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10 Best Day Trips from Basel

(Last Updated On: January 18, 2024)

The city of Basel, located close to France and Germany and with excellent weather all year round, is known for its vibrant lifestyle and contrasting cultural traditions. Old and new are juxtaposed throughout Basel’s cosmopolitan landscape. It is located on the Rhine River.

Basel is also known as Switzerland’s cultural capital. It has more than 40 museums, including the Kunstmuseum, the Fondation Beyeler, and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Additionally, it hosts Art Basel, an international art fair that attracts thousands of artists, art collectors, and art enthusiasts from Europe, the US, and Asia. 

Basel is not just a cultural city. The city is also home to some world-renowned institutions, such as the University of Basel, the Bank of International Settlements, and FC Basel. And although Basel has so many activities to offer, those who spend several days there might still want to take day trips from the city. Below are some suggestions for the best day trips from Basel for those based there.

Typically, these day trips are located one to two hours away from Basel by train.

This article discusses the 10 best day trips from Basel. Let’s go!

10 Best Day Trips from Basel

1. Lucerne

Located a hundred kilometers away from Basel, Lucerne features a picturesque location on Lake Lucerne, a historic old town, and stunning views of the Swiss Alps. Lucerne is a great choice for a day trip from Basel if you want to experience Switzerland in a nutshell.

Image of Lucerne by TouringSwitzerland.com

The city of Lucerne is one of the most popular tourist spots in Switzerland. In Lucerne, you’ll find everything you’d want in a typical Swiss city. The beauty of its fjord-like blue lake, charming old town, and mountains are unbeatable. For those who want to spend some time in Lucerne city, there’s so much to see: the Transport Museum, the Lion Monument, the Rosengart Collection, and Chapel Bridge, just to name a few. 

You can get around Lake Lucerne with the Lake Lucerne ship company. Various basins and bays provide exhilarating and changing views of the landscape on the lake – Stansstaad, Weggis, Buochs, Gersau, and Uri.

Don’t miss these attractions in Lucerne
* Lion Monument
* Chapel Bridge
* Transport Museum (Verkehrshaus)
* Rosengart Collection
* Glacier Garden

You can read more about other stunning places to visit near Lucerne such as Bürgenstock, Engelberg, Vitznau, and Weggis in this article 10 Beautiful Places Near Lucerne. And for those who wish to visit the mountains near Lucerne, you can find out about the Closest Mountains To Visit From Lucerne.

How do you get from Basel to Lucerne?

There are two direct trains per hour between Basel and Lucerne. Travel time with a direct train is approximately 1 hour, 2 minutes to 1 hour, 14 minutes.


2. Bern

One of the most important day trips you can take from Basel is to Bern, Switzerland’s de facto capital, which is 99 kilometers away. It can be reached in 1 hour and 15 minutes by car.

Image of Bern by TouringSwitzerland.com

Nestled along the banks of the Aare River, Bern offers a variety of attractions for all tastes, whether you enjoy history, art, animals, or simply relaxing in a beautiful setting. It is the federal city of Switzerland. There is much more to discover when you take the time to explore this charming city.

There is no better place in Bern to start your day than the Old Town, located across the Aare River. The Old Town of Bern, which consists of well-preserved buildings from the medieval era, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. A famous symbol of Bern, which dates back to 1218-1220, can be seen right at the entrance to the Old Town: the Zytglogge.

Don’t miss these attractions in Bern
* UNESCO World Heritage Old City of Bern
* Parliament Building
* Bern Minster Cathedral
Historic Museum
* Bern Bear Pit (Bärengraben)
* Bern Zoo (Tierpark Dählhölzli)
* Zentrum Paul Klee
Gurten
* Museum of Communication

If you would like to learn more about Bern, check out our article How to Spend 1 Day in Bern, Switzerland.

How do you get from Basel to Bern?

There are two direct trains per hour between Basel and Bern. Travel time with a direct train is approximately 58 minutes to 1 hour.


3. Rhine Falls

Known for its powerful cascades, misty rainbows, and picturesque setting amid rocky cliffs and lush greenery, Rhine Falls is one of Switzerland’s most stunning wonders. Despite having to cover 131 kilometers in an hour and 30 minutes, Rhine Falls is a rewarding day trip from Basel.

