Switzerland's third-largest city is No. 1 in the hearts and minds of cosmopolitan travelers. Beautifully located on the Rhine River, Basel is widely considered the culture capital of the country.
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Basel is a bastion of art, which is reflected in its cornucopia of museums. It also hosts one of the world's largest annual art fairs, Art Basel. In fact, Basel has the highest concentration of museums in Switzerland. Due to its close proximity to the borders of both France and Germany, Basel is a multicultural mecca where various peoples, languages, customs and cuisines collide, combine and cohabitate. Basel is not only revered for its remarkably preserved old town, one of the most enchanting in Europe, but for its modern architecture, and is teeming with buildings designed by world-renowned architects. Basel is also home to the country's oldest zoo, which dates back to 1874 and is ranked among the best zoos in the world.
Basel's compact and atmospheric Altstadt (Old Town) is a treasure trove of attractions. Here you will find the Marktplatz, home to the dominating Town Hall (Rathaus); Basel Minster, one of the city's most famous landmarks, along with the Mittlere Brucke, a historic bridge that connects Old Town and New Town; and the Museum der Kulturen, one of Europe's best ethnographic museums. Zoo Basel, affectionately known as "Zolli" by locals, is home to an impressive array of animals and is one of Switzerland's most visited attractions. And no trip to the city is complete without visiting the Kunstmuseum Basel, home to the oldest public art collection on Earth which includes works by Van Gogh, Picasso, Gauguin, Monet and Rembrandt.
Basel has some of the best weather in Switzerland, and the best time to visit is during shoulder season, April to mid-June and September through October, as summer can be quite crowded.
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