Basel, SwitzerlandEver wish you knew the inside scoop before visiting a new destination? Now you can! We’ve reached out to our favorite locals and tour guides from all over the world for their insider tips. In the City Insider Q&A, they’ll let you in on the spots that should be on your must-see and -do list!

Madeleine Umbricht
Madeleine Umbricht

Name: Madeleine Umbricht

Occupation: Tour Guide/Employee/Information Desk

City: Basel, Switzerland

How the locals pronounce the name of the city: Basel (German/English), Bâle (French), Basilea (Italian).

Online:, @baseltourism (Twitter), Basel (Facebook), Basel Tourism (Pinterest), Basel (YouTube), baselswitzerland (Instagram), +Basel (Google Plus)

Short bio: Grüezi, my name is Madeleine. Since six-years I have had the privilege to welcome guests to Basel, either working at the information desk or as a tour guide. Travelling has been my passion throughout my life. I was on the road for seven months and circled the world. That was a perfect way to learn about the individual needs of travelers.

My hometown Basel is a fabulous city full of cultural highlights. Its history goes back 2,000 years and the city has a unique atmosphere, situated right on the border of France and Germany. I love to go hiking and Switzerland—with its fantastic public transport system—offers the ideal platform. For me, there is hardly anything more beautiful than standing on top of a mountain and having a beautiful panoramic view. Peace of mind at its best.

Come and see the beauty of Switzerland and the culture of Basel!

Best way to get to/from airport: The 50 bus takes you to the center and railway station in 15-20 minutes.

Best way to get to/from train station: Several tram and bus lines run to and from the railway station.

Favorite 5-star hotel: Hotel Les Trois Rois at Blumenrain.

Favorite budget hotel: Youth hostel at St. Alban-Kirchrain.

5 places visitors must see:

  1. Münster Cathedral
  2. Rathaus/city hall
  3. Tinguely Fountain
  4. Spalentor (city gate)
  5. Kunstmuseum (fine art museum)

Best local newspaper/recommended reading (for finding out what’s going on about town): Programmzeitung.

Favorite fine dining restaurant: Restaurant Stucki at Bruderholz or Restaurant Rubino at Luftgässlein.

Favorite casual restaurant: Restaurant Bodega at Barfüsserplatz or Restaurant Fischerstube at Rheingasse.

Best place to get a coffee: Caffè Zum Kuss at Elisabethenstrasse or 1777 Kaffee at Schmiedenhof.

Favorite bar/lounge: Bar & Kaffee Zum Teufel at Leonhardsgraben.

Best music venue/place to see live music: The Bird’s Eye jazz club at Kohlenberg.

Favorite museum: Fondation Beyeler in Riehen.

Best sports venue(s): Swiss Indoors tennis complex.

Most popular local food: Mehlsuppe (flour soup) at carnival.

Best “locals-only” spot: Coffeehouse Mitte.

To live like a local, you must have this experience: Swim in Rhine River in summer or carnival in winter.

Local/native fruit or dish to try: Basler läckerli (hard spice biscuit).

Most popular local drink: Uelibier (locally brewed beer).

Movies/TV shows filmed in your city: Pokémon video.

Best souvenirs to buy/goods to bring home: Handmade goodies from Gilgen Bakery at Spalenberg.

Best place to volunteer: Trade fair: Baselworld or ART Basel.

Biggest tourist trap/places to avoid and when: Hotel rates can be expensive during international trade fairs.

Best travel tip: Use your personal BaselCard presented to you at check-in at your hotel (newly handed out free of charge to all overnight guests from January 1, 2018). With your BaselCard, you will travel free on public transport, be able to use a free guest Wi-Fi, and get 50% discounts on several culture and leisure activities (museums, zoo, guided tours etc.). Euros accepted.

Anything else to add? Take the small ferryboat across the river.


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1 Comment On "City Insider: Basel, Switzerland"
  1. Henry Spegon|

    Myself and 5 friends are planning a river cruise in July 2020. It departs from Basel. We live in Los Angeles. Any suggestions on flights.

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