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Cruises to Basel

Basel (Photo:Oliver Foerstner/Shutterstock)
Basel (Photo:Oliver Foerstner/Shutterstock)

About Basel

Basel, which lies in the northwest region of Switzerland, near its French and German borders, is a delightful city with a rich history, intriguing medieval quarter, fabulous art galleries and stunning architecture. It also boasts a lively social scene, much of which focuses around the city's most important asset, the meandering Rhine River.

The mighty river first becomes navigable at Basel, which makes the city the nearest thing landlocked Switzerland has to a seaport, and residents really make the most of it. The river banks are lined with restaurants and hotels (which charge extra for a river-view room).

Many residents use little tow-lined ferries rather than bridges to travel between Grossbasel (Big Basel, home to the medieval Old Town) on the south bank and Kleinbasel (Little Basel, center of the city's lively social scene) on the north bank.

Basel is an important turnaround port for Rhine riverboats, many of which run between there and Amsterdam on weekly rotations. Because it's an embarkation and debarkation port, many river cruise passengers spend at least a day in Basel , which is no hardship, considering it's not only a fascinating city, but also a gateway to Alsace and Germany's Black Forest region.

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DAY 1: Amsterdam

7 Night
Cruise to Basel

Leaving:
Amsterdam
Visiting:
Kinderdijk, Cologne ...
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Cruise Line:
Viking River Cruises
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DAY 1: Amsterdam

7 Night
Cruise to Basel

Leaving:
Amsterdam
Visiting:
Kinderdijk, Cologne ...
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Cruise Line:
Viking River Cruises
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DAY 1: Amsterdam

7 Night
Cruise to Basel

Leaving:
Amsterdam
Visiting:
Cologne, Koblenz ...
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Cruise Line:
Avalon Waterways
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DAY 1: Amsterdam

7 Night
Cruise to Basel

Leaving:
Amsterdam
Visiting:
Cologne, Rudesheim ...
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Cruise Line:
AmaWaterways
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7 Night
Cruise to Basel

Leaving:
Basel
Visiting:
Breisach, Strasbourg ...
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Cruise Line:
Viking River Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Basel

Leaving:
Basel
Visiting:
Breisach, Strasbourg ...
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Cruise Line:
AmaWaterways
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7 Night
Cruise to Basel

Leaving:
Basel
Visiting:
Strasbourg, Mannheim ...
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Cruise Line:
Crystal River Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Basel

Leaving:
Amsterdam
Visiting:
Cologne, Koblenz ...
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Cruise Line:
Crystal River Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Basel

Leaving:
Basel
Visiting:
Breisach, Strasbourg ...
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Cruise Line:
Avalon Waterways
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7 Night
Cruise to Basel

Leaving:
Cologne
Visiting:
Koblenz, Rudesheim ...
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Cruise Line:
Riviera Travel
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7 Night
Cruise to Basel

Leaving:
Amsterdam
Visiting:
Cologne, Rudesheim ...
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Cruise Line:
AmaWaterways
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7 Night
Cruise to Basel

Leaving:
Amsterdam
Visiting:
Cologne, Koblenz ...
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Cruise Line:
Avalon Waterways
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7 Night
Cruise to Basel

Leaving:
Amsterdam
Visiting:
Cologne, Koblenz ...
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Cruise Line:
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
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7 Night
Cruise to Basel

Leaving:
Basel
Visiting:
Breisach, Strasbourg ...
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Cruise Line:
AmaWaterways
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Cruise Critic Favorite

10 Night
Cruise to Basel

Leaving:
Basel
Visiting:
Breisach, Strasbourg ...
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Cruise Line:
AmaWaterways
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7 Night
Cruise to Basel

Leaving:
Amsterdam
Visiting:
Cologne, Rudesheim ...
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Cruise Line:
AmaWaterways
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7 Night
Cruise to Basel

Leaving:
Amsterdam
Visiting:
Cologne, Rudesheim ...
see more
Cruise Line:
AmaWaterways
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7 Night
Cruise to Basel

Leaving:
Basel
Visiting:
Breisach, Strasbourg ...
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Cruise Line:
AmaWaterways
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7 Night
Cruise to Basel

Leaving:
Amsterdam
Visiting:
Cologne, Koblenz ...
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Cruise Line:
Crystal River Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Basel

Leaving:
Amsterdam
Visiting:
Kinderdijk, Cologne ...
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Cruise Line:
Viking River Cruises
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Cruise Critic Favorite

10 Night
Cruise to Basel

Leaving:
Amsterdam
Visiting:
Harlingen, Arnhem ...
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Cruise Line:
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
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7 Night
Cruise to Basel

Leaving:
Basel
Visiting:
Breisach, Strasbourg ...
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Cruise Line:
Avalon Waterways
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10 Night
Cruise to Basel

Leaving:
Amsterdam
Visiting:
Cologne, Koblenz ...
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Cruise Line:
Emerald Waterways
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7 Night
Cruise to Basel

Leaving:
Cologne
Visiting:
Koblenz, Rudesheim ...
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Cruise Line:
Riviera Travel
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7 Night
Cruise to Basel

Leaving:
Basel
Visiting:
Breisach, Strasbourg ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Avalon Waterways
Get Price Alerts
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Why go to Basel?