Image of Rhine Falls by TouringSwitzerland.com

Europe’s most powerful waterfall is Rheinfall (or Rhine Falls). Rhine Falls is located in Neuhausen in the canton of Schaffhausen. Not only is it beautiful and powerful, but it is also considered the largest in Europe.

Rheinfall has a width of 150 meters and a height of 23 meters. In the summer, 600 m3 (21,189 cubic feet) of water pours over the falls. 

Rheinfall is Switzerland’s and Europe’s largest waterfall – and it is definitely worth a visit.

By taking a boat trip up to the Rheinfall rock, you can see this waterfall quite closely. Although it can get quite loud, it is a great experience (I have done it and thoroughly enjoyed it). This rock is accessible via stairs. 

Rheinfall is easily accessible by public transportation. 

Don’t miss these attractions in Rhine Falls
Rhine Falls
* Boat Ride
* Smilestones Miniaturwelt
* Schaffhausen
* Stein am Rhein

If you would like to check out Rhine Falls as well as Switzerland’s most beautiful waterfalls, you can check out our articles:

How do you get from Basel to Rhine Falls?

Rhine Falls can be accessed from Basel by traveling to Zurich. In Zurich, change to a connecting train to Neuhausen Rheinfall. Rhine Falls is a short walk from the train station.


4. Lauterbrunnen

Lauterbrunnen, a picturesque Swiss village renowned for its beautiful valley, waterfalls, and outdoor activities, is one of the most picturesque day trips you can take from Basel.

Image of Lauterbrunnen by TouringSwitzerland.com

Lauterbrunnen is an idyllic village in Switzerland’s Bernese Oberland surrounded by waterfalls. The entire area is best described as a valley with 72 waterfalls. Lauterbrunnen is a great place to start exploring the Jungfrau Region.

Lauterbrunnen village is situated at the valley bottom of this magnificent U-shaped valley in Switzerland. Most of the residents of this valley are actually from Lötschental, the adjacent valley located in Valais. A road was said to have passed between the Eiger and Mönch on the way to Valais. It is said that the heights used to be much milder and more fertile.

By taking the train from Lauterbrunnen, you can reach the sunny car-free terrace of Wengen as well as Kleine Scheidegg. From Kleine Scheidegg, you can change trains to go to Jungfraujoch. You may access Mürren through Lauterbrunnen itself or via Stechelberg on the other side of Lauterbrunnen. In addition, if you keep ascending, you’ll reach Piz Gloria – the summit of Schilthorn at 2,971 meters above sea level.

Some of the other highlights of the Lauterbrunnen region include Staubbach Waterfall, Trümmelbach Waterfalls, Mürrenbach Waterfall, and Gimmelwald.

Don’t miss these attractions in Lauterbrunnen
Trümmelbach Waterfalls
* Staubbach Waterfall
* Mürrenbach Waterfall
* Gimmelwald
Wengen
Kleine Scheidegg

If you would like to plan a day in Lauterbrunnen, you can check out our article How to Spend 1 Day in Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland.

How do you get from Basel to Lauterbrunnen?

From Basel, take the Interregion train to Interlaken Ost. In Interlaken Ost, change to the connecting train that will bring you to Lauterbrunnen.


5. Montreux

189 kilometers away from Basel, Montreux is the perfect day trip for a relaxing and beautiful getaway. With its nearby vineyards and more laid-back lifestyle, Montreux will always be an interesting contrast to lively Basel. 

Image of Chillon Castle near Montreux by TouringSwitzerland.com

Montreux is a charming town on the northeastern shores of Lake Geneva in the canton of Vaud, Switzerland. Known for its mild climate, gorgeous views, and Montreux Jazz Festival, Montreux has a lot to offer. 

A stretch of eight kilometers runs from Clarens, through Chillon Castle, and up to Villeneuve. Together with Vevey-Montreux, it has an estimated population of 85,000. Atop the Rochers-de-Naye mountain, you can enjoy amazing views of Montreux, the lake, as well as the Swiss Alps.

