Your Basel Basics – Get to Know the City
Say you’ve only got a day or two to kill in Basel – you need yourself a guide that cuts the crap and gets right to the point. Well, the good news is you’ve found it – here’s all you need to know for getting your bearings in Basel for a quick stay:
Where to Sleep
The good news…depending on how you look at it…is that the vast majority of hotels in Basel are found in and around the same area on both banks of the Rhine. But if you decide to stay a bit further out, you’ll be able to make use of the world-famous public transport system that’s mind-blowingly reliable and cheap too. Around the Central Bahnhof you’ll find plenty of affordable options, while on the opposite side of the river it’s a more corporate and pricey affair. If looking to book on the business side of the river, do so plenty of time in advcance as they become notoriously busy at many times of the year. And another tip – almost every hotel will provide a bus and tram pass to use during your stay!
Where to Eat
The fact that Basel lies within spitting distance or France and Germany should tell you all you need to know about the range of cultures and influences on offer food-wise. The city boasts an astonishing number of restaurants and to quote the old cliché of ‘all tastes catered for’ is actually an understatement. However, if you’re on the lookout for something upmarket and romantic , the left bank presents some incredible hot-spots like Stadthaus Café and Cheval Blanc. On the other side of the Rhine, the Fischerstube and Krafft Basel come highly recommended.
Where to Wander
The best way to see the best Basel has to offer is to take a slow and steady stroll down the left bank of the river. It really doesn’t take much effort to take in the likes of the Botanical Gardens, the Rathaus, St. Peter’s Church, the Marktplatz, what remains of the city walls and so much more besides. There are plenty of organised tours, but to be honest you don’t really need one. Museums are world class and diverse to say the least, so you’re in luck if you’re into natural history, gymnastics, toys, paper, cartoons, antiques or so many others. The Cathedral tower offers one of the best views in the whole of the region, while the Zoo is also worth a couple of hours of your time if you have it to spare.
Where to Spend
And finally, Basel isn’t the most expensive place on Earth but you can certainly spend every penny you own on the fine shopping if you feel the urge to do so. For retail therapy, head to the Marktplatz for the more traditional and boutique stores that don’t come with the usual chain-branding. It’s also extremely rewarding to keep an eye on any markets happening at Petersplatz, but there are plenty of larger shopping mall scattered around if big names fit the bill.
Photo sources: commons.wikimedia.org – stephenrees.wordpress.com