Top Things to Do in Basel with Kids + 2024 City Break Guide

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Thinking of visiting Basel with Kids?

If you’re looking for a city break with a difference, Switzerland with kids is the place to go! A unique European city break with kids is a fantastic way to see Switzerland with kids and give them a special memory that will last a lifetime.

rhine, basel, switzerland, basel with kids

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Our Top recommendations:

  1. East-West Riverside Hotel
  2. BALEGRA Hotel
  3. GAIA hotel

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Where is Basel, Switzerland?

Basel is in northeast Switzerland, right on the Rhine. It’s a great, convenient base if you want to travel to Switzerland with kids! Other major cities in Switzerland are very close, and day trips from Basel to Bern or Zurich are ordinary and simple.

Is Basel Worth Visiting?

Absolutely. There are tons of fun things to do in Basel; Switzerland ski resorts are nearby and are perfect for skiing in Switzerland with kids! In Basel, Switzerland, sightseeing is not to be missed.

Is Basel Child-Friendly?

Absolutely! Basel, Switzerland’s third-largest city, is a delightful destination for families. Located at the meeting point of France, Germany, and Switzerland, this vibrant city seamlessly merges cultural richness with kid-friendly attractions.

Basel’s compact city centre makes it easy for families to navigate, while the banks of the Rhine offer picturesque spots for picnics and play.

The renowned Basel Zoo, a favourite among children, showcases diverse wildlife in beautifully designed habitats. Numerous hands-on museums, like the Tinguely Museum, captivate young imaginations with interactive exhibits.

Moreover, the city’s efficient public transport is both easy and safe for families to use. Regularly hosting family events and festivals, Basel ensures that children aren’t merely tourists but active participants in its lively scene.

Top 10 Things to Do in Basel with Kids 

This Basel city guide will help you work out some of the best things to do in Basel with kids. It’s a Basel travel guide specifically designed for your trip to Basel city, Switzerland, with kids!

Here are the top 10 places to visit in Basel City, Switzerland – some of the best things to do in Switzerland with kids! 

basel, rhine, muenster, basel with kids

Basel Zoo

basel zoo, lions

Right in the city centre, the Basel Zoo is a conservationist zoo with penguin walks, rare species, and fun for the whole family and one of my favourite places of interest in Basel!

You can either take the kids by yourself or go on one of the famous Basel, Switzerland, tours of the zoo that guide you through the exhibits.

If you have young kids and want to know what to do in Basel for one day, I strongly recommend the zoo!

Basel City Bus Tour

If you’re looking to see the sights of Basel – from the Basel city hall and Basel city gate to the best must-see Basel landmarks, a Basel City Tour is the way to go.

The bus tours give a guided, hop-on hop-off tour of places of interest in Basel, Switzerland, and allow you to experience the city in one go! This is your best bet if you’re looking for a compact Basel one-day itinerary.


Aquabasilea is a huge mostly-indoor waterpark is definitely not to be missed! There’s also fun for adults as well as a toddler pool, a wave pool, seven exciting themed slides, two swimming rapids, and much more!

A relaxation pool, a spa, a hammam, and various other wellness options make this great for the whole family.

Solitude Park

solitude park with kids, basel

If you’re looking to slow things down or give your kids a chance to run around and get your energy out, this charming park is a must-visit. It has some of the nicest Basel images, right next to the Rhine and the Roche Tower.

There’s a play park, a paddling pool, and plenty of space to run in the park. It’s one of the best things to do in Basel with small kids.

Basel Paper Mill

basel paper mill, basel for families
By Alan Samuel

This isn’t just a museum about the history of paper – it’s an interactive experience for the whole family.

With hands-on experiences in papermaking, printing, marbling, and typesetting, you and the kids will be able to have an unforgettable section of your Basel itinerary where you come away with a real feeling of achievement!

Related Posts: Facts About Switzerland for Kids

BodmiARENA Skiing, Sledging, and More!

