Basel has never ceased to amaze me since I first came here. This small, cheerful city at the bend of the Rhine offers a wealth of surprises. It is not just its intense history, the pleasure taken in the arts and culture, it is more than that: it is the spirit of the city, at once both peaceful and fascinating, which welcomes all its visitors with such openness and hospitality. Discover Basel – just as I am constantly discovering something new myself! I am going to introduce you to all the classics in my concierge tips, but to some of my personal favourites too. My online guide is only available here and will be continually updated – come and join me!
In mid-January the world's top show-jumpers gather at the LONGINES CSI BASEL. This international competition in the St. Jakobshalle has some of the highest prizes of the indoor Grand-Prix events worldwide and an extraordinary atmosphere. Experience the fascination of show-jumping, the challenging course and the thrilling competitions which offer visitors a spectacle of the highest quality, year after year.
For three days in February or March, from early Monday to early Thursday, the entire city of Basel is in state of exception. Most of what happens on "Die drey scheenschte Dääg" – the three most beautiful days - is outdoors. The "cliques" in their colourful costumes, with their drummers and the piccolo players march through town during the day in the "Cortège" procession. The atmosphere in the evening is charming and very special; that is when small groups of colourful musicians fill the narrow alleyways of the historic centre with their tunes and the "Bänkelsänger", poetic minstrels, sing their "Schnitzelbänke"- satirical verses about current events - in the restaurants and bars. The children's carnival on Tuesday afternoon is an absolute must for families!
A trade fair of superlatives for everyone who loves watches, jewellery and precious metals. Every year, the world's leading event at the Basel Trade Fair Centre brings together more than 150,000 visitors from over 100 countries, 1,500 exhibitors and more than 4,000 journalists! Spectacular exhibition pavilions and collections present the trends and innovations that can be expected on the markets. Baselworld is a top event for tourists.
Every year the global art world gathers in Basel: A Basel success story which started in the 1960s and still has a huge pull today. More than 60,000 artists, collectors, curators and art lovers look forward to this mega-event with bated breath every year. And of course it attracts "odd characters" as well as serious visitors, Bohemians, the flamboyant and eccentrics. Visit Art Basel and enjoy the seeing and being seen, acquaint yourself with the latest trends and the classics of the art scene!
Military music, spectacularly staged: the Basel Tattoo in July is the second largest tattoo event in the world, second only to the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Every year, during the almost two weeks of the event, more than 120,000 visitors stream to the Kaserne square near the Rhine, to enjoy the call of the bagpipes and the best orchestras, bands and dance formations the world has to offer.
Basel Tattoo, Kaserne Basel
Phone +41 61 266 10 02
With its long history stretching back more than 540 years, the Basel Autumn Fair is one of the city's living traditions. For the people of Basel it is a time full of pleasure, fascination and childhood memories. When it starts at the end of October, the word is out: "z Basel isch Herbschtmäss" - "the Autumn Fair is on in Basel". Wander round the squares of the town centre with your loved ones and enjoy the attractions – the big dipper, snack bars and the arts and crafts on sale – and observe the lively crowds of young and old.
In 44 B.C. Cesar's military commander Lucius Munatius Plancus made the first mention of the settlement Augusta Raurica, which lies a few kilometres to the east of Basel. The large amphitheatre from the Roman period, the roads and alleyways and the whole lifestyle of the colony are brought back to life during the Roman Festival on the last weekend of August every year. More than 500 locals dressed in traditional Roman garb bring a touch of Ancient Rome to the Basel countryside!
The tennis legend Roger Federer – who grew up just outside Basel – turns up every year at Basel's St. Jakobshalle for the ATP World Tour 500 tournament along with many other protagonists of the tennis world's elite. Switzerland's largest sporting event is also one of the most important indoor tournaments in the world. It is definitely worth attending the Swiss Indoors, the "game in whites" has a long tradition here and is enormously popular, at the very latest since Björn Borg's legendary performance here in 1977.
St. Jakobshalle Basel
Phone +41 61 485 95 95
The Baloise Session: an absolute must for fans of contemporary music. Every year, in autumn, the world's leading pop, rock and world musicians travel to Basel and delight their audiences for almost a month with their skills. The guests can enjoy the concerts and the unique proximity to the stars they offer in a tasteful club atmosphere.
