The perfect combo in Basel: city trip and e-bike tour

Pairing a city trip with an active holiday? A great plan! Linda tested this combo of culture and adventure for you.

Everyone is familiar with the cantons of Basel-Stadt and Basel-Landschaft, myself included. But only by name. That’s why I decide to take a trip to the city right on the Rhine. On my own, I book a bed in a dormitory at Basel Youth Hostel in the hope of making some interesting acquaintances.

Discovery tour in Basel

After my arrival, I’m off on a tour of discovery. With the Basel Card, I can take public transportation free of charge. But the warm weather entices me to explore the city on foot. First, I leave the youth hostel for the Rhine. With an amazing view, I stroll along the shore and then head to the hurly-burly of the beautiful city centre. Thanks to the receptionist’s tip, I also visit the famous art museum and can’t help but be amazed. Here I also meet Daniela, a local who regularly goes to the museum. As a small highlight, she recommends a ferry trip between the banks of the currently quite impressive Rhine, for just 2 francs. A short boat ride in the middle of the Rhine – wonderful.

Whether on foot or by boat: There are lots of ways to explore Basel. © Michi Ganz

Basel Youth Hostel

Exhausted, I return to my accommodation. My stomach is growling. So I treat myself to a vegetarian meal on the hostel’s quiet terrace. Today it’s a beautifully seasoned lentil curry with rice. It’s delicious. Naturally, in youth hostel fashion with a salad as a starter and a dessert to finish off. Happy and content, I head to bed because tomorrow I have an exciting day ahead of me!

For just CHF 19.50, you can enjoy a fine, balanced dinner on the youth hostel’s terrace. © Michi Ganz

An e-bike tour through Basel-Landschaft

After a sumptuous breakfast buffet, I take the tram to Basel Central Station. Here I rented an e-bike from Rent a Bike for two days. As a member of the Swiss Youth Hostels, I receive a discount of 20 francs. I heard about the tour from another partner of the Swiss Youth Hostels: SwitzerlandMobility. I already downloaded the handy app for hiking and cycling at home a few months ago. As a member, you can also get a discount on it!

The SwitzerlandMobility boards are a practical guide for your e-bike tour. © Michi Ganz

Time for adventure

I’m glad I took a good look at the route out of the city. Driving in a big and unfamiliar city is quite the challenge. But I stay calm and decide to pull over to check the map one more time. Reinach BL is where I find the actual e-bike route number 114. From now on, all I have to do is follow the signs and enjoy the scenery!

Burgenzauber-Route castle tour

The new e-bike tour has only been around since mid-April of this year and, true to its name, it takes you past castles through Basel-Landschaft.

  • Route length: 40.6 km
  • Elevation gain: 688 m
  • Estimated duration without long stops: 3.5 hours
  • Route number 114

Highlight of the tour

The ride passes through small villages and farms. The first stop is the impressive Mariastein Abbey. The Benedictine monastery with a very moving history has been located here since 1648. In 1971 the abbey was rebuilt under civil law following a cantonal referendum, and after a church renovation in 1999/2000, the impressive building is once again shining in the midst of nature – all the more lovely.

I continue past the ruins of Landskron and later am lead back over fields and through woods. I’m glad I have an e-bike, which makes the inclines very easy to climb.

Arrival at Mariastein Youth Hostel

Since I planned a relaxed trip, I treat myself to a short break including an overnight stay at this unique youth hostel. I’ve never spent the night in such an old castle. It is believed to have been built in the 13th century. The suits of armour, the metre-thick walls, the tranquil inner courtyard and the tower room, which I am allowed to visit, definitely bring the past to life. I spend the afternoon exploring the castle, taking a short walk through the nearby woods and relaxing on the small terrace with a great view into the distance.

Mariastein Youth Hostel is also on the Burgenzauber-Route and is perfect for an overnight stay. © Michi Ganz

Onward journey and even more highlights

After a restful night at the castle, I enjoy the breakfast buffet and then continue on my tour. For the next hour, the fragrance of splendidly blossoming fields and freshly mown meadows accompanies me as I pass. From time to time, I encounter friendly hikers and other cyclists who greet me. I make a surprise stop in Dornach. I’ve never seen a building like this before! The Goetheanum serves as the headquarters and conference venue of the General Anthroposophical Society and the School of Spiritual Science, as well as a performance hall and theatre building. WOW!

The landscape on the Burgenzauber-Route evokes the spirit of spring. © Michi Ganz

Return to Basel, overall impression and tips

The last few kilometres back to Basel are also very pleasant, as the trail runs off the main roads. Thanks to the «Basel SBB» signs, it is very easy to find the way back to the bike rental station and the return process also goes smoothly. Back in the hustle and bustle of the big city, I reflect on the tour over a cup of coffee:

  • The route is great and could also be done in one day. But for me, the focus was also on relaxing a bit on this trip.
  • The trail is very well signposted. Still, I felt more comfortable having the SwitzerlandMobility app too.
  • An e-bike is certainly a more pleasant option than a normal bicycle, as you shouldn’t underestimate the constant ups and downs.
  • To transport your luggage for a longer tour or for several people, a bike trailer is advisable, and can also be rented.
  • You can also take your own bike with you. There is a lockable bicycle room at Basel’s main station, while bikes can be parked in the inner courtyard of the youth hostel. It is locked at night.
  • Beds at Mariastein Youth Hostel should be reserved in advance.

Excited after this short trip, I am already looking for my next tour! What suggestions do you have?

Even more Basel

The city on the Rhine has something for everyone.

Aussenansicht der Jugendherberge Basel
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