Basel is amongst the top cities to visit in Switzerland. The beautiful city of Basel sits along the Rhine River bordered by France, and Germany. Basel also makes for a perfect base to explore the cities in Germany and France on easy day trips. From medieval old town center with Gothic buildings, and rich history to famous museums and shopping opportunities, Basel draws visitors from all over the world. Here are 11 awe-inspiring day trips from Basel which should be on your list if you have a few days in the city.
Lucerne, Switzerland (~1 Hr 30 Minutes)
One of the major Lucerne attractions is the Chapel Bridge or Kapellbrucke. The Chapel Bridge is said to be Europe’s oldest wooden covered bridge and connects the old town with the new town. The Old town is known for the beautiful mural paintings on the house facades. Also located nearby is the 17th century Jesuit Church. All these attractions are located at a 5 minutes walkable distance from the train station.
Walking further from the Old Town is the Lion Monument which commemorates the Swiss Guards massacred during the French Revolution.
If city sightseeing is not your interest you can also plan one of the amazing day trips from Lucerne. Mount Titlis is a popular snow resort that offers plenty of snow activities. Mount Pilatus and Mount Rigi offer breathtaking views from the summit.
Rhine Falls (~2 Hr)
If you are planning to visit Switzerland, you cannot miss a visit to the magnificent Rhine Falls. Located near the Swiss-German border the waterfalls are one of the largest waterfalls in Europe. You can just walk around the promenade or take a boat trip to experience the deafening roar from close.
A mini toy train called Rhyfall-Express shuttle also takes you around for viewing the falls. You can cross the river on either side which has Schloss Laufen Castle and several platforms to watch the mighty waterfalls.
Rhine Falls is just a couple of hours from Basel and one of the popular day trips from Zurich.
Basel to Interlaken, Switzerland (~2 Hr)
Interlaken is one of the top Switzerland tourist places. The resort town sits between two beautiful lakes – Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. One of the top Interlaken attractions is the old town which is set along the Aare River. There are pretty chocolate chalets decorated with bright flowers. Interlaken is also a paradise for shoppers as well as for the adventurists.
St Beatus Caves
There is no dearth of things to do in Interlaken – there are natural landscapes, mountain rides, small charming villages, breathtaking sceneries, hiking trails all set in a picturesque setting around the lakes.
Zurich, Switzerland (~1 Hr)
Zurich is only an hour train ride from Basel which makes it an easy day trip from Basel. The largest city in Switzerland and one of the expensive city Zurich is amongst the top Swiss cities to visit. Zurich is rich in medieval architecture, historical buildings, and churches.
The Zurich Old Town set in a picturesque setting along the Limmat River has charming cafes and squares. The12th-century Grossmunster and the 13th-century Fraumunster are the two magnificent churches dominating the Old Town of Zurich. Another top Zurich attraction is the Lindenhof hill which offers a panoramic view of the city and its rooftops along the Limmat River. The zoo, botanical garden and Tram museum are top things to do in Zurich with kids.
Also Read: Best Day Trips from Zurich
Solothurn (~1 Hr)
About an hours train ride from Basel is the beautiful town of Solothurn along the Aare River. The city is home to several Renaissance and Baroque buildings most of which date back to the 16th and 17th centuries.
One of the popular Solothurn attractions is the Marktplatz which has the 12th-century clock tower Zeitglockenturm. The magnificent St. Ursus Cathedral offers wonderful views of the Old Town and the Aare River from the top of its tower. Also worth a visit is the Baroque Jesuit Church decorated with stucco work, the St. Peter’s Chapel and the Franciscan church.
The number 11 had always held a significant place in Solothurn. You can join a themed tour or go hunting for the number in Old Town where you will find a clock in town which strikes on the 11th hour, 11 altars in St. Ursus Cathedral, 11 historical fountains, 11 museums, and 11 churches and more.
The Switzerland Capital Bern (~ 1 Hour)
A visit to the Swiss capital Bern is one of the top things to do in Switzerland on your visit. Bern is a pretty city with plenty of things to see and do. The city has many beautiful historical buildings, flea markets, high- end branded shops, and parks.
Above is the view from the terrace of Bern Cathedral when we visited in winter. The snowed rooftops and the winding Aare looked straight out of a fairytale.
