Basel Autumn Fair

Things to do
Basel Autumn Fair
©Tim WilliamsThe huge Ferris wheel offers panoramas over Basel
Basel Autumn Fair
©Tim WilliamsMesseplatz is one of the prettiest parts of the Autumn Fair

The oldest amusement fair in Switzerland returns to Basel this autumn, promising plenty of entertainment for the whole family.

With more than 540 years of history, Basel Autumn Fair is the oldest amusement fair in Switzerland. The fair is also the largest in the country, spreading across seven of Basel's squares. Around a million people crowd into the city across the two weeks to lap up the charm of the fair – which is hardly surprising given the offering. Münsterplatz is the most picturesque of settings for the enormous Ferris wheel, while the square also boasts dodgems and the Taifun, a huge bumpy slide that is popular with children. Head for Kasernenplatz and Messeplatz for the most thrill-inducing rides. The stomach-churning Free Fall Tower at Messeplatz is a must for all adrenalin junkies. Petersplatz is great for handicrafts and, well, all sorts of odds and ends – from handmade candles to wooden toys and semi-precious stones. It has a host of food stalls too, and you won’t be hard pushed to find roasted chestnuts, crepes, traditional Basler Läckerli or Magenbrot to snack on. The fair traditionally starts on the last Saturday before 30th October, according to permission granted to the Mayor of Basel in 1471, and its opening is marked at noon with the ringing of the ‘Fair Bell’ in Saint Martin’s Church.