Things to see and do - Basel
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Weekend in Basel
Weekend in BaselPedestrian, Public Transport, 16 km, 2 days
Situated very near Mulhouse, Basel is one of the liveliest and most enthralling cities in Switzerland. It’s worth visiting every year to visit its exceptional museums, as well as to enjoy the charm of a town so full of resources!Customise this route and add it to My travel book
This attractive building erected in the early 16C in a late Gothic style, and subsequently enlarged and restored, has a façade richly decorated with frescos and flanked with a modern belfry. A statue of Munatius Plancus, founder of the town, stands imposingly in the inner courtyard, which is also decorated with attractive frescos.
Old Basel, with several interesting monuments to visit including the cathedral, is worth a trip above all for its atmosphere, its very picturesque medieval streets and squares such as Andreasplatz, Spalenberg or Petersgasse. Here you will find several attractive fountains, including that of Holbein (16C), together with the monumental Spalen Gate (1398), decorated with the coats of arms of the city.
This huge building, built of red sandstone, partly rebuilt in the 14 and 15C, and restored in the 19C, is topped with two Gothic towers from which there is a lovely view over the city. The main door is decorated with delicate sculptures of angels and prophets; on the left of the building is that of St-Gall, in Romanesque style. The interior has five naves and houses several 11C decorative elements.
This walk, which is limited to the east by Wettsteinbrücke (bridge), offers an attractive view over the old districts of Basel, the palaces and artisan houses which are located at the water's edge.
This prestigious Fine Arts Museum, where major temporary exhibitions are frequently staged, houses within its walls a large number of masterpieces. Pride of place is given to the collection of paintings and drawings from the Upper Rhine and the Netherlands dating from the 15C-17C. The museum's other forte is 19C-20C art, particularly Impressionism, post-Impressionism, Cubism and post-Second World War American art.
The sculptor Jean Tinguely (1925-1991), an ex-pupil of Basel Fine Art School, created this fountain which enlivens the esplanade of the municipal theatre with its water games. The nine jointed metal creations of the huge water feature humorously depict man's futile agitation.
In the heart of the city, this huge animal park with an international reputation has become specialised in the reproduction of threatened species. An area is devoted to young animals, another to the vivarium. There are picnic areas, restaurants and games for children available to the public, who particularly appreciate the attractions of the wild animals' and sea-lions' meals, and the introduction to the elephants.
This district owes its name to the oldest monastery in Basel (1083) of which only one wing of the Romanesque cloister remains, now incorporated in a residential house. Several mills bear witness to its specialisation after the creation of a canal by the monks in the 12C. In several locations traces of the old fortifications of the town, destroyed in 1860 and afterwards, are still visible.
Housed in part of the Wettsteinhaus, a former manor that has been magnificently restored that once belonged to Johann Rudolf Wettstein, burgermaster of Bâle 1645-1666. The museum traces the development of techniques and tastes for toys and games, from puppets and dolls to magic lanterns, figurines to board games. A pleasure for all, big and small.
Basel-born gallery owner Ernst Beyeler had architect Renzo Piano design this museum in 1997 to show off his collection of 20C paintings and sculptures. The exhibition has 200 masterpieces that together give an overview of modern art. All the major movements of the period are represented: post-Impressionism and Cubism (Cézanne, Van Gogh, Picasso), Abstract art (Kandinsky), Abstract Expressionism (Rothko), Pop Art. Pride of place is given to the sculptures by Swiss artist Giacometti and Monet's Water Lillies.