Located on the river Rhine where Germany, France and Switzerland meet, Basel is a bi-lingual city with over 2,000 years of history.
Perhaps most famous for its arts scene, Basel has also created a contemporary edge as the host of Art Basel, held annually in June.
Considered the cultural heart of Switzerland, Basel has 40 museums, which is a huge number in comparison to the size of the city. The Kunstmuseum, originally built in 1936 is one of the great classical art galleries in the world. After a three-year project to extend the museum, the new gallery opened in 2016. According to the Financial Times it is “simply one of the best new museums of recent years.”
For those with a deep interest in design and art the Vitra Design Museum, designed by Frank Gehry, should be a priority. Located on the Vitra Campus, (technically just on the opposite side of the Swiss/German border), it is an extraordinary ensemble of contemporary architecture from 1981 -2011. It is quite easy to spend an entire day here.
One of the highlights of Basel’s old town is Mittlere Brücke (Middle Bridge). The oldest crossing on the Rhine, a bridge has been here since 1226! The current structure was built at the turn of the last century. The bridge connects the old town to the ‘lesser town’ Kleinbasel, which has transformed itself in recent years from a rather run-down and unattractive area to the creative heart of the city. Packed full of independent stores, restaurants and wine-bars, the area has flourished. Don’t miss the collective of independent boutiques.
For those that want to experience some high-octane adventure, or simply relax and enjoy the stunning views, Interlaken is not to be missed. Located a short distance from Basel, and surrounded by the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountains, and Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, Interlaken could not be more picturesque. The scenery is jaw dropping both in summer and in winter and there are countless activities for every level of fitness. If you want to enjoy mountains, lakes, nature and alpine air, even just a day trip to Interlaken is a must.