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Introducing Basel

By Rachel Nash

Posted: 19th August 2014 15:28

Basel is known as Switzerland’s cultural capital; there are more than two dozen museums here, a medieval old town in the Grossbasel area, and plenty of cultural events and festivals taking place throughout the year.  If you’re visiting at the end of January, be sure to join in with the celebrations of Vogel Gryff, the symbolic chasing away of winter, where the griffin, the savage, and the lion dance to drumbeat on a raft on the river.  Alternatively the spring carnival, Basel Fasnacht, is a sombre, poetic affair taking place for three days on the Monday following Ash Wednesday, with elaborate processions of participants wearing costumes and masks around Basel’s central district.

Wandering the picturesque old town is a worthy way to spend a few hours.  Explore the cobbled streets between Marktplatz and Munsterplatz, where you’ll find the Romanesque sculptural work and gothic exteriors of Basel’s 13th Century cathedral.  Spend an afternoon taking in one of Basel’s world class museums, from the Kunstmuseum Basel, where you’ll find the largest and most significant collection of fine art in Switzerland, to the Puppenhausmuseum, for a quirky collection of teddy bears and dolls houses.  Or on particularly hot days, join the locals on a cooling dip in the Rhine.