Often deemed Switzerland’s cultural capital with its thriving arts scene and cosmopolitan population, Basel has a lot to offer, from its landmark architecture lining the banks of Rhine to its vast array of world-renowned museums. Visit during the annual Fasnacht carnival or the Art Basel international art festival to see the city really come alive, but with a few days to explore, there’s plenty to keep you busy no matter the time of year.
Day 1: Tour the city’s landmarks
A wander along the Rhine river will bring you to the Three Countries Corner (Dreiländerecke) the meeting point of France, Germany, and Switzerland, passing by the Romanesque Basel Münster and the remains of the old city walls, dating back to 1356. Head to the Marktplatz to browse the city’s most beautiful building—the 500-year-old Rathaus (council house)—and stock up on fresh baked goods at the daily market, before checking out the nightlife in Little Basel (Kleinbasel) on the north bank.
Day 2: Explore the museums
With over 40 museums in the city, you could spend a week touring them all. But don't miss the impressive Fine Art Museum (Kunstmuseum Basel) or the Natural History Museum (Naturhistorisches Museum). Art lovers will revel in the modernist gems at the Renzo Piano-designed Fondation Beyeler and the equally impressive Schaulager Museum, designed by local architects Herzog and De Meuron.
Day 3: Get out of town
There are a number of options for escaping the urban sprawl and getting back to nature—take a hike in the nearby Swiss Jura Mountains or opt for a river cruise along the Rhine. Alternatively, make the most of the tri-point border and explore the Alsace region in France or the nearby black forests on the German side.