Whether you’re visiting on a day trip from Zurich or Lucerne, or heading to world-class events such as Art Basel festival or Fasnacht carnival, one day is just enough time to take in Basel’s best bits. Here’s how to spend one day in Basel.
A hop-on hop-off bus tour is the ideal choice for time-crunched travelers in Basel for the first time; it allows you to create an itinerary that features only the sights that interest you. Buses stop at landmarks such as the medieval Gate of Spalen, Tinguely Fountain, and the Roche Tower, the tallest building in Switzerland.
Jump off to explore the Old Town on a walking tour that covers the daily food market on Marktplatz, Rathaus (City Hall), and the Middle Bridge. Step inside the historic Munster Cathedral to admires its endless vaulted ceiling and then climb to the church tower for a magnificent view over the city.
Spend the afternoon sampling Swiss favorites such as cheese fondue or raclette in the Old Town, then pick up some edible souvenirs from an authentic Swiss chocolatier. Chocolate lovers can join a themed walking tour, some of which include a truffle-making workshop at a local chocolatier.
Alternatively, spend the afternoon visiting Basel’s museums—the city boasts more than 40. Art enthusiasts should head to the Fondation Beyeler, the Kunstmuseum (Museum of Fine Arts), or the Museum Tinguely, while travelers seeking something unique can visit the Spielzeug Welten Museum (Toy Worlds Museum), the Paper Mill Museum, or the Vitra Design Museum.
If you want to escape the crowds on land, opt for an evening boat cruise, which reveals the city at its most atmospheric. Set sail along the Rhine River and watch the sunset over the city, then cruise back to shore against a backdrop of Basel’s glittering skyline.
End the evening in Little Basel (Kleinbasel) on the north bank of the Rhine. The lively district is full of bars, clubs, and restaurants; dine by the riverside or sip cocktails at Bar Rouge, Basel’s highest bar.