Once you have landed in Basel and discovered the old town, Kunstmuseum, Tinguely Museum and all other charming places and museums in Basel (Basel is the city of museums in Switzerland), it is time to discover Switzerland a bit more and do some day trips from Basel.
In Switzerland you can travel two ways: with great Swiss trains or rent a car.
You can rent a car straight in the Basel airport or in the city. My advice: if you are a group of more than 2 people, renting a car will be a much cheaper option. Trains don’t come cheap, especially if you travel just for a day or two. If you travel longer, you can get a Swiss pass and this will pay off, but still, for bigger group, you will have to get a Swiss pass each and that will be a substantial amount of money.
Switzerland has actually hundreds of amazing places, valleys, mountain peaks, mountain passes, cities, villages (check out the best villages in Switzerland: most charming Swiss villages), architecture, foods, traditions and so much more. In this article I will focus on 7 locations which are quite close to Basel and maybe are not that famous, so it will be a nice discovery for you.
Of course, you can get to the most famous places in Switzerland from Basel as well very easily: Zürich, Geneva, Lausanne, Montreux, St. Moritz and many more.
One very important note as well: Basel is right on the border with France and Germany, but my list consists just of Swis locations, but IF you would like to travel in these countries, I would like to offer: Strasbourg (amazingly beautiful old town), Schwarzwald (Black Forest with many charming villages and mountains), Parc naturel régional des Ballons des Vosges (French mountains with villages) – these places are really worth visiting as well.
In this article I will focus on: How to get to the destination, distance from Basel and best thing to do there.
Day trips from Basel
Solothurn is a very nice small city just 70 kilometers away from Basel which is as well a capital of Solothurn canton.
The city is situated in a flat part of Switzerland, but some nice peaks are not that far from the city, it is surrounded as well by beautiful nature all around. Solothurn has a very charming old town and the walk by the river is really beautiful.
I have visited Solothurn myself quite a few times and I really like the calm pace of the city and having a slow cup of coffee there is one of my favourite things to do.
Best thing to do in Solothurn: for me personally that would be an old town tour. They have a very nice charming historical old town with museums, gates, churches, towers and many other Swiss architectural details. I would suggest to park close to Baseltor (gates of Basel) and just jump into the old town, stroll around, maybe get into a museum or two, visit churches and have a cup of coffee outside in the old town OR by the river.
I have as well written an article of best things to do in Soloturn: What to do in Solothurn.
Time and distance from Basel: 72 kilometers, 1 hour.
Other places to check out: Verenaschlucht, Kosciuszko museum, Hiking to Weissenstein.
Nature park Thal is the closest one to Basel which has some nice hills, villages, farms, castles and hikes. If the mountain is just 1000 meters it is considered a small hill in Switzerland:) So Nature Park Thal is full of these. It is very close to Basel, so that is why it makes it into 7 Day trips from Basel.
If you are lucky, you can as well see some wild life: beavers, reindeer, many birds and many other animals.
Best thing to do in Naturpark Thal: without a doubt it is hiking. There are many very well maintained hiking paths which lead through beautiful meadows, small villages and hills.
I would suggest to hike up to or around Vogelberg – it is one of the highest peaks in Thal Nature Park. There you will find amazing views to all surrounding nature, hills, and if you are lucky – to the Swiss Alps. As well there is a nice restaurant to get some delicious Swiss food. Do not forget the Swiss fondue.
Time and distance from Basel: 43 kilometers, 1 hour.
Other places to check out: Alt-Bechburg castle ruins, Walenmatt, Brunnersberg (very beautiful in winter).
Official website: Naturpark Thal.
Gantrisch nature park is one of my favorite places to hike and snowshoe in Switzerland. It is a stunning location for nature lovers with mountains over 2000 meters. It is very well maintained and loved places with hiking trails, lakes, huts, restaurants, cows, goats and hotels. It has all you need and you can get amazing views to the Swiss Alps if you get up to the top of some peaks. I personally love that place.
Although it is pretty close to the capital city of Bern, in Gantrisch you can feel pretty isolated and can find some nature spots where no one is around. I did hiking, snowshoeing, swimming, running – all things I love. As well there’s some small places to ski, do off road snowboarding and even paragliding.
Best thing to do in Naturpark Gantrisch: Hiking to Gantrisch peak. It is a peak standing at 2175 meters and gives you fantastic views to hundreds of other peaks far away.
The hike itself is short, up to 2 hours to the top, but gets quite steep in some places so you must pace yourself. On the way to it I met hundreds of friendly goats and cows, it is full of live nature there. If you decide to do this hike, start from Untere Gantrischhütte, park there and go up 🙂 You are really going to love the nature and the hiking trail as well. Do not forget to have plenty of water as summers are very hot up there.
Time and distance from Basel: 120 kilometers, 1 hour 30 minutes.
If you think that Switzerland is lucky to have the Alps, you will think that Switzerland is even more lucky now as it has the second mountain range called Jura mountains. Yes, in this small mid Europe country they have not one, but two mountain ranges. How amazing is that?
