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Things to Do in Basel, Switzerland on a Romantic Getaway

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With idyllic scenery, incredible restaurants, and lots to explore — Basel, Switzerland offers plenty of romance for couples. Enjoy these seven romantic things to do in Basel with your partner.

Bicycle surrounded by wisteria in Basel, Switzerland

Bicycle surrounded by wisteria in Basel, Switzerland (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

1. Wander through Basel’s Old Town.

With over 2,000 years of history, Basel has much for couples to explore. Best is wandering along the cobblestone streets of Old Town to pop into quaint stores for souvenirs or tempting bakeries for a treat. You can’t miss the Marktplatz (or Market Place, in German), an open-air square bursting with fresh produce, flowers, cheeses, and more. Next door is the ornate and colorful Rathaus (Town Hall).

Basel's colorful Town Hall, Rathaus

Basel’s colorful Town Hall, Rathaus (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

2. Watch Tinguely Fountain together.

Also located in the city center is Tinguely Fountain. Designed by Swiss artist Jean Tinguely, this unique fountain  features 10 iron figures that shovel and spray water year-round. In winter it becomes an ice sculpture with water shooting from the icicle-covered mechanical fountain. Fascinated by Tinguely’s fountain? Visit the largest Tinguely collection in the world at Museum Tinguely.

Tinguely Fountain

Tinguely Fountain (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

3. Take in the view from Basel Minster.

Behind the fountain you can see the impressive Basel Minster. It operates today as an Episcopal church but was built as a Catholic cathedral in the 11th and 16th centuries in Romanesque and Gothic styles. Climb to the top for stunning views of the Rhine and the Black Forest in the distance.

View from top Basel Minster

View from top Basel Minster (Photo credit: olli0815, Depositphotos.com)

4. Hold hands at a museum.

With 40 museums in the city, you need to visit at least one during your stay. Options range from Basel’s best-known museum, Fondation Beyeler with its renowned contemporary and modern art collections — to Spielseug Welten Museum Basel, home of the world’s largest collection of teddy bears, dolls, and doll houses.

Fondation Beyeler, Monet Room

Fondation Beyeler, Monet Room
(Photo credit: Serge Hasenböhler, courtesy of Fondation Beyeler)

Even if you don’t have much time to tour, you can squeeze in a visit to one of the world’s smallest museums, Hoosesaggmuseum. In fact, this museum is so tiny, you can’t even step inside. The window display pictured below shows the museum in its entirety. It houses rotating collections of themed items on loan from locals. When we were there, the theme was lions in honor of The Lion King musical, which was playing at the Musical Theatre Basel.

The smallest museum in Basel, Hoosesaggmuseum

The smallest museum in Basel, Hoosesaggmuseum (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

5. Enjoy the Rhine River.

Located on the bend of the Rhine, Basel is uniquely situated with easy access to France, Germany and, of course, Switzerland. In fact, after we got off the plane, we almost went to France instead of walking through the Swiss exit before we realized we needed to pick our country to leave the airport!

Couple by the Rhine in Basel, Switzerland

My husband and me by the Rhine (Photo credit: Travel Mamas)

The Rhine River is ever-present in Basel’s history and its residents’ life. Thanks to Basel’s location along this river, the city’s inhabitants have long enjoyed trade with other cities along the waterway. In summer, a great many locals float down the Rhine on round individual floats to cool off during their lunch hour. To explore different areas of Basel, you can take a non-motorized ferry, powered solely by the river’s current. Or, cross easily on five bridges that stretch across the Rhine to explore the modern side or Basel’s Old Town.

A non-motorized ferry crossing the Rhine River in Basel, Switzerland

A non-motorized ferry crossing the Rhine River (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Then, get drinks while taking in the river view. The sunny, more modern side of the Rhine is THE place to be on summer afternoons for a picnic on the grass or drinks at a pub. Sipping hefeweizen beers at a local joint along the Rhine with complimentary side of olives was sublime. It was one of those moments where you sit with your partner and just relax and toast your good fortune.

Prost! Beers along the Rhine in Basel, Switzerland

Prost! Here’s to drinks along the Rhine! (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

6. Splurge on a spectacular meal.

Located between three countries, Basel’s cuisine reflects its multicultural location. For a truly memorable meal, make a beeline for Restaurant Schlusselzunft. This is the kind of place where you feel rawther important just dining within its walls. Leave your worries about budget at home and bring extra Swiss francs because this place ain’t cheap. It is, however, worth every centime. Located in a former guild house, you feel a part of history here.

To start, get the tarte tatin with morel and spring onion, I beg of you. It was one of the best things I have ever eaten. Ever. As for entrées, my husband won the dinner battle with his order of monkfish medallions with mustard crust, sesame-cowpeas and tomatoes. This light, buttery, fluffy fish was seasoned with a hint of some intriguing spice…was it cardamom, cinnamon or nutmeg? No matter. It was delicious. Desserts were impressive in presentation but lacking in taste, so I suggest skipping them and sipping another glass of wine instead, if you’re so inclined.

