Basel, the third largest city in Switzerland, shares the border with both France and Germany giving it a unique mixture of influences from all countries. This makes the city a great place to shop, eat and explore. The Rhine river runs though the heart of the city and looks truly beautiful in summer time with the green trees on the river bank falling into it’s turquoise water.
We started off the guided tour of Basel by walking along the river bank where lots of sunbathers were dipping their toes into the water as it was such a scorching hot day, we even spotted the first swimmer of the season. This led us up to a little ferry boat which was attached onto a zip wire and moved along with the strong current rather than using any motor, which has been an ongoing method of crossing for over 400 years. After hopping off the boat we had a slight climb up some steep stairs to reach the cathedral, once we had reached the top we were rewarded with a view across the entire of Basel and the black forest beyond where the borders to Germany and France lay.
The cathedral itself blends beautifully with it’s surroundings without looking overly grand, the lizard skin looking roof tiles were my favourite part. The inside of the cathedral was equally as simplisitc as the outside but with the addition of glowing stained glass windows which looked incredible given the sun was shining so brightly through them that day.
Basel is filled with lots of dainty little streets and slanted tall buildings with the sweetest shutters and has a system of trams running through always ready to take you where you want to go. Everything has such a clean feel and sense of order that even walking through the town in the early hours of the morning after one too many feels perfectly safe.
To round off the day we ate a beautiful candlelit meal at Volkshaus, which has dishes from top quality steak to chargrilled vegetable pasta. It was the perfect mild summer evening to be eating out in a courtyard with glowing lights shining through the trees, there’s definitely a strong Mediterranean influence in Basel at summer time which makes for the most pleasant and chilled of evenings.
Fares from London to Basel start at just £113 standard class return with a journey time from 6hours 25minutes including time to change at Paris, check out voyages-sncf.com for great deals on travelling across Europe by train.