Last year was a fantastic year for me because I got the opportunity to travel to some wonderful places. It’s something I love doing and I’m always looking out for new places to explore. On this occasion I was sent to Basel in Switzerland for 3 days thanks to Basel Tourism. I went on my own as it wasn’t a family trip but I was joined on the trip by 4 other travel bloggers. The last time I travelled was on a press trip to France with journalists, so I was very excited by the idea of travelling with other bloggers. This was going to be a completely different experience for me.
Basel is a beautiful city, perfect for exploring during the winter as it is a cosy city with an special magic during the festive season as they have wonderful Christmas Markets. But I will say that it has its charm all year around. It is very convenient to travel to from the UK and you can get to know the basics of the city over a weekend away. It is perfect for a romantic gateway or even a short family break. Basel is a paradise for museum lovers too. There are so much art and history to experience. It is really amazing!
Travelling to Basel
We travelled very early in the morning. I had to wake up about 4:45 am as I had to go to Victoria Station in Central London and take the Gatwick Express. The journey from Victoria to Gatwick was about 30 minutes. But then I had to take a fast train to the North part of the Airport and then get through security. I recommend you to go with plenty of time as this can take about 15 to 30 minutes depending on whether you are asked to open your bag which actually happened to me, grr! I brought too many little toiletries of 100 ml each. Lesson learnt!
After passing security, I was much more relaxed as I knew I was on time to catch my plane. I finally met the other bloggers who were all super nice. We travelled with EasyJet and were only allowed one carry on bag which meant my handbag had to be inside my carry on. This for me was a struggle as I’m terrible with packing. I don’t know how but I managed to get everything I needed into a small carry on, so well done me, LOL!
The journey to Basel was 1hr 35 minutes so it is very quick. I didn’t manage to have a nap but it was okay as I felt I was happy in my own world enjoying the views from the window now and then during the journey. We were given instructions on how to get around Basel using the public transport. Everything was included so we didn’t need to worry about purchasing tickets. As soon as we landed we took the bus and then the tram. It is relatively easy to move around Basel. It is not a big city so there is no way you will get lost.
Arriving at our hotel
We arrived pretty quickly from the airport to our hotel, Hotel Wettstein which was very well located. It is in the heart of the Kleinbasel district, in the immediate vicinity of the Rhine and the old town. It is about a 10 minute walk from a bridge with the stunning views of the river Rhine to Greater Basel. I found this walk a refreshing experience.
I really liked this hotel. It is a traditional middle class hotel with three stars. Although close to the main train station and the main shopping district, the hotel offers a silent place in its court garden. My room was amazing! It is not very expensive and it looks super modern. The service was fantastic and the staff were really lovely. I really enjoyed the breakfasts too!
Having a delicious lunch at Volkshaus Basel
Guess where I am? …in the bathroom of the restaurant! Cool right?
After unpacking we went to Greater Basel to meet our guide for the afternoon who was going to take us for lunch. She was really nice and took us to one of my favourite restaurants from all of the ones we visited: the Volkshaus Basel. This traditional restaurant was reopened in March 2012 following an extensive makeover. This French brasserie is a new culinary and cultural meeting point in the heart of Kleinbasel.
I had a delicious Wienerschnitzel with potatoes and after that an amazing latte with a small chocolate/brownie. I can highly recommend this restaurant. It really stood out for me. The bathroom was very different as you tell from the picture above. If you go there, please remember me and visit the restrooms, LOL!
Walking through Basel
After lunch we headed off for a walk around Basel. It was really nice to see the views of the Rhine from high up. The views really were magical. It doesn’t take long to walk around the city. It is very easy too. The walk is gorgeous and something which I really enjoyed!
Hot Chocolate Break
After our walk we stopped to have a delicious hot chocolate at the Schiesser Cafe Tea-Room. It was one of the nicest places to stop and rest a little bit to recharge our batteries.
There are two locations for the Christmas markets: Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz which are right in the centre of the city and at the heart of the festively decorated Old Town.
They are a must if you travel during the Christmas season (24th November to 23rd December). A lot of people travel to Basel specifically during this time to visit these markets because they are the biggest in Switzerland. They are really beautiful and shouldn’t be missed.
We went first to Barfüsserplatz and then to Münsterplatz which was next to a gorgeous church. The stands were all so cute and were offering Gluhwein, of course, which we couldn’t say no to. We got the cutest mug that you could keep if you didn’t claim your deposit back. It wasn’t cheap but it is really worth it because the wine was lovely. And that is from a person who doesn’t like wine! I have now become a fan of Gluhwein and I will be having it every year around Christmas! Prost! 😉
We also visited the Johann Wanner Christmas House which you should also visit if you love Christmas decorations. They really have the biggest and cutest collection of Christmas decorations.