Jura mountains are not as big as the Alps, but still there are many places to check out and you can definitely get great views. In Jura mountains mostly spoken language is French.
Best thing to do in Jura mountains: I have once written an article about best things in Jura: Best things to do in Jura mountains. But I think the best one is to visit the Chasseral. It is one of the highest peaks in Jura mountains with a huge (I would say even iconic) radio tower on the top. You can get very close by car to the top or you can hike there if you wish.
When I was in Chasseral, there was dozens of Swiss cows on the way to there, so if you see them, do not be afraid. Swiss cows are quite often on official hiking trails and paths.
The views are amazing and as it is on the edge of Jura mountains, you can see far far away in the flat part of Switzerland. If you are hungry: no worries, there is a big restaurant on the top.
Time and distance from Basel: 106 kilometers, 1 hour 20 minutes.
Other places to check out: Saint Ursanne, Parc Régional Chasseral.
Quite many people mistake Zürich to be the capital of Switzerland as it is the biggest city in Switzerland, but No, the capital is beautiful and charming Bern.
It is always very cool experience to visit the capital city and put it into your list of visited places.
So let’s go to Bern.
Best thing to do in Bern: Bern is full of museums (great museums), restaurants, parks and other places, but in my opinion the best thing there is simply to stroll through the old town. I know that I am maybe biased, but I really adore and appreciate old towns. And if it is a beautiful one, why not to spend time there?
In the old town you will find dozens of churches, old architecture, parliament, Swiss national bank, squares and many other attractions. If you are in Bern in summer, go to the main square as there is a very nice fountain which jumps from underneath the ground.
As well, in the old town you can find a very nice view point where you can see all those beautiful old roofs.
One other thing you can do: swim in the river. It is very popular in Switzerland to swim in the rivers.
Time and distance from Basel: 101 kilometers, 1 hour 10 minutes.
Other places to check out: Alpines Museum der Schweiz, Einsteinhaus (Albert Einstein lived there),Käfigturm.
If one would have to choose the most beautiful city in Switzerland, Lucerne will definitely make it into top 3 in anyone’s list. It is in a pretty fascinating location: lake and mountains in one place. Can anyone ask for anything better? Lucerne is one of the best day trips from Basel.
The architecture of Lucerne is as well very uplifting and exciting, so everyone will love the old town of Lucerne as well.
Lucerne is full of boat tours to other villages and mountains, full of expensive watch shops, full of amazing ice cream, full of swans in a crystal clear lake and many other things.
Best thing to do in Lucerne: one place you must go in Lucerne is the old Harry Potter world looking bridges. In summer they are full of people and you can even get into the traffic jams made of tourists, but you will love it. These bridges are really really old and charming at the same time.
You should visit both bridges and while doing so you will do a very nice tour of the old town as well.
Time and distance from Basel: 97 kilometers, 1 hour 10 minutes.
If Lucerne is one of the most beautiful cities in Switzerland, Lauterbrunnen definitely makes it into the most charming villages list. Top 3. For sure. That is why Lauterbrunnen makes it into top 7 day trips from Basel.
If you have ever seen the iconic view on Instagram of beautiful old Swiss buildings, mountains all around and the waterfall pouring water down in a gracious line – that is probably Lauterbrunnen.
All the surroundings of Lauterbrunnen and the village itself is one big fairy tale place. It would be hard for anyone to not fall in love with this place.
It has it all: dozens of hiking trails, skiing, old Swiss architecture, Swiss food, cows, meadows, valleys, amazing neighborhood of other charming villages and so on. It is one lucky village in the middle of Switzerland.
Best thing to do in Lauterbrunnen: that is a hard one, but recently I skied in Jungfrau region and used a train just for a little bit over 6 CHF which takes you up the mountain from Lauterbrunnen to Wengen. In my opinion it is one of the best train rides in Switzerland which has great price/experience ratio, because all other spectacular train rides in Switzerland are pricey. So just for 6 CHF you get to see all the valley of Lauterbrunnen, the waterfall, the mountains and in the end you get to charming Wengen. From there I highly recommend hiking back to Lauterbrunnen, so you will have a great nature experience as well.
Time and distance from Basel: 163 kilometers, 2 hours.
Other places to check out: Staubbach Waterfall, Mürren, Trümmelbachfälle.
These are my 7 recommendations for your day trips from Basel.
There are dozens of many other great destinations, but they can be pretty far away, but if you see no problem of travelling 3 hours or more, you can find amazing places in Ticino canton: Morcote, Rasa, Indemini; you can go to beautiful Sankt Gallen, you can go to Liechtenstein, you can go to Zermatt and many other fascinating locations.
I tried to recommend a less traveled locations as Naturpark Thal or Gantrisch, but as well some pretty well known places as Bern or Lauterbrunnen.
I hope you will find your best escape from Basel and enjoy your whole trip.
Please let me know if you have any questions regarding Day trips from Basel, I will do my best to help you.
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