The Swiss city of Basel is known for being the perfect place to indulge in some art and culture. With around 40 different museums to explore and the annual Art Basel festival taking over the city every summer, there are many reasons why fans of painting, architecture, design and sculpture will enjoy a Basel city break.
Plus, every place on this list (and many of the other museums) offers free entry on the first Sunday of every month. Some also hold a ‘happy hour’ on Tuesdays to Saturdays when entry is free in the last hour before closing. Furthermore, if you purchase a BaselCard for your trip, you can bag yourself 50% off your entrance fee anytime you like.
So which museums should you definitely try and see?
The Kunstmuseum is split across three different buildings located in close proximity to each other, near the wettsteinbrücke that crosses the Rhine. The Main Building holds the permanent collection of art ranging from the 15th century to the present, whilst the Gegenwart building focusses on contemporary pieces and the New Building hosts special exhibitions. Expect to find paintings by famous names such as Monet, Warhol and Van Gogh, as well as many classics from the private collection of Karl and Jürg Im Obersteg.
The Foundation Beyeler is widely considered to be one of the best art museums in Switzerland and is dedicated to modern and contemporary works from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Even the building itself is a work of art, surrounded by a beautiful English garden complete with lily ponds and pagodas. 2017 is a great year to visit the museum as it is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Throughout the course of the year, there will be exhibitions that look at the foundation’s past, present and future and the works of different artists will take centre stage at certain times. Also, anyone under the age of 25 will receive free entry on any day in this special anniversary year.
Image courtesy of Museum Tinguely (Basel Tourismus)
Jean Tinguely was a Swiss painter and sculpture who was best known for his works of kinetic art, one of which can be seen in the form of a much-loved fountain in Basel city centre. The museum documents Tinguely’s life and career, showcasing some of his most intricate creations along with drawings, photographs and other documents. Most of these were gifted by Niki de Saint Phalle, Tinguely’s widow, but others are loaned from collections around the world. There are also temporary exhibitions that showcase work from other artists who have been inspired by Tinguely. Until November 2017, there will be a focus on young artists who have referenced Tinguely's 'Mengele-Dance of Death' in some way.
Vitra Design Museum
Image courtesy of Thomas Dix (Basel Tourismus)
If it wasn’t in the name, you would only need to take a look at this museum to know that it focusses on design. Located in the north of the city and housed in an intriguingly shaped building, the Vitra Design Museum houses over 7000 pieces of design furniture and features exhibitions that look at how design may influence our lives in the future. At the moment, there are temporary pieces looking at our relationship with robotics and post-war Brutalist architecture.
Toy World Museum
One of the quirkier museums in Basel, the Spielzeug Welten Museum will take you back to your childhood. It is home to the largest collection of teddy bears in the world, along with thousands of other dolls houses, miniature shop scenes, carousels and dolls. The 2500-strong collection of bears features many made by the Steiff toy company, including some which date back more than 100 years and are considered the first ever examples of these cuddly companions.
There are many more museums besides the ones in our list, offering plenty to see and do during your Basel city break. Don’t forget that we can tailor-make your trip to Switzerland using the dates you give us and the places you want to visit. If you want to travel to some of the other cities close to Basel, we can plan every step of your multi-centre holiday. Call us on 0800 988 3369 to speak to one of our specialists.