Basel is worth a visit (not only) for the Christmas market

Every year, the city of Basel hosts one of the best-known Christmas markets in Switzerland. But this is by no means the only reason why a city break is worthwhile. Here are our tips.

What comes to mind when you think of Basel? Before Arina and I headed for the city, we were only familiar with the airport. And we knew from hearsay and as huge Christmas fans that its market is supposed to be particularly beautiful. So it was high time we checked it out and let ourselves be enchanted by the city – and gave you our best tips.

We are staying at the beautiful Basel Youth Hostel, located in the St. Alban district. We especially like the location right on the river, the huge windows and the minimalist design. It is the perfect accommodation for a city break, whether alone, as a couple, as a family or with friends.

This is how stylish your stay at the Cityhostel Basel can be. The delicious breakfast buffet is included. © Nina Wild / Arina Mayer

Pure Christmas feeling

What’s especially cool is that we receive the Basel Card at check-in. This lets us to use public transport in the city for free, among other things. We immediately hop on the tram and find ourselves at the Christmas market on Barfüsserplatz a few minutes later. Hundreds of lights shine there and our eyes begin to sparkle.

This is what every Christmas market should look like.© Basel Tourismus

We take a leisurely stroll through the diverse range of stalls, eat tasty raclette, try Baumkuchen (best decision ever!) and eventually find ourselves on Münsterplatz, where the second part of the Christmas market is located. On the huge square, even the little ones get their money’s worth in the fairytale forest. How about a ride on the mini train, for example?

On the other side of the Rhine

Rumour has it that there is another, very small but fine Christmas market on the other bank of the omnipresent river. Let’s go! This one stretches along the notorious Rheingasse, one of the oldest streets in Basel. The atmosphere is very familiar, it seems as if everyone knows each other. The aim is to celebrate being together, Eva tells us. She has been organising the Adväntsgass since it was first held in 2015.

The Adväntsgass is a good contrast to the classic Christmas market and definitely worth at least one visit! © Basel Tourismus

Arina and I are quite taken with this alternative market, which is organised with great attention to detail. If you do go there (which we highly recommend), make sure you try “The Ugly Glühwein”. You can thank us later.😉

Locals know it best

When we travel, we always have the same goal in mind: to get to know a destination as authentically as possible and to discover real gems. And who knows better where to find the hippest bars and the world’s best food? The locals, of course!

Basel Tourism thought so, too, and made a game out of it without further ado. The card game can be purchased for free at the reception of Basel Youth Hostel. You then hold the cards under the noses of the Basel people. It says, for example, “best street food in Basel”. The locals tell you their personal insider tips and you can float off to places that are not in any travel guide.

Basel Tourism Managing Director Christoph Bosshardt recommended the Markthalle near the main station as the best street food spot in the city. We were not disappointed.😉 © Arina Mayer

Shapes and colours

Basel is considered THE mecca of outstanding architectural masterpieces. Did you know, for example, that the Roché skyscrapers are the tallest buildings in Switzerland? By the way, you have a perfect view of them from the youth hostel. Basel Tourism also organises free guided tours so that you can marvel at the architecture from the inside.

Switzerland’s tallest skyscrapers are impossible to miss.© Nina Wild

In addition, the brand new Novartis Campus opened its doors to the public not long ago. In addition to modern architecture, you will find numerous gastronomic offerings on its grounds. It’s like a mini-city inside the big city.

And last but not least, we encourage you to explore the city with your eyes wide open. If you look closely, you will discover a multitude of street artworks by great artists on the grey walls of the houses. You can also discover the colourful works of art on guided tours. But if you prefer to have a roof over your head, you can visit one of the many museums. With the Basel Card, you can get a 50 per cent discount on admission.

Basel is very colourful.© Basel Tourismus

What are your highlights in Basel? Tell us about them in the comments.

Even more Basel tips

Natalie can’t stop raving about the “pocket-sized metropolis”.

Altstadt von Basel
Couples Families Friends Hostel tips In the city

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