What comes to mind when you think of Switzerland? Is it the luscious lakes, the rugged mountains or the incredible chocolate?
Well those are some of the things that spring to my mind at least.
I think of places like Zurich and Geneva.
Basel however, isn’t that a herb? No wait, thats Basil!
So yes, Basel; It is also a city in Switzerland.
Basel wasn’t somewhere I had heard or known much about, until a last minute flight search led to an impromptu birthday trip for my now husband. Thanks Easyjet, and our handy promiximity to Gatwick Airport!
It turned out to be a very special trip for us both, and I ended up with a sparkly bit of jewellery on my finger.
Where is Basel?
When flying into Basel, you will actually land in France.
Hold on what?
Yes. Although you have booked a flight to Basel and your ticket says Basel, and they’ll announce Basel at the airport gate and on board, you’ll be flying into the EuroAirport, on French side. It is also known as EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg.
Upon exiting you are faced with 2 signs. Turn left if you want to go into France or Germany, and turn right if you want to go into Switzerland.
It’s mind boggling. I’ve never been in a place quite like it.
There is some part of me that is fascinated with borders though.
Getting into the city
Buses run frequently from Euro airport to Basel city centre. Trains will take you to Mulhouse in France and the Flixbus coaches into Germany.
Where to stay
During our trip, we partnered with The Passage Hotel. Which is a relatively new design hotel. It was a true urban retreat, and a short 10 minute stroll from the main centre.
You can read more about The Passage here.
Is it really 3 countries in 1?
Well no, Basel is located in Switzerland. Its close proximity to the border means you can cross in and out of the different countries, several times per day.
Basel certainly does have a mixed cultural feel to it. Just as many border cities and towns have, it is influenced by the cultures of two other countries (as well as its own).
Think brasseries and beer mixed with Swiss heritage. It has quaint streets like in France, with patisseries and cute cafes.
A true gem of a city.
What can you see in Basel?
Basel has a whole host of actvities to immerse yourself in; you could easily spend a week or more in the city.
Whist visting, be sure to check out these places:
Ferry across the Rhine
Get on board a motorless ferry for a couple of euros. The short journey is assisted by a steel cable, and the power of the wind. Crossing from one side to the other in a few short minutes.
I always love the view from a river or lake.
Bar Rouge: the tallest bar in Switzerland
Fancy getting high whilst you drink, then check out Bar Rouge: the highest bar in Switzerland. At 105 metres high, and incedible decor inside, it’ll be hard not to be impressed. Think chandeliers and comfoty leather sofas.
I will say however, there isn’t an incredible view over the city once you are up there.
For a bit of a better view, then head up the incredibly narrow steps of Basel Munster. It is claimed to be one of Basels most famous attractions. It is open until 5pm most days (apart from Saturday, which is oddly 4pm). You will get great views over the city and see the majestic Rhine river.
When in Basel, remember to look up. The Messe building in Basel is a steel structure, which looks like it has the texture of razor blades. It is a conference centre, and also the location of where I was proposed to.
The Dreilaendereck monument
The Dreilaendereck monument is the point at which the three countries meet. You can stand in the spot and see buildings in Germany to the right, and France to the left.
It was tricky finding it initially, so here is a handy map.
From here we crossed the bridge to Germany, then into France, all within a few hours.
Whilst visiting the Dreilaendereck, you should also call into the roofdeck bar.
It is a bar built on the deck of a ship, and offers great views down the river, snassy cocktails and comfy lounge chairs. A great place to catch the sunset.
And when you’re done: check out France and Germany
We easily crossed into France, several times during our trip, but spent an entire afternoon in the idyllic little town of Mulhouse.
We also crossed further into Germany and went to Lorrach and visited Rötteln Castle.