Perched along the emblematic Rhine River, Basel is an extraordinary city that’s brimming with mesmerizing architecture, world-class history and refined adventure. Between the medieval charm of the Old Town and ultramodern buildings, iconic museums and cutting-edge galleries, Basel’s rich history seamlessly intertwines with its flourishing contemporary scene like no other. Beyond its artistic lifeblood, this pocket-sized town is also an eclectic melting pot of fashion, food, music and design, making it easily one of the most culturally rich destinations in Europe. The Swiss city is small, yet cosmopolitan with global appeal, whereas its favorable location straddles the German and French borders, whose influence can be felt everywhere across the city. Basel has its own special charm where old-world opulence meets contemporary flair–the perfect place to allow yourself to be pampered like royalty.
Where to Stay
Sitting directly on the banks of the Rhine, the Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois has been the pinnacle of luxury accommodation in Basel for over three centuries now. This opulent palace of a hotel is also one of Europe’s oldest, and it carries on its tradition in a fresh and and reinvigorating manner. The 101 rooms and suites combine its splendid spirit with all the modern comforts you could possibly need. The interior décor is flamboyant in nature with Belle Époque trimmings and old-world extravagance emanating from all corners of the property. Light pours through the antique French windows that peer out onto the Rhine for an experience that’s both grand and intimate. Flat-screen televisions are about as modern as it gets when it comes to the interior design. Guests are also spoiled for choice when it comes to food and drink options, with Cheval Blanc, the triple Michelin-starred establishment, grabbing the bulk of the attention, while a Piedmontese restaurant and traditional French brasserie both make for lovely riverside options. Moreover, the favorable location in the heart of the Old Town is just steps away from most major sights. Les Trois Rois is functionally modern yet aesthetically old-fashioned, meaning the best of both worlds in a city with as rich a culture as Basel. For an expanded list of recommendations, don’t miss our Luxury Hotel Guide to Basel.
Where to Dine
Basel’s one-of-a-kind gastronomy benefits from its global attitude, long history of immigration and proximity to French and German borders. Schloss Bottmingen is the world-renowned culinary treat that continues to dazzle its guests. The restaurant is housed in the dream-like Bottmingen castle, a moated medieval mansion that’s only accessible through an elevated bridge walkway. The fairy tale setting continues as you enter the establishment, as several indoor dining areas have been outfitted with royal design and tasteful décor fit for the likes of Louis XVI. Headed by Chef de Cuisine Guy Wallyn and Chef Patisserie Alain Schmidlin, the exquisite menu consists of classic French dishes with seasonal ingredients that epitomize the very idea of fine dining. Whether you choose to sit on the picturesque terrace or within the glided halls of the castle, make a reservation for dinner time for an especially magnificent culinary experience. From top to bottom, Schloss Bottmingen is a memorable experience. Check out our Restaurant Guide to Basel for a comprehensive guide to the best places to dine during your stay.
What to Do
Art lovers rejoice. Basel may be a pint-sized town, but it packs an artistic punch. The world-famous Art Basel is the culmination of this, but the city’s 37 square kilometers contain a remarkable 40 museums, a cultural concentration that few cities in Europe can rival. In the Old Town, the Kunstmuseum houses one of the most significant fine art collections in the world, including 4,000 paintings from the Renaissance to the present day. Baselworld 2019 is the week-long event that’s jam-packed with the latest in timepiece innovation and style. The international festival regularly attracts the world’s top watchmakers and jewelers, as well as aficionados and buyers for an exquisite celebration. Check out our Event Guide to Baselworld 2019 for an exclusive preview of the world-famous exhibition that kicks off on March 21, 2019.
Elsewhere, the delightful cobblestone streets of the Old Town all eventually lead to Marktplatz, the beating heart of Basel where you’ll fine centuries-old buildings, cozy cafes and medieval treasures. Along the waterfront, you’ll find atmospheric restaurants celebrating the unique cuisine of Basel, making this Swiss city perfect for leisurely walks and strolls. Discover a world of relaxation and rejuvenation at the world-famous Aquabasilea AG, which contains a sauna world, waterpark, award-winning spa facilities and wellness center.
What to Wear
Whether you find yourself among the sophisticated and global clientele of Baselworld 2019 or strolling the medieval streets of the city center, you’ll certainly want to dress up a little bit. You’ll also want to be prepared for the rain and generally unpredictable weather of Switzerland. Start off with this Tibi Oversized Crepe Belted Suit Blazer, which is fitted with broad shoulders and a silhouette that’s powerful and bold. The sinching at the waist makes for a subtle feminine touch. Of course, what’s on your wrist is just as important as the clothes on your back and the shoes on your feet, so opt for the Rolex Lady Datejust 28 for a timeless and recognizable watch. Be sure to check out of Style Sheet to Basel for the complete low-down on all-things fashion.