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Six things people who live in Basel take for granted

Sandra Sparrowhawk
Sandra Sparrowhawk - [email protected]
Six things people who live in Basel take for granted
People cool off in Basel during a Swiss heatwave. Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

If you’ve lived in Basel a long time, chances are you are no longer appreciating how special the city really is. Here are six things (some) Basel residents take for granted.


From its exquisite food scene to its beautiful scenery perfect for hiking, you don’t need to look far or long to find good things about Basel - yet sometimes those are the very things long-term residents tend to overlook.

Here are ten things you (too) might take for granted.

Art, art, and more art

You may have lived in Basel a while, but did you know that no other city in Switzerland has a greater density of museums than Basel?

Whether you visit one of the city’s (nearly) 40 museums to browse their spectacular collections and special exhibitions, or simply wander around its mesmerising Old Town, in Basel art is all around you.

Moreover, Basel is famously home to the Art Basel fair, which this year will be showcasing art of the 20th and 21st centuries across 200 selected galleries from June 15th -18th. Prior to attending the event, which also exhibits in Miami Beach and Hong Kong, you will need to secure a ticket (from 35 francs).

READ MORE: 10 unmissable events in Switzerland in June 2023

Taking a dip in the Rhine

Likewise, did you know that swimming in Basel’s Rhine is the city’s most beloved sport?

If you really want to swim the Basel way, you will need to bag yourself a waterproof ‘Wickelfisch’ swim bag, which is perfect for those who would rather not leave their clothes unattended.


Not surprisingly, the peculiar bag is also a very popular souvenir.

But before you get ready for a jump, Basel’s cantonal police advises that only good to very good swim in the Rhine as the water can be dangerous for inexperienced swimmers for whom a dip in the Gemsberg-Brunnen may prove a better fit.

If you do happen to be a strong swimmer though, you can let the current take you down the river. Simply hop in between the Wettsteinbrücke and Johanniterbrücke and let the water do its thing.

Fresh, tasty water wherever you go

But Basel’s public fountains aren’t just ideal for swimming, the majority of them provide perfectly safe drinking water.

The city has 200 public fountains dotted across town, most of which offer fresh, clean and tasty Basel spring water for free, meaning buying bottled water is a thing of the past.

Going to another (non-Swiss) city, you’ll have a quick look around before you realise that there’s not a water fountain in sight.


Basel is expat-friendly

In the recent Expat City Ranking 2022 by InterNations, which ranked the best and worst cities internationally for expats, it was Basel and not Zurich, Geneva or Lausanne that came out on top in Switzerland.

The newest edition shows that Basel is in the seventh place globally — the only Swiss city that made it to the top-10 of 50 cities examined by InterNations.

Expats not only said that they are satisfied with their personal finances, but also the broader quality of life – such as the air quality, safety, and the availability of public transportation - in the city.

READ MORE: Why Basel is ranked 'Switzerland's best city for expats'

Proximity to Germany and France

As Basel-City lies right on the German and French borders, Swiss shoppers hoping to find better deals on various goods and save some hard-earned cash are truly spoiled for choice.

Cars with Basel-City licence plates parked in front of German and French supermarkets are a commonplace sight.

As food and many other products are cheaper across the border, the “shopping tourism” allows Basel-City residents to save quite a bit of money.

READ MORE: Why cross-border shopping has become less popular in Switzerland

Excellent public transport and convenient parking to boot

While this may be well something which applies across much of Switzerland, living in Basel you not only benefit from frequent public transport connections and clean trains, you will also not face much difficulty trying to park your vehicle in the city.

Basel-City is often hailed as having the most convenient parking spaces in the whole of Switzerland. The canton famously added an additional 10 centimetres in width when the last parking standard was introduced in 2006, according to the Basel Building and Transport Department (BVD).

So if you’re lucky enough to find a free parking spot in the busy city, rest assured that parking should be a walk in the park.


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