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  • Writer's pictureJulie Prusak

Fantastic Day Trips from Basel

Switzerland, a central European country, borders France, Germany, and Italy. The location of Basel, in the northwest corner of the country, allows visitors to take fantastic day trips to neighboring countries as well as other parts of Switzerland.

photo: Basel, Switzerland

There are many great possibilities for you to see more than just Basel. Here are some ways to expand your stay in Basel by taking a few day trips.

Strasbourg, France

photo: Strasbourg in summer

For Francophiles, the fairytale town of Strasbourg is a favorite. Often referred to as “Petite France” or “City at the Crossroads,” highlights of Strasbourg include medieval architecture, timber-framed houses, and delicious local cuisine and wines from Alsace.

Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg, France

Perched high in the Vosges Mountains, overlooking the Alsatian plains, the striking pink sandstone towers of the Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg are an unmissable sight. The location of this French castle offers visitors an incredible view of the Upper Rhine Plains as it sits atop the mountainous terrain surrounding it.

Built in the 12th century and extensively renovated in the 19th century, the fairy-tale fortress is a popular attraction along the Alsace Wine Route.

The best part is that it is only about an hour away from Basel by car, and it allows you to fit a little bit of France into your trip without having to change hotels. The pretty town of Colmar is along the route.

Rötteln Castle, Germany

photo: Rötteln Castle

Rötteln Castle, located near Lörrach, sits atop mountainous terrain in the extreme southwest corner of the German state of Baden-Württemberg, just 10 kilometers northeast of Basel.

Unlike Koenigsbourg, Rötteln Castle has not been repaired, and it lies in mostly ruin. The tower is still easily accessible, giving visitors another excellent way to see this region. It is the perfect place for hiking and soaking in the forested scenery of the European interior.

Lake Como, Italy

photo: Lake Como

A four-hour drive or slightly longer train ride trip from Basel sits the most beautiful lake in Italy, Lake Como. From James Bond to George Clooney, Lake Como has earned its reputation as a playground for the rich and famous. Explore the lake by ferry or take a guided tour of the pastel-colored towns and Belle Epoque-era villas.

Bern, Switzerland

photo: Bern, Switzerland

Bern, Switzerland’s administrative capital, where all the cantons convene, is also one of its most beautiful Swiss cities. Visiting there is like stepping back into Medieval times. Meander through the winding streets of the old town, which maintains its antique appeal and tranquility. The Bern Munster (cathedral) boasts the highest spire in Switzerland. For culture lovers, the Bern Historical Museum is not to be missed.

Bern is just a short train ride from Basel, and it should be on your list of places to go and see while you are in Switzerland.

Lausanne, Switzerland

photo: Lausanne, Switzerland

Lausanne, in the French-speaking canton of Vaud, offers some of the most beautiful scenery in Switzerland. Tour the Olympic Museum (Musee Olympique), visit the majestic Lausanne Cathedral or stroll through the UNESCO-listed Lavaux vineyard terraces with stunning views over Lake Geneva.

Lucerne, Switzerland

photo: Lucerne, Switzerland

While in Lucerne, take a walking tour through the Old Town set on the banks of the River Reuss, where you’ll explore the Water Tower, St. Peter’s Chapel next to Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrucke), and Kapellplatz (town square). In summer, Lucerne is a center for paragliding, hiking, and rafting and offers excellent skiing and snowboarding in winter.

Zurich, Switzerland

photo: Zurich, Switzerland

Zurich, the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zürich, is in north-central Switzerland at the northwestern tip of Lake Zürich. Zurich is well known as a financial center and hosts a thriving nightlife scene in bars and clubs.

Only an hour from Basel by car or public transport, Zurich is an easy day trip. The international airport is one of the best in the world.

Before traveling to Basel, plan out an itinerary that allows you to maximize your time and your experiences both in Basel and in nearby destinations. There is so much more to experience in Switzerland than castles, cheese, and chocolate! The best part about traveling to Switzerland is that it is almost effortless to get from place to place and even country to country by train or car. From Basel, you can easily explore other parts of Switzerland, France, Germany, or even northern Italy.

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