Cycle Tour Danoube Cycle Path, Bale - Constanza
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Added on 17 May 2017,
on 27 Nov 2018
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by hodel on 18 May 2017
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Basel, Basel-Stadt, CH (291 m NHN)
Mamaia, RO (13 m NHN)
Beuron Benediktiner Kloster
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One of Switzerland's underrated tourist destinations, Basel has a beautiful medieval old town center, a fascinating Carnival, and several world class art museums built by architects like Renzo Piano, Mario Botta and Herzog & De Meuron. Basel is also rich in architecture old and new, with a Romanesque Münster (cathedral), a Renaissance Rathaus (town hall), and various examples of high quality contemporary architecture, including more buildings by Herzog & De Meuron, Richard Meier, Diener & Diener, and various others.
Located in the Dreiländereck (three countries' corner), Basel is a gateway to the Swiss Jura mountains and nearby cities of Zürich and Lucerne, as well as the neighboring French region of Alsace and the German Black Forest. There are a number of things to see and do if you have a few days to spend.
The town of Basel lies in the north-western corner of Switzerland. The town shares borders with France and Germany and is the heart of this tri-national region - the Dreiländereck (three countries' corner). Besides its own attractions it can serve as a good entry point to the Alsace, Black Forest regions or the canton of Basel-Land.
The Rhine curves through the city and divides the town into two parts. Situated on the south and west bank is Grossbasel (Great Basel) with the medieval old town at its center. Kleinbasel (Little Basel), featuring much of the night-life, is on the north bank.
Visiting Basel can be a holiday for your vocal cords if you plan to absorb the beautiful art in silence exhibited in the many first-rate museums. Once a year it also hosts Art | Basel (see Do) which is the world's premier fair for modern classics and contemporary art.
Basel has one of the most amazing carnivals you're likely to see, called Fasnacht. If you're there during the "three loveliest days" of the year, prepare to be amazed, and don't expect to be able to sleep.
Old Town Attractions
Most of the "old town" attractions in Basel are in a walkable area between the Basel Zoo (just south of the Basel SBB train station) and the Rhine. Since most stores are closed on Sundays, it is a good day to plan to see one of the many museums, which are usually open. Basel and surroundings have over 20 museums, and many of these have a free opening hour at the end of the day.
- ⊙ Basler Münster (Basel Minster). And Pfalz. Walk up cobbled streets and alleys from Marktplatz or Mittlere Brücke to Münsterplatz (Cathedral square) to see Basel's Münster (cathedral), built 1019-1500 in Romanesque and Gothic style, and the medieval buildings lining the square. The Münster is open to the public. Its highlight is the Galluspforte (Gallus portal) on the western façade, considered the most important Romanesque sculptural work in Switzerland. The main (south) façade also features numerous figures (mostly Romanesque), including St. George slaying the Dragon. The inside has, among other things, a lectern most delicately carved out of sandstone (19th century), and a crypt with tombs of early bishops of Basel. For a few CHF, you can climb St. Martin's tower (completed 1500), at 62 meters the shorter of the two towers - the other tower is St. George's, 65 meters, completed in 1492, after the 1356 earthquake destroyed an earlier version. Enjoy spectacular views over the Rhine, the city and Alsace and Black Forest in the distance. However, you must be accompanied in order to be allowed entrance (jumping risk). Views from the Pfalz (plaza) north of the Münster and overlooking the Rhine are some of the best Basel has to offer. This is a nice place to have a picnic.
- ⊙ Elisabethen Church, Elisabethenstrasse. St. Elizabeth is relatively underrated in Basel guides and maps given its historical significance. Built between 1857-1865, it was the first new Protestant church building in Basel following the Reformation and is considered the most important neo-Gothic church in Switzerland.
- Marktplatz (Market square). Fresh fruits and vegetables, breads and pastries, flowers are available each working day. Considerably more vendors on Saturday morning.
- ⊙ Rathaus (Town hall). Right on Marktplatz, this beautifully renovated Renaissance palace is still in official use, but you can enter the courtyard on your own, or join a guided tour organized by Basel Tourismus, which also offers tours of other sightseeing destinations, such as the Münster (see below).
