Exploring the Enchanting Rhein in Basel: Your Ultimate Guide

Once upon a time, nestled snugly between the Swiss, French, and German borders, a city rose to prominence. Its charm was undeniable, its history rich, and its culture vibrant. This city is none other than Basel, the jewel on the River Rhein.

Journeying Down the Rhein

To really understand Basel, you need to get your feet wet – metaphorically, of course. The Rhein isn’t just a body of water; it’s the lifeblood of the city, a ribbon of azure that weaves through Basel’s heart. You see, in Basel, the river isn’t just for looking at – it’s for living. Basel’s love affair with the Rhein goes back centuries, and there’s no better way to feel the pulse of the city than to dip your toes into its aquatic playground.

The Thrill of the Float

In the heat of the summer, the Rhein transforms into Basel’s coolest swimming pool. Thousands of locals and tourists alike immerse themselves in the river’s cool embrace, surrendering to the gentle pull of the current. This activity, known as ‘Rheinschwimmen’ (Rhein swimming), isn’t just a refreshing way to beat the heat; it’s a unique way to view the city from a different perspective. Imagine drifting down the river, with Basel’s captivating skyline unfolding before your eyes, the city’s history etched in every building’s facade.

A little insider tip: don’t forget your “Wickelfisch” (waterproof swim bag). It’s not only a practical way to keep your belongings dry as you float but also serves as a buoyancy aid.

A Stroll Along the Riverbank

If you’re more of a landlubber, fear not! The Rhein’s riverbanks are dotted with serene parks and bustling promenades perfect for a leisurely stroll. The Kleinbasel side of the river, for instance, is lined with a patchwork of lively bars, quaint cafes, and enticing food stalls. Here, you can sample Basel’s gastronomic delights while soaking in the picturesque views of the Rhein.

The Rhein Ferry: A Timeless Tradition

Of course, no trip to Basel would be complete without a ride on one of the city’s four traditional ferries. These charming little boats, powered solely by the river’s current, shuttle passengers from one bank to the other. They offer an intimate and quiet way to cross the Rhein while enjoying the views of the old town, the majestic cathedral, and the bustling riverbanks.


In the end, the Rhein in Basel isn’t just a sight to see, it’s an experience to savor. Whether you’re floating down the river, strolling along its banks, or crossing it on a traditional ferry, the Rhein offers a unique way to explore and appreciate Basel. So, are you ready to jump in?

Picture of Bastian Peter

Bastian Peter

Bastian Peter is immersed all year in the Carnival of Basel. Since almost 20 years, Peter is the 'Larvenmacher' (mask maker) at the Atelier Charivari, and a dedicated devotee of the Carnival of Basel's traditions and culture. With nearly two decades of experience, he's been creating distinctive masks at the Larven Atelier Charivari, the family-run Larven Atelier in Basel, Switzerland, established in 1976.

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