If you plan on doing any traveling this summer, you’ll be seeing a lot of the SBB, with its excellent connections to destinations within Switzerland and to the surrounding countries of Germany, Italy, and beyond. The SBB, Basel’s main railway station, is the self-proclaimed first international train station in the world. It is also home to Bâle SNCF, the French railway station, located through a border crossing/passport control point.
The Centralbahnplatz right outside the entrance of the SBB is a major connection center for trams and buses to other places in Basel. You can catch Bus 50 to get to the Basel/Mulhouse EuroAirport, or any number of other trams into the city center and its outlying regions.
For more information on the SBB, including timetables, visit their website at sbb.ch/en/home.html.
Easter is almost here and it’s time to celebrate! If you’re wondering how to celebrate the Swiss way, here are just a few ideas…
You’ll probably hear the church bells ringing joyfully this Easter morning! It’s traditional in Switzerland to attend church, followed by brunch or dinner and a family get-together. A typical Easter menu could include lamb with potatoes, pastetli (a meat pie with mushrooms and cream sauce), chicken in lemon thyme butter, fish with couscous and yogurt sauce, pork, or rabbit.
Most children—and adults—also look forward to an annual Easter egg hunt. Easter eggs (usually real eggs, not plastic) are normally painted the day before, and then in the morning are hidden outside in the park or garden, in the house, even inside boots and shoes!
And don’t forget the Easter Bunny. Many children wake up on Easter morning to a magical nest or Easter basket filled with a chocolate bunny and candy eggs.
There are lots of Basel specialties to look forward to any time of year. Here’s a quick guide to a few Easter favourites:
Biskuithässli and Biskuitlämmli: Bunny-shaped and lamb-shaped almond cookies with a delicate lemon flavour. Try the chocolate ones too!
Ostertauben: Pastry “doves” with candied fruit, hazelnuts, and almonds.
Osterfladen or Osterflädeli: A cross between a custard tart and a cake, often filled with rice pudding, speckled with raisins, and topped with frosting or powdered sugar. It can range from a very simple custard-like filling, to something more decadent with several layers of jam, cream, and nuts.
Praline Eier: Big candy eggs with a hard praline shell, filled with chocolates and decorated with piped frosting. These gourmet (and somewhat costly) praline eggs are given to close family and friends…a gift that tells a loved one just how very much they mean to you!
And everyone knows, Switzerland is the place to be for chocolate. Walk into any confiserie or bakery and you’ll be overwhelmed by all the choices—chocolate bunnies, candy eggs, marzipan carrots. Migros and Coop sell plenty favourites as well, from Lindt to Cailler, to Milka and beyond!
• Another fun event to check out is the Basel OsterTango, 17 – 21 April. Hosted by the Basel Tango School, the event brings everyone together for a colourful weekend of music and dance, with a Tango Concert and Show, AfterHour Tango, a special film presentation, DJs, and more. Stop by their website for tickets and more information: www.tangobasel.ch.
• In Switzerland, Easter Monday is a public holiday as well as Easter Sunday. It’s another time when families and friends get together for more festivities, or just to relax. Just remember that some stores may be closed, but in a pinch you can find almost everything you need at the SBB train station shopping center.
• The forecast for Easter Sunday is mostly cloudy and 20º (68º F). (But mostly cloudy could be called partly sunny, right? : )
What are some of your favourite Easter traditions?
Wherever you come from, wherever you roam, it’s good to be Irish in Basel! Home to a large Irish community, you can be sure that Basel’s bustling pubs will be celebrating this Paddy’s Day with flair, cheer, and of course, Guinness. Here are a couple authentic Irish pubs to check out this year…
Mr. Pickwick Pub Basel
With several locations around Switzerland, Mr. Pickwick is a popular place for catching a football match, playing a round of darts, or simply getting together with friends in a cozy setting that’s always packed! Stop by their website for more info at pickwick.ch.
Steinenvorstadt 13 • 4051 Basel
Tel: +41 61 281 86 87
Paddy Reilly’s Irish Pub
It’s Paddy’s Day at Paddy’s! Besides its friendly atmosphere, delicious food, and of course great beer, Paddy’s is known for local live music and DJs on the weekend. Join the party this Monday and don’t forget to try the Steak & Guinness Pie (or Cottage Pie!). You can see some photos from St. Patrick’s Day past on their website: paddys.ch/basel.