Pros:

Charming Basel combines medieval architecture with a lively social scene

Cons:

Most shops are closed on Sundays, museums on Mondays

Bottom Line:

This city offers a unique vibe with subtle French and German influences

Basel Cruise Port Facilities?

There's nothing much near the boat dock, just suburban streets. The best bet is to go to the tram station (an easy few minutes' walk away) and head for central Basel. Residents are very friendly and will help with directions.

Good to Know?

Most of the shops are closed Sundays. Main shopping hours in Basel are 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday to Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, though big department stores tend to stay open later, until 8 p.m., and Thursday is late-night shopping day, when most city stores are open until 8:30 p.m. or 9 p.m.

If you are in the city on a Monday and love art and culture, you might be disappointed because nearly all the city's galleries and museums are closed on that day. A notable exception is the Fondation Beyeler and Basel Munster.

Getting Around?

From the Airport: The EuroAirport Basel is located 15 minutes away from central Basel (by taxi). Alternatively -- if you're traveling light -- you can take a tram to the German railway station Badischer Bahnhof and pick up Bus No. 50 to the airport.

Every traveler staying in a hotel in Basel receives a free Mobility Ticket when they check in. This is valid for 30 days and allows free use of Basel's excellent public transportation system; it also extends into the city (zones 10, 11, 13 and 15, including the airport).

If you're staying in Basel before your river cruise, print out the hotel reservation confirmation and take it with you because you'll also qualify for free transport from the airport to your hotel if you show it to the bus or tram driver.

By Tram: Basel is immensely -- and rightly -- proud of its transportation system, and tourist offices and hotels are very efficient at advising which particular trams you need to take to get to various parts of the city. Residents also are very helpful, and most speak English, at least to some extent.

By Taxi: Basel prides itself on being an eco-friendly city, so extensive use of taxis is somewhat frowned upon and correspondingly expensive. A taxi from the city center to the EuroAirport costs about CHF 40, while a cab to the Swiss or German railway stations (SBB Bahnhof or Badischer Bahnhof/BBF) would cost about CHF 20. And that's without surcharges for trips in the evening or on Sundays.

Taxi services include 33er Taxi AG (+41 61 333 33 33) and Taxiphon Genossenschaft (+41 61 444 44 44).

By Car: All the major car rental companies -- including Hertz, Avis and EuropCar -- are represented in Basel.

By Rail: If you want to go traveling before or after your cruise, Basel offers good rail links throughout Switzerland (including to Geneva and Zurich). It also has fast links to destinations in France and Germany. Paris is about five hours away, Frankfurt just under four, Brussels about seven and Berlin nearly a 10-hour trip. You can zip over to lovely Strasbourg in only 90 minutes.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The currency in Switzerland is Swiss francs. For exchange rates, visit www.oanda.com or www.xe.com.

Major credit cards are accepted in most hotels, restaurants and shops. Some taxis also accept credit cards, but it is worth changing some money if you plan to spend time in the city. Euros are not widely accepted, and even where they are, you could lose out badly on the exchange rate. ATM machines are located throughout Basel -- in banks and main post offices.

Language?

The official language of Basel is Swiss-German, but both French and English are widely spoken. In different parts of the country, you'll also hear people speaking German, French, Italian and Romansh.

Where You're Docked?

The landing stage for riverboat passengers is between Johanniterbrucke and Dreirosenbrucke, out in the suburbs. You cannot walk there from town.


Basel Cruise Reviews

Avalon Visionary
Annebar1
Sail Date: Nov 2019
We didn't do anything in Basel but get on the ship so nothing to comment here.... Read More
Marygalsea
Sail Date: Dec 2019
Basel was the exit point for the cruise. The port is accessible to the city... Read More
Viking Alruna
AGBharpist
Sail Date: May 2019
Since our flight into Basel was delayed, we didn’t get to do anything there but get on the van and then the ship. Alas! An unfair rating but all I can do.... Read More
Avalon Expression
djwoodman
Sail Date: Nov 2019
Didn't really do anything in Basel after arriving.... Read More
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