Basel Sights

The Rhine divides the city into two distinct sections: on the southwestern bank lies Grossbasel (Greater Basel), the commercial, cultural, and academic center, which encompasses the Altstadt (Old Town) and, directly upriver, the quiet winding medieval streets of St. Alban, where you can stroll along the Rhine, peek into antiques shops, then dine in a cozy bistro. Also in Grossbasel is the upscale

and leafy residential neighborhood of Bruderholz, home to one of Switzerland's best restaurants, Stucki. The opposite bank, to the northeast, is Kleinbasel (Lesser Basel), a Swiss enclave on the "German" side of the Rhine that is the blue-collar quarter of the city. Here are the convention center, chain stores galore, artsy boutiques, and hotels with terraces that afford glorious views of the Münster (cathedral).

The best way to see Basel is on foot or by tram, as the landmarks, museums, and even the zoo radiate from the Old Town center on the Rhine, and the network of rails covers the territory thoroughly.

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Altstadt 21

Basel Environs 3

St. Alban 3

Kleinbasel 2

Colonia Augusta Raurica (Augst) 2

Zoo 1

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Archaeological Site/ Ruins 1

Bridge/ Tunnel 1

Building/ Architectural Site 3

Fountain 1

Government Building 1

House/ Mansion/ Villa 2

Museum/ Gallery 13

Plaza/ Square/ Piazza 2

Public Art (Mural/ Sculpture/ Statue) 2

Religious Building/ Site/ Shrine 5

Town/ Village 1

Zoo/ Aquarium 1

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Basel Sights

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Pharmazie-Historisches Museum

  • Museum/Gallery

This museum showcases original and re-created pharmacy counters and all kinds of beakers and flacons, and old remedies—from preserved...


  • Government Building

This bright red edifice, which towers over Marktplatz, was built as a symbol of power and to honor the city's entry into the Swiss Confederation...


  • House/Mansion/Villa

A row of 15th- and 16th-century houses lines this steep little alley in Grossbasel. No. 11 housed Basel's university when it was founded...


  • Museum/Gallery

Roman daily life is vividly depicted in this carefully rebuilt home. Everything, from the thermal baths to the ancient board games in...


  • Building/Architectural Site

Refurbished in 2014, the Spalentor once served as Basel's most important medieval city gate. More imposing than graceful, the 14th-century...

Spielzeug Welten Museum Basel

  • Museum/Gallery

Bordering on the Barfüsserplatz, this museum has several floors filled with 18th-, 19th-, and 20th-century toys, including a cast of...

St. Alban-Tor

  • Building/Architectural Site

This original medieval city gate is set amid a lovely garden near remnants of the town's ramparts. Parts of the gate date from the end...

Statue of Helvetia

  • Public Art (Mural/Sculpture/Statue)

What would the woman pictured on most Swiss coins do if freed from the confines of currency? With spear and shield set aside (and with...

Vitra Design Museum

  • Museum/Gallery

In the German town of Weil am Rhein, this museum's main building is a startling white geometric jumble designed by famed architect Frank...

Zoologischer Garten

  • Zoo/Aquarium

Referred to by Baslers as Zolli, this zoo is famed for its rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses, gorillas, and fabulous vivarium filled with...