At the beginning of March 2020 we took our last trip for awhile (thanks COVID-19!) and visited the charming city of Basel, Switzerland.
It was a quick trip as we flew in the afternoon of the first day, spent the next entire day here and then left the morning of the third day.
So why did we visit this city and what is there to do there? Can it all be seen in one day?
Well, the tickets were cheaper than Zurich and the flight was direct from Sicily! However, this cute little town is accessible from Zurich and can make a perfect day trip from there too!
Here is how we spent our time in Basel!
Take a trip to Marktplatz
This is Basel’s town square where you will find the bustling city center and Town Hall building. The building is painted a bright and distinctive rust red, so it’s easy to see amongst the busy city.
During the day there are various produce stands out in the square ready to sell local fresh fruits and vegetables.
This is also where you will find many summer concerts or seasonal festivals. While we were here, they were supposed to be celebrating their annual carnival, fasnacht.
This is when they celebrate the end of winter and beginning of warmer weather, or spring. However, it was canceled due to the coronavirus.
But that did not stop the stores from decorating their shop windows with the traditional clown masks and sprinkling confetti everywhere.
Some locals even gathered to walk through town and sang traditional songs, keeping the carnival spirit alive. Although the songs were somber and their clown masks were accompanied with surgical masks.
It was quite a different carnival experience and I hope if you visit at the beginning of March for their carnival that you are able to fully enjoy the festivities!
Go inside Town Hall
You can find Town Hall, located inside the Marktplatz. The address is Marktpl. 9, 4001 Basel, Switzerland.
The building is over 500 years old and now houses many of the meetings of the government and parliament.
You can enter M-F 8a-12p & 1:30p-5p. It is closed on the weekends but it is free to enter during the open hours.
There isn’t a whole lot to see inside but I admire Gothic architecture and the details inside these walls are breathtaking!
I’m not going to lie, one of the main reasons I wanted to go to Switzerland in the first place was to eat fondue!
We searched for one of the best places to eat fondue in Basel and we found this place. Now, I’m not going to recommend it because I don’t know if we just have an unrefined pallet or what but we did not enjoy it!
Many people eat Swiss fondue and throroughly enjoy it. That was not the case for us.
However, I do want to recommend – wherever you go, if there are two of you, be sure and order a 1 size portion! If there are two of you, you do not need a portion for 2 people. It will be less money if you order a 1 size portion and omg no one needs that much cheese! We ended up wasting a lot – of cheese and money, trust me on that one!
Take in the views at Pflaz
This view point does not require any stairs nor is it very high up, and the building you go through to get to the views is quite fascinating!
Pictured below is the view you see from the view point. The Rhine river as well as a few buildings across from the river, mainly Old Town. However, it was a breeze to get here and on a clear day maybe there is a lot more to see!
This is the building you go though to reach the viewpoint. Much like the rest of the Basel, every corner in this building looked like something out of a fairy tale.
Inside this building you will find many intricate details which pay homage to the members of prominent Basel families during the 16th-19th centuries.
Here is an example of one of the walls in the building. Highly detailed scrolls, plaques, and even tombstones remain here for the families of Basel.
The Pfalz observation deck is open 24 hours and is extremely accessible.
Wonder at Basler Munster
Located at Münsterpl. 9, 4051 Basel, Switzerland this church was built between 1019 and 1500.
Upon leaving the viewpoint Pflaz, you will run right into the Basler Munster. They are within very close proximity to each other!
Originally a Catholic church, it is now used as a Protestant place of worship.
We did not go inside since the church was not open to the public at this time. However, the view from the outside was grand and beautiful.
Have lunch at Markthalle
Ok wow! This place is seriously incredible! Talk about variety, the Markthalle has it all! Located at Steinentorberg 20, 4051 Basel, Switzerland you can satisfy all of your cravings in one spot!
From Greek to Indian to Thai to African there were so many different foods to choose from! This picnic/cafeteria style establishment is the perfect lunch hangout during your trip to Basel!
We chose Thai spring rolls, a Greek gyro and an African dish I can’t remember the name of. They were all so delicious and if we could eat any more we would have!
There is even a wine bar and a beer hall located inside!
The hours are a little funky so I’m going to lay them out here for you. If it is a holiday, plan on it being closed but seriously, find the time to check this place out!
Check out Spalentor
Also known as the Gate of Spalen, this entry way is one of the three remaining from the city’s original walls.
Located at Spalenvorstadt, 4056 Basel, Switzerland, it’s open 24 hours and mainly used as a walkway to take you from one side of the city to the other.
It’s fascinating to look at and imagine them closing these gates at one time in history.
Cross over Mittlere Brucke
There are many bridges that cross over the Rhine river that take you from the city center of Basel into Old Town.
However, this bridge was opened in 1226 and is now one of the oldest Rhine crossings.
Why not go for a walk and explore another side of Basel?
I have never been to a town as quaint and charming as Basel, Switzerland. Literally every building looked like it was designed from a fairy tale book!
I encourage you to veer off from booking the popular cities like Zurich or Zermatt and try to explore smaller, more off the beaten path type of cities.
Or if you do prefer more popular cities, plan a day trip to a smaller town and spend an afternoon exploring a different side to the country.
What do you think? Will you plan a trip to Basel, Switzerland?
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