Basel (Boz-ul) is the third largest city in Switzerland and has a lot to offer. It is a cultural center and is well known for its museums, theater and music. Basel is a big player is the art world. In fact, Art Basel began here in 1970 and has since expanded to Miami and Hong Kong. There are random sculptures throughout the city and don’t miss the Tinquely-Brunnen Mechanical Water Fountain. The city is also known for its high-end shopping and artistic shop signs so don’t forget to look up!
I was in Basel specifically for the Christmas Markets. Basel has the largest Christmas Market in Switzerland. Not surprising, it borders Germany’s Black Forest and Alsace France, both areas known for their Christmas Markets. Basel is also the starting/ending point for the Rhine River Christmas Market Cruise. There are two markets not to miss: the Barfusserplatz and the Munsterplatz. Munsterplatz is in the old town center and was my favorite with the forest theme and twinkle lights. The homes in the surrounding area also decorate and the main shopping street is lined with pine trees. Basel is also the location of the Johann Wanner Christmas House store. It’s the perfect place to begin the Christmas season!
Basel is full of winding streets with half-timbered houses. And shutters, the absolute best part of Switzerland is all the shutters! Be sure to walk into the courtyard of the Rathaus to see all the frescoes. Climb the 250 stairs of the Munster Tower for panoramic views. Then catch your breath and relax on the Pfalz (viewing platform) and take a few more photos. Walk the old city wall and check out Spalentor, St Johanns-Tor and St Alban-Tor Gates. For a unique experience, take a cable ferry across the Rhine (the boat is attached to a cable and carried across the river by the current). And, as always in Switzerland, Eat Chocolate!
Switzerland is always an easy destination. It is safe, transportation is efficient and language is never a barrier. Transportation for travelers in Basel is free if you stay in the city; obtain a Mobility Card from your hotel. Remember to bring a water bottle to fill at the public fountains throughout the city. Food is always expensive in Switzerland, expect it and accept it. I ate at the Christmas Markets and the cost was reasonable. My time in Basel was short and I would jump to go back to explore more of this corner of the World.
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