Nearby Grindelwald is the place to go for your kids to have fun in the snow! Whether you’re all taking beginner ski lessons or learning to snowboard, or your kids prefer to play on sledges, tube rides, and more, BodmiARENA has you covered.

They even provide equipment and travel to Grindelwald – a great way to spend your Switzerland weekend break.

Tickets to the sledding hill include the use of a sled, snowtube, or balancer. Ride as long as you want on the family-friendly slopes. Buy your tickets in advance here >>>

Dreilaendereck Border Triangle

A must-see for anyone visiting Basel! The stunning border triangle building is the bonding point of three countries and three cultures, with one point of the triangle in Germany, one in France, and one in Switzerland.

There’s a beach and a café and a bar for the adults, and you can get a water taxi from there.

Toy Worlds Museum (Spielzeug Welten)

The biggest doll and toy museum in Europe is there in Basel! It’s four levels of fun, with teddies, dolls and dollhouses, miniatures, and movie sets from all over the world and throughout time!

There are even fairground rides, carousels, and carnival rides from decades ago, usually interactive exhibits.

This museum is fun, friendly, and can keep the kids entertained all day. They even host events!

River Ferry

basel, rhine, river ferry

The Fahri ferries linking Grossbasel and Kleinbasel districts across the Rhine have an exciting difference – they don’t have engines! Wild Maa, Leu, Vogel Gryff, and Ueli are simple boats connected by a large cable to both shores and driven only by the river’s current.

It’s only a 10-minute journey, but going back and forth on this ferry will be unique for the kids – and give you plenty of ways to get around the city!

The Minster Cathedral

minster cathedral basel

Climb to the top of the tower on a breathtaking excursion through history! You can see the beautiful stained glass and unique pipe organ of the old Catholic church steeped in historical stories.

At the same time, the family climbs the still-standing facade tower to reach one of the city’s most astounding and beautiful views.

When is the best time to Visit Basel?

Basil is a great choice all year round, but like everywhere, a couple of months are more exciting than most when you’re off to Switzerland with kids!

Basel in August

Visiting Switzerland in August is a great way to see places of interest in Basel with nice weather without too many tourists and too much heat!

The weather in Basel in summer is excellent, and August is great for kids, with temperatures ranging from 25 ° to 15 °. There are also several events in August, including Swiss National Day! 

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Basel in December

Basel is where to go in Switzerland in December! The great Christmas market is more than worth a visit all by itself and is one of the most exciting events in Basel for kids.

Just be aware that it can get pretty chilly – the average temperatures range from 0 to 6 degrees Celsius.

How to Get to Basel

Getting to Basel is pretty easy! The best way to get to Basel is by plane, but every option has its benefits! Here are the best methods for Switzerland to travel with kids.

By plane

The following UK airports offer direct Basel, Switzerland flights. Flights take from 1hr 45mins to 2hrs, and you can get from Basel Airport to Basel in just 15 minutes!

  • London Heathrow Airport
  • London Gatwick Airport
  • Bristol Airport
  • Manchester Airport
  • Edinburgh Airport

Find the best flight deals for your dates here >>>

By car

From London, you can drive through the Channel Tunnel to Calais, France, and it’s relatively simple from there to drive to Basel. The journey takes just under 10 hours. Driving from Bern, Switzerland’s capital, takes just over an hour.

View car hire prices and availability here >>>

By public transport

While there are several options, the quickest method to get from London to Basel is as follows:

  • Eurostar to Gare du Nord, France
  • Train from Gare l’Est to Strasbourg, France
  • TER strain from Strasbourg to Basel, Switzerland

The journey takes a total of around 6hrs and 40 mins. From Bern, the IC6 train takes just under an hour.

View train times and ticket availability here >>>

Where to Stay in Basel with Kids

Basel is a great, safe city to stay with kids, but some areas stand out like any city! When you’re planning your places to visit in Basel and trying to decide where to stay, the three best areas are:

Altstadt Grossbasel (Old Town Basel, Switzerland) – Best for those new to the city and near the muse see in Basel, Switzerland.

