Basel. Short trip report

Oct 3rd, 2008, 08:22 AM
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Basel. Short trip report

Thanks to all who tried to give me some very interesting food ideas for my three night Basel trip recently. We ended up eating a very heavy breakfast and snacked unhealthily most of the day, awarding ourselves with a fondue dinner one night.

Coffees, prailines, almond pastries.. and a delicious three course meal of the day in nearby Friburg were the highlights as far as cuisine goes.

Basel, itself, turned out to be a very pleasant surprise.

We flew on Ryanair for 30 euros round trip from Valencia. Then, after much searching and discussing, we decided on the Hotel Rochat, for our three night triple room stay. 135 euros/night, with breakfast and tax included.

We were given a huge room (311)with a pitched ceiling that boasted a view of the next door church steeple and bell tower. (yes, it does ring at 7 a.m but didnīt bother me at all).

It is on the top floor and could have accomodated another two people or children. It had a T.V telephone, sofa, tables, and three single beds plus a large closet/armoire.

The bathroom was equally large with two sinks,a double-wide medicine chest that easily held these three women's exaggerated beauty necessities, and an additional closet.

This hotel is perfectly located on calm Petersgraben street, steps from Scifflande. The staff was friendly, and we could walk to several of the important areas recommended in Basel.

Since we were staying in Basel, all our transportation in the area was covered, starting at the airport,itself, for our entire visit.

We used tram 15 and 16 for an overview of the city, then found our way easily on buses and trams during the next days.

There are lovely "self walking tours" posted with famous "portraits" to take you along the most interesting historic parts of the city. Do not miss these, as they pull you past quaint corners you may not be aware of on your map.

The first morning we strolled up to Munsterplatz where an equestrian group was gathering before taking off in their carriages on one of their excursions in the area. The horses were all donned with beautiful bridle ornaments, and the carriage drivers and passengers in quite traditonal, almost historic garb.

they were treating themselves to some fresh croissants and coffee they had brought along..

our next mission was to find an open coffee shop ourselves! we were directed to a hotel along the rhein where we sat inside and enjoyed our first cappuchino in switzerland.

From here we explored the quaint St. Alban area, even finding the canal that has a darling mini dock with a table and chair on it. that is in most pamphlets.

Sunday mornings seem quite sleepy in Basel as we assume the cafés open much later to allow staff to go to church? The afternoon was quite active.

later that day we enjoyed homemade cakes in the sun, watching all the young families and their kids enjoy the splendid weather, at the "Pavillion Café" up at Shutzenmatt Park. (recommended in a Basel guide pamphlet).

Basel is not very spread out, and with such an excellent transportation bus/tram system, you really can get a lot done in this hilly little swiss town on the Rhein.

The museums I visited, sometimes on my own as my other two friends at times went elsewhere, were

-The Beyeler Foundation.. do not miss this private collection and stunning building and surroundings. Reduced entrance on Mondays. There is a gorgeous outdoor area with Bistro, and fields with cows bordering this peaceful respite a few stops from downtown Basel.

- The Basel History Museum, the Basel Kunstmuseum, (lovely building and outdoor caf&eacute

- The Puppenhaus Museum. I didnīt expect to like this so much.. give yourself more time than you imagine for this amazing musuem.

- The Tinguely Museum. This is just a happy place. This artist seems a bit mad.. and has created such delightful fountains and contraptions.. there is also a nice café in the basement.

I ended up buying the Basel card when i got to Tingueley, as the entrance there alone was 15 euros that day.. so for 5 euros more, i got free entrance to several museums for 24 hours and ..

-a free chocolate prailine with every coffee at Bachman..

-free ferry rides across the river..

and thus the incentive to rush around and take a quick look at more of the museums offered. I saw many more for a quick spin, but no need to bore you.

The weather was still pleasant, so day two we went up to Fribourg on a special fare for up to 5 people from Basel.

We really enjoyed this town and had a wonderful 9 euro three course meal on a very quaint pedestrian street at "Kreuz Blume".
They are also a hotel.. at

Friburg is a nice day trip. My friends also went to Colmar the next day, and LOVED it, but I spent the rest of the time at museums in the Basel area.

I visited the Vitra Design Museum.

Vitra Design Museum has guided architectural tours of the buildings by Gehry, Citterio, Grimshaw, Ando, Hadid and Siza on the Vitra grounds.

A bus stops at the door. It is a German bus, so here you pay a euro or so more .. the Basel passes are not included. Pay attention to the return schedule. they are hourly or so only.

I also attended a jazz concert at Bird's Eye Jazz which was very near our hotel as was also the well known hotel/restaurant Au Violon.

We got to the Fourth King ( das viertel Konig) too late one night for dinner, but it looked cute right down on Rhein bank, to the left of the "Third King" Leading hotels of the World Hotel.

All in all, the food and drink seemed pricey in Switzerland, but we had a wonderful time.

