Insider tips from Basel: top events, competitions and special offers

Sign up now

Architectural highlights in 72 hours

Here we will suggest the best way to discover Basel's architecture and combine this with cultural and culinary highlights. Are you ready for our three-day programme?

Rheinweg Architektur

Day 1

Arrive in Basel and check into the Nomad Design & Lifestyle Hotel(1). The modern architecture of Buchner Bründler combined with the homely design give this hotel in Basel's city centre an urban touch. The Nomad Eatery, the hotel's own restaurant, offers the perfect way to fuel up before seeing the city.

Start your tour of discovery in Kleinbasel, where you will gain fascinating insights into the world of contemporary architecture

such as the Workshop Warteck PP(2). This building, with its striking tower, started out as a brewery around 1900, and today is home to LISTE Art Fair Basel, one of the most important trade fairs for young galleries which is held at the same time as Art Basel. Today, the Workshop Warteck PP offers a space for a diverse range of cultural and creative projects. What’s more, the impressive building is also home to the bars SUDCantina Don Camillo and Kulturbeiz 113. Here you can enjoy the wonderful view along with a quick refreshment. 

Next, we're heading to the tallest building in Switzerland. At 178 metres high, the Roche tower (Building 1)(3), designed by Herzog & de Meuron, shapes Basel's skyline like no other structure. 

Right behind that is the Tinguely Museum(4), constructed by Ticino-based architect Mario Botta. The museum on the Rhine houses the largest collection of works by Swiss artist Jean Tinguely (1925–1991). Enjoy a bite to eat at the museum's café, Chez Jeannot, with its view of the Rhine. 

Then, after a walk along the banks of the Rhine in Kleinbasel and over the Wettsteinbrücke bridge, take in the impressive new building at the Kunstmuseum(5). The structure, designed by Basel architects Christ & Gantenbein, is one of the museum's three buildings. Right next door, in the inner courtyard of the main building, which was constructed in 1936 by Basel architects Rudolf Christ, is the Kunstmuseum Bistro, which offers the perfect opportunity for a coffee break with a view of Auguste Rodin’s sculpture “The Burghers of Calais”.

What's the best way to round out a day full of architectural highlights? With another architectural delight, of course: the brasserie of the Volkshaus Basel(6) was renovated by Herzog & de Meuron and is a culinary and cultural meeting place in Kleinbasel.

Day 2

Start the day by visiting what is possibly one of Basel's most exciting districts: Dreispitz(1).The city’s duty-free warehouse was once situated here, but these days you will find buildings by famous architects, including the Academy of Art and Design's building, designed by Morger + Dettli, the simple Oslo Nord building by ffbk Architekten, and the striking residential building “Helsinki Dreispitz” by Herzog & de Meuron.

A detour to the HeK – Haus der elektronischen Künste(2) (House of Electronic Arts) is an absolute must in Dreispitz. Here you will gain exciting insights into the world of digital art The Genusswerk bistro, which is also housed in the museum, serves coffee, sandwiches and snacks.

After fuelling up, continue onwards to Schaulager(3). The building's breath-taking architecture is sure to delight – this is another masterpiece by Basel architects Herzog & de Meuron. The Schaulager is a special institution for art, as it is neither a museum nor a traditional storage space. Please note that the Schaulager is only open to the public during exhibitions.

After the Schaulager, take public transport from Dreispitz to Basel youth hostel(4)– an architectural jewel in the St. Alban district. Fans of architecture are sure to be delighted by this “Design Youth Hostel”, constructed by Basel architects Buchner Bründler. The youth hostel is just a short walk away from the Rhine and the Le Rhin Bleu restaurant. Situated right above the water, the restaurant provides a Mediterranean atmosphere and summer dishes in the warmer months.

After that, relax for a few minutes as you take the St. Alban ferry across the river. When you arrive back at the banks of the Rhine at Kleinbasel, we recommend you take a walk along what is known as the “Riviera” back to Klybeck-Quai(5). During the summer months, you will pass by countless outdoor bars. When the weather is good, they open their counters and serve drinks and snacks, which makes for a nice break.

Directly opposite, on the other bank of the Rhine, is the architectural office of Herzog & de Meuron. Can you see the modern glass construction nestled between traditional, old town houses?

When you arrive at Klybeck-Quai, the first thing to catch your eye will surely be Holzpark Klybeck, a temporary home for culture, concerts, bars and events of all kinds. Whether in summer or winter – there's something alternative going on here!

We then recommend you enjoy a fresh draught beer in Volta Bräu(6) to help you digest all the architecture you’ve just seen.To get there, simply cross the Dreirosenbrücke bridge, either on foot or by tram. The brewmaster brews three types of Volta Bräu beer in line with traditional methods in the cavernous industrial space of a former substation. The brewery also serves delicious burgers, snacks and aperitif plates for sharing. And if that’s not enough for you, Perron is just a few streets away. This restaurant, with its industrial charm, is situated in the former St. Johann station – a listed building that today houses 39 studios. The DAMPF°BAD spa oasis and the open-air bar Il Giardino URBANO round out the offering.

Day 3

After breakfast in your hotel, treat yourself to the breath-taking art at Fondation Beyeler(1). This spectacular museum building by Renzo Piano unites architecture, nature and art in an impressive fashion. Fondation Beyeler is the most-visited art museum in Switzerland, and captures the attention of an international audience year in, year out with top-quality special exhibitions. After a visit to the museum, a coffee in the restaurant in Berower Park is the perfect way to relax. This beautiful spot in the museum gardens, featuring sculptures by Ellsworth Kelly and Alexander Calder, is a tranquil oasis.

The Rehberger trail(2) is also impressive: the five-kilometre trail links the Vitra Campus(3) with Fondation Beyeler, the municipality of Riehen with Weil am Rhein, and Switzerland with Germany. You will pass by 24 places en route – known as the “24 Stops”, by German artist Tobias Rehberger. His works combine architecture, installation, sculpture and design.

When you arrive at the Vitra Campus, your prize is even more world-class architecture, including buildings by famous architects such as Tadao Ando, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Herzog & de Meuron, SANAA.

We particularly recommend you see the Vitra Design Museum and the Schaudepot, which display important design items from the collection. Before heading home, enjoy a bite in the VitraHaus Café or, during the summer months, at the 1960s silver food truck right in front of the museum. Tip: indulge your inner child and slide down the Vitra Slide Tower to end your visit!