November 2011


Basel goes to the movies. Quite frequently! There are lots of cinemas to choose from on Steinenvorstadt, the ‘cinema street,’ complete with bars, clubs, restaurants, and shops. Many cinemas offer special member cards and cinema passes, like the Pathé Cine Pass, where you can see unlimited films at Pathé cinemas all over Switzerland for a flat monthly or yearly fee. Most theaters also give a special discount to movie-goers on Monday nights.

Photo by nchenga
Films in Basel are usually screened in German or in English with German/French subtitles (film programs will show you what versions will be screened at which times). And be prepared to take a break from your movie for a ‘Glace Pause’ when guests can go out to refreshment stands for ice cream, or else buy ice cream bars on the spot that are brought in by vendors.  

Major Cinemas

These are some of the major movie theaters in Basel showing films in English:

Pathé Küchlin
Steinenvorstadt 55 • 4051 Basel
Tel: +41 61 201 25 00

Pathé Eldorado
Steinenvorstadt 67 • 4051 Basel

Pathé Plaza
Steinentorstrasse 8 • 4051 Basel
Tel: 0900 00 40 40

Steinenvorstadt 36 • Basel 4051
Tel: 0900 556 789 (Basel site)

Steinenvorstadt 29 • 4051 Basel
Tel: 0900 55 67 89 

Studio Central Basel
Gerbergasse 16 • 4001 Basel
Tel: 0900 556 789 

Stadtkino Basel
Klostergasse 5 • 4051 Basel
Tel: +41 61 272 66 88

Kult Kinos
Kult.Kinos specialize in foreign-language and independent films, as well as timeless cult classics like ‘The Shining.’

kult.kino atelier
Theaterstrasse 7 • 4051 Basel
Tel: +41 61 272 87 81

kult.kino camera
Rebgasse 1 • 4058 Basel
Tel: +41 61 272 87 81

kult.kino club
Marktplatz 34 • 4001 Basel
Tel: +41 61 272 87 81

Summer Screenings

In summer, the cobblestone courtyard of Münsterplatz becomes a magical outdoor theater for Orange Cinema, screening the season’s hottest films in the cool of night.

You can even catch a film by the pool at Cinevision’s Kino am Pool:
Sankt Jakobs-Strasse 400 • 4052 Basel
Tel: +41 61 311 41 44

Two things that Basel has plenty of — restaurants and shopping.

There are several department-store-style places to shop, conveniently located — as so many things in town are — close to tram stops, and all with a grocery store right below the ground floor. Here are the main stops.

Globus bills itself as upscale shopping with a gourmet grocery store and restaurant. Their grocery store is located partly on the ground floor and one floor down, and in the rest of their department store you can find make up, clothing, accessories, household items, and more. There’s even a restaurant on the top story.

Globus Basel
Marktplatz 2 • 4001 Basel
Tel: +41 58 578 45 45
(Website in German and French.)

Shopping Hours
Mon – Wed: 09.00-18.30
Thurs – Fri: 09.00-20.00
Sat: 9.00-18.00

Another popular shopping destination, with two locations in Basel. The one closest to Basel centre is in Kleinbasel, right off the Rheingasse tram stop. You’ll find clothes for men, women, and children, toys, media, household goods and decorations, luggage, electronics, office and craft supplies, accessories and jewellery, and all the rest, and at the top of the store is a cafeteria-style restaurant called Manora with different lunch “stations” daily (pasta, fish, schnitzels, pizza, curry, salads) and a small outdoor play area for children. The restaurant overlooks the city’s rooftops and displays a vivid mural of Basel on one wall — a relaxing stop whether for lunch, dinner, or a quick afternoon tea and cake. Also home to the Manor grocery store, a slightly more expensive choice to Migros and Coop.

Greifengasse 22 • 4005 Basel
Tram Stop: Rheingasse
(Website in German, French, and Italian only.)

Shopping Hours
Mon – Fri: 08.30-20.00
Sat: 08.00-18.00

Coop City
A smaller all-in-one store located right near Marktplatz, this expanded site of one of Basel’s main grocers includes a small restaurant on the top floor, and a Coop grocery store. Also a spot you can find some Swiss memorabilia like specially packaged chocolates, t-shirts, baseball caps, pencils, etc.

Gerbergasse 4 • 4001 Basel

Shopping Hours
Mon – Wed: 08.30–18.30
Thurs – Fri: 08.30–20.00
Sat: 08.00–18.00

Also technically a Coop City, Pfauen is much larger than its Marktplatz sister store. It’s located on Freiestrasse and sells high-end cosmetics and perfumes in addition to all the many levels of fine department store goods. The top-story cafeteria also holds an indoor play area for children. Also a very popular lunchtime stop, so expect crowds until early afternoon. Coop grocery store below.

