With excellent weather all year round and close to France and Germany, Basel offers a vibrant lifestyle and contrasting cultural traditions. The cosmopolitan landscape of Basel contrasts old with new. This city is on the Rhine.
Basel is also known as Switzerland’s cultural capital. More than 40 museums are here, including the Kunstmuseum, the Fondation Beyeler, and the Museum of Contemporary Art. It’s also home to Art Basel, an international art fair that draws artists, collectors, and enthusiasts from all over the world.
It’s easy to see why Basel is one of Switzerland’s top cities when you see the scenery along the Rhine River. Now, if you were wondering when to visit Basel, this is the article for you. Here’s what to expect in Basel during the different seasons of the year.
When do tourists visit Basel?
Basel is a great destination for friends and family all year round. Compared to the rest of Switzerland, Basel has mild air temperatures and sunny weather. Basel gets warm, humid air from the Mediterranean via France and the Jura.
There are three well-known events in Basel – the Carnival, Art Basel, and Baselworld. Each year in winter, Basel’s Carnival (Fasnacht in German) attracts about 200,000 people and Baselworld gets around 100,000 visitors. The annual Art Basel Show is usually in June and draws around 90,000 people.
In Basel, summers are busy, but it’s not surprising since it’s the best and hottest time of year. If you want to avoid the summer crowds, go in May or early September. Come to Basel in March for the Carnival (Basel Fasnacht) or for Baselworld if you’re a watch lover.
Update (January 2023): MCH Group, the parent company of Baselworld, has announced that there are no further editions of Baselworld planned at this point.1
Best Time to Visit Basel
The best time to visit Basel really depends on your plans and preferences. I would recommend late May, June, July, August, and early September. This time of year, the bathing season is in full swing, so you might have an option to dip into the Rhine River. NOTE: It’s important to be a good swimmer to swim on the Rhine.
There’s a caveat: it’s going to be crowded, and it might rain. You might get more comfortable avoiding the main summer school holiday of July if you go in early June or late August.
Basel in Summer
- Summer lasts from June until September.
- You will get the most sunshine during the summer months, particularly in July and August.
- Peak summer temperatures reach 35 degrees Celsius in July and August. The temperatures rarely fall below 13 degrees at night during summer.
- Summer is a popular tourist season in Basel, so accommodation and other living conditions can cost a little more.
- For swimming, the best time of year to visit Basel would be from July to August. Please note that you need to be a good swimmer to swim on the Rhine River. Make sure you’re safe while swimming.
Basel in Autumn
- Autumn lasts from September to November.
- In Autumn, the temperature starts dropping and so does the amount of precipitation received.
- Temperatures slowly go down from 21 degrees Celsius in September to 10 degrees in November.
- Autumn in Basel isn’t as foggy as in other parts of northern Switzerland. A south-easterly wind called the Möhlin Jet breaks up the fog.
- There’s a big amusement fair in Basel called the Basler Herbstmesse. The city center of Basel is filled with market stands and amusement rides. Usually, it’s between the end of October and the middle of November. Entry is free.
Basel in Winter
- Winter lasts from December to March.
- Compared to other regions in Switzerland, Basel has very mild winter weather. They tend to get on average four days of snow per winter.
- Temperatures hover around 5 to 7 degrees Celsius, and snowfall isn’t as heavy as elsewhere. in Switzerland.
- Basel has one of the mildest climates in the country, so if you’re coming to Switzerland in winter, you might like it there.
- The Christmas Markets on Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz in December and the Carnival in February/March are must-sees in Basel during winter.
Basel in Spring
- Spring lasts from March to June.
- May tends to be the wettest month per year.
- Beautiful spring days are a good time to visit Basel because of the nice weather. However, the Rhine bathing areas won’t open until the end of April, and the water’s still too cold.
- Flowers will start blooming. The Merian Gärten is a great place to visit during this time of the year.
- Art Basel in June is a must-see for art lovers.
- 1 Baselworld. Accessed 27 January 2023. https://www.baselworld.com/.
- 2Basel – Lage und Klima. Meteoblue. Accessed 26. August 2022. https://content.meteoblue.com/de/branchen/stadtklima/staedte/basel-lage-und-klima.
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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.