My five favorite things to do in Basel:
1) For me, the Rhine waterfront with its many “Buvettes” is definitely the place to be in the summer time, especially after a refreshing swim in the river (for example during the official Rhine swimming event in August) or a ride with one of the four ferries. I always make sure to stop at the Flora Buvette to have a grilled sandwich and sip one of their summer specials.
2. If I’m still not refreshed enough, I take the risk to queue at Eiscafé Acero to have the best homemade ice cream in town. In the wintertime, you can also eat delicious waffles, cakes or quiches in this cozy litte café, which is just a few steps from Mittlere Brücke (the ancient Rhine bridge). In the summer months, I stay in this area in the evening not to miss any free concerts on the raft, which drops its anchor in the river.
3. To escape the city, I often take a walk along the Wiese River, say hello to the capuchin monkeys, the wild cat and other native animals at the Tierpark (which is luckily free of charge) and continue along the river until I reach Riehen. There, I visit the latest exhibition at Fondation Beyeler, the best art address in town.
4. For Basel citizens, the three days of Fasnacht taking place each year in February or March are what they call the most beautiful days in the year. This unique event is indeed colorful and exciting to watch, but also loud. I’m usually not part of this hubbub, but if I am, you will always find me in the same narrow alleys in the old town around Heuberg. For these few days, many cellars of these beautiful medieval buildings are transformed into bars, and it’s the only time they are open to the public. In fact, this area is worth a visit at any time of the year, and then it is calm, orderly – but still beautiful!
5. The Thai restaurant “Nordbahnhof” is the complete opposite of a tourist trap. Hidden in the St. Johann, near the Novartis headquarters, it is the best Thai in town with most decent prices. I don’t dine often in restaurants, but I am addicted to this one.
Thanks for the tips, Bettina! Any travelers headed to Basel this fall or in 2014 should consider getting in touch with Bettina for a tour that is (as her most recent group told us) "exhilarating, energizing, informative, relaxing, and downright fun!"