Travel to Basel

River Rhine in Basel

While I was working for a Swiss company for a couple of years, I would travel to Basel about twice per month. Therefore, I was able to try a lot of different hotels and restaurants. One thing I remember is that landing on a Sunday evening was the worst, because most restaurants were closed and I could not find any food! Summer is a nice time of year to visit, because one of the activity highlights is floating down the river with a fish bag to keep your personal items dry. In fact, some people even use this for commuting!

If you travel to Basel, a couple of days is probably enough to see the highlights. Many people fly into Basel for work, or to travel to other locations in Switzerland, France or Germany, both border countries. Its known as a cultural centre and has two excellent art museums.

Mittlere Brücke
Tinguely Museum


Before you go

  • The airport is partially in France and Switzerland, so ensure to exit to the correct country
  • Mobile reception can sometimes switch between countries since Basel borders France and Germany
  • If you run or walk along the river path north of the city, at some point you will reach a place where the three countries intersect. Technically, you should have your passport with you
  • Some people speak English, but a translation app can be useful for German/Swiss-German
  • On Sundays, many shops are closed except the ones in the rail station
  • Restaurants stop serving food earlier than in many other European cities. Also fewer places are open on Sunday evenings
  • In my opinion, the best cuisine to choose is Italian
  • Summertime is very lively in the city with festivals, and the popular pastime of floating down the river
  • Prices are expensive in general. For hotels and trains, it is usually better to book in advance.
Nubya at Floss Festival
Basel city centre
Kunstmuseum Basel


  • EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg is located to the northwest of the city centre. Bus 50 runs between the airport and the main station, and it takes about 20 minutes and costs about euros each way
  • Taxis are available but can be very expensive. Uber is a cheaper alternative
  • The main rail station is SBB and there is a smaller station in the north, Gare du Nord
  • Buses and trams serve the city run by BVB and some cross the border into Germany


In a boat on the river
Outdoor art in Basel
Basel at sunset
Pizzeria Vito
Dinner at Au Violon
Pork at Restaurant Atelier (im Teufelhof)
Tacos at Cartell
Gelateria du Berna
Peruvian ceviche at Markthalle
Gatto Nero fresh pasta
Brauerei giant profiterole
Green papaya salad from Thai Family Restaurant
Mussels at Fish & More Restaurant in Markthalle
Wasabi Japanese sushi box
Thai Express Basel pad thai
Sushi from Negishi Sushi Bar
Pasta at Restaurant Fiorentina
Fish at Nomad
Ethopian food at Markthalle
Drinks at Zum Kuss
Pizza at Margherita
Bento box at Noohn restaurant
Beef carpaccio at Acqua
Angels’ Share Cocktailbar
Chanthaburi Thai food
LeBua Thai papaya salad


Bakeries and Snacks

Confiserie Sprüngli for chocolates and pastries

Läderach fine Swiss chocolates

Union Diner has multiple locations for burgers

Zum Kuss cafe and bar is great for a drink and snack

Läckerli Huus AG Swiss spiced cookies

Gelateria di Berna for traditional and unique gelato flavours

Finkmüller – Coffee & Fine Goods is a nice cafe

Bubeck Zuggerbegg bakery for breads, pastries

Sutter Begg bakery for traditional baked goods


Italian food

When I travel to Basel, I tend to eat a lot of Italian food because there are many good option. Also, the dishes tend to be lighter than traditional Swiss food.

Gatto Nero for fresh pasta and delicious gourmet options is one of my favourites, recommended by a local friend

Four of my favourite pizzerias in the city are: Pizzeria Vito, Margherita, Pizzeria Ristorante Molino and Artigiano Café Pizzeria Napoletana

Trattoria aroma, Restaurant Fiorentina and Acqua are more for fine dining

And then the rest of the options are casual and reliably tasty

Zum Isaak

Bodega zum Strauss

Ristorante Da Roberto

Osteria Little Italy

Restaurant zum Rebhaus

Gabri’s Pasta

Swiss German food

Warteck Brewery is one of my favourite, casual places for food and beer.

Restaurant Stucki – Tanja Grandits has a tasting menu for fine dining and Roter Bären is for reasonably-priced fine dining

The other options all have Swiss food and sometimes a mix of other European dishes


Restaurant Atelier (im Teufelhof)



Gasthof zum Goldenen Sternen

Hotel Restaurant Resslirytti

Restaurant Alexander

Ufer7 Basel casual riverside restaurant

Hotel Krafft restaurant

Volkshaus Basel

Restaurant Clarastübli

French food

Although Basel is on the border with France, there are not too many specifically French restaurants. These are the few I would recommend:


Au Violon

La Fourchette

Parterre One

Thai food

There are many Thai restaurants in Basel, and these were some of my go-to restaurants during business trips.

Thai Family restaurant

Restaurant Boo Klybeck and other locations

Thai Express Basel near the north station


LeBua Thai 

Restaurants Thai Café

Japanese food

Surprisingly, there are also quite a few Japanese restaurants. However, some of these are Japanese and other Asian food. I really liked Wasabi which is just for takeaway. It is located behind the rail station and so mostly frequented by locals.

Wasabi mostly for takeaway and surprisingly good quality and value

Negishi Sushi Bar Steinen

Fujin Sushi Bar & Restaurant

NOOHN Japanese and other Asian foods with rooftop dining

namamen for ramen noodles


Don Pincho tapas bar

Don Camillo with a mix of cuisines fused with Swiss

Cartell, surprisingly good Mexican food

Nomad Eatery & Bar casual and with lots of different cuisines

Tibits vegetarian and vegan cafe that charges by weight of the food

Vegitat vegetarian restaurant

Dragon Girl Kitchen Chinese Cantonese food

Mum’s Kitchen Vietnamese food

Knock on Wood Vietnamese

Lily’s Maxim Asian restaurant

Food markets

Klara with many different food stalls and bars. Open later than many other places

Markthalle for a wide variety of food stalls, wine bars, and beer



Volta Brau

cargobar Basel

Bibliothek Bar

Campari Bar


baltazar bar



Angels’ Share Cocktailbar

Sääli bar and live music



Irrsinn Bar

Blaupause – Cocktailbar



Q: Do I need a tour guide?

A: No, it is easy to find the places of interest in Basel

Q: Do people speak English?

A: Some people to do but it is useful to have a translation app for German or Swiss-German

Q: Is it a walkable city?

A: Yes it is walkable, although there are also buses and trams to get around

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