A CHRISTMAS TRIP TO BASEL
Merry Christmas week one and all! With just a few days to go, you’re probably already in full-on festive mode, but if you’re not – then hold onto your bobble hats! Because here comes a super Christmassy post that’s bound to get you in the festive zone.
Thanks to a kind invite from their tourism board, Callum spent a few days last week exploring the lovely Swiss town of Basel. I still remember a school trip to Switzerland yearrrrrsss ago, and how beautiful I found the country, especially at this time of year. So I was super excited for Callum to get to see it for himself! He came back very happy (and one size bigger, because of course: cheese). Find out what he got up to, and his top recommendations of things to see, eat and do in this picture-perfect Christmassy town…
Though Basel would make for a great European weekend getaway all year round, with it’s pretty architecture and cultural, metropolitan vibe, Basel comes into its own in the winter. Not only does it have the biggest Christmas market in Switzerland, there’s also the cosy food to consider – hello fondue! – and *those* panoramic views across the Rhine. Callum stayed in Hotel Wettstein, a good base for exploring the city. He recommends discovering the city on foot, meandering down the pretty streets and stopping for coffee or a cup of hot chocolate at whichever cafe takes your fancy. It’s a small enough city to cover in a few days, but with plenty of interesting things going on, so grab your favourite travel buddy and get wandering! Here are some places you should definitely try and pay a visit to…
Rebgasse 12-14, 4058 Basel
Of course we had to start the list with Callum’s standout restaurant from the trip. Volshaus was designed by the architects of the Tate and the Tate Modern, so enjoy the super sleek environment of this French brasserie while sampling their simple but elegant food (Callum recommends the steak). The venue also hosts music and other cultural events throughout the year, and in the warmer months visit the pretty courtyard beer garden for a few cheeky drinks. The restaurant is super popular thanks to the standard of food and service, so be sure to book!
Paul Sacher-Anlage 2, 4002 Basel
If you love museums, you’re spoilt for choice in Basel. There are 40 museums within 37 km2! One of the standouts is the Museum Tinguely, devoted to the life and work of famous Swiss iron sculptor Jean Tinguely. Enjoy a few creative hours interacting with the metal sculptures and displays. Particularly great for families with children, who’ll love the playful aspects. The museum also has a beautiful spot overlooking the Rhine, so you can enjoy some gorgeous views of the city as well.
Im Schmiedenhof 10, 4001 Basel
A great lunch or dinner spot with a casual cafe vibe and a lovingly-crafted wine list. Try their burger – approved by burger-king Callum himself. The roast-beef baguette also comes highly recommended, as does the coffee, which is Viennese inspired with a Swiss touch. Plus, the super cool retro-inspired interior is fresh, urban and totally Instagram ready.
Blumenrain 8, CH-4001
To complete a cosy winter’s night in Basel you have to make a visit to this beautiful 5* hotel. It’s the ultimate luxe hideaway, with an open log fire in the bar and twinkling Christmas decorations abound. Nestle by the fire with one of their delicious cocktails (a little pricey, but worth it) whilst being serenaded by the pianist in the adjacent lounge. Date spot factor x100 – especially if you book a table at their 3* michelin restaurant.
Barfüsserplatz, 4010 Basel
Of course, no festive trip to Basel would be complete without exploring the Christmas market! Head to Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz at the heart of the city’s Old Town for Switzerland’s biggest Christmas market, with over 180 stalls full of artisan gifts, local delicacies (must-tries are Basel Läckerli, a gingerbread treat, and Swiss raclette – mmm cheesy goodness), and of course as much of Gluhwein (mulled wine) as you can fill your belly with! Enjoy the beautiful lights and decorations daily until the 23rd December. For ultra Christmas vibes be sure to pass by the Johann Wanner Christmas House (pick up next year’s Xmas tree ornaments here) and warm up with a traditional Swiss fondue at Restaurant Kunsthalle’s pop-up winter cabin.
Other things to add to the list:
- Consum – Cute care/bar with yummy cake and a super Instagrammable floor
- Spielzeug Welten Museum Basel – The largest toy museum in Europe. Interesting? Yes. Creepy? A little …
- Nomad – Design hotel with a modern feel and luxe touches with a gorgeous spa and great restaurant
- Brauerei Fischerstube – Pop by for a freshly brewed pint of local Ueli beer!
- Kunstmuseum Basel – Currently home to a fantastic Jackson Pollock exhibition, this is a must-visit, with beautiful architecture and home to the world’s largest collection of works by the Holbein family. Spot major pieces by van Gogh, Gauguin, Xezanne and Picasso
- Rheinfahre – Cross the Rhine in the traditional way with this current-led boat trip! A great way to take in the scenic river-front