Sights and popular Tours
The Basel region offers many opportunities for enjoying many leisure hours: in the parks, the woods around the city, along its rivers, and in the nearby recreational areas in Baselland, in the Black Forest, and in Alsace.
Relaxing in the city
Basel is a city with many green areas and cosy, inviting parks. The Rhine promenade in Kleinbasel, with its broad steps and restaurants, is popular throughout the year. You can sit there, relax, and enjoy a splendid view of the historic Grossbasel skyline. The Zoological Garden in Basel is another busy and attractive place to spend a pleasurable day. The recreational area ‘Lange Erlen’ in Kleinbasel is another, smaller zoo that focuses on domestic fauna. There are pleasant walks along the banks of the rivers Wiese and Birs. The University’s Botanical Garden, which is open to the public, lies within the city limits. On the edge of the city, in the large ‘Park im Grünen’ lies the City’s Botanical Garden. Impressive views across Basel and the surrounding districts can be enjoyed from the towers of the Minster, as well as from the Water Tower located on Bruderholz and from Chrischona in Bettingen.
The busy River Rhine
No visit to Basel would be complete without a trip on one of the four Rhine ferries, powered solely by the river currents. The Rhine harbours with the ‘Dreiländereck’, where Germany, France and Switzerland meet, are always worth visiting. “Das Schiff”, a swimming club with bars and restaurants on three levels anchors nearby. Passenger boats ply the Rhine throughout the year, and also provide trips to see special events. There is also the “Rhy Taxi”, which ferries passengers up and down the river. And last, but not least, the Rhine is Basel’s most popular public swimming pool in the summer.
Varied Baselland (Switzerland)
Baselland offers a wealth of attractive landscapes within easy reach of Basel. Country walks to castles or beautiful hilltops and promontories are very popular. The hills of the Jura mountains, for example, offer splendid all-year views across the city and the Rhine valley, with the Jura, the Black Forest and Vosges on the horizon. Further up the Rhine, in Augst or Augusta Raurica, lie the remains of the oldest Roman colony on the Rhine (44 BC). About 20 buildings have now been restored; including an amphi theatre, a temple and the forum. There are open air shows at the amphi theatre every summer. Mariastein is popular place of pilgrimage, high up on a range of hills in the canton of Solothurn. Nearby, the town of Dornach is the centre of the Anthroposophical Movement centering around the Goetheanum building which serves as college, theatre and international meeting place.
The Black Forest (Germany)
The Black Forest, with its highest peak, Feldberg at 1'493 m altitude, lies to the north of Basel in Germany. Ski resorts and recreational areas in the Black Forest are extremely popular, as are a number of health resorts which have been known for thousands of years. Most of them can be reached by car from Basel in less than one hour. Other popular destinations are the numerous castles and castle ruins scattered throughout the region. The local cuisine and fine wines of the Baden region are becoming more and more popular with gourmets and wine lovers. Even closer to Basel, the towns of Lörrach (with well known Burghof Cultural Centre) and Weil am Rhein (with the Vitra Design Museum) are popular destinations.
Vosges and Sundgau (France)
To the west of Basel, in France, begins the Alsace plain. On its northern edge, the Vosges Mountains, can be seen clearly from Basel on a fine day. The area is dominated by the Ballon d’Alsace, with an elevation of 1'400 m above sea-level. Another part of the Département du Haut-Rhin is Sundgau, a varied, hilly landscape with old, intact villages, castles and forests. They can easily be explored from Basel by bicycle. Sundgau includes Mulhouse, the nearest large French city. For many centuries, Mulhouse was affiliated to the Swiss Confederation. The famous Alsatian town of Colmar is less than an hour away from Basel by road or rail. Its fascinating buildings, particularly those dating from the Renaissance, and its priceless treasures, such as the ‘Isenheim Altar’ in the Unterlinden Museum, attract many visitors.