- The Gates to the Walled City. A (third) ring of fortifications around the whole old city was constructed after the great earthquake of 1356, to provide security for the then roughly 20,000 inhabitants of Basel. A number of these gates can still be seen at the perimeter of what used to be the medieval city: ⊙ Spalentor (tram no. 3 from Barfüsserplatz in the city center, direction Burgfelden Grenze), ⊙ St. Alban Tor, near Aeschenplatz (tram no. 3 direction Birsfelden), St. Johanns Tor, near the Rhine, tram No. 11 direction St. Louis Grenze).
Basel prides itself on having more than two dozen museums, covering a wide range of subjects, from art - emphasized below - and architecture to cartoons and even doll houses. Perhaps the most important ones are:
- ⊙ Kunstmuseum Basel (Museum of Art), St. Alban-Graben 16, city center, ☎ +41 61 206 62 62. Basel's exquisite art museum houses an impressive permanent collection of 19th and 20th century works (including a whole room filled with masterpieces by Picasso), as well as an extensive collection of medieval and renaissance paintings from European artists (Hans Baldung Grien, Hans Holbein, among others).
- ⊙ Under the same umbrella, but in a separate building, at St. Alban-Rheinweg 60 (10 minute walk from the main facility) is the Museum für Gegenwartskunst (Museum of Contemporary Art), which focuses - as the German name says - on contemporary art. Along with the Beyeler Foundation (see below), both collections are must-sees for art lovers. No photography.
- ⊙ Museum Jean Tinguely, Paul Sacher-Anlage 1, ☎ +41 61 681 93 20. Tu-Su 11AM-5PM. A 15 minute walk east from Mittlere Brücke, following for the most part the promenade on the Kleinbasel bank of the Rhine, or take bus no. 36. See some fantastic animated mechanical works at this museum dedicated to Swiss artist Jean Tinguely and other similar "kinetic" modern artists. Great for kids. It's allowed to take pictures. The building was designed by Mario Botta, whose other museum buildings include the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. 10 CHF adults, free for children up to age 16. No photography. Tinguely was one of Basel's most beloved artists, and another of his poetic machine sculptures, the Fasnachtsbrunnen (Carnival Fountain) can be seen on the plaza in front of Restaurant Kunsthalle on Steinenberg (see Eat), next to a large metal sculpture by American artist Richard Serra. It's allowed to take pictures.
- Kunsthalle Basel, Steinenberg 7, city center, ☎ +41 61 206 99 00. Tu–F 11AM–6PM, Th 11AM–8:30PM, Sa,Su 11AM–5PM. Basel's main non-commercial art space for changing contemporary art shows. Throughout the year, the Kunsthalle shows cutting edge international artists in meticulously curated shows.
- ⊙ Museum der Kulturen (Museum of Cultures), Münsterplatz 20, ☎ +41 61 266 56 00. Basel's ethnographic museum featuring exhibits from South America, Africa, East Asia and Oceania. The exhibits from the South Seas, Ancient America, Tibet and Bali are world-famous, as are its textiles.
- ⊙ Antikenmuseum Basel (Museum of Ancient Art and Ludwig Collection), St. Albangraben 5, ☎ +41 61 201 12 12. Across the street from the Kunstmuseum there is one of Europe's largest collection of antiquities. It includes some Egyptian and Mesopotamian art, but its largest departments are those of Greek art.
- ⊙ 'Spielzeug Welten Museum Basel' - Puppenhausmuseum Basel (Dollhouse Museum), Steinenvorstadt 1, at the Barfüsserplatz. Boasts having the world's greatest collection of teddy bears as well as fascinating toy shops and doll houses constructed to the scale of 1:12. A great place for kids and adults alike. CHF 7 adults, free for children up to age 16 (if accompanied).
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Wikivoyage contributors, 'Basel', Wikivoyage, The FREE worldwide travel guide that anyone can edit, 18 July 2016, 19:36 UTC, <https://en.wikivoyage.org/w/index.php?title=Basel&oldid=3023769> [accessed 25 August 2016]
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