Basel is easy, well organized, friendly and a nice jumping off point when arriving by low cost airlines at the EuroAirport. The bus takes you into town with great connections everywhere.

Be sure you have paid transportation on this bus, inspectors DO come onto it to make sure no one is skipping out..the fine is 80 swissfrancs.

If you like museums and modern architecture and design, you will not be disappointed with Basel.

I hope someone can find something usueful in this simple report. Thank you again for help offered earlier.

lincasanova is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2008, 09:57 AM
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thank you
PalenQ is online now  
Oct 3rd, 2008, 10:46 AM
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i am very surprised none of my editing "took".. i wonder why?? is this happening to others?

i wanted to add (editing before i actually posted) that your Basel hotel voucher is your "ticket" for the airport bus. Then once you are at your hotel they give you the real transport pass, good for your entire stay.( which is NOT the Basel Card).

The special fare to friburg was 27 euros from the machine, and 29 from the sales window.
lincasanova is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2008, 05:23 AM
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Thanks for the info on Bern. I am trying to decide between Bern and Strasbourg as a side trip during my December stay in Heidelberg. I want to stroll the Christmas Market, and soak up some atmosphere. What is the terrain in/near Bern? (Flat? Mountains?) I wonder which town would be the most scenic?
Barbara5353 is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2008, 05:45 AM
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Appreciate your list of the places you went in Basel. It jogs my memory of Basel where I spent a summer when I was a teenager. I stayed close to the Schutzenmatt Park. Glad to know that Basel is still enjoyable to visit. Any special reason why you pick Basel of all places?
DAX is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2008, 05:45 AM
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i never got to bern.. sorry. this was in basel.
lincasanova is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2008, 05:55 AM
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glad this brought back some memories.

the valencia-basel ryanair very cheap flight was the clincher. Once i saw all the museums there were, decided it would make a nice short getaway.

actually, i could have stayed longer and still would have had plenty to do.

I would like to go back, and if I got the same good weather.. that would be perfect!
lincasanova is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2008, 06:16 AM
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Oh, gads! I did mean BASEL, not Bern. Got my "B's" mixed up. It's Basel that is just over the border and on a good train route from Heidelberg. Looking at photos on the web, it appears to be mostly flat. Good for walking, I'm thinking, but not very scenic for the train ride.
Barbara5353 is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2008, 06:52 AM
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The train ride was not very scenic up to freiburg, .. not sure if heidelberg is on same route.

there were no "mountainy" type areas in sight from basel if that is what you are looking for.

interlaken might be better. it was suggested i do a trip there but i didnīt have the time.
lincasanova is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2008, 11:56 AM
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Basel is on a flat plain where the Rhine river passes through. Although I am biased toward Basel, I would recommend staying in Germany if youe are in Heidelberg. I am definitely not a big fan of Strassbourg, it's just OK, nothing special, if you just want to go to a place in France, I would recommend Colmar over Strassbourg.

There are lots of towns & cities near Heidelberg where you can enjoy the christmas markets. Stuttgart has one of the largest christmas market and is only an hour south of Heidelberg, and a bit further south is a youthful student town, Tubingen. Other small charming towns to consider: Bad Wimpfen, Mosbach, Schwaebisch Hall, Speyer, and wine villages/towns like Weinheim & Bensheim.
DAX is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2008, 03:47 PM
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Hi lincasa,

Thanks for your report.

I think you and I could travel well together!

I really love the Beyeler Foundation too. I saw a wonderful Chagall exhibit there. Their permanent collection is quite nice too - eclectic but very good. The setting and the small scale really make it special. I wish every art museum was so user-friendly and special.

If you ever get to Bern there is a wonderful fine art museum there as well - also small but very nice. Then there is the very unique Paul Klee museum as well. And I very much enjoyed a day I spent strolling this interesting little city.

Luzern has the Rosengart Collection which is another favorite spot of mine for art. Also small and manageable. The last time I was there I actually got to meet Ms. Rosengart! A friend of mine who writes about art was coincidentally there that day interviewing her so she made the introduction.

There are actually many wonderful art finds in Switzerland although lots of travelers like to say there isn't much culture here. I don't agree.

gruezi is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2008, 05:11 PM
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Thankyou for an excellent report. We were in Basel last year seeking information about my grandfather and enjoyed walking through the city.

It was market day with all sorts of good food available. We found a fish stand and bought a delicious smoked eel which we carried around with us all day until we got back to our apartment in Kandersteg.

I have my grandparents home town certificate, dated 23 July 1889, which states that they and their children will always "have the right to live in this town, under any circumstances, any time." I wonder if it extends to grandchildren.
ronkala is offline  
Feb 14th, 2010, 10:24 AM
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tinyteacup is offline  
Jan 19th, 2011, 05:07 PM
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Nice report. Thank you.
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