THE SHORT: Tram rides, Basel Zoo, Basler Papiermuhle (paper mill), Spielzeug Welten Museum (toy museum), Museum Tinguely, HITrental Marktplatz Apartments Hotel
Of all the cities we visited during our week-long travels to Switzerland, Basel goes down as the one where every single thing surpassed my expectations. It’s the type of travel miracle that seldom shows itself. So much so that Basel might just become my new favorite city to recommend for family travels going forth.
Why? Well, because it is lively, full of culture, super easy to get around, has an awesome art scene, and caters to one of my favorite travel activities – aimlessly walking around and people watching. It is the kind of place where you don’t have to compromise between adult fun versus kid fun. It is a little pricey much like the rest of Switzerland, but it felt completely worth our time and money.
First things first, the hotel. We stayed at the HITrental Marktplaz Apartment Hotels in the heart of the city. On the inside, it had two big bedrooms, three amazing balconies (!!!), living room, kitchen, dining, and one big bathroom. It came with daily room service and free laundry. On the outside, it overlooked a beautiful square full of restaurants, bookstores, and so much activity. It really couldn’t get any better.
Transportation is also super duper easy and free. The trams are abundant in every direction should one need a break from walking. Once when the rain felt persistent, we quickly Googled “scenic tram route” and spent the next hour on Tram #8, winding through beautiful neighborhoods and parks.
When it comes to food, Basel has so many good options. We ate dinner at Schnabel during our first night and absolutely loved all the traditional swiss food, the kind staff, and the ambiance. For our second night, we opted for noodles as requested by the kids and tried Nooch which was also really good (and again, great service). Chocolate shops and cafes are everywhere! We also made good use of the CO-OP grocery chain which supplied our breakfast each morning and also picnic foods.
Then there is the Basel Zoo, the Basler Papiermuhle (paper mill), Spielzeug Welten Museum (toy museum), and Museum Tinguely. I shared many pictures and information about the Zoo Basel in this previous post. In short, it is a beautiful zoo right in the city, with an even better cafe. It’s a no brainer of a destination if you ask me.
Moving on to the Basler Papiermuhle. It is an old medieval paper mill that is now converted into a working museum. It’s an immersive experience for young and old, and the kind that will totally make you lose track of time. I took a million pictures here but for your sake, I’ll try to edit my selection.
Within a short scenic walk of the Basler Papiermuhle is the Museum Tinguely. A collection of Jean Tinguely mesmerizing sculptors, it is the kind of museum that is really inspiring for kids who see unlikely ordinary objects combined to create art that is loud and noisy. Most pieces can be touched. The fountain outside is pretty cool. As is the META-MATIC #10 which allows you to make your very own original piece of art.
And lastly, I have a few pictures from the Spielzeug Welten Museum, which is Europe’s largest museum of vintage toys. This got put on the itinerary because it was so close to our hotel and, well, it’s a toy museum. Well, it was incredible by all standards. All toys are behind glass cases so there is no fear to let the kids roam as they please. There are four floors stuffed with so many charming toys. Also, each floor had a animal rider toy that kids could use to move about by pumping the pedals. I mean, it was nearly impossible to leave this museum.
Our stay in Basel was only for two nights and two days. I left the city feeling like I could have used another week here. And next time when I do have that extra week, I’ll make sure I cross the borders into Germany and France to have some extra bit of fun.
So there you go folks. My very last travel post in 2019 probably broke a record for the number of pictures included. ha! Why would I have it any other way. Wishing you all happy holidays and talk to you very soon.