While visiting or staying in Basel, Switzerland, you may wish to explore a little further with these top recommended day trips from Basel! There is of course so much to see in Northern Switzerland, that it’s ideal to combine a few locations such as these shared below. Each day trip location from Basel has something unique, such as crystal clear lakes to local historic ruins. There are also locations with fun skiing spots or the best places for swimming – so it also depends on when you will be visiting Basel!
Read on to get inspired with one of these day trips from Basel!
Day Trips From Basel
Here is our full list of recommendations, shared by others, where you can enjoy easy day trips from Basel. Most are within 2 hours (by car or public transportation), but a few are closer to 3 hours depending on what you want to see!
For a gorgeous visit to Switzerland, head to the beautiful location of Lugano as one of your first day trips from Basel location. Located in the Southern Ticino region, its within 2.5 hours by train through the Swiss mountains.
For visiting, Lugano and the Lake Lugano is beautiful all year round, but most enjoyed in the spring and summer time with the warmest temperatures. During this period you can swim at specific sections, enjoy local paddle boats and also a few boat trips around the lake to different areas. A walk or run along the whole promenade is also a must, from neighbourhood Paradiso to Brè-Aldesago.
To see the whole Lake Lugano in one view, either head to the high mountain viewpoints at Monte Bre or at Monte San Salvatore. From both of these locations you can view the lake beautifully from above, looking also down onto the city of Lugano. You can also grab a bite to eat or drink at the restaurants to enjoy the view for longer!
If you wish to stay the night or longer in Lugano to enjoy Lake Lugano, book yourself a room at the The View Lugano hotel. Here they offer a relaxing stay, fantastic fresh breakfast choices and high standard service for your needs. Their sauna is perfect for relaxing at after a long day out else to make use of their delicious dinner menu while enjoying the view of the lake from their terrace area.
Written by Zoe from Together In Transit
If you’re looking for day trips from Basel Switzerland, make sure you go to Frankfurt.
You may think that Frankfurt is just a boring business town with ugly tall glass buildings. It’s actually a charming German city with an amazing foodie scene.
The Old Town in Frankfurt is just as beautiful as any old European city. Imagine a cute little square surrounded by traditional German architecture that looks a gingerbread house. The main square is The Römerberg Square, but there’s also lots of other cute streets around this area. The best way to see it is just to start near the The Römerberg Square and get lost wandering around the local streets. If you love beautiful architecture, also check out the Opera House.
Frankfurt is also great for foodies. Make sure to go to Kleinmarkthalle – a traditional food market where all the locals eat. There is a traditional food hall inside, as well as an outside food market. Do what the locals do an order currywurst – sausages in a curry ketchup sauce.
Frankfurt also has a buzzing coffee and café scene. For a traditional Frankfurt coffee, go to Wacker’s Kaffee – the original coffee shop in Frankfurt that locals still love. There’s also lots of cooler modern cafes dotted around the city.
Frankfurt is around three hours by train from Basel Switzerland.
Written by Ashleigh from Ashleigh’s Atlas
If you’re looking for the best day trips from Basel, don’t miss out on Bern. Despite being the capital of Switzerland, the city is actually pretty small which makes it possible to see all the highlights even if you’re spending only one day in Bern.
To get to Bern from Basel, you can take a train which will take about an hour. There are also buses which can take you there, but the train is a bit faster. Once you’re in Bern, you can explore all the highlights on foot since the city is so small.
If you’re interested in history, Bern is definitely worth a visit. The city was founded in 1191 and has a lot of interesting historical landmarks, like the Zytglogge clock tower and the Bundeshaus (Swiss Parliament). Bern is also home to a large number of museums, including the famous Swiss National Museum.
In addition to its historical landmarks, Bern is also a great place for nature lovers. The city is surrounded by mountains and there are a lot of parks and green spaces to explore. You can also go for a walk or hike in the surrounding countryside if you want to get away from the city.
Overall, Bern is a great destination for a day trip from Basel. There’s something for everyone in this small city and you won’t be disappointed if you take the time to explore it.
Written by Krisztina from She Wanders Abroad
If you’re looking for a taste of France without traveling all the way to Paris, look no further than the lovely town of Dijon. Dijon is only two hours away from Basel by train, making it an excellent choice for your day trip.
