There are many things that make Basel special. Its vibrant art scene situates it front and centre in the world of international exhibitions. Its location on the Rhine affords it a balmy temperature that has visitors flocking to its outdoor bistros and bars.
Basel is the only city in the entire world where people ride inflated orange sacks down a river past not one, but two different international borders. Basel is a top-notch choice for an unforgettable Swiss vacation. Book your flight from Manchester to Basel today.
The Rhine River splits Basel in two, with Grossbasel (large Basel) on the left bank and Kleinbasel (little Basel) on the right. Grossbasel is where the old town is situated, with sights including Barfüsserplatz, the central plaza, and the towering red sandstone spires of the Münster cathedral. Kleinbasel, despite its name, is no country cousin: it boasts a vibrant nightlife and unique sights like the Museum Tinguely, with fanciful machines that delight the imagination.
Basel’s art scene is undoubtedly what puts it on the international stage: Art Basel, founded in the city, is one of the world’s largest art fairs. The popular Kunstmuseum and the unforgettable Fondation Beyeler both offer extensive collections of twentieth-century European art, from the sculptures of Alberto Giacometti to the paintings of Salvador Dalí.
Discover the city of art and culture and book a flight from Menchester to Basel now.* You can travel from Zurich to Basel by train. Your train ticket for this connection is included.
What currency should I bring?
Switzerland uses the Swiss Franc, abbreviated CHF. You can obtain the currency prior to departure or in the airport on arrival. Most bank cards or credit cards can be used to withdraw francs, though you should check this with your bank before you leave. Since Basel is so close to the Eurozone countries of Germany and France, euros are also quite easy to come by for any trips across the borders.
What language is spoken in Basel?
Swiss German is the main language in Basel. However, English and French are both quite common in the city.
How do I get around Basel?
Basel is served by a network of bright green buses and trams that traverse the city and surrounding area – some even cross over into Germany and France. A BaselCard is a wise investment for getting around – indeed, it is often provided free of charge with a hotel booking. The card is an all-access pass to the public transit network, and it also provides discounted admission to local attractions. Bike hires in Basel are a little harder to come by than in other cities, though the main train station does offer rentals. The city is quite easy to bike and walk through, with plenty of bike-friendly and pedestrianised areas.
Attractions in Basel
Travelling to Basel means spending time amidst the art, culture and history of a uniquely European locale. Basel’s vibrant art scene and long history have produced a city with plenty to discover.
- Fondation Beyeler
- Three Countries’ Corner
The red sandstone construction of the city’s main cathedral gives it a remarkable appearance even from a distance. It boasts intricately carved scenes, including the St Vincent Panel, which dates to around 1100.
This art gallery’s extensive collection spans some of the greatest artistic minds of the twentieth century: Giacometti, Picasso, Warhol and more.
Three Countries’ Corner
Head to the end of tram line #8 and walk to the end of a pier, where a pillar denotes the northwesternmost point of Switzerland. Gaze ahead into Germany or across the river into France, then adjourn to the Sandoase for some refreshments.
The centre of historic Basel, where lively pubs ply their trade next to historic museums and where fairs and Christmas markets set up shop. Just steps away are the Tinguely Brunnen, a series of ornate fountains.
Festivals in Basel
Basel’s unique traditions are on full display several times a year. In the summer, residents inflate large orange sacks, which they use to float down the Rhine. The Fasnacht festival is Basel’s largest, taking place in March and featuring parades through the city and an all-night masked carnival. In January, the Vogel Griff festival features a procession involving a wild man, lion and griffin, representing the city’s major guilds, with the whole affair culminating in a city-wide celebration.
Basel is an ideal urban destination for those in search of a relaxed atmosphere with plenty of culture and spirit. Book your flight from Manchester to Basel today!
Our guide about Basel is full of interesting tips for your visit to the city. You can find it.
Eat and drink in Basel
The city of art is also the city of good food, the location near to Southern Germany and the French Alsace region has also contributed to Basel’s diverse cuisine. You will find quite a lot of high-end restaurants in Basel, but the authentic local food is served in the more cozy places or at home.
Basel for food lovers
There are some dishes that actually carry the name of the city. One of them is Basler Mehlsuppe, a soup made from flour, sbrinz (a hard cheese), onions and red wine. It is eaten for breakfast, especially around the rowdy days of the carnival. With France just a walk down the road away, you may fear that “tree frog” on the menu may mean what it says, but it is actually a kind of stuffed cabbage. Basel has a special and very Swiss streetfood that is basically a fondue to go, called Chäsbängel. A longish bread is drilled open and filled with molten cheese, which may result in a mighty mess when eaten the wrong way. Basler Läckerli are sweet little cakes made from honey, nuts, almonds, candied oranges, seasoned with cinnamon, nutmeg and a shot of cherry brandy. Specialized bakeries and shops for the delicious cookies are all over town.
Shopping in Basel
Whether you are looking for fashion, jewellery or Swiss luxury watches, the pedestrian-only boulevard Freie Strasse is the place in Basel to empty your bank account in a short time. Go treasure hunting in little cobbled alleys of the Old Town area Spalenberg, lined with small shops and boutiques. The aforementioned Läckerli-huus is on the Gerbergasse, but has many branches in Basel. In the hip Kleinbasel quarter, you can spend your day looking for design, vintage things and handmade crafts. Basel also has its fair share of farmers markets and flea markets, but especially< cozy are the Christmas markets in the winter.
Basel has much more to offer in terms of dining, entertainment and shopping, which you can read in our guide about eat and drink in Basel.
Manchester - ZurichFlight duration: 01:55 hrs total, Frequency: 2 x daily
Departure ManchesterTerminal: 2Counter opening time: 1 h prior to departure
Transit Zurich (ZRH)Arrival: 21:45Transit time: 1h 01m
Zurich - BaselFlight duration: 01:27 hrs total, Frequency: 4 x daily