If you plan to combine a trip to Basel with a sampling of the Swiss ski slopes, then head over between December and March, when it is easier to find cheap accommodation and cheap flights to Basel. Easter is also a great time to find deals on flights to Basel and there is the added excitement of the Basel Fasnacht Carnival. The event is the biggest carnival in Switzerland and the only Protestant one in the world. The Basel Fasnacht kicks off at 4 o’clock in a dramatic fashion as all the lights in the city centre are switched off and over 200 painted lanterns beam in the darkness which gives the signal for hundreds of drummers and piccolo players to begin the magical march. Be sure to take advantage of a cheap flight to Basel to enjoy the gastronomy specialities, parades, music, exhibitions, concerts and much more throughout Basel’s most three beautiful and enchanting days of the year.
Summer runs from May to September and is also a popular time to book flights to Basel. The milder temperatures allow for more outdoor activities such as swimming in the Rhine, touring local vineyards and celebrating Swiss National Day on 1st August. Festivities in Basel generally take place with a spectacular 200,000 individuals all gathering along the banks of the Rhine River to enjoy activities for all ages including water sports, food, farming events and fireworks.
Civilised, beautiful and vibrant, Basel is one of Switzerland’s most appealing tourist destinations. Although less famous than Geneva or Zurich, Basel has a well-preserved medieval centre and everything is close together in the centre of town, making it one of the easiest cities to see by foot.
The crowning glory of the city is its fabulous medieval cathedral, the “Münster” which is surrounded by winding cobbled streets. See the intricate sculpture work around the doorways or climb one of the cathedral towers for stunning views over the town and the Rhine.
When taking a flight to Basel be sure to make time for a river tour – you can charter boats or be piloted in leisurely fashion past the rolling fields and hills of the region. Special tour boats also offer two-hour trips which take in all of the city’s sights. Another of Basel’s great attractions is the lively town market. Buy locally produced fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as Swiss delicacies like chocolate or cheese, as well as local craft products and Rhine wines.
The city also boasts some world-class museums. Head to the Art Museum to see a room stuffed with Picassos and a marvellous renaissance collection or visit the superbly designed Beyeler Foundation, which houses a collection of modern art. For the kids, the Jean Tinguely Museum features animated figures and cartoons, while the city zoo is the largest of its kind in Switzerland.
Basel also offers some unique attractions such as a subterranean sewer tour or taking a dip in the placid waters of the River Rhine. Then there are the city’s many vibrant festivals. Check out the Easter Carnival to see colourful costumes and musical delights and don’t miss the fire festival “Chienbäse” in the nearby town of Liestal.
The best way to see the Old Town is still by foot, but the city also has an extensive tram and bus network if the hills become too much. When walking, remember to look out for the trams, and be advised that tickets for the trams and buses need to be bought before boarding at the green ticket machines.
Flights to Basel will take you to EuroAirport Basel (BSL). Basel actually shares an airport with Mulhouse (in France) and Freiburg (in Germany) in an unusual arrangement, but getting into town is easy. Catch a bus and expect the journey to take only 15 minutes or so. Alternatively, take a taxi or rent a car from one of the many outlets available at the airport.