With watches, art and a lovely river, Basel deserves to be your next long weekend city escape. Basel feels straight out of a Bond film. The high-end shops, gourmet eateries, and the sophisticated Grand Hotel Trois Rois will leave you with an aristocratic air. Read this city guide to Basel to find out why!
Where is Basel?
Basel is located just over the French and German borders in Switzerland, making it an hour and a half south of Strasbourg and about an hour north west of Zurich. Situated right on the Rhine River you can tell that Basel is truly a melting pot of French and German influences, with some of that Swiss efficiency mixed it. The architecture, food and culture of the city is refreshingly metropolitan with a dash of history.
Where to Stay
It was easy to choose our hotel in Basel, as there is really only one option for the luxury traveller, the Grand Hotel Trois Rois, located directly on the Rhine River. I have to start off by saying; I cannot wait to come back to this hotel. I could feel the heritage as soon as we walked in. It truly felt like 007 was going to be sitting at the bar sipping a vodka martini.
And when we got up to our room we were greeted with a magnificent view of the river and very traditional decor.
Typically, we are more inclined to choose ultra modern hotels, but the Trois Rois is so well maintained that when I say “traditional” I truly do not mean “dated”, I absolutely fell in love with the red walls and the classic furniture (especially because we had a modern bathroom and modern technology).
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Where to Eat
Again, the first stop in Basel should be at one of the Trois Rois’ restaurants, either their 3 Michelin Star Cheval Blanc or their equally as impressive riverside Brasserie. Unfortunately, we were not able to score a reservation at Cheval Blanc, but we were lucky enough to have enjoyed an amazing 5 course tasting menu with wine pairings in the Brasserie. And with the level of attention to detail and the perfect service, we felt as if we were in a Michelin starred establishment.
What to Do
Like I said above, Basel is a blend of cultures. So it is really one of those cities where you need to just get out into the streets and breathe all that in. As your stroll, there will be plenty to do, cafes, high-end shops, a lovely market, etc. Just take a breath and enjoy.
When to Go
While Basel becomes filled to the brim during certain times of the year: Art Basel in early June and Basel World in late March, the city has a gorgeous summer and a perfect shoulder season. We visited in late April and the city was not crowded at all; we felt like locals.
Basel is a city that deserves attention the whole year round, not just during Basel World and Art Basel. But for now, enjoy the quiet off-season and have this wonderful little city all to yourself!