Basel Weekend Breaks

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Weekend Breaks to Basel

Planning a short break to Basel? Check out Travel Library's recommended Top 10 Things To Do in Basel. It's a perfect companion for weekend city breaks to Basel. Once you've been you can add your own tips and suggestions to help other visitors.


This is the oldest Roman settlement on the Rhine which can be reached by car from Basel in 10 minutes. From mid April to mid October you can also get there by a leisurely boat trip up the river. On the settlement are still portions of the ancient town's walls, gates and streets. It also has a theatre where you can imagine all those gladiator spectacles taking place.

A few touch ups were recently made to the settlement to restore some of the bits that were falling apart but essentially all the feelings of that bygone era remain intact. There's a Roman Museum on the site shows life as it was in that era.


From this 12th century cathedral with its gothic spire, you can get stunning views of the Rhine River and its surrounds. When Basil's devastating earthquake destroyed most of the church in 1356, the subsequent restoration took almost a century.

The Munsterplatz where the cathedral is located is considered as having one of most pleasing architectural ensembles in Europe and the Munster, the crown jewel of Basel's medieval buildings, is one of the buildings that completes this pleasant picture.

Old Town

When you are standing in the middle of the busy marktplatz, it is easy to envisage what life must have been like hundreds of years ago as the buildings are still the same. Basil, which is located on a bend on the Rhine, through its Gothic spires and cobbled streets that have remained unchanged since the 1600s, retains an old feel. There are lots of pedestrian zones and museums too in the area as well.

Doll House Museum

The several floors filled with toys, many of them from the 18 and 19th centuries, will leave you wondering why television, which is a sedately form of play or entertainment, was ever invented. There are 2 000 teddy bears on display as well as miniature furnishings.

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Town Hall

You can't miss this is the striking red Gothic building that dominates the busy marktplatz. The color extends to the inside as well with lots of colourful frescoes painted inside and in the courtyard. It was built to honour the city's entry into the Swiss confederation in 1501.

Art Basil

This is the annual art exhibition held every summer that draws over 50 000 visitors. It is said to be the most important contemporary arts fair in the world and just about every artist and seller worth their salt will show their works here. Off course, the dealers, collectors and curators also make their appearance.

In the art world, the Basil exhibition is as important as what the Cannes Film Festival in France is to the film industry. Art Basil is essentially a showcase of 20th and 21st century art and is held at the Messeplatz's Convention Centre.

Basil has been spoken of as the cultural centre of Switzerland and art appreciation runs so deep that in 1967, the Basil citizenry voted to spend several million francs of public money on a pair of Picassos. The city, with more than 30 museums as a whole, has more fine arts museums per square km than any other in the world.

Museum of Pharmaceutical History

On first thoughts, the subject of medicinal drugs may not seem to have much appeal but once you are at the museum, chances are the you will be won over by the way the information and exhibits are put together. Some of our drugs are derived from insects and snakes and these are among the exhibits on show.

Basel is the centre of the country's pharmaceutical industry and home to well known pharmaceutical giants like Roche and Ciba Geigy which explains the town's interest in lotions and potions and justify the reason for a museum of this nature. It's hard to imagine that before modern pills and syrups, some of the old remedies on display, which look like witches' brews, were once tried and tested cures.

Middle Rhine Bridge

This is used as the catwalk for many of the centuries old festivals that the town celebrates. Built around 1225, it has served the town through thick and thin and is regarded as the most historically significant bridge in the town. Under the bridge are barges and boats going from shore to shore doing their business.

Zum Goldenen Sternen

This restaurant, which first started in 1506 and claims to be one of the oldest restaurants in Basil, if not the whole of Switzerland, and should assist those wanting to soak in the eating habits of the townsfolk. Game and fish are pretty strong in the town and Fisch Harmonie, a sampling of six different types of fish with saffron sauce might do as a good starting point.

It is decorated in the old style having stenciled ceilings and unvarnished planks.


This word simply means festival and this one, held just before Lent, has 20 000 costumed revelers hiding behind masks and filling the streets with sounds of fifes and drums. It is celebrated elsewhere in the country but not with as much as extravagance or enthusiastic as in Basil where it is said it rivals the Mardi Gras.

It has been celebrated for over 600 years.

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Museum Night - Local Festival or Holiday

Every year at the end of January Basel has the event called Museum Night. During this night, usually from 6pm to 2am all museums are open and for free. It's a really great oppurtunity to visit them all, but be careful, because the time runs very fast as there is so much to see.


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