15 Best Day Trips from Basel, Switzerland

Located along the borders of Germany and France, the opportunities around Basel are endless. 

The bustling city is surrounded by the incredible snow-peaked mountains that make up the Swiss Alps.

So whether you are looking to explore nearby cities or venture out into the wild, Basel is the perfect place to start your adventure. 

1. Lauterbrunnen

Located in the center of Switzerland, Lauterbrunnen is the perfect place to admire the breathtaking architecture found in the village while also being surrounded by the Swiss Alps. 

Take a short hike to Trummelbach Falls, the largest and most well-known of the 72 falls in the area. 

Don’t miss an opportunity to hike one of the many trails that are laid out across Lauterbrunnen valley. 

Paraglide over the vast alpine landscape and quaint village town for a mesmerizing journey you will be telling people about for years to come. 

For the less adventurous, take the cable car up nearly 10,000 ft to the Schilthorn viewpoint for panoramic views of the Swiss Alps. 

Fun fact: the viewpoint is famously known as a filming location for the 1969 James Bond movie! 

2. Bern

A trip to Switzerland would not be complete without a visit to the country’s capital

Walk along the cobblestone pathways and take in the view of the river that runs through this old town. 

Home to famous artist Hans Gieng, you’ll find some of his unusual fountains throughout the town. One that stands out amongst the rest is an ogre preparing to eat a bag of children! 

Visit  Bern Münster, Switzerland’s tallest church, and walk the many steps up to the top where you can look down over Bern, the Aare River, and the Alps. 

Did you know that Albert Einstein once lived here? Check out the Einstein House to see how he spent his days while developing the Theory of Relativity. 

3. Lucerne

A delightful mixture of nature and city beauty, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Lucerne. 

Fall in love at first glance as Mount Pilatus stands nearly 7,000 ft tall above the town. No matter where you go, you will have sight of this wonderous mountain. 

Hop on a historic steamboat to get out onto Lake Lucerne or take in the sincere waters right from the shore. 

Lake Lucerne is in the center of town so you can’t miss it, literally! 

The Old Town is the place to appreciate architecture from the middle ages while also finding some trinkets to take home along the way. 

Walkthrough Hofkirche, built in the 1630s, to learn about why the church plays an important role in the country’s history. 

Grab lunch at Wirtshaus Taube where you can sit along the river or get the authentic fondue experience at Pfistern. 

4. Naturpark Gantrisch

Established as a Regional Nature Park in 2012, Gantrisch is home to a variety of different landscapes, each more beautiful than the last. 

The Swiss Confederation is dedicated to the preservation of the land ensuring the growth of wildlife and plant species. 

The four-season park offers cross-country skiing in the wintertime and intense bike tours along ever-changing terrain in the summer and spring. 

Take the park on foot and dedicate 4 hours to hike up to Gantrisch peak and back. 

As you approach the top, there are sections where you will need to hold on to the wire that lines the mountain but this only adds to the excitement and makes the view that much more rewarding. 

If you’re lucky you may even gain a friend or two (aka some friendly mountain goats) along your journey. 

Extend your adventure by stopping at Gantrischseeli Lake on your way back down for a swim or a moment of tranquility. 

Refuel and re-energize at one of the multitudes of restaurants and hotels located within the park. 

5. Solothurn

For a quick lesson on a centuries’ worth of Swiss history, plan a visit to the town of Solothurn. 

There are more than 15 churches in town to hop around to and learn about their importance to Swiss heritage. 

Schedule a church tour or go at your own pace but make sure to be respectful of those that still worship at these beautiful locations. 

One of the most visited churches is St. Ursus Cathedral thanks to the stunning architecture and views of the Bernese Alps from the top. 

Inside the Cantonal Museum is one of the largest collections of armor, weapons, and all things military. 

Stand in the center of town during the 11th hour to hear the music of the town and take the old town tour to learn why 11 is their lucky number. 

Eleven fountains, Eleven museums, Eleven bells in the main tower… you could spend the whole day trying to count them all.

Once done, reward yourself with a cold one whose name in English means, you guessed it, eleven. 

6. Rötteln Castle

Cross over into Germany where you can walk amongst the well intact ancient ruins of a castle that dates back to 1102. 

Built high above sea level, the castle overlooks the valley and the Upper Rhine Valley. 

A drawbridge connects the upper and lower wards. The lower ward was added as an extension in the 1300s, making the upper ward the older of the two. 

Imagine the historic cultural exchanges that took place here centuries ago as you walk through the stone rooms. 

Be sure to head up to the green tower, also known as Grüner Turm, for panoramic views of the German village of Lörrach, the Wiesen valley, and the snowy peaks of the Swiss Alps calling in the background. 

You can’t make a trip to Germany without stopping at a Biergarten so make sure to stop at Fraulein Burg for a quick bite.

7. Geneva

This city wears many hats as the hub of many worldwide organizations, the lead creator of luxury watches, and the gateway to delicious treats and historic attractions. 

Climb the steps of St. Pierre Cathedral for an overview of the city, the lake, and the world-famous Jet d’Eau, or in other words, massive water jet fountain. 