Don’t miss these attractions in Montreux
* Chillon Castle
* Montreux Promenade
* Rochers-de-Naye
* Queen Studio Experience

If you would like to plan a day in Montreux, you can read our article How to Spend 1 Day in Montreux, Switzerland.

How do you get from Basel to Montreux?

To get from Basel to Montreux, you will have to go via Bern and Lausanne. It takes 2 hours 42 minutes to 3 hours 7 minutes to travel between Basel and Montreux by train. Montreux is 186 kilometers away from Basel by car.


6. Mount Titlis

Its breathtaking views of the Swiss Alps, thrilling cable car rides, and exciting snow experiences make Mount Titlis an excellent day trip from Basel. When you want to experience the high Swiss Alps, Mount Titlis is well worth the 133-kilometer drive.

Panorama from Mount Titlis by TouringSwitzerland.com

Titlis, at 3,239 meters above sea level, is the highest point of Canton Obwalden. This well-known mountain is convenient to reach from Engelberg village. Titlis is an excellent destination with a panoramic style view, easily accessed from the valley via Stand.

The views of the Alps from Titlis are fantastic. You will see the glacier and rock ridges while riding the cable car and at the mountain station. From the mountain station of Titlis, you will only need 219 meters to reach the peak. However, this can only be reached with appropriate alpine climbing shoes good for serious alpine hiking. The marked routes should be strictly followed.

Titlis offers many attractions such as the revolving cable car Rotair, the Cliff Walk, ice sculptures in the Glacier Cave, as well as a Glacier Park and an Adventure Park.

Don’t miss these attractions in Titlis
* Titlis Rotair
* Titlis Cliff Walk
* Glacier Cave
* Ice Flyer
* Titlis Glacier Park
* Lake Trübsee
* Trübsee Adventure and Adventure Playground

If you would like to read more about Titlis, you can check out this page – 10 Best Things to Do in Titlis Switzerland.

How do you get from Basel to Mount Titlis?

To get from Basel to Mount Titlis, simply travel to Lucerne. Once in Lucerne, you can follow the steps outlined in this article: Lucerne To Titlis Train: All You Need To Know.


7. Schaffhausen

A 90-minute drive from Basel takes you to Schaffhausen, which is around 136 kilometers away. Schaffhausen is worth visiting for its charming old town, impressive Munot fortification, and cultural offerings, making it a hidden gem that shouldn’t be missed.

Image of Schaffhausen by TouringSwitzerland.com

The Swiss town of Schaffhausen lies in a wine-growing region bordered by Germany on three sides. Schaffhausen is a pretty town with baroque buildings and decorated facades in the medieval old town, as well as the 16th-century Munot Fortress.

Schaffhausen has many historical sites such as the All Saints Abbey, the Münster Schaffhausen, guild houses, and the Church of St. John. There are also other great attractions near Schaffhausen, such as Stein am Rhein and the Rhine Falls.

Don’t miss these attractions in Schaffhausen
* Old Town of Schaffhausen
* All Saints Abbey and Museum
* Munot Fortress
* Münster Schaffhausen

If you would like to learn more about Schaffhausen, check out our article How to Spend 1 Day in Schaffhausen, Switzerland.

How do you get from Basel to Schaffhausen?

To get from Basel to Schaffhausen, take the train to Zurich. In Zurich, change to the connecting train that will bring you to Schaffhausen. From Basel to Schaffhausen, it takes approximately an hour and forty minutes to two hours by train.


8. Lausanne

It’s worth a day trip from Basel to Lausanne, one of the most picturesque cities in Switzerland because of its history, beauty, and amazing views. You will reach Lausanne in about two hours and 20 minutes if you drive there from Basel.

Image of Lausanne by TouringSwitzerland.com

The eponymous capital of Vaud canton, Lausanne is a beautiful city. This city has everything – a beach on Lake Geneva, pools, a gorgeous old town, museums, shops, restaurants, an aquarium/vivarium, and views of the surrounding mountains. In addition, with varying altitudes, you have parts of the city with great views. 

Lausanne’s old town and Cathedral give it a rich history. The city was once ruled by Celts and Romans. Today, Lausanne is the fifth-largest city in Switzerland and the second-largest city in French-speaking Switzerland.