Freie Strasse 75 • 4002 Basel

Shopping Hours
Mon – Wed: 08.30–18.30
Thurs – Fri: 08.30–20.00
Sat: 08.30–18.00

Photo Credit: Von Chrisderheld – Eigeni Arbet

No one can forget a Christmas in Basel. From the brilliant Christmas market to the lights and treats of specialty boutiques and chocolate shops, the city itself becomes a sparkling ornament to adorn the year’s brightest season. It’s all your favorite holiday traditions, new and old, in one of Europe’s most picturesque Christmas destinations.

A Sparkling Christmas Market

The Basler Weihnachtsmarkt is the largest Christmas market in Switzerland, and the city boasts the longest illuminated Christmas street in Europe. This year the market runs from 24 November to 23 December at Barfüsserplatz (the city’s famous centre), Claraplatz in Kleinbasel, and for the first time at Münsterplatz in front of the historic cathedral. It’s a kaleidoscope of colors, flavors, and crisp holiday scents, offering something spectacular to look forward to every day of the week: a Robi-Spiel-Aktionen playground for children, around 170 stalls displaying the finest artisan wares and crafts, and of course holiday pick-me-ups like Glühwein (spiced mulled wine), Christmas cookies, and famous fondue.

A celebration both inside and out, day and night, rain or shine, just walk down any street in the city centre to find yet another hub of activity with its own unique stalls and atmosphere. The Münsterplatz this year will be home to a gorgeous Christmas tree decorated by Johann Wanner of Basel’s famous Johann Wanner Christmas House. It is the largest manufacturer of handmade Christmas decorations in the world, serving customers such as the Queen of England and the White House. Wanner keeps the Christmas cheer going year-round at his magical shop on Spalenberg.


Christmas shopping? You won’t have to wonder what to buy for anyone on your list. Whether you’re looking for something specific or just need a little inspiration, there are stalls for everything you can imagine: handmade jewelry, luxury soaps, handcrafted toys, colorful scarves and sweaters, candles, glassware, and much, much more. You can even pick up your own tree to trim at home from the tree lot at Münsterplatz.

Christmas Treats

And then there’s the cuisine. All that you find at the Basler Weihnachtsmarkt is gourmet. Visitors look forward each year to sweet Magenbrot and gebrannte Mandeln (roasted almonds) from outstanding local bakeries like Jonasch. Then there are fresh hot waffles and crêpes with a variety of fillings like hazelnutty Nutella, or cozy options like Bailey’s Irish Cream or Cognac; bite-sized Danish popovers and chocolate-covered fruits; spicy frosted gingerbread unlike any other; and a unique Swiss specialty called Biber filled with marzipan. Many stands also offer all kinds of traditional Swiss Christmas cookies: chocolate Brünsli and cinnamony Zimtsterne, for starters. After tasting these, you’ll want to make them part of your holiday baking tradition every year.

The Weihnachtsmarkt is a fail-proof dinner option too: you can dine on sausages and fresh local bread, a chäschëchli (cheese quiche), traditional Swiss fondue, or Raclette, another seasonal favorite of potatoes smothered with melted cheese and topped with a special mix of seasonings. For a lighter snack, try fried Kartoffelpuffer (potato pancackes with applesauce) or a variety of soft pretzels.

Keeping Warm with Christmas Fun

If you get cold browsing the stalls at Barfüsserplatz, you can stop to warm your hands around a cup of Glühwein, and your hearts around an old-fashioned puppet show at the Basel Puppet Theatre. They have entertainment for children in the afternoons and evening performances for adults. And there’s plenty more to do in Basel this winter to keep warm while you soak up the season: a Basel City Run, Samichlaus Tag (Santa Claus Day), Santa Clauses on motorcycles, and guided tours through the city. Step inside the foyer of Basel Theatre for their 3D ‘advent calendar,’ where each evening from 1 to 23 December visitors can enjoy a poetic or musical surprise. Do you have a special Christmas wish? Write it in the Basel Wish Book at City Hall, open from the beginning of Advent to the 12th day of Christmas.

The city’s tourism website hosts a comprehensive page devoted to Christmas in Basel, with a special pop-up online brochure about the Weihnachtsmarkt and all its trimmings. The tourism center also offers a Christmas package with the hotel of your choice, breakfast, a gift certificate for the Johann Wanner Christmas House, a complimentary cup of Glühwein, and more.

