Basel is a charming city in northern Switzerland, known for its thriving art scene, traditional Swiss architecture, and a variety of museums.
It is also a haven for foodies, with numerous cafes, eateries, and restaurants offering their distinct local and regional cuisine.
Basel is a fascinating city to explore and one can probably spend days doing so, but it’s also an ideal starting point for fabulous day trips.
See more of central Switzerland, as well as parts of France and Germany.
Make the most of your vacation with these best day trips from Basel, Switzerland.
8 Best Day Trips From Basel, Switzerland
1. Bern day tour from Basel
Bern is the capital city of Switzerland and often regarded as one of the most beautiful places to visit in the country.
There is plenty of things to do and see here, and a must-visit if you’re looking for a memorable day trip from Basel.
This city dates back to the 12th century and known for the well-preserved architecture of the picturesque Altstadt or Old Town. Bern also takes pride in its world-famous rose garden and the stunning Bern Münster with its towering spire.
Meanwhile, the Bern Historical Museum is a must-visit for those who want to know more about the city’s long history and unique culture.
2. Chur / Glacier Express
Experience a one of a kind day tour from Basel as you cruise through spectacular scenery via the Glacier Express.
Prep yourself for the journey by strolling through the scenic town of Chur, then embark on the world-famous Glacier Express.
This train ride takes you through mountain gorges, lush valleys, and quaint villages.
Enjoy more breathtaking views as the train winds through what’s known as Switzerland’s ‘Grand Canyon’ through scenic drops and soaring peaks that take you 6,669 feet (2,033 meters) high at the Oberalp Pass.
Just an hour from Basel and across the border to France is the postcard-pretty Colmar.
Often called one of the prettiest places in France, it is known for the colorful half-timbered houses, cobblestone streets, and winding canals.
A visit here makes for a fun day trip from Basel, as Colmar has a lot to offer. If you are coming from Paris, this is also one of the best day trips from the city.
Don’t miss the chance to see the ‘Little Venice’ area, the ‘Tanner’s District’, and the Launch River canal. Take canal cruises, walk-on pretty bridges, or explore the colorful old town on foot.
Other must-see places in Colmar are 13th-century churches of Eglise Saint Martin and Eglise Saint Matthieu, the Market Hall, and the Palais de Justice (Law Courts).
4. Freiburg, Germany
Freiburg, situated at the foot of the stunning Black Forest, is the sunniest part of Germany.
This picture-perfect town practically glistens, and one of the best Basel day trips if you want to be in another country even for a day.
As you approach, the majestic spires of the 13th century Freiburg Minster welcomes you.
As you stroll through town, you’ll come across picturesque old quarters that look even more vibrant bathed in Freiburg’s seemingly endless sunshine.
Walk along the canals and stop every now and then to admire the architecture.
While here, enjoy a pint of some German beer in one of the breweries lining the pretty streets along with cafes and shops.
5. Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe
Treat yourself to this winter destination any time of the year, as you enjoy a unique Basel day tour to Jungfraujoch.
At 3,454 meters above sea level, this is the highest train station in the continent and that’s why it is called the Top of Europe.
The surrounding views on the way to this glacial pass between the Jungfrau mountain and the Mönch mountain are quite breathtaking, more so when you reach the top.
At the Jungfraujoch, you get to experience winter even at the peak of summer as you walk inside a glacier, see the Sphinx terrace, various exhibitions and even visit an ice palace.
With the icy wind on your face, snow under your feet plus spectacular views anywhere you look, a tour of the Jungfraujoch is not to be missed.
6. Lucerne, Switzerland
Another magical Basel day trip awaits when you visit Lucerne, which is just an hour away by train.
This pretty city by the lake is known for its colorful and intricate architecture that looks straight out of fairy tales.
Lucerne is situated under snow-capped Mount Pilatus and a great place to visit any time of the year.
Enjoy various water activities during summer, while winter offers one of the best Christmas markets in Europe.
Another must experience in Lucerne is the delicious and hearty Swiss food served in the many eateries spread across the city.
Some of the must-try food include Chapellbridge-Röschti or Swiss hash browns, raclette, Zopf, or plaited loaf and älplermaggronen, the Swiss version of mac ‘n cheese.
The city of Zurich may be known as an upmarket destination, but it is more than just a global hub for banking and finance.
One of the easiest day trips from Basel, it is located by the northern end of Lake Zurich and is definitely not all high rise buildings and upscale shopping districts.
Walk along the pretty streets of the Altstadt (Old Town), and you’ll come across structures that showcase its long history.
Zurich is also a city that deeply values the arts, so it’s a must to visit the Kunsthaus Zürich Museum of Fine Arts, the Rietberg Museum, or Chagall’s stained glass windows of Fraumünster Church.
Meanwhile, art and history merge on the other side of the Bahnhofstrasse, formerly known as Fröschengraben. This part leads towards the lake and is lined with beautiful turn of the century buildings.
8. Zermatt and Matterhorn
The Zermatt and Matterhorn area offers a unique day tour from Basel. The train ride is under three hours, so it’s best to set out early to make the most of your visit.
Located in southern Switzerland’s Valais canton,
Zermatt is known as a year-round destination for those into climbing, hiking, and skiing. It is also situated at the foot of the iconic, Matterhorn peak.
There is an alpine village in Zermatt that is a must-see because you’ll get to learn more about the area including the history of climbing the Matterhorn.
From here, there’s a cogwheel train to Mount Gornergrat, which is regarded as the go-to place if you want to enjoy spectacular views of Matterhorn.