Russian people call Saint Petersburg the cultural capital of Russia: theatres, museums, cathedrals… Well, the Swiss do have a cultural capital of their own. Located near the borders with Germany and France, Basel is Switzerland’s third biggest city and it is world famous for its numerous art events, museums, galleries and fairs. Let’s discover the city of art and culture together!

Basel is located so close to the borders with France and Germany that you can easily travel to both countries quickly and be back home for dinner.

Painted facades, tiny sculptures on the roofs, stone-laced bridges and magnificent Rhine with its ferries going back and forth – this hospitable city just seems to invite everyone to take a slow stroll through the streets and squares – for example, Marktplatz. They say all streets of Basel will lead you here. This beautiful square is home to a big outdoor market and to the city hall called Rathaus – a 500 year old building (or should we call it a castle?) where all the government and parliament meetings are held. The antique walls of Rathaus have the city’s motto inscripted on them: Freiheit ist vor Silber und Gold – Freedom is above silver and gold.

The people of Basel indeed love freedom and perhaps the best form this love of theirs took, is art – the city literally breathes art and its countless events and exhibitions are definitely worth a special visit to Basel. Let us help you get acquainted with some. First, Basel Fine Arts Museum, known as Kunstmuseum, – it is one of the largest and the most significant art collections in Switzerland. The permanent exposition includes numerous works of world’s greatest artists, old and new. Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, Paul Gauguin, Paul Cézanne, Henry Rousseau, Pablo Picasso, the Holbein family – and these are only a few of the museum’s gems!

Second, the most visited art gallery in Basel – Foundation Beyeler. Built by the great architect Renzo Piano, this exhibition hall can impress even the most demanding visitors with its incredible collection of nearly 300 works of classic, modern and contemporary art. And of course, let’s not forget the biggest art event of the world that doesn’t even need an introduction – Art Basel!

As you can see, traditions and new trends get on perfectly in Basel. The very same thing can be said about education. Founded in 1460, the University of Basel is the oldest in Switzerland. Over more than 550 years of existence the university has grown into a massive research centre with modern equipment and academic excellence. Its library is considered one of the most important in the world and among its alumni there are six Noble Prize laureates.

Don’t fancy high art and posh events? Basel still has so many things to offer! Visit the country’s largest zoo, enjoy the city’s sceneries on the Rhine cruise or have «the three best days» (as the locals call them) on the Fasnacht festival – the biggest festival held in Switzerland. Since the 11th century Swiss people celebrate the end of the winter with music, confetti, dressed parades and laughter – this is the fun you don’t want to skip, trust us!

Come to experience more of the cultural capital of Fantastic Switzerland!


Michael AW

Michael AW

Michael is the founder of Fantastic Switzerland Associaton. A non-profit organization to promote the location of Switzerland

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