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Activities in Basel for spring and summer

Thing to do in-and-around Basel to enjoy the warmer weather

©Basel Tourism
Kleinbasel is characterised by independent boutiques and international restaurants

When the sun shines on Basel, you'll see a city transformed from it's postcards-perfect snowy settings to a rambunctious hive of activities. So whether it's a much needed retail therapy or a relaxing river cruise on the Rhine, we've got something for you to try.

Things to do

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Rhine river cruises

The mighty Rhine river is the heart of Basel, so why not enjoy a cruise as you glide along the picturesque Swiss scenery and treat yourself to some onboard entertainment. Cruises vary in duration and distance according to operators, but one popular option is a two hour tour of the town and harbour, passing through the old town, Basel Minister, and ending up at Basel harbour. There is also a two and a half hour cruise between Basel to Rheinfelden. 

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Basel
2

Sightseeing in the Old Town

A stroll in the Old Town is highly recommended to get to grips with Basel’s extensive and very well preserved historic heritage. While the winding cobbled streets are perhaps best explored without too much of a plan in mind, there are some sights you should make sure to include in your itinerary. The Mittlere Brücke has been an international trade route since at least the 14th century and has allowed traffic to cross the Rhine in comfort since it was first built in 1226. It’s one of the best places to appreciate the beauty of Basel on the river and the juxtaposition of new and old architecture, especially at sunset. The Spalentor - the imposing gateway to the walled city centre of yore - has survived intact from 1400 and gives some insight into Basel medieval era. Finally, the Rathaus in Marktplatz is the historic seat of power in Basel and remains home to the city council to this day; a long and fascinating history can be discovered on the guided tours that run twice every Saturday.

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Basel
3

Dampfbad Basel

Whether you are local or in town for shopping, a meeting or an event, the Dampfbad in northern Basel’s St. Johann is the perfect retreat. Combining an oriental hammam with two steam rooms and a range of massages, it is an oasis of calm in muted beiges and greys. The recommended ritual includes a warming shower, 10 minutes in an aromatic 48 degrees steam room, a body scrub and a session in the 34 degrees relaxation pool, and can be repeated as many times as you like. Booking a massage as part of your visit is a luxurious addition. Thoughtful touches that enhance comfort include complimentary spiced tea, apples and eye masks in the rest room, natural Aesop toiletries in the showers and an endless supply of gold-threaded ‘Pestemals’ (Turkish bath towels) to protect your modesty. That’s right, you don’t have to be naked to enter – something of a rarity in Swiss steam rooms. 

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St. Johann

Nightlife

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Restaurant Hirscheneck

Recommended

A bar, restaurant, music venue and club in one, Hirscheneck is a venerable and eye-opening Basel institution, run since 1979 by a highly politicised collective for arty alternative types as well as the LGBT patrons who are its core clientele. Dining, which is mainly on vegetarian and vegan fare with a few organic meat dishes thrown in, takes place at long canteen tables, and generally comes with a side order of philosophical or left-leaning political discourse with your neighbours – a refreshing change in this most buttoned-down of burgs. Then there’s the nightlife, whose wildly varied scope includes punk and thrash bands, world music DJ sets, comedy shows, lesbian and transgender discos and good old-fashioned homo dance parties. Recently reopened after an extensive renovation, it’s a ballsy, brainy and beautiful mould-breaker.

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Altstadt Kleinbasel (central Kleinbasel)
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Nordstern Technoclub

People like to refer to it as a behemoth on Basel’s club scene, and there doesn’t seem to be too much competition if this is your style of nightlife. A gigantic technoclub, Nordstern specialises in bringing techno to the discerning masses. Even without the music, it’s an immensely cool industrial space that emerged from the underground workings of a power plant. Clubbing at Nordstern is carefully managed to try to help guests enjoy a transcendent experience – expect sound that has a profound physical effect and crowds of fellow clubbers dancing gleefully to an illustrious roll call of international artists late, late into the night. A strict door policy for over 20s only applies and is rigorously enforced.

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St. Johann
3

Hinterhof

While the location might not seem too promising, stranded in no man’s land between Basel-Land and Basel-Stadt, it’s ideal for Hinterhof and its youthful and edgy clientele. An enormous party house, Hinterhof is a huge bar-and-dance complex housed in an old fruitmarket that has truly seen better days. Punters come here primarily for the music, which ranges from big name international artists, to eclectic art projects and to local club DJs playing to a loyal following. The urban setting feels miles away from quaint and historic downtown Basel, with a landscape of carparks and train tracks visible from the roof terrace. If you don’t think you’re cool enough for a warehouse rave, you can sit up here insteads, enjoy one of the decently-priced cocktails and watch the sun go down.

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Gundeldingen
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SUD

Making good use of the spacious former Warteck brewery building, this cocktail bar, music venue and cultural centre has a wide range of events, from concerts and theatre to DJ nights and LGBT club queerPlanet and even poetry slams. With palm trees and a disco ball, it’s a cheerful sort of place, particularly during happy hour. It also serves delicious tapas and a decent Sunday brunch.

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Altstadt Kleinbasel (central Kleinbasel)
5

Plaza

Recommended

Located in what used to be Zurich's most beautiful cinema, Plaza club has a lot of charm and atmosphere and regularly hosts some of the best national and international house DJs. But their signature night is all about girls, not music. Their monthly burlesque show 'Oh la la Chérie' attracts a dolled and dressed up crowd and some of the best burlesque artists in Europe.

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Aussersihl

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