Phone +41 61 686 44 44
In December Basel decks itself out for Christmas and welcomes you to its famous Christmas market. Everything is on offer: from mulled wine to frosted trees, from arts and crafts to Christmas tree decorations, from children's toys to seasonal delicacies. A special bonus is the programme of activities for children – craft studios and candle making and plenty of other attractions.
Barfüsserplatz & Münsterplatz
Lovers of contemporary art and the classical modern would probably be happiest pitching their tents in the park of the Fondation Beyeler. The Beyeler's collection in Riehen is a fascinating attraction at the city's border. The museum building, designed by Renzo Piano, houses more than 250 works of the classical modern: Degas, Cézanne, Rousseau, van Gogh, Kandinsky, Matisse, Giacometti, Picasso, Klee, Mondrian, Warhol and many more! Around 25 pieces of tribal art from Africa and Oceania provide an interesting contrast. Fascinating and inspiring!
Phone +41 61 645 97 00
Anyone interested in design simply has to take the short trip across the German border a few minutes from Basel – to the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, one of the world's leading design museums. The museum presents two major temporary exhibitions every year in the main building designed by Frank Gehry. The Vitra Design Museum Gallery also houses smaller, parallel exhibitions and experimental projects.
79576 Weil am Rhein, Germany
Phone +49 7621 70 23 200
"Our" fine arts museum has become even more attractive thanks to the new extension by Christ & Gantenbein – which will mainly house temporary exhibitions! The most important and largest publically accessible collection of art in Switzerland, located on the St. Alban-Graben, is quite simply superb – spanning the largest collection of works by the Holbein family through to the works of Picasso, Munch and Mondrian.
St. Alban-Graben 16
Phone +41 61 206 62 62
He was a kinetic artist, a great mechanic, a daring composer in iron and junk: the Basel artist Jean Tinguely (1925–1991). The museum named after him is devoted to his life and work – and is situated right next to the striking Roche tower. You can take a memorable tour through his impressive mechanical sculptures – parodies and ironic reflections of the modern – in this fascinating museum building, designed by Mario Botta.
Paul Sacher-Anlage 2
Phone +41 61 681 93 20
This unique museum, close to the city centre, introduces you to a very special world: the miracle of the human body. You will be introduced to the cosmos of anatomy with original specimens and wax models. And talking of "unique": One of the exhibits is a skeleton prepared in 1543 by Andreas Vesalius, the oldest anatomical specimen in the world!
Phone +41 61 267 35 35
Nature studies in a museum can be quite a lively matter! Visit the "Archive of life" and acquaint yourself with its phenomena. The permanent collection – from ammonites & thunderbolts through to mammoths & sabre-tooth tigers offers fascinating insights for young and old and is complemented by temporary special exhibitions.
Phone +41 61 266 55 00
This is neither a museum nor a traditional storehouse – but it is a forum for art, just outside town: the Schaulager. You can view art and reflect over it quite differently here. And not just that: the spectacular building designed by Herzog & de Meuron is worth a visit in itself!
Phone +41 61 335 32 32
This museum will make your children's hearts jump for joy: the dolls and teddy bears in the Spielzeug Welten Museum Basel take you on a journey of discovery. The exhibition with more than 6,000 teddy bears, dolls, toy shops, dollhouses and miniatures is absolutely unique in Europe. The museum in the city centre of Basel houses the largest collection of old teddy bears in the world, more than 2,500 of them. Temporary exhibitions on special topics enhance the museum's diversity.
Phone +41 61 225 95 95
This will make the lads happy, be they young or old – Switzerland's largest collection of vintage cars. The vintage car forum in Muttenz, just outside Basel, offers a fascinating insight into the history of auto-mobility, the practical work of mechanics and a great deal more. The unique rotunda with its own restaurant is a still little known highlight!
Phone +41 61 466 40 77
Rummaging through old bric-a-brac is really good fun! In the "auf dem Wolf" second-hand store you will discover a huge selection of charming objects with plenty of history spread over 2,000 square metres. Take time for a visit and revel in the huge choice on offer.
Auf dem Wolf 30
Phone +41 61 311 01 01
When music is being performed from the planks of the gently rocking raft, sheltered under a suspended canvas, then it's "Imfluss" time again in Basel: From the end of July to the middle of August, this unusual series of open-air concerts brings you well-known bands and new discoveries. Take a stroll from the Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois across the Mittlere Rheinbrücke bridge and listen to the music from the raft – a five-minute walk away!