Dijon is of course known for its mustard, and it is located in one of France’s top winemaking regions. Be sure to sample regional specialties such as boeuf bourguignon, coq au vin, and Dijon’s special gingerbread.
You can get a great overview of Dijon’s highlights by following le Parcours de la Chouette (the Owl’s Trail). The owl is a symbol of Dijon and you’ll even find one carved into the Church of Notre-Dame of Dijon. Touch the owl for luck, and follow the arrows set into the roads to see all of the sights on the Owl’s Trail.
As you explore Dijon, you will immediately notice its colourful glazed roof tiles. These are arranged in decorative geometric patterns and are traditional to the Burgundy region of France. You can see them adorning the rooftops of many buildings including the marvellous Cathédrale Saint-Bénigne de Dijon.
To add a little culture to your visit, be sure to check out the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon. This fine arts museum is located in a former ducal palace, and the architecture of the building is an elegant backdrop to the artwork displayed inside the museum.
Written by Lisa of Waves and Cobblestones
Mount Rigi, Switzerland
“Queen of the mountains“ as Mount Rigi is also called, is one of the perfect day trips from Basel. Located in the very heart of Central Switzerland, the Valley Station in Arth-Goldau can be reached in less than 2hrs by train.
Since 1875 a historic cogwheel railway takes you in less than 40min to the very summit at Rigi Kulm. The spectacular ride in the old carriages passing waterfalls and tunnels on the steep tracks is already worth the visit.
From Rigi Kulm at 1798 meter above sea level will be able to enjoy a breathtaking 360-degree view: The fantastic panorama includes 13 lakes and uncountable mountain peaks.
Depending on your physical strengths, Mount Rigi offers different option for exploration. You can use the train to reach different other viewpoints or mountain villages.
Alternatively and absolutely recommended is a hike to Rigi Scheidegg or even back to Arth-Goldau. From the mountain peak, you hike along the North West side to Känzli viewpoint. You will experience another fabulous view on the Alps and Lake Lucerne below you.
Rigi Kaltbad, a touristy mountain village, is next and a great stop for a break along your trail. Always along the mountain ridge the wide panoramic path leads to Rigi Scheidegg from where you could take the cogwheel train back down or keep hiking to the Valley Station.
Mount Rigi is the perfect day trip from Basel as it is easily accessible all year long with breathtaking views and your visit can be all, between stops on the different train stations and a challenging day hike.
Written by Linda from Hiking The Alps
The charming town of Colmar sits over the border in the Alsace region of France. It takes less than an hour by road or train from Basel, and the striking architecture and sleepy streets make it a great day trip destination if you want a change of scenery. This is an area where French and German cultures come together to create a unique vibe that you’ll find nowhere else in Europe. Signage is often in both languages, and the cuisine reflects both nations, so it feels like you’re in two countries at once.
Colourful half-timber houses line the cobbled streets, while reflections in the picturesque canals make for great photos. Here you’ll find window boxes overflowing with flowers, and traditional restaurants tucked away in quaint back alleys. Go on a journey through time as you stroll through the historical centre – walking is the best way to see all the main sights.
Of all the places to visit in Colmar, Little Venice is a delight with its beamed residences, waterway network, and wine bars. Make sure you visit at night to see everything illuminated against the dark sky. Packed with historic properties and charming hotels, the quaint Fishmonger’s District is the most picturesque area. Meanwhile, the Tanner’s District is equally alluring, and it’s here that you’ll really feel like you’re stepping back into a different era.
Written by Heather from Conversant Traveller
This small town is a hidden gem in Switzerland that everyone should visit.
Baden is a 45 minute drive East of Basel, on the way to Zurich. Alternatively, it takes only an hour to get there via the local train service.
Before you visit, you should learn how to say hello and thank you in Swiss-German.
Once you arrive in Baden, you’ll quickly be in awe of its beauty. This small Swiss town has retained its historic charm. There are a lot of cute shops and restaurants to explore, as well as a few interesting historical sites.
Spend the morning eating a pastry as you climb the city’s fortress tower or hike up the nearby hills to get a birds-eye view of the area.
