Although it lacks the gilt and glitter of Zürich and the Latin grace of Geneva, in many ways Basel is more sophisticated than either. Situated at the frontier between two of Europe’s most assertive personalities – France and Germany – and tapped directly into the artery of the Rhine, the city has grown remarkably urbane, cosmopolitan, and worldly wise, yet is delightfully eccentric as well.
If you’re coming to visit the best expositors in BaselWorld, don’t miss that chance to explore the city. Today we are going to give you a city guide with the “best of the best” places to provide you a remarkable experience: luxury hotels, luxury restaurants, luxury shops, the trend spot to relax, the best art places to visit and nightlife spots in Basel.
Where to stay?
Basel’s leading rendezvous for the rich and famous ever since three 11th-century kings (Conrad II, Henry III, and Rudolf III) once convened here, the Trois Rois has long been an integral part of Basel history. Once a small inn on the banks of the Rhine, it was given a regal makeover in 1842. Today, the furnishings have retained their 19th-century grandeur, with ravishing shades of cream, gilt, and powder blue; ornate woodwork and impressive tapestries nudge the opulence factor ever higher.
On the waterfront, Krafft has a can’t-get-any-better location that makes it perfect for people-watching. Set in an elegant mansion, the wood floors have been restored, and guest rooms are simply furnished with Swiss designer furniture. Rooftop suites offer luxuries like fireplaces or riverside balconies. The traditional dining room and ever-popular waterfront terrace provides spectacular views of the Old Town, while the cozy downstairs Petit Krafft is welcoming on colder days.
Where to eat?
One of Switzerland’s top chefs, Tanja Grandits gives her guests a delightful culinary experience in a refined – but not uptight – setting. Contrasting flavors, colors, and textures in delightful creations such as a watermelon rose juice amuse-bouche topped with a cumin croquette, the German-born chef calls her cusine style “aroma kitchen.” Exciting seasonal choices include calamaretti seasoned with chili salt and served on an anise-flavored tomato and focaccia salad, and organic salmon in a miso-hollandaise sauce with pistachio pesto. The restaurant is in the residential neighborhood of Bruderholz; take tram No. 15 from Marktplatz toward Bruderholz and get off at Radio Studio Basel.
This grand old Heuberg mansion has been transformed into a cultural center boasting two restaurants, a trendy bar, and even medieval ruins in the basement. The formal Bel Étage showcases chef Michael Baader‘s masterly culinary inventions, with dishes such as anglerfish saltimbocca with sage, Parmesan gnocchi, and zucchini, or lamb with lavender honey sauce and risotto with artichokes. Sip wines by the glass, then buy the bottles you’d like to take home in the on-site wine shop. The artsy Atelier serves modern cuisine made with regional ingredients and features a mural where patrons can paint during dinner.
Where to relax?
The incredibly relaxing saltwater pool at Sole Uno mimics the sensation of floating in the Dead Sea, with the adding advantage of soft music that’s audible underwater. About 20 minutes outside of Basel, Rheinfelden became known as a healing haven after natural salt deposits were discovered here in the late 19th century. Wellness seekers still come for the soothing waters, which they can enjoy in peaceful surroundings at the all-season outdoor pool that spirals into a bubbling whirlpool. The sprawling facility includes Finish-style saunas, an authentic Russian banya, and several steam baths. To get here by car, take A3 toward Zurich, then get off at the Rheinfelden East exit.
Where to shop?
This upscale department store stocks everything from gourmet edibles to chic clothing. This is the perfect place to find luxury shops in Basel.
What to visit?
For decades, the world’s most prestigious art collectors would journey to Basel to worship at the feet of one of modern art’s greatest gallery owners, Ernst Beyeler. At the end of his phenomenal career, he left his incomparable collection to the public and commissioned the noted architect Renzo Piano to build a museum in the town of Riehen, on the outskirts of Basel. The Fondation Beyeler presents an astonishingly well-rounded collection of modern art, and Piano’s simple lines direct attention to more than 200 great works. The collection’s catalog reads like a who’s who of modern artists—Cézanne, Matisse, Lichtenstein, and Rauschenberg.
In this bright and open setting, Giacometti’s wiry sculptures stretch toward the ceiling and Monet’s water lilies seem to spill from the canvas into an outdoor reflecting pool. Indigenous carved figures from New Guinea and Nigeria stare into the faces on canvases by Klee and Dubuffet. A stellar selection of Picassos is juxtaposed with views of blue skies. Besides the permanent collection, several prestigious art exhibits every year attract art lovers from around the globe. The tram trip from Schifflände takes about 20 minutes. Public tours in English are offered one Sunday each month, or private tours can be arranged.
See also this Basel Tourism City Guide
In a city known for its museums, the Kunstmuseum is Basel’s heirloom jewel. It was built in 1936 to house one of the world’s oldest public art collections, owned by the city since 1661. The imposing facade gives way to an inner courtyard studded with statues. Inside is the world’s largest assemblage of paintings by members of the Holbein family, an exceptional group of works by Konrad Witz, and, in fact, such a thorough gathering of the works of their contemporaries that the development of painting in the Upper Rhine is strikingly documented. Other Swiss artists are well represented: from Basel’s own Arnold Böcklin to Klimt-like Ferdinand Hodler. The museum’s other forte is its international 20th-century collection, from Georges Braque to Jasper Johns.
See also BASEL CITY GUIDE: THE TOP ART GALLERIES NOT TO MISS
Where to have fun?
Theater Basel hosts opera, operetta, and dance performances, as well as dramas, usually in German. The season runs from August to May.
The extremely popular Café des Arts, draws an interesting mix of patrons with its leather stools, grand piano, and elegantly spiral staircase.
DJs spin funk, hip-hop, house, and R&B at Atlantis, one of the city’s hottest clubs.