Restaurant Schlusselzunft, a romantic option for couples in Basel

Restaurant Schlusselzunft (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin

7. Stay in Basel in style.

My husband and I bedded down at Hotel Steinenschanze. This hotel offers a very modern, Northern European feel with bright colors and clean lines. Room prices vary greatly from an economy single to our swanky studio, with a separate living room, two TVs, and access to a grassy garden area. Included for guests is an evening apéritif in the lounge plus complimentary breakfast with yogurts, fresh fruits, charcuterie, cheeses, pastries, and more each morning. There’s even a fun squeeze-your-own orange juice machine. Sit inside or in the outdoor tree-lined courtyard.

Breakfast at Hotel Steinenschanze

Breakfast at Hotel Steinenschanze (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

If that’s not swanky enough for you, then there’s always the Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois. If you can’t afford to sleep like royalty, then do as we did and go for a fancy-schmancy lunch instead with a sensational view of the Rhine. It would be hard not to feel in the mood for romance here!

Rhine River view at lunch at Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois

Gorgeous Rhine view at lunch at Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Why choose Basel for a romantic holiday?

After exploring Basel, my husband and I boarded our Viking River Cruises ship for an eight-day adventure up the Rhine. For us, Basel was the perfect place to start our journey. I’m sure you’ll find this elegant, multicultural city to be a wonderful setting for your romantic getaway, too.

Beautiful Strasbourg, France

Beautiful Strasbourg, France — one of the stops on the Viking River Cruise on the Rhine (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Explore more destinations for couples.

Intrigued by the idea of embarking on a Viking River Cruise with your partner? Take a look the other amazing destinations we visited during our Viking River Cruise on the Rhine.

Strasbourg is like dancing with Cinderella at a ball attended by super models. Discover why you’ll fall in love with Strasbourg, France.

If live jazz, creative cocktails, and Creole cuisine sound romantic to you, then you’re right! Take a look at these romantic things to do in New Orleans.

On the other coast, couples are sure to enjoy a Carmel, Carmel romantic getaway.

Basel, Switzerland Romantic Getaway

Save these Basel, Switzerland tips.

For future reference, save this list of romantic things to do in Basel. Simply pin the image above to Pinterest. We hope you’ll follow Travel Mamas on Pinterest while you’re at it!

Would you like to visit Basel, Switzerland with your partner? Let us know in the comments below!

A Note from The Travel Mama: Our cruise was hosted by Viking River Cruises. Our hotel and some of our meals were provided by Switzerland Tourism. All opinions are mine, as always.

About Colleen Lanin

Colleen Lanin is the founder/editor-in-chief of TravelMamas.com. As the author of her book, "The Travel Mamas' Guide," she teaches parents not only how to survive a trip with children, but also how to love exploring the world with their offspring. Her stories have appeared online and in print for such outlets as the "Today" show, NBCNews.com, Parenting Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, Chicago Tribune, Expedia, San Diego Family Magazine, and more. Colleen gives tips on television, radio, and as a public speaker. She has a master’s degree in business administration with a background in marketing. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.

Comments
  1. I have always wanted to visit Basel. It’s on my lengthy list.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Katie – To be honest, I hadn’t heard of Basel until we booked our Viking Cruise Rhine Getaway. I’m so glad we discovered this unique city!

  2. Wow. This honestly looks like a spectacular place! Those photographs are unbelievable! I’ve always been interested in exploring Basel, but I have never really got round to it!
    Think you’ve just inspired my journey for next year!

  3. I’m taking a virtual romantic holiday right now through your post. I think that my husband and I would have a wonderful time here!

  4. Ellen Lanin says

    It’s hard to imagine how small the distances are in Europe to go from one country to another. Glad to experience this with your write-up.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      It was so amazing to start our morning in one country, spend our afternoon in another, and sometimes by evening arrive in yet another country during our Viking River Cruise!

  5. Switzerland has much to offer, I’m sure. The architecture, the museums, and so much old world charm. I would love to take a Viking river cruise, too!

  6. That is so amazing! We’ve been to Europe several times, but we’ve never gone to Switzerland. That needs to change!

    • Colleen Lanin says

      For sure! Such an amazing country with four official languages and so much influence from other cultures, but a vibe all its own.

  7. Anngelic.com says

    We don’t really have wisteria flowers here in Sweden where I live, and I have always dreamed of traveling somewhere where they grow 🙂

  8. I know the feeling you described of just sitting there and counting your blessings because things are so nice. It’s been awhile, but I remember that feeling well. 🙂 I’d love to visit Switzerland.

  9. My dream is to visit Switzerland, Thank you for amazing list of romantic things to do in Basel. I would be more than happy to try them, hope soon we can flight without limits.

  10. Pati Robins says

    i really miss going to museums, here are all closed atm due to lockdown , but i would love to have a look around Swiss Museums

    • Colleen Lanin says

      The museums in this post are currently locked down, too, I believe. But, we can all look forward to and plan future travels!

  11. I have been to Basel, as a child, which was a long time ago, lol, and I did love that city – the little bit of what we were able to see on our short trip. But I do know that it was beautiful and left an impression. Thanks for the reminder. I miss Europe! Blessings!

  12. I’ve never been to Switzerland but it’s definitely on the top of my list. Every city or town I see is so picturesque!

  13. Never been in there but switzerland in my bucket list.Hopefully wish ll come true.

  14. What a beautiful and magical place to visit! I would love to go someday.

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