You can enjoy Basel, Switzerland without waiting in long tourist lines, paying huge sums for a photo op, or speaking the language. The majority of Basel attractions are breathtaking architectural accomplishments that you can easily walk through or observe from afar. If you’re looking for what to do in Basel, these are my top 8 recommended attractions! If you’re looking for what to eat and do after hours, check out my video tour with my Basel local.
Basler Münster (Basel Minster)
This Romantic and Gothic style church is the most iconic structure in the Basel cityscape and a top attraction. You can climb the two towers (named after Saint George and Saint Martin) for a spectacular view of Basel.
Rheinfähre (Rhein Ferry)
These five Rhine ferries are pulled by ropes, using the natural current of the Rhine river to get from one side to the other. It’s the easiest (and possibly most scenic way) to get from Kleinbasel (small Basel) to Grossbasel (big Basel).
Mittlere Brücke (Middle Bridge)
For centuries, the Mittlere Brücke was the only bridge connecting the two sides of Basel. This may not be the original Middle Bridge from the 13th century, but it is still a busy location for locals and tourists alike. You can find people kayaking, grilling, and just laying out by the bridge.
But on a corner on top of Mittlere Brücke, you’ll find Bettina Eichin’s sculpture Helvetia on the Journey. Helvetia, named after the Helvetii tribe that inhabited the land before the Romans, is the personification of Switzerland. You may notice Swiss license plates or websites are identified by “CH”, which stands for the Latin Confœderatio Helvetica.
Spalentor (Gate of Spalen)
The Gate of Spalen is just one of three remaining Basel city gates, and considered one of the most beautiful gates of Switzerland. If you’re looking for a fairytale experience, just walk through the archway!
Designed by Swiss artist Jean Tinguely, this fountain (also known as Carnival Fountain) has nine figures that play with the water and seem to interact with each other. And the performance aspect of it is fitting: it’s located where the stage of the old city theater used to be.
Tinguely was influenced by the Dada movement, and you can see more of his work at the Tinguely Museum.
Zivilstandsamt (General Register Office)
Anyone who gets married in Basel has been here, but you can visit without a fiancée. My local guide recommends it as a beautiful building to see.
Offene Kirche Elisabethen (Elisabeth Church)
Built in the 19th century, this church is more than just a holy place of worship. You can rent the space for events, or attend a yoga class, or go to a concert to hear local musicians!
This building truly stands out, primarily because of its bright red exterior! You can walk through its corridors and enjoy the courtyard as if you’re a high noble in your favorite fairytale story. You can also take a guided tour of the Basel Town Hall in English on Saturdays, and in German on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays (only on Thursdays and Saturdays from November to March).