Dreiländereck or a city that is situated on the corner where three countries meet. Basel, a Swiss city that borders Germany and France and has suburbs there – sounds thrilling, doesn’t it. Though relatively modest in terms of size and population (166 000 inhabitants), Basel is a touristic and industrial hub and is the third biggest city of Switzerland. Situated in the northwest of Switzerland on the splendid Rhine river, with its rich and motley cultural heritage Basel has many stories to tell.
Easy to reach from France or Germany or by plane
Being the border of three big and economically booming countries, Basel is a well-connected city making it ideal for a starting-point of your trip along the Rhine. The Basel airport EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg that services the city is situated completely on French ground. Another way to reach Basel is by train. Actually the city boast three railway stations – a German, a French and of course a Swiss one (though the French and the Swiss one share the same venue).
Railway-connections to Basel
And since December 2011 there is a high speed ICE railway line that allows the distance Paris – Basel to be taken within three hours. There is a highway A3 that connects Basel with outer zones. Another means of transportation, often preferred by tourists, as Rhine is a scenic river, are boats, ships and ferries. There are many passenger ships and mini-cruisers that either begin their tours in Basel or have it as a touristic stop.
Three cultures combined
Apart from the picturesque architecture that bears the nuances from the three cultures that surround it – French, German and of course Swiss, Basel has other infrastructural specifics that contribute to its uniqueness. The city owns five bridges that date all from different times and have their uniqueness. These are respectively the Schwarzwaldbrücke, the Wettsteinbrücke, the Mittlere Brücke, the Johanniterbrücke and the Dreirosenbrücke.
Crossing the Rhine
Another particularly interesting experience for tourists is crossing the Rhine river and reaching the two parts of the city by ferries. There are four operating ferries in Basel that cross the 20-30 meter wide river and offer a unique experience of the spirit of the city. There is a well-developed bus and tram network in the city and the green and yellow trams in particular have become a trademark of the place. Another plus is that if you are spending some time in Basel, you can use the local transport to conveniently visit French and German towns and villages in the vicinity. Another tip – hotel guests of Basel can make great use of the mobility ticket, which allows them to use the public transport for the entire duration of their stay.
Do not miss Basel’s old-town
The city, of course, could also be explored by foot. The city governance has made sure that the tourists would have accessible information for the city’s places of interest so there are boards and maps with touristic information on many important places including the market place, the Swiss railway station, etc. There are also four tours of the Old Town that provide plenty of information and entertainment to the curious tourists. There is also the city Basel Card whose purchase provides free access to many things, such as a ferry ride, a treasure hunt, and discounts to multiple museums and attractions in the city, including restaurants and cinemas.
Other attractions in Basel
Apart from the unique atmosphere of the city where three nations meet and the beautiful strolls along the Rhine river or its crossing, there are a lot of things worth visiting in Basel. To begin with, there are the botanical gardens of the prominent University of Basel. There one can find heaven amid the city. Another possibility is a walk and a nice dinner or brunch in the Old Town – a picturesque and well preserved old district that bears the spirit of the ages and offers authenticity to the lovers of times passed. There are also spa centers in Basel for those willing to relax. There is a modern shopping district and many museums and monasteries. To simply dive into the spirit of the city all one has to do it is start walking around and exploring, or even better – take a city tour.
Whether as a part of a beautiful cruise down the Rhine river or just a short city break, make sure you visit Basel and make the best of your stay there.