BaselBasel is a place of exciting contrasts. Contrasts such as masterpieces of contemporary architecture set against the well-preserved Old Town or the wonderful harmony between the city's cosmopolitan flair and vibrant traditions. And although classical modernism and street art may seem like they are worlds apart, both have a prominent place in Basel. We are in flux, constantly reshaping ourselves. So every time you come to Basel, you will discover something new.
ArtBasel is the perfect place to embark on a fascinating journey through the world of art. With its many museums, the world’s largest art fair and a lively, young art scene, Basel is a small city with a big cultural scene that attracts visitors from across the globe. The profound connection between the people of Basel and the fine arts began with the establishment of the Kunstmuseum in 1661. The exhibition, which now features over 300,000 works from across eight centuries, is considered the oldest public art collection in the world – quite impressive! But that’s only the beginning. Art aficionados will be kept busy for days in Basel, whether with contemporary works, antique sculptures, cartoons or even teddy bears.
CultureThe cultural life in Basel is unequalled for a city of its size. Theatre and music lovers will find everything they could ever want here. There is an excellent theatre, high-quality ballet and all kinds of music concerts, from classical music to pop. Alongside the big players, there are also plenty of smaller theatres, jazz bars and music clubs making a name for themselves.
ArchitectureBasel is Switzerland’s architectural capital – the number of buildings designed by world-famous architects in such close proximity is unsurpassed, all in the midst of an architectural setting that has evolved over centuries. Basel is home to internationally acclaimed architecture firms such as Christ & Gantenbein, Diener & Diener Architekten and Herzog & de Meuron. So why not leave your mark on the city where a dozen winners of the coveted Pritzker Architecture Prize have left theirs?
HistoryIf ever there was a city that tells a story, that city is Basel. Surrounded by modern buildings, the well-preserved Old Town, the three imposing city gates and the Cathedral (Münster) continue to bear witness to bygone days. Basel’s attractive location on the Rhine and the strategically important Münsterhügel (Cathedral Hill) first attracted the Celts to the bend in the Rhine in the Bronze Age, before the Romans made Basel an important trading centre. Later, after the founding of the first Swiss university in 1460, the city became a centre of the humanist movement and of book printing. What happens next in the story? It’s up to you to decide what chapter you want to immerse yourself in. One thing is certain: you will be able to feel Basel’s history in every nook and cranny of the city.
CuisineGourmets will be in their element in Basel – as will anyone who loves more modest but high-quality fare. You can find something tasty on every corner in Basel. That’s probably down to the fact that we love to treat ourselves here! The city has an impressive selection of places to eat that suit all tastes and budgets.
NightlifeBasel knows how to party. There are bars and clubs all over town, from the ever-popular Steinenvorstadt to the lively Rheingasse to the hip Klybeck district. In recent years, Basel has made a name for itself as a top destination for electronic music. When the sun goes down, clubbers flock to the dance floors of the city centre, the Dreispitz site and the Kleinhüningen district, where international DJs rock the boat at Nordstern, the floating nightclub.
BrunchAfter a long night out on the town, all you want to do is sleep in and take it easy the next day. So how about brunch? In Basel, you can brunch to your heart’s content in hotels, in cafés, on a boat or in a museum: it’s worth getting up for!
ExperiencesDo you want to experience something special? Then you have come to the right place. Amid the unique atmosphere of the Carnival in Basel, you can drive the winter away together with the “Waggis”. And on a hot summer’s day, let yourself be carried along by the river’s gentle current. In the warmer months, this much-loved tradition is hard to resist. After all, what could be better than cooling off with a swim in the Rhine and admiring the historical backdrop of the city as you float by? People here know how to enjoy life! So do as the people of Basel do and discover for yourself why it’s so fun.
They have some great local words for “shopping” in Basel: “lädelen” or “schneuggen”. The shops themselves also offer plenty of variety. And they are all close together, so the best way to explore them is on foot. Bargain hunters and fashionistas will feel right at home in the shopping streets of the city centre, plus there are plenty of boutiques with new labels and innovative concept stores to browse in the neighbouring streets. At the Marktplatz and the district markets, it’s best to get up early to get your pick of the diverse regional products on display here. On Saturdays, you will see people coming back from the flea market on Petersplatz with the treasures they bought.