How to Spend 1 day in Basel, Switzerland

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!

basel, switzerland Marktplatz

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.

basel, switzerland town hall

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!

basel, switzerland town hall

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!

basel, switzerland town hall

Eat Fondue

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!

basel, switzerland fondue

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!

basel, switzerland pfalz

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.

basel, switzerland pfalz

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.

basel, switzerland pfalz

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!

basel, switzerland Basler Munster

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.

basel, switzerland Basler Munster

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!

basel, switzerland Markthalle

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!

Sunday9AM–5PM
Monday8AM–7PM
Tuesday8AM–12AM
Wednesday8AM–12AM
Thursday8AM–1AM
Friday8AM–2AM
Saturday8AM–2AM
basel, switzerland Markthalle

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.

basel, switzerland spalentor

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?

basel, switzerland Mittlere Brucke

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?

basel, switzerland streets

You might also like, How to Visit Bratislava, Slovakia in One Day.

7 thoughts on “How to Spend 1 day in Basel, Switzerland

  1. Amazing adventure. For now, I will be traveling though the eyes of others as COVID-19 prevents me from doing so. Thank you.

    1. Same here dear. I’m located in Italy so I’m with you ♥️ Stay home, stay safe & virtual travel in the mean time! 😝

  2. I absolutely love the gothic architecture and beautiful old churches. You are certainly right about the cheese. Did it feel strange to be walking around with so few people? The photography is great in this post. What a blessing to visit such history. The streets themselves are amazing. Thanks for sharing. Love 💕 Joni

    1. Thanks Joni! I’m glad you agree about the cheese 😝

      1. I tried to imagine how I would feel after that much cheese and it would not be pretty. Great post. Have a great day and stay safe. Love 💕 Joni

  3. Pity about the fondue. I really like it, but I’m a real cheese fan.

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