Basel is one of the most attractive destinations in Switzerland and offers a diverse set of experiences to visitors, thanks to its location in the 'three countries corner' on the border of the French Alsace region and Germany's Black Forest. This has imbued the city with a strong multicultural identity throughout its history, which is reflected in its street names and fusion cuisine.
For travellers looking for an authentic European experience, Basel combines picturesque medieval town squares with eye-catching modern architecture and is home to some of the finest museums and galleries in Europe.
Basel is situated along the Rhine River, and is a popular port of call on cruises through Germany going as far as Amsterdam in the summer months. Most cruise ships dock at Dreiländereck pier, just a few kilometres from the city centre, for ease of access to hotels, restaurants and major attractions once you arrive.
The medium-sized port at Dreiländereck is operated by Rheinschifffahrtsdirektion Basel. It caters for cruise liners as well as cargo ships, and offers a range of facilities for arriving and departing passengers.
- parking at nearby Weil and Lorrach
- nearby hotels and restaurants
- transport connections.
How to Get Around
Most cruise companies provide transport to accommodation and destinations in Basel. If you are arranging your own transport, you will find several options for getting around Basel once you arrive.
Travel times from Dreiländereck pier
Metered taxis are readily available for journeys into the city and other local destinations, including the closest airport across the French border. Standard fares increase at night.
- 15 minutes to Basel SBB train station (taxi 30 francs)
- 20 minutes to Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg Airport (taxi 45 francs).
If you are not carrying heavy luggage, a cheaper option for getting into the city is to take the tram. Walk 450 metres from the pier to the tram station and take tram number 8 to the city centre or other destinations.
- 19 minutes to Basel SBB train station (3.20 francs).
- Currency - the currency of Switzerland is the Swiss franc (abbreviated CHF or Fr). Switzerland is not a member of the European Union, but the Euro may still be accepted by some vendors, though change will always be provided in francs.
- Time Zone - Basel and Switzerland are in the Central European Time Zone (they are 1 hour ahead of Coordinated Universal Time – UTC) and follow Daylight Saving Time.
- Weather - Basel has a moderate continental climate, with temperatures reaching a peak of 18º Celsius in July and dropping to 0º Celsius in January. Rainfall is highest in the summer months, between May and September.
- Münster - Basel’s Romanesque Munster Cathedral is one of Switzerland’s most celebrated landmarks, featuring intricate sculptures and spectacular views over the city, the Rhine and the Black Forest from the top of its towers. The Munster is surrounded by medieval buildings that complete the picturesque scene.
- Marktplatz - the city’s historic marketplace operates every day except Sundays, and is popular with locals and visitors alike for its fruit, vegetable and flower stalls as well as its bustling atmosphere. For the city’s best bargains, head to the flea market (Flohmarkt) in Petersplatz and practice your haggling skills.
- Kunstmuseum Basel - Basel is home to several world-class art museums, and the Kunstmuseum boasts the largest and most diverse collection in Switzerland, from medieval tapestries through Renaissance paintings to contemporary art. Admirers of Pablo Picasso will find a gallery dedicated to him, and you can see more modern art at the Museum für Gegenwartskunst.
- Basel Zoo - if you are visiting Basel with the kids or just love animals, don’t miss this sprawling zoo in the city centre, which has been one of Basel’s most popular attractions since it opened in 1874. Highlights include the recently renovated Monkey House and a giant aquarium. All proceeds from ticket sales go toward ongoing conservation projects.