(This article has affiliate links to products which we may make commission from at no extra cost to you.)
Planning a short trip to Basel in Switzerland? Here’s a useful Basel itinerary to help you make the most out of your trip.
Basel is the third largest city in Switzerland. Rich in history and culture, this city is also known for the number of museums on Swiss land. There is much more that you would love to explore in the town. Basel is a host to the annual 3 day Fasnacht festival which is the biggest carnival in Switzerland. The carnival is held between the month of February and March. If you are in Basel for Christmas, you will be delighted to see the illumination of of streets and numerous decorated Christmas trees.
The beautiful fountains and historic architectures in the Old Town (Altstadt) are worthy of all the admiration. Set yourself sailing on the Rhine river and soak in the mesmerizing views of the city from a different perspective. Basel welcomes almost 1.2 million visitors every year from around the world. You will absolutely fall in love with Basel in no time. Thinking of visiting? Here’s how to make the most of your 2 days in Basel.
Basel Itinerary : Top Things To Do In Basel
DAY 1 : Old Town Basel, Basel Minster, Kunstmuseum, Toy Worlds Museum, Spalentor
Take A Historical Walk Through The Old Town Basel
Though Basel has effectively preserved its history for so many years through gates and walls against wars and earthquakes there is still a place where the roots of the city resides. The culture or the vibe of the city would be more off-beat but you would love the long-walled houses, small windows and cobbled streets. The narrow lanes and curvy roads would add fun to your adventure. What makes your experience of wandering through the old town worth it is the fact that it is considered to be one of the most charming and best preserved old towns in Europe.
To get more insights on the intriguing history, culture and the architectural gems, there is a fun walking tour that takes you through the town hall, Cathedral hill, Tinguely fountain, historic figures and more in the well preserved old town. Make sure to prebook your Basel old town walking tour here before you go.
For a delicious and filling breakfast, stop at 1777 Kaffee located in Old town Basel. This is probably the best place to have any meal during your stay in Basel.
Visit The Basel Minster
The Minster Cathedral was once a Catholic church but now it is a reformed protestant church. It is one of the most famous landmarks in Basel. With pride it stands tall as the ancient religious building in the city of Basel. Just like Spalentor, the cathedral also has a history of being made, destroyed and then re-made in a new manner altogether. The church was originally made between 1019 and 1500 in Romanesque and Gothic styles. But similar to the monument of the city, an earthquake destroyed the church too. It was later reconstructed and has been preserved since then.
As you witness the thin tall towers on the top, you will identify the cathedral, but on the inside, the architecture and design of the church would take you back to the period when it was first made. The huge walls and arched roofs welcome you into the gallery and as the sun rays shower on the cathedral it gives it a gentle golden glow.
Opening Hours : Monday – Friday – 10 AM to 5 PM | Saturday – 10 AM to 4 PM | Sunday – 11:30 AM to 5 PM
Marvel On Finest Artworks At The Fine Arts Museum (Kunstmuseum Basel)
There are numerous museums in Basel and in two days only a handful can be visited but the Kunstmuseum should be one of them. This museum is considered of a huge significance to Switzerland and is also a heritage site for national significance. The Kunstmuseum in Basel has many accolades in its pocket and it stands true to all of them with its collection.
If you are looking for inspiration or maybe you simply admire art and creativity to its fullest, you must visit the museum. Every room, every wall and every gallery take you to a different style of painting. The fine strokes of colors and lines bounding them can lead you to deep contemplating thoughts of the meaning of what is in front of you.
Opening Hours : Saturday, Sunday & Tuesday – 10 AM to 6 PM | Wednesday & Friday – 10 AM to 8 PM | Thursday – 11 AM to 6 PM | The Kunstmuseum remains closed on Mondays.
Entrance Fees : You can check the current entrance fee here.
Take a lunch stop at the excellent Mediterranean restaurant, Rubino. It is located at a 2 minutes walking distance from the Kunstmuseum.
Get Playful In The Toy Worlds Museum
If you think, taking children into a Hamleys store, a Disney store or a Lego store is enough to get them excited, then you must take them to Toy Worlds Museum. They will adore it. It is a huge building where four floors have a good amount of miniature toys, collection of dolls and teddy bears. Don’t be surprised if it brings your childhood memories back. The collection of toys dates back centuries and is from different cultures around the world. The little dollhouses and miniature furniture would make you fascinate as well as chuckle at the same time. Visiting Toy Worlds Museum is one of the amazing family friendly things to do in your Basel itinerary.
Opening Hours : Tuesday – Sunday – 10 AM to 6 PM | The Toy Worlds Museum remains closed on Mondays.
Entrance Fees : You can check the current entrance fee for Toy Worlds Museum here.
See The Gate of Spalen or Spalentor
Gate of Spalen is a historical landmarks in the city of Basel. The impressive ancient walls of the city gates make it duly known to be one of the most beautiful city gates in Switzerland. It was first made in the 13th century and is one of the three main gates that still stands strong in the city. There is a historical significance to the building of the gate and how the city of Basel protected itself through the years. It has been a legend that lasts through centuries.
On your first day of visiting Basel, the gate should be one of the first things you see. Through the centuries, the wall that protects the city has been constructed and deconstructed again and again. The people of Basel have loved and protected the city for generations and witnessing it would make you fall in love with it.
Opening Hours : Open 24 hours daily.
Dinner : Located at a walking distance of hardly 5 minutes, you will see Zum Tell that serves authentic Swiss cuisine. This local eatery serves delicious fondue, cordon bleu and many more Swiss delights.
