Basel is a great city for any traveler. Indulge in their diverse cuisine, float down the Rhine River or spend time walking around its various festivals. You’ll also want to spend some time here soaking in Basel’s fascinating history.
- Hostel Prices: Expect to pay an average of $39 a night for a dorm room.
- Budget Hotel Prices: You can spend anywhere from $75-100 USD a night for a budget hotel room.
- Average Cost of Food: Consider street food for a cheap alternative to restaurant dining for $4-6 USD. If you’re dining at a restaurant, prepare to pay between $17-33 for meal without drinks.
- Transportation Costs: Basel is small enough to get everywhere just by walking around.
Top Things to Do
- Marktplatz – Basel’s farmer’s market happens every Saturday. It’s worth getting up a little early and buying their local fresh produce, flowers and specialty items. This is a great place to get fresh grocery items to save you money on meals.
- Visit the Kunstmusuem Basel - As one of Basel’s most popular museums, it houses ninetieth and twentieth century artwork, including an entire room of Picasso paintings.
- Spend Time on Rhine River. Bask in the sun or as the locals do, swim in the river! Walk over one of several bridges or better yet – cross the river by boat.
- Baslar Fasnacht - Do not miss this festival. It’s the equivalent of Carnival and lasts for three days and nights, starting on the Monday after Ash Wednesday. There is endless food, music and parades. Just don’t use any flash photography. The locals are pretty particular about that and will kick you out if you do.
- Visit Münster Cathedral - Basel’s Münster (cathedral) was built built between 1019-1500 in Romanesque and Gothic style, and the medieval buildings lining the square. The Münster is open to the public. Its highlight is the Galluspforte (Gallus portal) on the western facade, considered the most important Romanesque sculptural work in Switzerland. For a few CHF, you can climb St. Martin’s tower (completed 1500), at 62 meters the shorter of the two towers – the other tower is St. George’s, 65 meters, completed in 1492, after the 1356 earthquake destroyed an earlier version.
- Basel Zoo – This is the oldest and largest (by number of animals) zoo in Switzerland, with easy access by walking or tram from the central SBB station. For a zoo located in the center of a city it is big with great variety.
- Basel Herbstmesse (autumn fair) - This fair occurs in October and there are rides, booths, shooting alleys and lots of food in several locations all over the city, including Messeplatz (biggest site with most attractions, including rollercoaster and the like), Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz (where you get nice views from the ferris wheel).
- Walk everywhere – Basel is too small to justify taking a taxi. Most people walk to get where they need to go and you should too.
- Skip the restaurants – Instead eat the street food. Street food is the cheapest way to go and will save you the most money. Expect to spend $3-5 for cheap snacks and about $11 USD for something more filling.