We ended the night with a lovely dinner at Brauerei Fisherstube. They brew their own Ueli beer, something that has been done for years. So we decided to enjoy freshly brewed beer with a nice meal. I ordered pumpkin pasta. I didn’t have a dessert.
The next morning we woke early for breakfast at the hotel and then left to visit the Kunstmuseum Basel. This museum ranks among the most renowned institutions of its kind in Europe and beyond. Its world-famous collection, the Öffentliche Kunstsammlung Basel, now encompasses around 4.000 paintings, sculptures, installations, and videos as well as 300,000 drawings and prints from seven centuries.
We had a guided tour through of the museum’s new Jackson Pollock exhibition which was really interesting. Our guide was lovely too. The tour took approximately one hour.
Lunch at Restaurant 1777
This place was amazing! I really liked it. It is inspired by the Viennese café culture and it has tasty food. Restaurant 1777 is in a nice, urban setting with lots of retro charm. They also serve an innovative range of salads and baguettes, as well as an uncomplicated dinner at noon. I really liked this idea as you can assemble the baguettes and salads yourself and this is what I did. It was the most delicious baguette I have had in ages! Even the salad was yummy! This place was that cosy that we stayed for a long time chatting about everything.
After our delicious lunch and chat we left the restaurant and headed over to the Tinguely Museum which contains a permanent exhibition of the works of Swiss painter and sculptor Jean Tinguely. This museum is very interesting. Certainly, I wasn’t expecting anything in particular when I arrived but I must say that when I left I felt it was a really cool place to spend a few hours visiting. I think my girls would find it fascinating how all the mechanical figures were moving and interacting.
Wandering around Basel
Following the Tinguely Museum we had some time to explore on our own so we went our separate ways for a little bit. I decided to go to the Christmas market again and to go around the city. I really wanted to see the views of the Rhine again.
I was very surprised to be able to do all this walking around without a problem. As I said it is a very easy city to navigate. It is not big so it was perfect for me. While I was going around I spotted a cool looking cafe where I actually found one of the other bloggers so we had a nice chat with a tasty latte and a delicious cupcake. This place was really cute.
Dinner at Fondue Stubli
We then had dinner with the representative of Basel Tourism at Fondue Stubli which was part of the Kunsthalle restaurant. This was just what I was looking for: a traditional cheese fondue in Switzerland! This place was fantastic! I really enjoyed it! It was delicious too! This is something that you have to do when you are staying in Basel during the winter! It was full on a Tuesday evening which tells me it is very popular.
This was our last day. After breakfast at the hotel we went walking towards the city centre. The walk was lovely as it was sunny so it really made the city look even better! We crossed the bridge again which for me was always a super nice walk.
Spielzeug Welten Museum Basel
We went to the Toys/Dollhouse Museum in the morning. It is located in the centre and has more than 6000 teddy bears, dolls, toy grocers’ shops, doll’s houses and miniatures, it is the only one of its kind in Europe. It is home to the world’s largest collection of teddy bears, numbering more than 2500 in total. How amazing is that?
This museum has 4 floors full of toys. OMG my girls would have been in complete excitement here. This is a perfect museum to visit with your family. I saw lots of kids that day and they were having a blast. It is a dream place for a child to visit.
Last lunch of the trip
With the lovely group of travel bloggers I met!
After the toy museum, we went to The Eatery restaurant which is part of the super cool Nomad hotel. The restaurant has an urban ambience and all the dishes they offer are original. I really like the restaurant as a place to meet and have a good chat with people, however, I don’t think I enjoyed the dish I ordered. It wasn’t what I was expecting but it was okay. I did love my dessert however: pancakes!
The hotel was fantastic. We went up to check out the rooms and they were super cool. There was also a spa. We didn’t visit it, though.
After our lunch we had a few hours to go around the city a final time before we had to go back to the hotel to pick up our bags and go to the airport. I had a fantastic time. The 3 days passed very quickly. Basel is a beautiful city with lots of charm. I would highly recommend you to put Basel on your travel bucket list. You will love it.
Have you been to Basel before? If so, what did you visit? If not, would you love to visit some day?
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*Disclaimer: I was invited by Basel Tourism for a complimentary press trip to Basel for the purpose of this blog post. All opinions and thoughts are my own.
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