Get acquainted with Switzerland’s culture capital

Situated on the Rhine River in north-west Switzerland, Basel borders France and Germany and is popular with tourists for many reasons. Not only does Basel impress with a gorgeous, medieval old town that is dominated by the 16th-century, red-sandstone town hall, but also offers world-class museums and other cultural institutions, shopping opportunities, restaurants and more.


With around 170,000 inhabitants, Basel is Switzerland’s third-largest city after Zurich and Lucerne. As more and more people decide to take holidays closer to home, the city has seen a surge of tourism in recent years. And for good reason: Basel has a lot to offer. With a Mediterranean climate and as many as 300 days of sunshine a year, people of Basel tend to enjoy the outdoors and know how to properly live with a ‘joie de vivre’. Let’s take a look at some other top reasons why you should plan a trip to Basel soon.

View from inside the Museum Tinguely. Photo: © Basel Tourism

Cultural highlights

Did you know that in 1967, Basel’s inhabitants voted to acquire two paintings by Picasso for the city’s Museum of Fine Arts? The artist was so moved that he ended up giving three paintings and a study to Basel. And this exceptional love for art has been preserved everywhere in the city.

Generally known as the culture capital of Switzerland, it seems no wonder that you can find top-class theatres, music venues and art wherever you go in Basel. Whether you decide to stroll through the beautiful old town or want to visit one of the city’s over 40 diverse museums, there’s culture to be explored on every corner. Fans of urban art will also find their fair share on a multitude of buildings and walls throughout the city.

Photo © Basel Tourism

History and cityscape

A city full of contrasts, Basel impresses with buildings from the 15th century, as well as with contemporary architectural creations from world-renowned architects. There are few other cityscapes where this diversity has been so harmoniously implemented. Whether you want to stroll through the old town or take a look at some modern architecture, Basel has something for everyone on offer.

Photo © Basel Tourism, Andreas Zimmermann Fotografie

Shopping opportunities

Basel also has a lot to offer for shopping enthusiasts. Not only does the city boast shops of many top brands as well as modern shopping malls, but also offers somewhat different shopping experiences, like its fabulous flea markets on the Rhine. Here, real treasures can always be found if you’re willing to have a good old rummage! Or head to the city market on Markplatz for some culinary delights and more.

Want to find out more about where to go and what to see in Basel? Then, be sure to read the following special theme on the city’s highlights of 2019:

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