Home for the Holidays

From the city’s official lighting at dusk on 24 November, to the last day of the market on the eve of Christmas eve and all throughout the 12 Days of Extraordinary Christmas, a holiday season in Basel will always hang above your memory like a favourite photo above the hearth. Whether you’re passing through, relocating, or celebrating yet another year in beautiful Switzerland, let Basel be your home for the holidays.

Basel offers a wide variety of outstanding restaurants and flavors. Here are some popular places for everything from traditional favorites like ‘Rösti’ and ‘Spätzli,’ to Italian, Indian, and more.



Jeffery’s Thai Restaurant

Largely held as the best Thai food in town, with a warm atmosphere and excellent cuisine.
Riehenring 77 • 4058 Basel
Tel: +41 61 681 30 70

Lily’s Stomach Supply

Thai, Chinese, Indian. Spicy and fresh, with long tables and family-style seating.
Rebgasse 1 • 4058 Basel
Tel: +41 61 683 11 11

Restaurant China King

A great lunch-time option.
Centralbahnstrasse 5• 4051 Basel, Switzerland
Tel: +41 61 272 28 28

Mr. Wong

Perhaps the most well-known Chinese restaurant in town, with two locations.
SBB Location
Centralbahnplatz 1 • 4051 Basel
Tel: +41 61 272 12 00

Barfüsserplatz Location
Steinenvorstadt 1 • 4051 Basel
Tel: +41 61 281 83 81

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Spalenvorstadt 9 • 4051 Basel
Tel: +41 61 261 99 93
Open 7 nights a week. Monday through Saturday from 11:30am to 2pm and 5:30pm till midnight. Open Sunday from 5:30pm.

Jay’s Indian Restaurant

Indian cuisine meets European style.
St Johann Vorstadt 13 • Basel

Tel: +41 61 681 3681

King’s Kurry

Basel location of the well-loved Zürich restaurant.
Stücki Shopping Centre
Hochbergerstr 70 • 4057 Basel
Tel : +41 79 627 22 62

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Mr. Pickwick Pub Basel

Several locations around Switzerland. A local favorite for televised football matches. You can watch American football too…but you may have to fight to get your channel! They also broadcast the Superbowl every year. (Caution: it ends very late, and you won’t get a tram after!)
Steinenvorstadt 13 • 4051 Basel
Tel: +41 61 281 86 87

Paddy Reilly’s Irish Pub

Great brews, good food, fun atmosphere. Be sure to try their Beef & Guinness pie! Check for Monday specials: Two entrees for the price of one.
Steinentorstrasse 45 • 4051 Basel, Switzerland
Tel: +41 61 281 33 36

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A lovely Rhein-view restaurant spanning two floors of beautiful scenery and colorful decor
Blumenrain 12 • 4051 Basel, Switzerland
Tel: +41 61 261 30 44

Ristorante Pizzeria Centro

Overlooking bustling Barfüsserplatz, this restaurant affords beautiful nighttime views of the city centre
Streitgasse 20 • 4051 Basel
Tel: +41 61 262 1130

Restaurant Latini

Falknerstrasse 31• 4001 Basel, Switzerland
Tel: +41 61 261 34 43

Vapiano Basel

Multiple locations all over the world. Choose from any number of Italian specialties, in any combination: your favorite pasta matched with any sauce from the pasta bar; speciality ravioli or risotto; or pizza enough for two…or just for you. Season with fresh herbs growing right at your table!
Im Kirschgarten
Sternengasse 19 • 4051 Basel
Tel: +41 61 272 72 22

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Literally, “blink cow.” A truly unforgettable (if unseeable!) dining experience. Website available in German, English, and French.

Dornacherstrasse 192 • 4053 Basel 

Tel: +41 61 336 33 00

Mövenpick Restaurants

Brasserie Baselstab
Marktplatz 30 • 4051 Basel
Tel: +41 61 261 3100

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As its name suggests, you can fill your plate with a little of this and a little of that in this trendy, cafeteria-styled eatery. Great selection of unique iced teas. Offers special Sunday brunch. Perfect for any kind of meal, any time of day. Locations all over Switzerland, and one in London.
Stänzlergasse 4 • 4051 Basel
Tel: +41 61 205 39 99

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Basel is full of bakeries: everything you can imagine, whether Swiss, French, German, or Italian. There are several “chain” bakeries, with multiple locations all throughout the city. Each one offers something unique and unforgettable, and everyone has their own favorites. Here are some places you can discover yours.