Bacletten – Great for families with young kids, near the zoo and lots of fun options, when looking for what to do in Basel with kids

Centralbahnplatz – near the best transport if you’re looking to explore Switzerland with kids or take day trips from Basel on your Switzerland weekend break

There are also plenty of Basel, Switzerland hotels near the airport.

These are some of the best Basel City hotels, including hotels in Basel city centre, if you’re looking to stay in Basel, Switzerland, with kids.

Budget: East-West Riverside Hotel Basel

The East-West Riverside Hotel is rated 9.7/10 on for a stay with your kids! The hotel includes a river view, hotel to airport transfer options and an on-site restaurant, a barber, and all modern conveniences.

Pets are allowed though they may incur a fee. If you bring your pet, they’ll offer pet bowls, too!

There’s no option for cots or extra beds at the property but it is near almost all the great sites!

Mid-Range: BALEGRA City Hotel, Basel

The BALEGRA Hotel is rated 8.6/10 for a stay with kids. This hotel is 15 minutes on the Basel tram map from the city centre and Basel Old Town. Cots are available on request for an extra cost.

The amazing family room includes a balcony, a ticket for free use of transport around Basel, and all modern amenities.

The zoo is very nearby, as are several other things to do around Basel. The restaurant specialises in Japanese food, and there’s an on-site coffee house.

Splashing Out:

The GAIA hotel is just 10 minutes from the city centre on foot! It’s rated 9.4/10 for a stay with kids and is a favourite amongst 4* hotels in Basel. For 373 euros, you can get a breakfast-included private apartment within the hotel with its own private kitchenette.

There’s accessible parking and parking garage, a fitness centre and wellness spa, and a minimarket on site.

Pets are permitted with a possible fee, and pet bowls are included.

There’s no capacity for extra beds or cots.

View Prices and Availability Here >>>

Where to Eat in Basel for Families

Basel’s unique location means it carries the best of Swiss, French, and German cuisine and foods from around the world. It has its unique flavours, too! From the Schlumbergerli bread rolls to Hefegugelhopf cakes to Basler Brunsli cookies.

Some of our favourite family-friendly Basel restaurants include:

Burger’s Bohrerhof – Friendly, cosy, and world-renowned for its great service. It’s family-run and offers Swiss and other European classics. They’re especially good with kids.

Sapori Del Sud – a delicious sandwich place that offers pretty much every filling under the sun! It’s takeout only, so great for your day trips around Basel.

Hostaria – Amazing Italian, Swiss, and Medetteranian food for every taste. Great atmosphere and renowned flavours. 

2 Days in Basel Itinerary

Basel is great no matter how long you’re going for – whether it’s 2 days in Basel, 36 hours in Basel, or any other length of time, you’ll find something amazing to do. The itineraries below are some of my favourites from my last trip with my three kids (12, 9, and 7)!

basel, city, cityscape

Day 1: 1 Day Basel Itinerary

Morning: We started our trip with a hop-on, hop-off bus tour. It was a great way to get the views of the city and plan out the rest of our visit!

Afternoon: The afternoon is zoo time. Basel Zoo really is the best attraction for kids, and we definitely weren’t going to miss it!

Day 2: 2 Days in Basel Itinerary

Morning: We woke up early and headed off to Aquabasilea. The kids had a blast on the slides – and so did I!

Afternoon: In the afternoon, we had a quiet time at the café near the Border Triangle. It was an amazing way to spend a calm evening after an exciting day!

3 Day Basel Itinerary

We got up early on day 3 and headed out on a ski journey! The little ones had fun sledging with their dad while mum and the oldest took some beginner ski lessons. I fell more than she did!

4 Days in Basel Itinerary

On day 4, we took the Glacier Express on one of the best day trips from Basel by train! Travelling through the Oberalp pass and seeing all the sights of the mountains is one of the most amazing experiences any of us have ever had! 

5 Days in Basel

To finish off our holiday, it was only right that we spent our day in the city. We spent most of the day in the Toys World Museum before heading off to Solitude Park to wind down before we had to leave the next morning.