Steinentorstrasse 45 • 4051 Basel, Switzerland
Tel: +41 61 281 33 36
No matter what your nationality, it’s the one day of the year when everyone’s Irish. So grab some friends and don’t forget to wear green! This year, follow your rainbow to the Rhein and find your luck the Swiss way — in Basel.
For each petal on the shamrock
This brings a wish your way
Good health, good luck, and happiness
For today and every day.
28 February – 1 March 2014
Friday & Saturday Nights
Music lovers, it’s Basel BScene Club Festival weekend! The biggest club festival in northwestern Switzerland, Basel BScene has been running since 1996.
This Friday and Saturday you can catch any of the 65 musical acts of all styles performing at 11 different stages around Basel. Buy 1- or 2-Day Passes and be a part of all the sights and sounds that make up today’s thriving local music scene.
Check out their website for lineup, tickets, locations, and more: www.bscene.ch.
It’s Valentine’s Day! Hectic week and no time to plan? No stress! There’s plenty to do in this lovely, romantic city by the river…
Chocolate, of course.
Nothing says love like chocolate! And what better place to find it than in Switzerland. Bakeries, patisseries, confiseries…there’s so much to choose from. Sprüngli, Bachmann, Beschle, Läderach, and Schiesser are all right here. These are the ‘jewelers’ of chocolatiering, where every truffle is a work of art. Stop by to see their Valentine’s specials! You can find them online here:
If you find Basel’s restaurants booked up, no worries. One of the most romantic ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day is with a traditional fondue dinner at home. Here is a fun list of “Fon-dos” and “Fon-Don’ts” from world-renowned cheesemakers Emmi of Switzerland:
1) Variety is the spice of life! Be creative and serve a wide variety of dippables. Crusty bread, fresh fruit and veggies, boiled shrimp, marshmallows and cookies are all wonderful in fondue. Just be sure everything is prepared ahead in bite-size pieces.
2) Mix it up! Fondue is the perfect appetizer, main course or dessert. If you want to start with chocolate and end with cheese, it’s up to you!
3) Swiss Kiss! It is tradition when eating fondue, to kiss the person to your right if you drop your bread in the cheese. (It’s ok to do it on purpose…)
1) Don’t forget to stir. As the night keeps moving, be sure to keep your fondue moving. Stir it up to so your cheese or chocolate fondue remains smooth.
2) Don’t double dip. Every fork- or skewer-full should contain a new, unbitten morsel. (If a piece falls in the fondue, see fon-do tip #3 above!)
3) Don’t hide any surprises. While fondue offers a lot of interactive eating enjoyment, it is not a good place to stash an engagement ring or other surprise gifts for your sweetie.
Ready-made fondue is available at Migros and Coop (along with fresh flower bouquets and wine or champagne), or you can visit a specialty cheese shop. Two other stores to check out are Manor at Schifflände and Globus in Marktplatz—specialty department stores with everything you need to create something special at home, complete with table settings, candles, and Valentine’s cards.
Away from you…
One of the unique and often challenging things about Basel is that for many it is not a permanent home — it is a stopping place for travellers, for business people and backpackers and adventurers. Many expats in Basel are on temporary work assignments, or are away from loved ones during the holidays. What do you do if you can’t be with that special someone on Valentine’s Day?
The good news is that in today’s high-tech world, it’s hard to stay disconnected. If you have apps like FaceTime on your smart phone, your sweetheart will love seeing the Rhein River and Markplatz, and all the sights and sounds around Basel. You could make it a memorable Valentine’s Day with a virtual tour of the city, or a romantic Skype dinner at home. Technology now lets us be more creative than ever before.
How are you celebrating Valentine’s Day? We’d love to hear about it!
Kick off the fall with the Basel Marathon this weekend—
Sunday, 22 September!
IWB is hosting their fourth annual Basel Marathon on Sunday, called Run to the Beat—a sports event that combines the power of music with a passion for athletics.
In past years, music has been played by live bands at different points on the route, but this time, runners are invited to join in on their own Run to the Beat radio station on iPhones and personal radios. Now everyone can enjoy their Sunday morning just the way they like it—with peace and quiet or a dynamic original soundtrack.