Don’t miss these attractions in Lausanne
* Lausanne Cathedral
* Lausanne’s Old Town
* Ouchy
* Sauvabelin Tower
* Olympic Museum and Park
* Plateforme 10
* Aquatis Vivarium Lausanne
* Palais de Rumine

If you would like to plan a day in Lausanne, you can read our article How to Spend 1 Day in Lausanne, Switzerland.

How do you get from Basel to Lausanne?

Lausanne can be reached by train from Basel via Bern. By train, the journey to get there from Basel via Bern typically takes between 2 hours and 12 minutes to 2 hours and 20 minutes. By car, Lausanne is located 204 kilometers away from Basel.


9. Blausee

Blausee is worth visiting for its crystal-clear blue waters, tranquil natural surroundings, and picturesque alpine scenery, which together create a magical and unforgettable experience. If you want to see a place that looks like something out of a fairytale, Blausee is the ideal day trip from Basel.

Image of Blausee by TouringSwitzerland.com

Lake Blausee is worth a visit any time of year. Hiking, picnicking, and boating are a couple of things you can do at Blausee. Blausee is a stunning pearl in Kandergrund, one of the most famous lakes in Switzerland. Anyone who wants to relax will get their money’s worth.

You can visit it at any time of the year since it is open all year long. It is owned by Blausee Corporation, which also owns the hotel, restaurant, organic trout farm, and nearby shop. For dining, there is a Gault Millau restaurant that serves fresh trout. Or you can grill your own food.

Guests are provided with a boat ride as part of the fee. There’s no extra charge to ride the boat all the way around the lake.  

The area is not suitable for swimming and fishing. Nevertheless, they hold one fishing and one swimming event each year in autumn and winter, respectively.

Don’t miss these attractions in Lake Blausee
* Blausee Lake
* Boat Trip
* Alpine Trout Farm

If you would like to read more about Blausee, you can check out our article Breathtaking Blausee Lake – A Day Trip In Kandergrund.

How do you get from Basel to Blausee Lake?

Take the train from Basel to Spiez. In Spiez, transfer to the connecting train to Frütigen. Take the bus from Frütigen to Blausee BE. The journey from Basel to Blausee by train and bus typically takes between 2 hours and 13 minutes to 2 hours and 40 minutes in total.


10. Gruyères

In just under two hours, you can drive 161 kilometers to the lovely village of Gruyères from Basel. The town’s medieval village and castle will take you back in time.

Image of Gruyères by TouringSwitzerland.com

Gruyères is one of Switzerland’s most beautiful towns, located in the canton of Fribourg. In addition to being known for cheese with the same name, it also has a castle and a well-preserved medieval center. I’d highly recommend the town as a day trip from Lausanne.

There’s Gruyères Castle, which is now also a museum.  You can also find the HR Giger Museum at St-Germain Castle. You should also check out the houses at Rue du Bourg 7, 39, and 47 and the barn at Grange du Laviau. Beyond the town, you can also drop by the Gruyères Cheese FactoryMoléson Mountain, or the reservoir Lake of Gruyère.

Don’t miss these attractions in Gruyères
* Entire medieval town center of Gruyères 
* The town fortifications
Gruyères Castle
Saint-Germain Castle 
* Gruyères Cheese Factory
* Lake of Gruyère

If you would like to read more about Gruyères, you can check out our article Gruyères, Switzerland: A Romantic Little Town.

How do you get from Basel to Gruyères?

Take the train from Basel to Bern. In Bern, transfer to the connecting train to Bulle (via Fribourg if necessary). Take the bus from Bulle to Gruyères. The journey from Basel to Gruyères by train and bus typically takes between 2 hours and 30 minutes to 2 hours and 39 minutes in total.


Summary: Best Day Trips from Basel

For those who are staying for a couple of days in Basel, Switzerland, and wish to venture out to other places, we hope that this list was helpful.

To summarize, if you are looking for large cities with lots of activities, Lucerne, Bern, and Lausanne are great choices. Schaffhausen, Gruyères, and Montreux are for those who want something a bit smaller and more laid back.

Rhine Falls, Lauterbrunnen, and Blausee Lake offer some of the most picturesque landscapes for photographers. Lastly, Titlis is the most suitable choice for those who want to visit the mountains.

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Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.

Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.

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