Basel: cultural capital and architectural metropolis of Switzerland
All About Basel
Basel is a city of many contrasts. Although classical modernity and street art are apparently very different, both of these artistic tendencies stand out in Basel. There is no other place that hosts such a concentration of buildings by world-famous architects, placed in a constructive structure that has developed over centuries and centuries of history. We are constantly evolving. Every time you come to Basel, you discover something new.
Basel is the perfect destination for anyone wishing to embark on a fascinating journey into the world of art. Around 40 museums, the largest art fair in the world and a young and lively art scene make Basel a great little city of culture, with a charm that goes far beyond the borders of Europe.
The Fondation Beyeler is the most visited art museum in Switzerland and internationally renowned for its extraordinary exhibitions, its significant collection of works of classical modernity and contemporary art as well as for its ambitious program of events. Museum Tinguely houses the largest collection of works by the Swiss artist Jean Tinguely, and the Kunstmuseum Basel, with the oldest collection of public art in the world, is one of the most renowned museums of its kind internationally.
It is therefore no coincidence that here, with Art Basel, the main fair of the international art market takes place. More than 250 selected galleries from among the most renowned in the world temporarily transform the Basel fair every spring into a splendid museum, exhibiting works of art from the 20th and 21st centuries. By now, «the mother of all art fairs» is present with its lateral exhibitions four times a year on three continents: in March in Hong Kong, in June in the Basel venue, in October in Paris and in December in Miami Beach.
In few other cities are so many cultural institutions located next to each other as in Basel. Here, theater and music lovers find everything they could wish for: extraordinary shows, ballet of the highest level and concerts of all kinds, from classical to pop music. World music stars and new promises come to Basel to demonstrate their talents in the most varied contexts, for example in the “Bird’s Eye”, one of the most popular jazz clubs in Europe, or in the Floss (a floating stage on the waters of the Rhine ), or in the concert halls of the Stadtcasino. With their unrivaled acoustics, the halls of the Stadtcasino form a coveted stage for orchestras from all over the world, but above all for the Basel Symphony and Chamber Orchestra.
The architectural diversity of Basel is unique in Switzerland. Local architectural firms such as Herzog & de Meuron or Diener & Diener attract worldwide attention with their buildings and actively contribute to the development of their city. But also non-local architects of the caliber of Richard Meier, Frank O. Gehry or Renzo Piano have set strong accents here. A dozen winners of the coveted Pritzker Architecture Prize have written their names in the history of Basel with their buildings.
Particularly evident is the worldwide unique concentration of distinguished architecture on the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein and on the Novartis Campus, which has been open to the public on weekdays since autumn 2022.
In the evening, just as sunset, a spectacular play of light makes shine the Novartis Pavillon in the Novartis Campus park for 30 minutes. The electricity for the colorful light patterns is produced by thousands of organic solar cells integrated into the media facade.
Basel makes it easy to stay sustainably. In the city center everything is close at hand and you can easily explore Basel on foot or by bike. The four ferries on the Rhine, which connect Grossbasel to Kleinbasel, are pushed only by the current of the Rhine. Second-hand shops, flea and second-hand markets, packaging-free shops and concept stores with fair fashion promote conscious consumption and , therefore, a trend that is here to stay.
Basel’s gastronomy also convinces with sustainable approaches: More and more restaurants are cooking mainly based on regional products, which helps to avoid food waste. The big names in starred cuisine, such as Tanja Grandits, Pascal Steffen and Flavio Fermi cook their gourmet menus with seasonal ingredients from the immediate vicinity and prove with every course that they are worth every Michelin star and GaultMillau point. Furthermore, with the Cheval Blanc by Peter Knogl, Basel is still the only Swiss city to boast a three-star restaurant.
The Rhine is the lifeline and recreation area of Basel. When the temperatures begin to rise, Kleinbasel’s sunny Rhine bank almost feels like being in a southern town. People relax in the buvette full of charm – small, delightful open-air kiosks – or let themselves be carried away gently by the current of the river.
There is nothing more beautiful than to cool off by swimming in the waters of the Rhine while admiring the historic beauties of the city. Clothes and valuables stay dry if stored in the colorful wickelfisch – a waterproof bag in the shape of a fish and a Basel invention.
Anyone staying overnight in Basel benefits from discounts on numerous cultural and leisure offers as well as other exclusive benefits via the BaselCard. The personal guest card is received free of charge when booking accommodation in Basel and can also be downloaded as an app on your smartphone.
It is valid for your entire stay as a free ticket on all public transport in Basel – by the way, it is already valid for getting to your hotel. With the BaselCard, those staying overnight in Basel also receive a 50% discount on admission to museums, the zoo and Theater Basel, and can rent e-bikes at attractive prices.
More information: go toward the tourist board of Basel.
Basel: The City of Art
Curation By: Becca Malkin