Four must-sees for your art trip to Basel

Alix M Campbell

Senior Contributor

Basel and art go hand in hand. You’ll find over 40 museums across the third-largest city of Switzerland to help you quench your thirst for learning and exploring. If you’re in town for a couple of days, make yourself at home at the Grand Hotel Le Trois Rois before you check out these inspiring to-dos below. Also: Don’t forget to plan some time to stroll through the gorgeous old town and sit back and enjoy the scenery with a nice beverage in hand.

Marvel at the exhibits of Museum Tinguely

This place will stimulate all of your senses. Designed by architect Mario Botta, the Museum Tinguely opened its doors in 1996 and offers the largest collection of Jean Tinguely’s kinetic works with paintings and sculptures – from filigree reliefs to massive machine installations. One of his most famous pieces is the Tinguely Fountain, which was built from pieces of an old theatre after it burnt down.

Tinguely (1925-1991) is said to be one of the most innovative Swiss artists of the 20th century. The museum dedicated to his art leads you through the artist’s world of works created over a period of four decades.

Sitting on the banks of the Rhine River, the museum welcomes you to enter Tinguely’s post-1950 art world with an interactive setting. Between laughing out loud, discovering new things, and gasping in awe you’ll enjoy an entertaining tour through this renowned Basel art museum. If you feel like a refreshment or a bite to eat after your visit, you’ll find the restaurant Chez Jeannot close by as well as the café Schöpfli im Park.

Take an Urban Art Tour

Your art trip to Basel wouldn’t be complete without getting to know the street art of this lively city. National and international graffiti and street artists like Tika, Espo, Invader, or The London Police have used many of Basel’s public spaces as their canvases to make the city more colourful and interesting thanks to their creations.

Join the artists and art experts from Artstübli on a tour through the city and discover Basel’s urban art scene. Letting your eyes wander up and down different buildings and focusing on unexpected places, you’ll gain a completely new perspective of the city and its sights.

Urban art has become an important cultural part of metropolitan areas and it has come a long way, now being recognised as a proper art movement. All over the world, street artists are invited to express themselves on various spaces and buildings in cities like Basel, and people flock to urban art events to enjoy these public designs.

Strolling through Basel, some hotspots for beautiful murals and graffiti are near the Sommercasino, at the harbour and along the railway tracks between a bridge called Schwarzwaldbrücke and the Swiss SBB railway station. In addition to that, Bell site sports the city’s largest street art installation. This 1700 m2 large mural is the colourful result of a collaboration of more than 30 artists.

Learn how to make chocolate

It’s no secret that the Swiss are chocolate lovers and connoisseurs. You’ll find some of the best chocolate makers in the world here. One of them based in Basel is boutique chocolatier Beschle offering you deliciously delicate treats.

Other than tasting and buying different types of chocolate, visitors can also take part in workshops, which include a guided tour. You’ll be able to learn about the entire process from growing cacao beans to producing mouth-watering chocolate, and you’ll even hear some industry secrets.

One of the best parts of the two-hour workshop is that you can make your own chocolate bar and take it home as a delicious souvenir (or eat it right away, the choice is yours!). If you’re travelling with children or if you always dreamed of being Willy Wonka for a day, this place has to go on your Basel travel bucket list.

Can’t get enough of Basel chocolate? You can visit other places in town to taste more sweet treats. At the restaurant Der Teufelhof, for example, you’ll be treated to a three-course meal after your chocolate tasting.

Stay at the Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois

After a day of art exploration, there’s no better place to unwind than at the uber-luxurious Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois. Built on the site of a mediaeval inn, Les Trois Rois offers the perfect blend of old-world extravagance and ultra-modern convenience. Opt for a river-facing room or suite, and you’ll be able to enjoy the contents of your complimentary mini-bar outside on your terrace. If the sky’s the limit, the Rooftop Suite will bedazzle; it has everything you’ll ever need while in town, and lots of extras, including a jacuzzi on the rooftop terrace.

Dine at the sensational three Michelin-starred Cheval Blanc where one meal makes memories to last a lifetime. There is also a Brasserie with its traditional French offerings (beef tartare included) which is pretty special, too. Save some time for the chariot of cheeses or dessert (or both). Funky cocktails and choice snacks are found in the bar, and there’s even an exquisite Salon du Cigare where connoisseurs of the cigar can relax and luxuriate in the moment with one of the 155 cigars to choose from.

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