Bring your day to a fine close with a cigar from one of the 135 provenances in our assortment – the Salon du Cigare welcomes aficionados of choice cigars to relaxed enjoyment in a comfortable setting. It is on the lower ground floor of the hotel with a view over the Rhine and awaits you with a fine selection of cigars as well as a wide choice from our bar menu and premium wines by the glass.
Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois
Phone +41 61 260 51 35
Delicious macaroons are not only to be found in Paris – Basel too makes an essential contribution to the culture of these wonderful meringue biscuits of almond meal, the recipe for which can be traced back to the Middle Ages. Visit the Confiserie Schiesser at the Marktplatz, where you can watch the hustle and bustle of the market square from the delightful café above the shop and enjoy your macaroons!
Phone +41 61 261 60 77
An absolute classic to a recipe unchanged since the 1930's – the St. Honoré gateau from the Basel patisserie Beschle. The finest puff pastry imaginable topped with the seductive Beschle crème, refined with caramelised sugar. It goes without saying that the tarts and seasonal specialities here are freshly prepared each day and only from the finest ingredients – delight your palate and soul with one of their confectioner's works of art.
Phone +41 61 205 60 60
Every year – in the hottest season in mid-August – visitors to Basel are amazed by the thousands of people swimming down the Rhine, right through the middle of town and under the bridges. Join in this memorable event, revel in the clear, cool water of the Rhine or simply enjoy watching the extraordinary spectacle from the comfort of our Rhine terrace.
The motto of the KaBar in the old barracks – just across the Rhine from the Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois on the Kleinbasel bank – is simple and hearty: "Eat at midday, drink in the evening and "snack attacks" the whole day". In summer, outside, on the spacious, comfortable terrace; in winter inside its ancient walls. Simple and good!
Phone +41 61 666 60 00
A very special place right in the middle of Basel. The best-known coffee house in Switzerland is a public salon, a platform and co-working space for countless creative folks all rolled into one. The Unternehmen Mitte is a real success story for Basel, housed in a former bank building – a lively meeting place for the people of Basel, a centre for debate and cultural initiative. Take a peek inside and discover it for yourself!
Phone +41 61 263 36 63
The Basel coffee house with a long history, located very centrally on the Barfüsserplatz. You can enjoy your breakfast, lunch or dinner in the lively atmosphere of this coffee house – at the bar on the ground floor or in the Grand Café on the storey above. Treat yourself to one of the aromatic coffees from the small coffee roaster Ferrini Caffè in the Ticino – exceptional!
Phone +41 61 272 05 50
Basel is a city of confectioners and pastry makers – and this, of course, includes the three branches of the Confiserie Bachmann. All their products – from breakfast croissants and Quiche Lorraine through to veal pies are freshly produced in their bakery every day to their own recipes.
Phone +41 61 260 99 99
The Elisabethen Open Church is a popular meeting place in Basel – the Café Bar Elisabethen is located where the sun warms the walls of the church from morning till evening. Early in the morning, at 7 am, the cappuccinos are already steaming in their cups, accompanied by a dolce. At lunchtime, soups and pasta dishes await you and in the evening a cool beer after work or a nice glass of wine.
Elisabethenstrasse 10 – 14
Phone +41 61 271 12 25
Take a quick trip to Italy at the Pane con Carne: You will have trouble choosing between all the delicious treats on offer. Will it be a focaccia with fresh courgettes or the veal savouries in a red wine and clove sauce – or maybe the spicy pollo alla cacciatora? The choice is yours!
Phone +41 61 281 50 11
Enjoy a British afternoon in Basel: with delicious scones, dainty sandwiches, an assortment of tempting sweet pastries and a selection of aromatic teas. In the afternoon from 2 pm to 4 pm and from 4.30 pm to 6.30 pm in the Lobby of the Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois.
Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois
Phone +41 61 260 51 35
Healthy fast food has been on offer here since 1906 - in the middle of town, just by the Barfüsserplatz, in the Brötli-Bar. The fresh sandwiches, produced round the clock at the Hotel Stadthof, guarantee top quality: take a seat, eat or take away – and enjoy!
Phone +41 61 261 87 11
Discover our bar with drinks subtly composed by our Chef de Bar Thomas Huhn and exquisite canapés from our kitchen. Live piano music and the classic afternoon tea provide a pleasant background at this popular meeting place in the middle of Basel. The Swiss Bar of the Year 2015 and winner of the Mixology Bar Award 2015 awaits your visit with pleasure!
Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois
Phone +41 61 261 87 11
This wine bar is a friendly meeting place in the heart of the historic centre of Kleinbasel. It offers a rich selection of salami and cheese specialities and more than 100 wines. You can enjoy lunch or a convivial evening aperitif in the lively atmosphere of Consum – ideal after a shopping spree!
Phone +41 61 690 91 35
A stylish bistro in what was formerly the counter area of a bank – is that possible? In Conto 4056 – no problem. The interior architecture with its sturdy materials of wood, concrete and glass is fascinating, and the kitchen and bar are equally convincing, with the cocktails, drinks and freshly prepared paninis they have on offer.
Phone +41 61 261 40 56
It is superfluous to waste too many words on "our" Cheval Blanc by Peter Knogl – you have to experience these culinary delights for yourself. The facts: 3 stars in the Michelin Guide, 19 Gault Millau points. Experience a symphony of aromas, colours and harmonious tastes. The team at the Cheval Blanc has achieved a place among the 100 best restaurants in the world with its superb creations, which enrich French haute cuisine with Mediterranean and Asian influences.
Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois
Phone +41 61 260 50 07
Chef de Cuisine Tanja Grandits sets new standards with her aromatic cuisine at the Stucki Restaurant on the Bruderholz hill: exquisite spices, fresh colours and wonderful aroma play the main role here. Always presented in a carefully arranged composition, bold, bright and colourful. For the chef, aromatic cuisine also means a feast for the well-being of the senses – a cuisine that enlivens body and soul.
Phone +41 61 361 82 22
The "Teufelhof" is a restaurant and cultural centre with a small theatre and café at the top of the Spalenberg. Its restaurant, the Bel Etage, offers a seasonal and unfussy gourmet cuisine of the highest standard. Enjoy the creations of Chef de Cuisine Michael Baader – who has been awarded one star in the Michelin Guide – and the perfect accompanying wine from one of the 450 positions on the wine list – by the glass or as a set.
Phone +41 61 261 10 10
In the Middle Ages a monastery, in the 19th century Basel's remand prison and now a location for gastronomy and culture: the "Lohnhof". In the restaurant au Violon Philippe Maire and his team welcome you to a place full of history. The lively brasserie delights its guests with its traditional, subtle and typically French dishes.
Im Lohnhof 4
Phone +41 61 269 87 11
An Italian osteria with a club, lounge and bar in a former waterworks in the "nightingale woods"? It is not as crazy as it sounds – because it too exists in this small cosmopolitan city of Basel. The unique location at the city's "gateway" offers plenty of fodder for heart and mind, true to the motto of the house: "L'appetito è per lo stomaco quello che l’amore è per il cuore!"
Phone +41 61 564 66 66
Italy awaits you, just a five-minute walk from the Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois! At the restaurant Chez Donati you will find the essence of Italian cooking. The restaurant has been the top address for lovers of authentic Italianità for more than 60 years now. A meeting place for gourmets and connoisseurs, awarded 13 Gault Millau points.
St. Johanns-Vorstadt 48
Phone +41 61 322 09 19
Treat yourself to a break in the Brasserie Les Trois Rois (14 Gault Millau points) with Swiss and French brasserie specialities with ingredients fresh from the market! The varied and colourful menu bears witness to the consistent efforts of the team of Hervé Mahler and Pablo Löhle. Enjoy your lunch or dinner in our popular city restaurant – culinary delights and view over the Rhine included.
Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois
Phone +41 61 260 50 02
A pleasant atmosphere, as though you were at home, in the historic walls of the guild house – that is precisely what awaits you at the Restaurant Schlüsselzunft. The Chef de Cuisine, Andreas Uebersax, serves French-Mediterranean cooking, with plenty of classics and new creations, in the middle of the pedestrian zone in the heart of Basel.
Freie Strasse 25
Phone +41 61 261 20 46
A bar with a Spanish name, a French bistro interior, in which the Scottish proprietor Johnny Freeman serves Italian cuisine – this fusion of Europe already makes it worth a trip to the Bodega zum Strauss on the Barfüsserplatz. Charming waiters complete the picture – and tempt you back again and again!
Phone +41 61 261 22 72