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One of Switzerland's underrated tourist destinations, Basel has a beautiful medieval old town centre, a vibrant Carnival and several world class art museums. Basel is also rich in architecture old and new with a Romanesque Munster (cathedral), a Renaissance Rathaus (town hall), and various examples of high quality contemporary architecture. Basel is a gateway to the Swiss Jura mountains and nearby cities of Zurich and Lucerne, as well as the neighbouring French region of Alsace and the German Black Forest. The Euroairport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg is the only tri-national airport in the world. Built on French soil about four kilometres from Basel, it is connected with the city by a customs-free road.

Most of the “old town” attractions in Basel are in walking distance between the Basel Zoo (just south of the Basel SBB train station) and the Rhine. Basel and the surrounding area have over 20 museums, covering a wide range of subjects, from art and architecture to cartoons and even doll houses and many of these have a free opening hour at the end of the day. Walk up cobbled streets and alleys from Marktplatz or Mittlere Brucke to Munsterplatz (Cathedral square) to see Basel's Munster (cathedral), built 10191500 in Romanesque and Gothic style. Basel’s highlight is the Galluspforte (Gallus portal) on the western facade, considered the most important Romanesque sculptural work in Switzerland. Basel Zoo is the oldest and largest (by number of animals) zoo in Switzerland, with easy access by walking or tram from the central SBB station.

Basel's shopping mile goes from Clarastrasse (Claraplatz) to Marktplatz and up Freiestrasse and Gerbergasse to Heuwaage and Bankverein. Much of the shopping here is in specialty stores and luxury boutiques, with a few department stores. Like other large Swiss cities, Basel has many jewellers, horologers (watches), and chocolatiers. Try to veer off the beaten track and check out Schneidergasse, the hilly Spalenberg and adjacent little alleyways such as Heuberg, Nadelberg which are not only lovely to walk through but where one are likely to find more original shops, selling artisan jewelry, antiques, specialty items, vintage clothing, books, art and many more.

Basel has a thriving restaurant and cafe culture and the streets of the old town are lined with outdoor seating in the summer. Food in Switzerland is generally more expensive than other countries in Europe and those on a budget should consider preparing their own food from the grocery store or taking a trip up to nearby France or Germany. Many of the restaurants in the historical part of Basel near Marktplatz are generally of good quality. These include the easily located Löwenzorn, Gifthüttli and Hasenburg, all of which serve traditional Swiss dishes in a rustic environment.


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