Basel may not be the top of most people’s to do list on a visit to Switzerland, but it is a city uniquely positioned on the border of three European countries, which is just one of many attractions you may want to consider if you’re planning a visit. Sitting pretty by the borders of Switzerland, France and Germany there is an intriguing melting pot of language and culture to be found. To help inspire you I’ve compiled a list of my personal highlights:
Marketplatz and City Hall
Wile away the afternoon in the vicinity of the historic Marketplatz, a charming square found within the heart of the city; it is often filled with a variety of appealing food vendors and backs onto the intriguing façade of the Rathaus (city hall), the exterior of which offers a free exhibition of architectural delights. Guided tours are available, but as a public building anyone is welcome to wander through the courtyard and admire the grand architecture.
Cafe Culture and Chocolatiers
It may back be founded on the borders of Europe, but Basel is known to be a city in Switzerland, which means it also houses the country’s most famous export, real Swiss chocolate. There are a number of decadent chocolatiers to be found around the Marketplatz area of the city, with a number of charming cafes also selling molten version of the stuff…heaven.
Mittlere Brucke (Middle Bridge) and Basel Munster
Take to the waterside and crossover the Mittlere Brucke (Middle Bridge) and gain far-stretching views of the River Rhine. There are also great panoramic views of the city on offer from the nearby cathedral of Basel Munster. Sadly, my time in the city was limited and it was tough to prioritise my itinerary, but it comes highly recommended by many.
Spalentor (Gate of Spalen)
The Spalentor (Gate of Spalen) is the grandest and most Instagram-worthy of the city’s three historic gates that date back to 1400 and used to see essential supplies pass through from the Alsace region of France. The surround architecture is immediately evocative of its French links and offers a lovely detour out of Basel’s bustling centre.
Dreilaendereck (Border Triangle)
If you’re intrigued by the geography of the region then you won’t want to miss a visit to this intriguing monument erected in location to the point of the Rhine where the three countries of France, Germany and Switzerland meet. It is worth noting that is a bit out of the way to reach and is located on the industrial harbourside, where cargo and barges are the passing trade. You may want to reward your efforts with a quick coffee stop in the neighbouring bar, which will help in preparation for the journey home.
Have you ever visited Basel? Share your personal highlights. I would love to return one day and allocate more time to explore the surrounding regions!