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10 Best Things to do in Basel

10 Best Things to do in Basel

Located close to the point where Switzerland, France, and Germany's borders meet, Basel's unique cultural heritage and arts offer a different look into Swiss culture as a whole.

Home to several attraction sites and places in Switzerland, including Erasmus's tomb, a famed dutch scholar who died in the 16th Century, there is no way you can get bored in Switzerland's third-largest city.

Here is our list of the best things to do in Basel:

Zoo Basel

Hosting over 640 species, there are only a few zoos globally with more array of species as Basel Zoo.

The Basel Zoo is the oldest in Switzerland as it was set up in 1874. The zoo has been redesigned, renovated, and expanded to suit modern needs while also offering the animals a refined and convenient habitat to live and roam in.

One of the best spots is the zoo's aquarium that boasts about 500 species of fish and other amphibians and other water reptiles.

Fun fact: Basel Zoo was previously home to the famous Goma who died at age 58. The gorilla was the first gorilla to be born in a European Zoo.

Gorilla Goma


The Spalentor is one of the three remaining gates providing access to Basel around the 12th Century. As at that time, the city was defended by two layers of wall. All these walls have been demolished in the 1900s to allow a healthy living environment for the city and accommodate the city's growing population.

This gate, Spalentor, remains the most impressive of the remaining medieval gates and one of the city's oldest landmarks.

Basel Historical Museum

The Basel Historical Museum is located in four different locations, three of which are in Basel itself. The last museum showcasing Basel history is located in Munchenstein.

The Museums allow you to admire and even examine all the works owned by Erasmus, including altars, coin collections, tapestries, etc.

Among other works includes several collections made during the 1600s and 1700s. The museum also houses Basel's Danse Macabre Fresco painted in the 15th Century by Konrad Witz.

Rathaus (Basel City Hall) and Marktplatz

Two other places you don't want to miss is the City Hall and the Marktplatz. Both are ancient places found in the Old Town in the city.

The Marktplatz still runs a daily market with various items and artifacts up for sale. The best way to make sure you do not miss any significant attraction at the Marktplatz and City hall is to hire a walking tour of the Old Town.

Spielzeug Welten Museum

Located on Barfusserplatz, the Spielzeug Welten Museum is an unmissable place for adults and kids alike. The museum utilizes a five-story building to showcase and display its extensive dolls, dollhouses, and teddy bears.

There are over 6000 variations of dolls and more than 2,500 teddy bears in the museum's collection.

The museum's exhibits are interactive to ensure visitors have as much fun as possible.

Fun fact: The museum's army of toys were assembled by Swiss-German billionaire Gisela Oeri.

Jean Tinguely Museum

This is one museum you don't want to miss, especially if you are visiting Basel with your kids! Why? Because the museum offers a fun, interactive, and unique experience, you don't always get in museums.

Jean Tinguely is one of the most prominent Swiss Artists known for his innovative and fanciful mechanical sculptures. It is home to the most extensive Tinguely art collection in the world with a public exhibition that tells his four decades career.

Many of his pieces are available for interaction to the public, with the Grosse Meta Maxi-Maxi Utopia (1987) being the highlight of them.

The Tinguely Museum building itself is a work of art, designed by the renowned Mario Botta.

Basler Munster

Situated on top of the Munsterhugel is Basler Munster (Basel's Minster). It's magnificent spires and bright roof tiles make it a tough building to miss. The minster was built between the 9th 13th centuries, some part of the church has since been rebuilt in Gothic Style (1356) after an earthquake damaged it.

Although some of the church's historic treasures are now on exhibit at the Basel Historical Museum, there are still many things worth seeing while at the church.

If you can also afford it, a narrow spiral stairway lets you survey Basel and the surrounding Rhine.

Basel Papiermuhle (Basel Paper Mill Museum)

The Basel Paper Mill is one of the oldest buildings in Basel. Constructed in the 14th Century, the mill has since been in the business of making paper.

In 1980, the Paper Mill was partially renovated as a working museum making it a place where interested individuals can look at old and historical methods of printing, making paper and bookbinding.

Visitors to the museum are given a chance to make a book of their own on the museum's first floor. This is done by giving visitors access to a machine that produces paper from pulp and rags by the single push of a button.

On the top floor of the museum is a live demonstration for visitors on bookbinding methods that were in use when the mill was constructed.

For visitors interested in Calligraphy, there is a whole floor dedicated to it, and visitors are even invited to practice using quills provided to them. The mill's old printing presses are also available as an exhibit to the public.

Old Town, Basel

Basel's Altstadt offers another look into one of the Swiss National heritage sites. Many of the buildings in the old town were built in the 14th Century with plaques stating the exact Century they are from. Many places in the Altstadt are worth visiting, some of which have already been covered above.

Kunstmuseum Basel

Basel is home to the largest museum of Art in Switzerland. The museum boasts a rich collection of art that rivals that of the Kunstmuseum in Bern.

There are pieces from just about every famous artist and sculptor. The museum has an entire room dedicated to Picasso's works. There are works from renowned Dutch artists such as Rembrandts, Rubens, and Brueghel the Elder on exhibit. There are pieces by 19th Century masters, including Monet, Van Gogh, Gauguin, among others to admire. The museum also has 20th Century works from artists like Giacometti, Franz Marc, Chagall, Klee to mention a few.

Note: This ranking is based on our own experience and research. No uniform rating scheme is followed. We have no claim to the correctness of the ranking. What counts for us is to show the diversity and beauty of Switzerland. Have we published incorrect information? Let us know:

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