Summer Days, Basel Nights

Photo by knickinoptik // Flickr.com

With the summer comes culture—lots of it. Although a creative art-loving community year round, there’s something about this season that brings an even greater abundance of music, imagination, and expression to this city on the Rhein. Whether in film, concerts, festivals, or fireworks, Basel lights up with brilliant, colourful, exuberant life.

Orange Cinema: 26 July – 22 August

The Orange Cinema is one of the best loved summer events in Basel. Taking place every year at Münsterplatz, it’s almost a full month of box-office hits, international and independent films, and of course, great food—all in open air, under the moon and stars. Just a few of this year’s features are Cinema Paradiso on Opening Night (26 July), The Sapphires, Argo, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and Les Misérables. You can see the full program here.

If you’re an Orange customer, bring a friend for free on Tuesdays with their 2-for-1 movie ticket offer—just text OCINEBS to the number 241. For an extra special movie night, you can watch the film from Zum Isaak restaurant, right on Münsterplatz. Reserve your table and seats online, enjoy a wonderful dinner, and then kick back with a glass of wine for your feature film. Click here to reserve seats.

ImFluss: 30 July – 17 August

If this is your first summer in Basel, you’re probably wondering about the barge out in the middle of the Rhein. But it won’t take long to discover that the raft is an integral part of what makes summer in Basel, summer in Basel.

It’s the iconic stage for ImFluss (meaning “in the flow”), an annual concert series hosted on the Rhein that draws all kinds of local, national, and even international performers to the city. It’s an eclectic mix of music, something for everyone, and always lots of fun. Bring friends and come early to get a seat on the steps by the river. Concerts are generally free, but you’ll see “crew” dressed in nautical shirts and hats pass through the crowd with big nets, gathering tips for the artists. They’ll appreciate your appreciation!

Four days and counting… Watch the countdown!

National Day Celebration: 31 July 

Fireworks
Photo by Anuj Biyani // Flickr.com
Maybe the highlight of the season is Swiss National Day, August 1. Typically celebrated on the evening before, it’s a citywide, all-out party with all the trimmings: live music, Wienerli and Basler Brot, stands and stalls, water sports, and of course fireworks. The festivities run from 17.00 to 02.00 the following day, and the firework show starts at 23.00 on the Rhein, engineered from two boats on either side of the Mittlere Brücke. Usually you’ll know the show has come to a close when you see the smiley face fireworks! Stop by www.basel.ch for more info.

It’s recommended to use public transportation on festival days. Just be sure to check the tram and bus schedules as they change on holidays. You can find more information on the BVB website.

Also, don’t miss the last few days of…

Tattoo Basel: 19 – 27 July

The Tattoo Basel, one of the world’s largest tattoos, is an impressive showcase of musical mastery, precision, choreography, and spirit held at the Basel barracks—a magical mix of bagpipes, brass, and of course drums, amid fireworks and lots of applause. The Basel Tattoo Parade will be winding through Basel’s main streets this Saturday, 27 July. Visit their website for more information and video previews.

Stimmen-Festival (Voices Festival): 4 – 28 July

With musical legends such as Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and Lenny Kravitz, the Stimmen-Festival makes it possible to see some of the world’s best singers, musicians, and songwriters without ever leaving the region. Now in its 20th year, the festival proves that good things do in fact come in threes…or at least, with the number 3 in them: 30 concerts over the course of 3 and a half weeks for more than 30,000 visitors. It’s all styles of music, from all countries, for all music lovers. This week (the festival’s final week), you can catch Gudrid Hansdóttir, This Is the Kit, Bob Geldof, Lucas Santtana, and many more. Find more information here.

And this is just the beginning! More exciting festivals and special events are just around the corner in August…

What do you love most about summer days and Basel nights?

An Ice Cold Cup of Summer

What kind of person are you: Ice cream or gelato? Frozen yoghurt or sorbet?

When the day is warm and the winter ice has melted away, when the Rhein is full of swimmers and the air is full of music, all that’s really missing is the perfect bite of something sweet. Ice cream, gelato, sorbet, yoghurt…in fancy cups or cones to go, ice cream in Basel is as much an art as summer itself.