The rose garden and the bear park are something not to miss. Bern Cathedral which has the highest spire in Switzerland, the Zytglogge and several fountains are some of the top highlights in the Bern Old Town.
Colmar in France (~45 Minutes)
Colmar is one of the most beautiful villages in Alsace, France. Located less than an hour from Basel this fairytale location draws visitors for its well-preserved old town adorned with colorful half-timbered houses, Cobblestone streets, and canals. Some of the top Colmar sights are the ‘Little Venice’ and the ‘Tanner’s District’.
Little Venice consists of beautiful half-timbered houses along the Launch River canal and several pretty bridges over the canal. Visitors can take canal rides in small boats and explore the neighborhood. You can also explore on foot starting from Rue de la Poissonnerie and continue along the canal until the Rue Turenne.
Tanner’s district also consists of equally stunning half-timbered houses in a myriad of colors. The half-timbered houses date back to the 17th and 18th centuries. Tanner’s district was once home to the tanners who created leather products. Must visit here are the Market Hall and Palais de Justice (Law Courts).
The 13th-century churches of Eglise Saint Martin and Eglise Saint Matthieu are also something not to miss when in Colmar.
Strasbourg, France (~ 1 Hour 30 Minutes)
Strasbourg is one of the most beautiful places to visit in France. The historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a rich architectural heritage. La Petite France is the most stunning part of the city with buildings dating back to the 16th century. The half-timbered houses decorated brightly colored flowers hang over the balconies look straight out of the fairytale.
The major landmark of the city is the Gothic Cathédrale Notre-Dame featuring an astronomical clock build in 1547. Every day at 12:30 PM, a show is put up by the carved apostles marching around in front of Christ.
One can climb up the tower for amazing views of the Rhine River and the city.
Chateau du Haut-Koenigsbourg (~ 1 Hour)
The Chateau du Haut-Koenigsbourg is a medieval castle located in Alsace, France. The castle is perched on rocky Vosges mountains overlooking the Upper Rhine Plain. The ornately furnished rooms, a huge collection of medieval weapons and sweeping views from the bastion are some of the highlights of the visit.
The castle dates back to the 12th century and has a rich and interesting history which can be explored on a tour. One can join a guided tour or do a self-guided audio tour. Check here for open times.
Lausanne, Switzerland (~2 hours 15 Minutes)
Lausanne is another beautiful city set on the banks of Lake Geneva. The most popular attraction of the city is the Olympics Museum. The Olympic Museum located on the lakeshore also has an Olympic Park. The park is adorned with numerous amazing sculptures representing the Olympic Spirit. The Olympic Museum itself displays over 10,000 exhibits relating to Olympics Games.
The Lausanne Old Town is home to the 12th-century Gothic cathedral known for its impressive architecture and many historical buildings and museums. One can take a boat across the lake to the French town of Evian-Les-Bains in from Lausanne.
Geneva, Switzerland (~2 Hours 30 Minutes)
The city of Geneva is very special to us. It was our home when we lived in Switzerland. It is one of the prettiest cities home to numerous gardens, museums, and international organizations. There are plenty of things to do here and the city is one of the best places to live with kids. About a quarter of the city is said to be green space and there are 30+ museums.
The Old Town of Geneva with 2000 years old history has many well preserved historical buildings and beautiful fountains. Shopaholics can go shopping for chocolates, branded clothes, watches and more. Do not miss the iconic Jet d’Eau, you can take a boat trip for a closer experience. Two and half hours may seem more but believe us every trip to this city is worthwhile.
Also Read: Free Things to do in Geneva, Switzerland
Where to Stay in Basel
Most of the important Basel attractions are located around the Old Town so it would be convenient to base yourself close to the Basel Old Town. Or close to the train station as traveling to different parts of the city and planning day trips from Basel also becomes convenient and easy.
Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois – One of the oldest city hotels. The hotel overlooks the Rhine River in the center of the Old Town. – Check Availability
Radisson Blu, Basel – Located in the heart of the city just a 5-minute walk from the central train station. – Check Availability
Hotel Basel Urbane Tradition und Moderne – Located in the heart of the Old Town. – Check Availability
Hotel Spalentor – Located opposite the Botanic Gardens, 5-minute walk from the Old Town of Basel. – Check Availability
Ibis Basel – Located just a 4-minute walk from Basel’s Main Train Station. – Check Availability
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