Also new to the marathon this year is a brand new 10k run through the city center. Other courses include the Marathon, Half Marathon, Team-Lauf (Team Run) and Youth-Lauf. It all begins on Freie Strasse and is for everyone, beginner to seasoned runner. The day is complete with refreshments along the way, gifts from sponsors, and an Award Ceremony.
Sign up to run, or stop by to cheer someone on! Find out all the information here.
Work and school are already back into the swing of things, but it’s not too late for one last gorgeous summer night. Here’s one more way to celebrate the season with the Spätsommerfest this weekend—the last weekend of the summer!
There aren’t very many (if any) other places in the world that can put together an evening like this. But CO13 (Colmarerstrasse 13) is itself a very unique place. Their workshops specialize in bikes, fashion, house maintenance, office services, and gourmet food. Where else would you find all that in one spot?
At Spätsommerfest 2013, you can check out the latest bike models and be the first to see the new Winter Collection 2013 at their boutique, with a special summer fest discount for guests. Come hungry for American Barbecue at the CO13 Bistro.
And of course the night wouldn’t be complete without music. The evening’s musical guest is world-class singer/songwriter Roli Frei and the Soulful Desert. Roli Frei is a legend in Basel, his music spanning a variety of styles from blues, to pop, to soul and gospel—all with strong, moving melodies and heartfelt lyrics.
Stop by www.co13.ch for more info and to find out all about who they are and what they do.
Lucky ’13 has been a great year for special events in Basel.
Not only has it brought the annual summer favourites like National Day fireworks and music on the Rhein, it also happens to be the year for Basel’s biggest youth culture festival—the Jugendkulturfestival Basel. Taking place every two years, the JKF is an exhilarating marathon of sights, sounds, and adrenaline. And it all happens this weekend, 30 and 31 August.
Watch Basel come alive in a whole new way as the entire city becomes a stage for music, art, drama, sports, and fashion. There’s a music video showcase and Swiss short film showcase at the Gässli Film Festival; Freestyle and Theater at the Literaturhaus; DJs at Elisabethenkirche and bands in Barfüsserplatz; Taekwando at Münsterplatz; and more than 150 different events from 1700 artists all around town.
Some 60,000 youth turn out for this two-day celebration of everything new and trending—and to set some new trends of their own. It starts Friday afternoon and goes until early Sunday morning, so be sure to catch something! It’s fun for youth and families and seriously cool.
Summer is the perfect time to get more involved in the great outdoors. Enjoy the extra days of sun with these one-of-a-kind outdoor sports and family events coming up this month!
What: Official Basler Rheinschwimmen 2013 When: Tuesday, 13 August, 18.00 Where: Kleinbasel, corner of Schaffhauserrheinweg/Stachelrain
Backstroke, butterfly, paddle…whatever you do best, you’re invited to join in this year’s 33rd Annual Rhein Swim Day in Basel! Drawing more than 6,000 attendees last year, the swim along the Rhein is a long-held tradition and a favourite for any age. Swimmers meet a little bit before 18.00 to mark the beginning of the Rhein Swim together at 18.00.
It’s strongly recommended to wear swim shoes to avoid cuts and scrapes. Also, stay close to the Kleinbasel side of the river, and be sure to leave plenty of space between yourself and the pillars as you pass under the bridge.
Can’t make it to the Rheinschwimmen? Don’t worry! Every Tuesday evening through the summer months (weather permitting), the city has set up an accompanied Rhein Swim that gathers at the Solitude Park. You can find more information on both the Annual Rhein Swim and Tuesday Rhein Swims here.
Now in its 7th year, the Sportnacht Basel is a unique opportunity for everyone to sample an exciting and comprehensive variety of sport and dance: one ticket gets you access to 70 different activities all over the city.
There’s American football and baseball in Barfüsserplatz, chess at Marktplatz, breakdance at the Schulhaus Leonhard, karate and Scottish dance for kids, and so much more. Easy to strenuous, you’ll find something to challenge you, or simply something to enjoy.
Tickets are CHF 25- for adults, CHF 20- for students, and Family Passes go for CHF 10- per person (special discounts for CSS Insurance holders and Colour-Key pass members). Click here for ticket prices.
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!
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?