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Basel, located picturesquely next to the Rhine River, is likely most famous for hosting the world’s leading art fair, Art Basel, which is held annually in June and will celebrate 50 years in 2020.
But with almost 40 museums, world-class architecture, a lively art scene and a wide range of musical offerings, Switzerland’s third most populous city is a feast for the senses year-round.
EatEpicureans will find a typical Basel ambiance in the lovingly restored historical buildings such as Restaurant Schlusselzunft or Safran Zunft, where both traditional and more modern dishes are served.
Another architectural highlight is the 1850 mortuary Totehuusli , designed by Swiss architect Melchior Berri, that is now an art nouveau pavilion and favored local hangout called Zum Kuss.
Another great pick is Volkshaus, a former concert hall that dates to 1925. It has since been converted into a French brasserie and classic bar by renowned architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, who hail from Basel and continue to work there.
SleepArt enthusiasts who just can’t get enough of creative spaces will be drawn to Der Teufelhof Basel, an offbeat art-themed hotel set within a pair of 18th-century townhouses in Basel’s Old Town.
The property has eight rooms and a suite, all of which are furnished as habitable, three-dimensional works of art. Unlike other art and design hotels where art is confined to the walls, Der Teufelhof Basel guests experience art in a new context. Guestrooms are revamped every few years by different Swiss artists — most recently in January 2019 — and rotating exhibitions set in the hotel’s wine cellar feature contemporary artists.
Der Teufelhof Basel is connected to Gallery Hotel, which offers another 24 rooms that are minimalist in style. Together, the two adjoined properties also offer two restaurants (one of which has been awarded a Michelin star), a theater, a wine shop, a brewery, a cafe and bar and an archaeological cellar with medieval finds.
PlayVisitors can admire artwork from seven centuries in Kunstmuseum Basel, while Fondation Beyeler (technically located in the nearby Riehen municipality) focuses on contemporary works from Pablo Picasso to Auguste Rodin.
Nearly 300 galleries — sometimes in innovative spaces such as Von Bartha, a converted petrol station — are spread throughout the city and tempt shoppers with works by more than 2,500 artists on display.
Lovers of architecture can stroll between masterpieces designed by internationally renowned figures such as American-Canadian architect Frank Gehry; Swiss architect Mario Botta; and, of course, the previously mentioned Herzog and de Meuron. Their most eye-catching work is the Roche Tower, a roughly 584-foot skyscraper (Switzerland’s tallest building) that serves as the headquarters of F. Hoffmann-La Roche, a pharmaceutical company.
Up-and-coming urban art has gained a solid foothold in recent years, and Basel’s graffiti and street art scene is constantly growing.
The DetailsBasel Tourismwww.basel.com