Basel Switzerland is a culturally rich city that stands at the crossroads of three countries. After serving as a Roman fort, the city was later ruled by prince-bishops for nearly 1,000 years. In 1501, Basel joined the Swiss Confederation, and soon thereafter, it became a Protestant region. Many Protestants who were being persecuted in other countries, such as Holland and Italy, fled to Basel, lending vibrancy to the city's climb towards its eighteenth-century golden age. Some of the high-quality museums in Basel offer insight into the city's storied past, while others are known for their priceless art collections. Basel travel can easily satisfy history and art buffs, and it's also something that those with a penchant for hiking are bound to enjoy.
Basel Switzerland straddles the Rhine River in the northwest part of the country. Bordering it to the north are Germany and France, which has a lot to do with the fact that this third-largest city in Switzerland is an important railroad junction. The major rail lines that connect Paris to Zurich all stop in Basel, and for those who are driving, a series of major highways meet here. Because of the fact that Basel Switzerland is easy to access, travelers who are exploring the area or simply passing through are encouraged to stop for at least a day or two. The museums and the shopping can satisfy a couple of days alone, and there are other attractions in Basel that deserve some time as well. They include the Zoologischer Garten Zoo, which is widely considered to be one of the best zoos in the world. Nearly 2 million people visit this major Switzerland attraction every year to admire the more than 4,500 animals.
Visiting the zoo is one of the top things to do in Basel, as is visiting the city's museums. There are more than two dozen museums in Basel that deserve a look. Among the most renowned are the Kunstmuseum (Museum of Fine Arts) and the Fondation Beyeler. Both of these museums offer what amount to some of the best art collections in all of Europe. For fans of history, the Historiches Museum, or Basel Historical Museum, is not to be missed. Three of the four buildings that comprise this museum can be found in Basel proper, while the fourth is located in the nearby town of Munchenstein. These are just some of the museums that visitors can consider adding to their Basel travel itineraries. Other attractions in Basel that help to warrant a visit to the city include the Munster Cathedral and the Rathaus (town hall).
When passing through Basel on a river cruise, in a car, or by way of train, stopping to check out the city's main cathedral and its town hall is recommended. It is hard to miss the Munster Cathedral, as it dominates the skyline in Basel's Old Town. Originally consecrated in 1019, the cathedral fell victim to an earthquake in 1356. Lovingly restored in the Romanesque and Gothic styles, this landmark is a joy to admire, especially from the banks of the Rhine or from the terrace at the nearby palace. Excellent views back out over the city can be enjoyed from the cathedral's towers. As for the Rathaus, it too is one of the main attractions in Basel. This town hall overlooks the market square. Dating back to the early 1500s, the Rathaus is a beautiful, red sandstone structure that boasts wonderful frescoes and ornate accents.
Basel travel is delightful, and when visitors aren't exploring the city itself, they can head off to Augusta Raurica, which is an old Roman settlement. This excavated Roman site is only about seven miles from downtown Basel, and it includes some fascinating ruins and an excellent museum. Day trips to Augusta Raurica aren't the only kinds of side trips that can be enjoyed on a vacation to Basel. The city is a major embarkation point for river cruises on the Rhine, and there are many area hiking trails that highlight the area's main natural attractions. These natural attractions include Mt Wasserfallen, which tops out at 3,024 feet. The mountains in and around Basel Switzerland aren't as lofty or visually stunning as the Swiss Alps, but they are scenic nonetheless.
Regardless of how visitors spend their days in German-speaking Basel, exciting nightlife awaits them once the sun goes down. Basel travel is appealing for many reasons, and there are some good Basel hotels to choose from. It is worth noting that rooms go very fast when the city's main events are in full swing. These top annual events include the Fasnacht (Carnival) celebrations and the summer Basel Art Fair.