You may first wonder how a water jet can earn such fame but now imagine it shooting up nearly 500 ft in the air! 

Spend the day strolling through Old Town Geneva and stop at any parks, shops, and cafes that call out your name. 

Create your own personalized blend of coffee at Valmandin and be prepared to never want Starbucks again. 

Watch the sunset over Lake Geneva as you listen to music and munch on local favorites at the Tropical Corner. 

8. Strasbourg

German and French styles blend together to create this unique, picturesque town located in northeastern France. 

Cast your eyes on the Strasbourg Cathedral, the tallest medieval building in the world that is still intact, or make a trip to the top to look out upon the Black Forest. 

Turn back time as you walk down the cobblestone paths around La Petite France’s charming homes dating back to the 1500s. 

Plan ahead for a tour of the European Parliament building where you can get some insight into European law. 

Strasbourg also has a unique way for foodies to try a bit of everything without breaking the bank (or your stomach). 

The Tasty Trips Pass lets you try samples from a variety of different restaurants and cafes at your own pace. 

9. Colmar

Another France gem is Colmar, located right on the border of Germany, and having had changed controls many times, you are bound to get a mix of the two countries’ decadent foods and breathtaking architecture. 

The Lauch River runs right through the town providing Venice vibes and beautiful scenery. 

Walk along the water’s edge or cruise around the village. 

The homes of that line the streets boast vibrant colors and many stop by The Fisherman’s Quay for the picture-perfect moment. 

For something different visit the House of Heads where you can stand amongst over 100 head sculptures. 

Enjoy an authentic Alstanian (blend of German and French) meal at Bistrot Gourmand or sip a glass of wine at Le Cercle des Aromes. 

10. Top of Europe

Jungfraujoch houses the highest railway in all of Europe so it’s no surprise that it’s referred to as the “Top of Europe”. 

We have 19th century Adolf Guyer-Zeller to thank for the creation of this iconic railway system even if he never got to see its completion. 

The train ride up is 3 hours give or take depending on which station you start your trip at but the views make the time go by in a flash. 

First stop, the Sphinx observation deck. Here you can look out onto a sea of snow that coats the Aletsch Glacier. 

After you’ve taken the time to enjoy the glacier in its entirety, head over to the Ice Palace to walk through an ice tunnel within it! 

11. Mount Pilatus

Once rumored to have dragons with healing powers living upon the mountain, the many peaks that make up this mountain range are nothing short of magical. 

Take the mountain on foot and hike the five miles up to the summit. 

The path is straightforward but the difficulty lies with the steady incline. However, a bit of motivation (and the views around you will definitely help) and you will make it to the top in no time! 

There are also many smaller peaks along the way to stop and awe over. 

If you don’t have the time or the energy for this 3-hour trek, opt for the cable car but be warned, as the steepest cog train in the world, the ride can feel a bit like a rollercoaster. 

12. Augusta Raurica

Considered to be one of the most well-preserved ancient theatres, it is amazing to see how the structure has stayed intact since its completion date in 44 BC. 

Take a seat in the massive theater and imagine the 8,000 people that once sat around it for events. 

Kids will enjoy a walk through the Roman House where touching of the antiques is actually encouraged. 

Excavation still continues to this day and archaeologists have discovered some interesting artifacts like the remnants of what once was a bakery! 

13. Region Wasserfallen

With nearly 60 hikes to choose from, you can spend days exploring the region’s dense greenery and flowing waterfalls. 

New technology cable cars provide a smooth trip up the Wasserfallen mountain. 

From here you can venture off to different trails but don’t worry each trail has stunning views of the snow-peaked Alps so no matter what path you choose, it will be the right one. 

To mix up the transportation say goodbye to the cable car and take the ride back down the mountain by scooter! 

In the wintertime, other methods to descend include snowshoeing and sledding. 

14. Black Forest 

If the name of this forest gives you dense woods, timber houses, and fairytale vibes, then you’re on the right track. 

Along these ancient woods, you will find many small German villages and attractions, so the journey is best made by car for the freedom of stopping whenever and wherever you please. 

Gengenbach is a quaint town with stone towers and half-timbered houses centered around the market square. Visit during Christmas time to see one of the most unique holiday markets around. 

Watch the fog roll over Lake Titisee as you indulge in the famous Black Forest cherry cake available in all cafes. 

Take things up a notch and experience the luxury of Michelin star dining at one of the three widely acclaimed restaurants in Baiersbronn. 

15. Porrentruy

Known as the cultural core of the region, Porrentruy is home to an immense amount of historic buildings and attractions. 

At first glance, you can see the Château de Porrentruy, a medieval castle that towers over the town and you will be drawn to take a visit as it will continuously catch your eye. 

Jurassica Jardin Botanique is a garden with a diverse variety of flowers from all over the world to walk along and admire. 

The building of Musée de l’Hôtel-Dieu provides a history lesson all on its own, but take a stroll through this museum to learn about the furniture and tapestries popular in the medieval era.