The Olympics of the Art World
Located on the banks of the Rhine, at the border between Switzerland, France and Germany, Basel is Switzerland’s third largest city. It’s also world-renowned for THE premier international art show for modern and contemporary works. But more on that in just a pointillist dot. Basel should also be well known for its main train station, which is practically a city in its own right.
You can enter through the “French” side, go through a winding hall and exit through the “Swiss” side. Up the stairs, you’ll find a bank, grocery store and wine shop (sure, get money, buy wine and cheese, and start living the Swiss way). Downstairs, you’ll find the oddly named McClean area. For a few Swiss Francs you can use these shower facilities that includes a towel, soap and shampoo. This is great for someone who arrives by overnight train and wants to freshen up before heading out into the city.
As soon as you exit the station, you’ll be in the middle of the action. With its world-class museums, outdoor sculptures, theaters, concert halls, medieval old town buildings by leading architects and new, Basel ranks as a culture capital. Which is why art lovers from around the globe come to Art Basel.
Known as the Olympics of the Art World, Art Basel features nearly 300 leading galleries from North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa. More than 2500 artists, ranging from the great masters of Modern art to the latest generation of emerging stars, are represented in the show. Last year’s installment brought together over 60,000 people.
All those people need somewhere to stay. With all hotel stays, guests receive a transportation card valid on all the public buses and tram, free of charge. With this perk, visitors can see more of this beautiful city that is living art in itself. Take the tram to City Hall where there’s an open market filled with fresh produce. Take a walk through Old Town – with well-preserved homes and winding alleyways. Stop at one of over 200 fountains, which the town officials claim has water so fresh that people can drink from any of them.
In the center of Basel, you’ll find the Barfüsserplatz, a square that literally means "Naked Feet Place." Named after an order of monks who had made a vow of poverty, take a minute to look around. Even if you haven’t a Swiss Franc in your pocket, riches surround you.
Basel lies right on the border of France and Germany. Have a German Railpass? You can visit here without buying extra tickets (departing from Basel Badischer Bahnhof). Of course, if you plan on traveling a bit in both Switzerland and Germany, a Germany-Switzerland Pass should accompany you.
Be in Lucerne or Bern in an hour using a Swiss Pass. Strasbourg, France in less than 90 minutes. Paris in just over three hours thanks to high-speed trains. Be sure to pick up a France-Switzerland Pass!
Now this is the art of travel.
Contributed by: Vida, Development Coach, is 100% Lithuanian and has plans to visit the country soon.