Sutter Begg
Breads, pastries, croissants, schoggiwegli, and especially Basel’s famous smiley-face cookies…they have it all. If you like darker breads, the Pain Paillasse is hard to beat. For a lighter variety, try the braided Bärner Ankezopf or buttered Silserli rolls.

Confiserie Jonasch
Top-of-the-line Magenbrot, gebrannte Mandeln (sweet roasted almonds), gingerbread, toffee and much more.

Confiserie Schiesser
One of a kind, holds a shop downstairs and a large tea room upstairs, overlooking Marktplatz. Recommended are their Eiskaffees (Ice Coffees), and their windows are always full of tantalizing chocolates and intricately molded Marzipan. One of the pricier bakeries, but the location can’t be beat.
Marktplatz 19 • 4051 Basel
Tel: +41 61 261 60 77

Konditorei-Confiserie Gilgen
Just up the hill from Basel’s bustling Markplatz. Known for its excellent Zwätschgewaie, one of the best plum tarts you’ll find in Basel, and for some of the best toast bread you’ll find anywhere. Serving suggestion: straight from the toaster, with or without butter, topped with marmalade or a little lemon curd.
Spalenberg 6 • 4051 Basel
Tel: +41 61 261 6229

Confiserie Sprüngli Basel
One of Basel’s high-end bakery boutiques, well known throughout Switzerland, with a famous location on Zurich’s Bahnhofstrasse. Specialize in Luxemburgerli, a unique bite-sized delicacy so good, they’re a registered trademark. And the word on the street is that their chocolate sorbet is to die for.
Upstairs in the shopping center of the Bahnhof SBB
Güterstrasse 115 • 4053 Basel

Confiserie Brändli
The smell of chocolate when you first walk in is intoxicating…
Barfüsserplatz 20• 4051 Basel
Tel: +41 61 261 7033

Kübler Backwaren
A haven of all kinds of breads and bakery staples.
Steinentorstr. 26 • 4051 Basel
Tel: +41 61 281 62 32

Confiserie Bachmann
Artistic and gourmet, another of Basel’s finest bakeries. You’ll love the Schoggimakörnli, a rich chocolately creation that melts in your mouth.
Blumenrain 1 (opposite the Schifflände tram stop) • 4051 Basel
Tel: +41 61 260 99 99

Photo credit: Sutterbegg

Location! Location! Location!

That may well be the first thing that jumps to mind when you look at how strategically Basel is situated. How much better can it get?

Actually…a lot better.

From Basel, thanks to an incredible transportation system (think car, train, plane, and boat) you can get anywhere in Europe…and the world. Not only does it have the Basel Bahnhof (Swiss Railway Station), but it also has the Basel Badischer Bahnhof (German Railway Station). If you’re really adventurous, you can bike or even walk to neighbouring countries!

Through years of tradition, the city of Basel finds itself divided by the river Rhine in two parts—Grossbasel (Great Basel) on the left bank, and Kleinbasel (Little Basel) on the right. Bridges and ferries link the two parts together. Years ago, as lore has it, the Lällekönig (literally “Tongue King”) on the Grossbasel side would stick his tongue out at the “lower” people of Kleinbasel. In return, the “lower” people would…well, turn their backs to him! Check on the Grossbasel side of the Mittlere Rheinbrücke and you’ll see a bust of the Lällekönig with his tongue sticking out.

Rich in history, in AD 374 Basel grew from a Roman military camp, Basilia, associated with the Roman colony of Augusta Raurica (now Augst). However, recent finds of Celtic settlements predate the Roman castle.

Later, Basel became the seat of a bishop and was ruled by prince-bishops. In 1019, the German Emperor Heinrich II began building the famous Basel cathedral known as the Münster.

An earthquake in 1356 brought a massive amount of destruction to the city. In 1500, the construction of the Basel Münster was finished and Basel became the eleventh canton to join the Swiss Confederation in 1501. At the start of the Reformation in 1529, Basel became a refuge for victims of religious persecution and contributed to Basel’s golden age in the 18th century.

Basel is home to many international fairs (Messen) and fun activities. It also is home to leading pharmaceutical companies as well as banks and bankers’ banks! The University of Basel is the oldest university in Switzerland founded in AD 1460. Erasmus taught at the university and is buried at the Münster.

Baseldytsch, Basel German, is the way native locals communicate. They also speak German, French, and English. In fact, it’s becoming very common to find English spoken in many places around the city. Many locals will prefer to communicate with you in English than in “high German,” proper German, or French.

Photo credit: By Taxiarchos228