Basel, with some 200,000 inhabitants, is considered to be a large city in sparsely populated Switzerland. It is located at the confluence of Swiss, German and French borders with its suburbs extending to French and German territories. Basel region, therefore, reflects the culture of these three countries.
This German-speaking city is a major cultural center with several theaters and museums. The Museum of Fine Arts, reputed to be the world’s oldest art collection open to the public, is located here.
Basel is different from other major Swiss cities. It isn’t as cosmopolitan as Geneva and it’s further from the Alps than Bern is. It’s also more peaceful and calm than Zurich. But it’s as attractive as any of these three wonderful cities.
Basel’s wealthy aristocratic families contributed a great deal to make their city’s Renaissance culture and tradition to flourish. Its 15th century university is the oldest in Switzerland.
The Rhine flows through Basel dividing it into two. It’s a beautiful city with elegant old buildings like the Cathedral (‘Munster’ in German), the meticulously restored City Hall, the Historical Museum and the imposing 15th century city gate called Spalentor that once led travelers and invaders to Alsace located on the upper Rhine on the French border.
Tinguely Fountain is a good place to start your tour of the Old Town that still exudes the flavor of the Middle Ages. Walk along the narrow streets and cobbled romantic alleys lined with homely taverns small family-run shops.
Augusta Raurica is an ancient Roman archaeological site, just 12 kilometers from Basel’s city center. This open-air museum is the oldest Roman relics on the River Rhine.
Reaching Basel is great fun. Its two train stations straddle three countries. The main station is huge and most of it is on Swiss territory. All trains from France terminate at Bale SNCF which is in France.Most international travelers will have to go through passport control to reach the proper station.
Basel’s EuroAirport, hardly five kilometers from the city center, actually is in the French territory. Basel shares it with two nearby cities – Mulhouse in France and Freiburg in Germany. It isn’t really as confusing as it sounds. There is an efficient customs-free transportation system for transferring travelers.
Basel is one of Europe’s most popular venues for conference-cum-exhibition events. Huge numbers of attendees with generous expense-account occupy most top level city hotels. There are some small and quaint inexpensive hotels and guesthouses in the Old Town. Browse through the Net, shortlist a few and negotiate tariff and reserve one that suits you.
Whether the purpose of your visit is business or pleasure – or a bit of both – you will have a good time in Basel.