Mövenpick

Mövenpick (‘The Art of Swiss Ice Cream’) has long been famous for its ice cream innovations, all made with real Swiss cream. With new flavours practically every season, from berry sorbets in the summer to cinnamon swirl and Basler Läckerli in the winter, ice cream with Mövenpick is a year-round specialty. This year’s newest Summer Limited Edition is ‘Sour Cherry & Cream.’

Caramelita
Photo by Mövenpick
The Mövenpick restaurant in Basel, right at Markplatz, has a whole menu devoted to ice cream (Glace), with a variety of signature sundaes (Coupes). The Black Forest, the Coupe Denmark, the Honeymoon — all are beautifully presented with fresh fruit, thick whipped cream, chocolate or raspberry sauce, and their signature almond-brûlée cookies.

If you’re feeling brave, try the Tête-a-Tête, a meal in itself for two (or four!) with 6 scoops of ice cream topped with fruit and cream. It’s always fun to sit outside at their sidewalk café during the summer and watch the bustle of Markplatz, but the restaurant also has a stand outside with cones to go, for your walk by the Rhein.

Most agree that ice cream here is slightly on the expensive side, but sumptuously worth it! You can see a full list of what Mövenpick offers on their website, moevenpick-icecream.com. Unfortunately not all flavours are always available at the restaurant, but you might be able to find them at Coop.

Confiserie Schiesser

A long-established sweet shop in the center of Basel, right next door to Mövenpick, Confiserie Schiesser goes beyond truffles and marzipan to finger sandwiches and ice cream sundaes. Climb up the winding wooden staircase to their charming old-world tea room overlooking Marktplatz, or order downstairs at the sidewalk café. You can see the latest summer creations on their official Facebook page.

One of their best-loved specialties is the Mocha Eiscafé — rich coffee ice cream with cold coffee, vanilla, and cream fashioned after a prized recipe from 1870. On the way out, don’t forget to check downstairs in the shop for single-flavor ice cream cups to take home.

Confiserie Sprüngli

Confiserie Sprüngli, known for their one-of-a-kind Luxembergerli (bite-sized macaroons), is another confiserie that has made its mark with its own brand of unique homemade ice cream. Amid the chocolates, truffles, and pastries, you’ll find the ice cream smooth and the flavours intense. Basel has two Sprüngli locations: one on Güterstrasse, and the other on Steinenberg. The chocolate ice cream, of course, is a favourite.

Acero Basel

Cross the bridge to Kleinbasel to check out Eiscafé Acero, a gelateria at Rheingasse. With fruit sorbets, ice cream staples like chocolate and coconut, and some specials like maple syrup, the ice cream at Acero Basel is fresh and homemade with new flavors all the time. As a café, Acero also serves muffins, quiches, panini, and a wide selection of coffees, teas, and cold drinks. Usually selling waffles as well, with the start of the summer they have initiated something brand new — sweet, icy Almond Granitas, after a traditional Sicilian recipe.

10′ Dieci Gelateria Basel

Right on the Steinenvorstadt, across from the Kino Pathé,

10 Dieci
Photo by Dieci
is more of a fixed ice cream stand than a café. They have a good assortment of gelati that changes frequently and sells out quickly during these summer months. One of the best parts of ordering gelato is that you buy it by the cup size, not the scoop — meaning that the bigger the cup you buy, the more flavours you can order. It’s ideal for those of us who want to try them all (which, let’s face it, is all of us)! And if you think you may have seen a Dieci pizza courier driving around town at some point…you have. It’s part of the Dieci empire of pizza delivery, restaurants, and gelaterias all over Switzerland.

It’s impossible to list all the places to find good ice cream in Basel. Throughout the city you’ll come across lots of independent gelato carts, and there are many restaurants by the Rhein that have their own ice cream menus. But wherever you look, you’re sure to find just the right something sweet.

Tell us! What kind of person are you?