DAY 2 : Fondation Beyeler, Basel Zoo, Museum Tinguely, Sunset Over Rhine River
Visit The Fondation Beyeler
Fondation Beyeler is an art museum that has creations of some of the most famous artists from Europe like Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet and many others. Some sculptures and handicrafts from Africa and Alaska have also found their home in this museum. Fondation Beyeler has a collection of 140 works, out of which 23 creations are from Picasso himself.
If you are not a fan of art or the collection doesn’t give you enough reasons to visit the museum, then the architecture of the Fondation Beyeler is something unique that you must look forward to. The glazed front wall opens up to the corn fields and Tullinger Hills which makes for a unique landscape. If you are lucky, you might visit the foundation at the time of any event that takes place around the forests that are the outside foundation. This would certainly add a cherry on the cake to your experience. You can stay updated with their events calendar here.
Closely located is Beyeler Restaurant im Park, which would be perfect for a quick breakfast to kickstart your day.
Opening Hours : Monday – Saturday – 10 AM to 6 PM | Fondation Beyeler remains closed on Sundays.
Entrance Fees : Check the current ticket prices here.
Explore Wildlife At Basel Zoo
To take you out of the serious mood to a little bit of fun and adventurous mood, the next stop on your Basel itinerary is Basel Zoo, also known as the zoological garden. It is the oldest and largest zoo in Switzerland when it comes to the number of species that reside and are preserved here. The main exhibits of the zoo include Birdhouse, Etosha, Gamgoas, Australis, Aquarium, Africa Exhibit, Monkey House and Sauter Garden. There are many breeding programmes as well that are run at the zoo.
As children love this place the most, many events are organized by the zoo team exclusively for children. These events are to make them aware of the creatures on earth and also to make sure that they have fun. You can organize a birthday party at the zoo for your children. The two restaurants and the cafeteria take care of your hunger while you enjoy the company of the animals at the zoo.
Opening Hours : 8 AM to 6:30 PM daily.
Entrance Fees : Check out the current ticket prices for Basel Zoo here.
Visit The Museum Tinguely
Museum Tinguely is dedicated to the Swiss painter and sculptor Jean Tinguely and is his permanent exhibit. You are going to love this place. There are a lot of Tinguely’s kinetic models that you are going to see in the museum. A bundle of illustrations, photographs and other documents are a part of the museum as well. These are a part of Tinguely’s life. Later, his wife, Niki de Saint Phalle donated 55 sculptures to the museum. You will find the work of other artists as well including Bernhard Luginbühl, Yves Klein, Niki de Saint Phalle and many others. As the museum is located near the Rhine River, it would be the perfect place to end the evening at Basel.
Opening Hours : Tuesday – Sunday : 11 AM to 6 PM
Entrance Fees : Check the current entrance fees for Museum Tinguely here.
Watch The Sunset At The Rhine River
If you love chasing sunsets then you are going to love watching sunset at the Rhine River. Basel is located near the river and when the lavender skies get mixed with the golden hour, it makes for a blissful evening. This makes for a perfect end of your trip to Basel at the end of your two-day vacation.
General Information : Basel Itinerary
Where To Stay In Basel?
If you have only 48 hours in Basel, you would be wanting to stay in a centrally located accommodation. We recommend the Altstadt Grossbasel neighborhood, which is home to the old town Basel. With a very cultural and historical vibe, this area is home to many attractions, stores, restaurants and cafes. This also makes it very convenient because you avoid losing time searching for transportation.
Below you will find our top finds for perfect accommodations for your stay in Basel.
Budget (<CHF 150) : When it comes to budget travel, cheap hotel options in Basel fill up pretty quickly. A very budget friendly accommodation located near the Basel SBB railway station is Community Hostel & Lounge by Hyve. They have double bedrooms, family rooms and dormitory rooms that are well equipped with all the modern amenities. The price range of bed in the dormitory room starts from CHF 45, which is a steal deal in Basel. Click here to book your stay in the Community Hostel & Lounge by Hyve or to check its availability.
Boutique Hotel (CHF 150 +) : For those looking for a unique and stylish boutique hotel in Basel, this one’s for you. Staying in Hotel D is an experience in itself. The rooms are wonderfully decorated, have cozy vibes and are extremely comforting. Waking up to the panoramic views over the Old Town Basel and the Rhine River from your room will give an amazing start to your day. Check rates & availability at Hotel D now.
Luxury (CHF 600+) : Grand Hotel LES TROIS ROIS is the most iconic hotel in Basel, if you are looking for a luxurious stay. You simply won’t want to miss it. It is located on the banks of the Rhine river. You can explore the harbor and waterfront views literally from the doorstep. The rooms are modern, vibrant and beautifully decorated. The hotel is also regarded as one of Europe’s oldest city hotels that has hosted personalities like Napoleon, Picasso, Elizabeth II and more. Check rates & availability of Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois now.
How To Get Around Basel?
Basel is a very walkable city. All attractions are very closely located to each other. The city has a top notch public transportation system for those looking for commutation within the city or nearby villages. The extensive network of trams are the best way to commute as they are very accessible and timely. Public buses are also there for easy transportation around the city.
One of the best things about traveling to Basel is that you get a BaselCard when you book a hotel for your stay. This card allows you to avail discounts on the entrance fee of all the attractions in the city plus unlimited usage of public transportation. As a tourist in Switzerland we are sure you have your Swiss Travel Pass which offers unlimited access by public transport (train, bus, boat, trams), free entrances to museums and discounted tours throughout the country. But if you do not have it, the BaselCard will do the part in the city for you.
Alternatively, taxis and ridesharing cabs by Lyft and Uber are also available in Basel.
Rich in history, culture and stunning locations, Basel will impress you through its vibrance and liveliness. We are sure you will enjoy your 2 days in Basel as much as we enjoyed our time in this wonderful city. This Basel itinerary will certainly help you with planning your trip and help you to make most of your time.