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Beyond the Rhine River: Exploring Basel

Beyond the Rhine River_ Exploring Basel and Beyond-Featured Image-Pp

Amsterdam is a city associated with river cruising, as it a beginning or end point of a Rhine River cruise, and that lessor known city at the other end of that cruise itinerary inspires this week’s article…

Beyond the Rhine River: Exploring Basel

Basel Switzerland is the starting or ending point of a Rhine River cruise, and the charming town and its central location is much more than that – it’s a destination in its own right, offering a captivating blend of history, culture, and natural beauty.

Most of the Rhine River cruises will offer pre-cruise or post-cruise extensions, and from Basel those destinations are usually Lucerne, Zurich and Lake Como, But you can easily spend your time exploring Basel and the delightful sights nearby that are an easy day trip.

Nestled at the heart of Europe where the borders of Switzerland, France, and Germany meet, Basel is a city of enchanting contrasts and timeless charm. Known as Switzerland’s cultural capital, Basel is a vibrant hub of art, history, and innovation, making it the perfect destination to spend extra time to kick-start or wind down your Rhine River cruise adventure.

Basel’s history dates back over 2,000 years, evident in its well-preserved medieval old town, grand cathedrals, and historic landmarks. Wander through the cobbled streets lined with colorful buildings, and you’ll encounter architectural marvels such as the imposing Basel Minster, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, and the Rathaus (Town Hall), with its striking red façade and intricately painted interior.

Art aficionados will find Basel to be a treasure trove, home to over 40 museums showcasing a diverse array of collections. The renowned Kunstmuseum Basel houses an impressive collection of European art spanning from the Middle Ages to contemporary works, while the Fondation Beyeler, set amidst lush parkland, boasts an exceptional display of modern and contemporary art.

Basel’s culinary scene is as eclectic as its cultural landscape. Indulge in delectable Swiss specialties such as fondue and raclette in cozy taverns, or sample international cuisine in trendy bistros and Michelin-starred restaurants. Don’t miss out on the city’s bustling markets, where you can savor fresh produce, artisanal cheeses, and delectable pastries.

Day Trips From Basel

Switzerland’s central location bordered by France, Germany, and Italy, makes Basel a great base city and allows visitors to take fantastic day trips to neighboring countries as well as other parts of Switzerland.

There are a host of great possibilities for you to see more than just Basel. Here are some great ways you can expand your trip to Basel by taking a few day trips to nearby sights.

Chateau du Haut-Koenigsbourg

The location of this French castle offers visitors an incredible view of the Upper Rhine Plains as it sits atop the mountainous terrain that surrounds it. This castle dates as far back as the 12th century, and it is a beautiful way to see this area of Europe.

The best part is that it is only about an hour away from Basel, and it allows you to fit a little bit of France into your trip without having to plan a large excursion.

Rotteln Castle

This castle is in a region that sits atop the mountainous terrain. Rotteln Castle is located near Lorrach, Germany, just across the German border.

Unlike Koenigsbourg, Rotteln has not been repaired, and it lies in mostly ruin. The tower is still easily accessible, and it gives visitors another excellent way to see this region. It is the perfect place for hiking and soaking in the forested scenery of the European interior.


Bern is the capital of Switzerland, and visiting there is like stepping back into Medieval times.

You would never think that this is the capital as you meander through the winding streets of the old town as it maintains its antique appeal and tranquility. Bern is just a short train ride from Basel, and it should be on your list of places to go and see while you are in Switzerland.

Going Beyond

Basel offers an easy way to explore multiple countries without having to move around continually. When you are ready to explore farther afield, Basel is a convenient starting point for your next destination – the best part about traveling to Europe is that it is effortless to get around from place to place and even country to country.