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The Swiss city of Basel – The gateway to France, Germany, and Switzerland

Posted by on April 22, 2019

This Swiss urban location is very underrated and in my opinion, better than Zurich due to its slightly cheaper cost and less volume of tourist floods and people in general. Like Zurich, Basel is on the Rhine River so there are plenty of neat houses and buildings to look at but unfortunately, it’s still Switzerland, meaning still expensive as hell and this cold hell freezes over during the winter.

Despite its location of literally being at the crossroads of Switzerland, France, and Germany along with the Rhine River flowing through the city, Basel is one of those cities that get overlooked by many tourists but I can vouch for visiting it. Unlike Zurich which is filled with tourists, Basel seems to be more neglected by the tourist hordes unless a tour agency happens to put it on their road map itinerary. So if you’re looking for something more Swiss and not so overcrowded with tourists, then Basel might be a good stop although I can still see it at times getting overloaded with the tourist crowds in the summer like Salzburg sees its annual tidal waves of people starting in May. The city of Basel to me is basically Zurich but without Lake Zurich. It focuses around the Rhine River as a tri-border location between Switzerland, France, and Germany.

pricey expensive tourism north switzerland swiss people tourists plaza platz

Zurich also has these plazas but Basel has far less tourists in this part of Switzerland.

architecture swiss made

If you walk around enough, you’ll see the architecture of this place.

church red building basel european alps

The Swiss have definitely come up with some interesting buildings such as this red building with a clock and tower on it.

rhine river city swiss switzerland border town ciudad de fronteras france germany

If you go northwest from Basel, there is an actual area in the water where the borders of Switzerland, France, and Germany meet at the same place. I don’t think that it’s that amazing but it’s there for tourists who are interested in seeing it. To me, just walking around the city to take in the sights and sounds was good enough.

One funny is that if you can spit in the Rhine River while in Basel, the same water content of your saliva might float all the way down to pass through some of the major cities along the Rhine such as ones that I’ve visited myself: Mainz, Wiesbaden, Cologne/Leverkusen, and then finally towards the North Sea via the Netherlands. The Rhine River is that long and important that it’s been a symbol of German nationalism for quite some time as it goes pretty far back in history as being a frontier border for the Roman Empire at certain times and also other rivers such as the Main River fed into the Rhine. All these rivers helped in giving the Germanic tribes and eventually German civilization to settle the area as well as help defend against being invaded and ruled over by the Romans.

Tip: Basel is in Switzerland which means that it’s expensive! Note that you must have a vignette on your vehicle in order to enter Switzerland particularly around Basel. There are actually Swiss border guards who looking for the sticker before they allow you in the country. I guess they don’t want to hunt vehicles down to give them a fine but rather just tell people upfront about it and make them pay for the sticker and have them apply it.