Places to Visit Near Basel with Kids

Suppose you’re looking for tours from Basel and Basel day trips. In that case, you’re in for a unique treat – its proximity to several different countries makes international travel just a matter of a few hours!

If you’re there long term, you can also take weekend trips to other cities from Basel – but these one-day trips from Basel, Switzerland, are not to be missed!

Lucerne, Switzerland

lucerne, switzerland with kids, lake, forest, historicsl buildings

One of the prettiest towns in Switzerland, an easy hour’s journey by public transport. View our complete Lucerne city break guide here >>>

Colmar, France

colmar france

If you’re stationed in Basel and craving a dash of Alsatian charm, Colmar is your perfect day trip destination. Located just 60 kilometers away, this French town feels like it’s been lifted from the pages of a fairy tale.

Getting There: The easiest way to reach Colmar from Basel is by train. Direct trains operate frequently and can whisk you to Colmar in about 30 minutes. Once you step out of the Colmar station, the old town is a short stroll away.

Morning: Historic Old Town – Start your day wandering through the cobblestone streets of the old town. Admire the half-timbered houses, especially in the picturesque district of La Petite Venise (Little Venice). Rent a boat for a gentle canal tour, or simply enjoy the view from one of the many bridges.Lunch: Stop at a traditional Alsatian restaurant. Taste the regional specialties such as tarte flambée or choucroute garnie, and don’t forget to sample the local wines.

Afternoon: Museums & Markets – Visit the Unterlinden Museum, home to Matthias Grünewald’s Isenheim Altarpiece, and learn about Colmar’s rich history. If you visit during December, the Christmas Markets are a must-see, offering festive treats and crafts.

Freiburg, Germany

freiburg germany

Nestled at the foot of the Black Forest, Freiburg is a quintessential German city that effortlessly blends medieval charm with a modern, eco-friendly ethos. A short journey from Basel, it makes for an ideal day trip filled with history, culture, and scenic beauty.

Getting There: Trains from Basel to Freiburg run frequently, with a journey time of approximately an hour. The Freiburg Hauptbahnhof (main train station) is conveniently located, allowing easy access to the city center.

Morning: Münsterplatz and Freiburg Minster: Kickstart your day at the Münsterplatz, Freiburg’s bustling market square. The highlight is the Freiburg Minster, a Gothic cathedral with intricate details. Brave the steps to the tower for a panoramic view of the city. The surrounding square is often populated with market stalls offering fresh produce, crafts, and local delicacies.

Lunch: Find a cozy eatery and sample some traditional Baden cuisine. A must-try is the “Flammkuchen”, a thin-crust pizza-like dish topped with crème fraîche, onions, and bacon.

Afternoon: Explore the Bächle and Old Town: Freiburg is famous for its ‘Bächle’ – small water-filled runnels that meander through the old town. Legend says if you accidentally step in one, you’ll end up marrying a Freiburger! As you wander, also look out for the city’s beautifully preserved medieval gates like Schwabentor and Martinstor.For the green-thumbed, the Botanic Garden is a peaceful retreat with diverse plant collections. Those interested in modern sustainable living should not miss the Vauban district, a model of green urban planning.

Getting Around Basel

If you’re travelling around Basel, you should use a Basel city card. The card is offered to those who book hotel rooms in the city and gives free public transport and half-price discounts to several attractions, including the zoo and museums, among many others! 

There is excellent public transport in Basel, from Basel airport to Basel train station and every other major point. The services are frequent, free with the card, and reach the whole city. Trams, trains, and buses operate within the city and to nearby towns and cities.

Basel is also great for cycling.

While you can drive in Basel, I wouldn’t recommend it – the streets are small and mostly one way, so you’re quicker parking and get the tram!

Plan Your Trip to Basel with Kids

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Sylvie Simpson is the founder of European Cities with Kids. For the past 6 years, she has been travelling all over Europe whenever she has the chance, both solo, for work and with her daughter. Sylvie is on a mission to help people make the most of city breaks in Europe with kids and helps over 50,000 readers per month plan and make the most of their trips in Europe with kids.

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