Gins, I was able to try at Ufer7. The Hemp Edition, would be the top choice out of the two. It was launched in April 2018 and uses local CBD hemp which is added during the distillation process. This CBD hemp is legal, does not affect the central nerve system and is therefore not intoxicating. It had an unusual flavour to it, but was very drinkable.
Thanks again to Basel Tourism for sending OnIn.London on a weekend escape to Basel. We thoroughly enjoyed it and can’t wait to share with you in the future all that Basel has to offer. There’s numerous festivals throughout the year if you’d like to visit during warmer months, so it really is an all year round destination.
Written by Tegan LeBon
First photo from Basel Tourism
Other photos taken by Tegan LeBon