PV-Holidays: Self catering and the city break: Basel
As canny city break addicts are quickly discovering, the cheapest way to explore Europe’s finest cities is to check into a self-catering apartment.
Swapping an expensive hotel for a self-catering apartment doesn’t mean foregoing comfort or central locations. You’ll find a vast choice of clean, modern apartments in Paris to Rome, situated in the heart of the action.
And why not pack a glossy cookery book, forage in the markets for delicious local produce and whip up gourmet treats in the comfort and privacy of your own little home from home?
Each week, we’re featuring a city break destination with money-saving tips and the best self-catering apartment deals to ensure you get the most out of your hard-earned cash.
Basel on a budget
Known as the ‘cultural capital’ of Switzerland, Basel is a must for any accomplished culture vulture. Located on the banks of the great River Rhine.
Basel is divided into two areas. Grossbael (Great Basel) is home to the oldest town and many of the cultural hotspots, such as museums and traditional cafes. Kleinbasel (Little Basel) runs alongside the bank of the Rhine and houses most of the buzzing bars and restaurants.
Below are a few tips to the must-see attractions and activities that won’t break the bank:
Getting around Basel
The cobbled streets of Basel are a delight to explore on foot, and you’ll find it easy to get around all the city’s top attractions. When you start to flag, jump on a tram – the extensive and well-maintained city tram network is both super-efficient and cheap.
Make sure you also invest in a Basel Card which can be purchased at train stations, museums and tourist offices. The card provides you with free entry to many museums and other attractions. It also offers you free ferry rides, and access to music venues and bars. Look out for certain restaurants and cafes who will offer you a free snack if you wave your card around! They last from either 24-48 hours and cost from just 13 euros.
Museums in bASEL.
Since many of the stores close on a Sunday, and the museums stay open all day, a weekend break in Basel is a perfect chance to see all the important sights without being distracted by designer handbags and shoes! There are more than 20 museums in the city, and most open their doors for free for the last visiting hour of each day. Our pick of the best include:
Kunstmuseum Basel: This stunning gallery is home to a vast collection with an entire room devoted to the works of Picasso.
Museum für Gegenwartskunst: This feast of contemporary art is also very close to Kunstmuseum, allowing visitors who are in the area for a short amount of time to get a complete cultural fix in one afternoon!
Fondation Beyeler: A huge collection of art, which boasts Monet’s ‘Waterlilys’ among its star attractions.
Museum Jean Tinguely: Home to a massive range of mechanical art works, and the famous Fasnachtsbrunnen (Carnival Fountain) where water spurts out of metal tool sculptures.
Three Countries Corner:
Make sure you take the tram out to Kleinhuningen, also known as Three Countries Corner.
Cross the river to the monument and stand at the very spot where France, Germany and Switzerland meet for free!
Münster is the city’s most admired cathedral, built in a looming Romanesque Gothic style.
The Galluspforte is one of the main attractions; it’s believed to be the oldest sculpture in all of Switzerland. English patriots should also try to find St George slaying the dragon within its picture. Climbing the St Martins tower will also give you the best views the city has to offer.
Best markets in Basel
Get a real feel for Basel and its residents by popping down to the city market (Marketplatz) on a Saturday morning.
This is the place to stock up on scrumptious
local meats, bread and cheeses and a tempting choice of fresh produce for cooking up a feast back at your self-catering apartment. Whilst there, drop by the town hall, housed in a former palace that has since been restored.
Keep an eye out for Basler Lackerli, which looks like gingerbread, but contains no ginger!
Another tip is to pop into one of the many pastry shops and sample the pralines, for a melt-in-your-mouth memory. And while you might not be able to afford a piece of famous Swiss jewellery or a designer watch, you will, of course, find chocolate shops galore.
Our tip is to take a wander along Heuberg and Nadelberg, where there are many quaint shops selling kitsch antiques and vintage clothing at affordable prices.
Places to eat in Basel
Basel is also a University town, which means it has a great choice of affordable restaurants and cafes.
It’s a great place to eat on the cheap, and waiters are more than used to student appetites and budgets. However, going out for a romantic meal or gastronomic indulgence will, of course, cost you a little more.
A stroll along the river is a must-do, and in warmer weather the picturesque riverbanks provide the perfect spot to picnic on the goodies you picked up at the market. In the summer, many of the locals take their trunks and swimsuits to work and have a quick dip in their lunch hour!
Basel has a lovely relaxed mix of bohemian taverns, delightfully quaint pubs and upmarket, cosmopolitan bars. Our tip is to kick off your bar crawl with a drink in the Meeseturm, the highest building in Basel, which has gorgeous panoramic views- free of charge!
Pierre Vacances Adagio City Aparthotel Basel, situated in the heart of the city, is a great base for those on a budget. All of the 77 comfortable new apartments can house 2-4 people.
Each apartment has its own fully-equipped kitchen, making it an ideal self-catering choice. The residence is also close to the shops and markets, which means you can easily enjoy stocking up on local produce, cooking together and entertaining in the evenings.
The Pierre Vacances Adagio City Aparthotel Basel is offering two nights in a studio, which sleeps two people from 20th-22nd February 2009 from just £240.
For more information and pricing click here. PV-Holidays have accommodation in many major European cities. Click here for pricing and information and here for the latest special offers
Thanks for reading,
**Pictures Courtesy of Basel Tourist Board