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Carnival in Basel

Basel Carnival is part of the city’s identity – culturally speaking, it is at the heart of its creative energies and represents three days when the city goes wild. Owing to its uniqueness and quality, it has been added to the UNESCO intangible cultural heritage list.

Our «Dame Fasnacht» – as the people of Basel lovingly call their festival – will transport you into the world of a different type of carnival. The event combines unique musical instruments, creativity and ideas, and first-rate artistic performances. This is where socio-political topics, stories and current events are communicated in a typical Basel manner: proudly, with acerbic wit and biting humour.

Basel is turned upside-down during what locals call the “three best days” in the year. Everything starts on the Monday after Ash Wednesday at exactly 4 am – in total darkness. The popular “Morgestraich” then turns the city centre into a sea of illuminated, hand-painted lanterns, where thousands of costumed pipers and drummers accompany “their lantern” and “their theme” with music through the streets – until the “Endstraich” on Thursday, again precisely at 4 am. And you absolutely have to experience everything in between.

Basel’s Carnival (Fasnacht) is now part of UNESCO’s world cultural heritage.

It’s official: Basel’s Fasnacht has been recognized by UNESCO as an element of intangible cultural heritage. With this decision, the International Committee has paid tribute to the rich traditions and uniqueness of Basel’s Fasnacht, which is only the second-ever element of Swiss heritage to be awarded the UNESCO label for intangible cultural heritage.

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The history of the Carnival in Basel

Why does Basel celebrate Fasnacht? All you need to know about the history and background to the "three best days".

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Highlights of the Carnival in Basel

But what makes the Carnival in Basel particularly special is its blend of anarchical chaos and well organized large-scale event. The following is an overview of what visitors should experience.

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Carnival participants

From the piccolo player to the drummer, from Schnitzelbank (satirical verse) performers to "Guggenmusik" bands: there are different ways to participate in Fasnacht.

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Traditional Fasnacht costumes

A large number of characters are on the move during Fasnacht. Five of them can look back on a long tradition. Some of them are based on Italy's Commedia dell'Arte, while others are inspired by local events.

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Dos & Don‘ts

There aren't actually any official rules on how to behave during Basel Fasnacht, but locals attach importance to certain customs and recommendations. If you follow these, you'll soon feel like an insider.

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Carnival in Basel

Experience the "three best days" in Basel. During Basel's Carnival (Fasnacht), the city goes wild for three days. On the Monday after Ash Wednesday all the...

18 - 21 February 2018

  • 3 Overnights 
  • Original die-cast Basel Fasnacht badge ("Blaggedde")
  • Guided Tour Carnival (Su, 5pm)
  • Rädäbäng
  • BaselCard

From 205,00 CHF per person

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Monthly tour - February: Carnival in Basel

Discover Basel in a new way every month: On 18 February 2018 we will take you into the world of Basel's famous Fasnacht. On this tour you'll learn all about...

25,00 CHF Per person

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