One of the most popular attractions in Baden is the thermal baths. These baths have been around for over 2,000 years and offer some great relaxation opportunities. You can experience the hot water’s healing properties for free on the public bench with a foot bath.
But the best way to experience them is to book a few hours at a thermal bath spa. They even have lounge chairs in the water so you can easily relax in the hot pools.
In the evening, enjoy some traditional Swiss food at a local restaurant. There is always something happening in Baden, so you’re sure to have a good time.
Written by by Nina of Nina Out and About
Mulhouse in France is a perfect destination for a day trip from Basel. In the city centre you can admire the gorgeous Temple Saint-Étienne or visit one of the French-style cafes. This region of France is very unique with many amazing museums and renaissance-style buildings. However, Mulhouse also offers plenty of amazing walks, so grab your backpacking camera to take photos of the most impressive places in this part of France.
The street art in Mulhouse can be found in every corner of this French town. Start your walk at Place de la Réunion and wander around the colourful streets. You will see plenty of sculptures and beautiful wall paintings. Even post boxes are painted in Mulhouse so make sure to pay attention to small details when visiting this incredible town.
Mulhouse is a great place to visit for those who love art. There are a lot of amazing museums to explore across the town. La Kunsthalle offers exhibitions of contemporary art and it is free to visit. On the other hand in Musée National de l’Automobile you can see some of the most impressive cars.
If you are in Basel, you shouldn’t miss visiting Mulhouse. It is only 30 minutes drive from the Switzerland border. Exploring this lovely French town will offer you an unforgettable day trip from Basel.
Written by Paulina from UK Everyday
If you’re looking for a good day trips from Basel, Freiburg (Breisgau) is a great choice. It’s one of the best places to visit in Germany, and you can easily see the highlights in a day. Freiburg is the perfect combination of city and nature. It’s a small city, easy to explore the old town on foot, and yet the Black Forest is right at the doorstep. From many parts of town, especially viewpoints like the cathedral and the top of Castle Hill, you can see the forest around the edges of the city. The old town is mostly pedestrian, so it’s pleasant to go for a stroll while admiring the architecture. But watch out! At the sides of many of the streets, there are small canals with water running through them. They’re called Bächle and are one of the city’s most famous landmarks. If you step in one, legend says you will marry a local. Freiburg still has two of its old city gates. They are Schwabentor at the eastern side of the old town and Martins Tor towards the southern end of the old town. While wandering through the old town, you should also check out the Bertoldsbunnen fountain and the fresh market that runs every day but Sunday in the square surrounding the cathedral. To reach Freiburg from Basel by train, you can leave from either Basel SBB or Basel Bad. Either option takes about 40 minutes, but you’re better off leaving from Basel Bad and taking the regional train to save money. It’s a short walk from the Freiburg train station to the center of the old town, and parking can be tricky, so driving is not recommended.
Written by Ali from Berlin Travel Tips
Lausanne, located on Lake Geneva makes one of these wonderful day trips from Basel. The city located in French-speaking Switzerland is just two hours by car or two hours and a half by train with just a quick change in Bern.
Spend the morning exploring the delightful old town. Be sure to visit Lausanne Cathedral, Switzerland’s largest church and if you’re not nervous of heights, climb to the top of the bell tower for fabulous views across Lausanne. On a clear day, you will have amazing views of the Alps and Lake Geneva.
Lose yourself in the winding streets. You won’t be lost for long as all streets seem to end up at the Place de la Palud, the main square in the heart of the old town. The square is home to Lausanne’s 17th century City Hall and the Fontaine de la Justice.
The afternoon, head down to the lake and join the locals as you take a stroll along the Ouchy Promenade. Do allow time to visit the fascinating Olympic Museum.
If time permits, take the ten minute train journey to the Lavaux Vineyards – A UNESCO World Heritage Site. The views of the vineyards with the lake and mountains as a back drop are breathtaking. There are plenty of trails through the vineyards and many opportunities to sample the local wines. Else you can also visit and view these with a 2 hour boat tour!
Written by Sarah from Life Part 2 And Beyond
The charming German town, Heidelberg, is just about two and a half hours from Basel by train or car. The romantic town is located on the Neckar River in the forested hills of the Rhine Valley. Visitors will immediately fall in love with its old-world charm cobblestone streets, café-lined Marktplatz square, plenty of shops and markets, and the ivy-covered ruins of the imposing Heidelberg Castle.
A trip to Heidelberg isn’t complete without a tour of the beautiful Heidelberg Castle. You can roam the grounds for free, but a guided tour is a must to understand the castle’s history and interesting facts like it has been struck by lightning twice! While exploring, be sure not to miss the last stop on the castle funicular, Königstuhl — The King’s Seat; here, you will be able to capture Instagram-worthy shots of the town.
One other spot that is worthy of exploration is the Philosopher’s Walk. This winding nature trail provides miles and miles of beautiful gardens and views of the Neckar River, Old Town, and the Heidelberg Castle. It’s an excellent spot for a leisurely stroll or an extensive hike!
For those that want to take it easy, enjoy a boat tour for 2 hours to see the Heidelberg from the water. Its beautiful to do during a sunny day!
After all of that exploration, you will have no doubt worked up an appetite. Be sure not to miss any of Heidelberg’s vegan-friendly restaurants for a hearty meal before heading back to Basel.
Written by Rebecca from Veggies Abroad
When visiting Switzerland you are spoiled for beautiful places to visit. From Interlaken to Basel and of course, the Swiss alps, you are never short of beautiful places to see.
During your trip to Switzerland, Basel is a fantastic place to base yourself because there are plenty of day trips from Basel that are worth doing. One in particular is a trip to Lucerne.
Located just over an hour south of Basel by car or an hour by train (depending on the route you take), you will find one of the most beautiful cities on the banks of Lake Lucerne.
Strolling around the old city or feeding the swans by the lake there are plenty of things to see and do in Lucerne. However, your day trip must include indulging in chocolate fondue, of course crossing the Chapel Bridge, checking out the Lion monument, visiting the Jesuit Church and spending some time down by the Lake.
If you happen to be visiting Lucerne in the winter, make sure you check out the ice-skating rink and the adorable Christmas markets. Christmas seems to make Lucerne come alive even more.
So, if you are visiting Basel, a day trip to Lucerne is well worth your while.
Written by Fiona from Travelling Thirties
You can get to Zurich from Basel on the highway in a little over and hour, alternatively you can take the back roads and fall in love with the charm of some amazing postcard villages on the way. The highway in Switzerland are heavily tolled so the back roads can save you some money.
Trains from Basel to Zurich take about 50 minutes and run hourly. The train ride offers beautiful views of the Swiss countryside.
Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and is located in the north of the country on the banks of Lake Zurich. A boat ride on Lake Zurich is popular way to see the city and enjoy the son when the weather is good. Zurich is a popular tourist destination and is home to many attractions, including the Lindt chocolate factory, the FIFA headquarters, Kunsthaus Zürich Art Museum and numerous restaurants and bars.
For those who love a bit of shopping Bahnhofstrasse is considered one of the world’s most expensive and exclusive shopping avenues in the world. The old town of Zurich is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the city also has a number of parks and nature reserves. You will find plenty of things to do in Zurich that will keep singles couples and families happy on this day trip from Basel. Written by Mark from Wyld Family Travel
Interested in some other Swiss locations? Check here:
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Thank you for reading our Day Trips From Basel post!
ANUKRATI DOSI2nd April 2022 at 7:59 am
Lovely list! It is finally a relief that we can travel abroad. So, we do not have to feel bad by just looking at the pictures.
Alma2nd April 2022 at 12:54 pm
Who doesn’t love Switzerland? These are great day trips from Basel and ideal to see a bit more of this beautiful country.
Terri2nd April 2022 at 1:43 pm
Basel was my favorite city in Switzerland. I love university towns. They are so exciting. I wish I had this guide to nearby places to see. Great job!
Elena Pappalardo2nd April 2022 at 8:08 pm
Switzerland never ceases to amaze me and I cannot wait to finally get there! It’s awesome to see how many incredible destinations –including those in neighboring countries — are just hours away. I’d love to visit Bern and Mount Rigi 🙂