£20 IN... BASEL
Basel’s the Swiss city where a Big Mac costs £10… ouchie.
But it’s not just rich-person-cleanliness and pharmaceutical profits. Basel’s got a heap of weird museums and cracked-out art, as well as riverside drinking, the olde-worlde Altstadt district and a mountain of chocolate.
But just how far will £20 get you in Basel?
Basel is so teensy you can walk everywhere (thankfully, cos the buses ain’t cheap). Potter around Altstadt Old Town and stumble on its Medieval gems - get this handy free audioguide app so you know what you’re looking at.
It’s as Swiss as holey cheese, but Basel’s actually nestled right up between Germany and France. There’s a point on the river where you can stand between three countries and fantasise about the visa complications you could cause...
Marktplatz is your quintessential Basel. There’s old buildings, ruddy faced sausage sellers and piles of Swiss cheese. It’s also quintessentially Basel in that it’s wildly expensive, but the stall owners will often dish out cheeky samples for free. Score.
Under a fiver
One of the best ways to get your fill of Basel is drifting down The Rhine on a boat. The tourist tours can be hella expensive, but you can cheat by hopping on one of the little motorless boats for just over a quid - pay the ferryman when you get off.
Basel’s really got behind the microbrewery trend, with loads of local beers on offer. One of the best places to sample them is the Bierrevier, there are 40 beers on tap.
Eating out in Basel is, of course, pricey. Make like the locals and have a BBQ in Kannenfeldpark, the biggest (and bestest) in Basel. They’ve got special BBQ grills, picnic tables AND a hidden troll...
Under a tenner
Another way to avoid a restaurant-bill-of-death is to stick to street food. Basel’s got kebab shops on every corner, and these meaty beauties will set you back £9. For Basel, it’s a steal.
Basel’s famous for its museums (there’s 40+ of the feckers). The Kunstmuseum (hehe) has all the big dogs - Rembrandt, Goya, Picasso, Van Gogh - as well as some fiiiiiiine modern Cubist works. Get a free (yay) Basel Card for 50% off entry price, making it £9.50.
Like your museum’s trippy AF? You’re in the right place. Jean Tinguely is Switzerland’s Dali-slash-Einstein. Artist and metamachanic with a dash of mad scientist, his interactive creations are mind-boggling, and his museum’s full of batshit art installations and ‘kinetic’ sculptures. The good old Basel card gets you 50% off, meaning it’s £6.50.
If you’re on a budget, forget drinking in bars. The cheaper (and cooler) way is to buy your bevs from the supermarket and then drink them on the banks of the river Rhine. Supermarket alcohol still isn’t the cheapest, but it’s that or stay sober (lol).
Basel is all about hot, gooey cheese. The best place to indulge in a lactose-love-in is the classic Walliser Kanne, which specialises in fondue and raclette, aka the food of the gods. Prices for fondue start from £25.
At some point, you’re just going to have to take the hit of spending more than you want to on booze. Do it in the best possible setting at Cargo Bar, a punky art-space-cum-drinking-hole with DJs til the sun comes up. (Entry price varies - check their FB for details).
Let’s face facts, you’re not going to survive in Basel on £20, but you can enjoy it like a local by being as thrifty as possible. Get yourself a Basel Card, walk everywhere and hang out in open spaces. Then blow your entire budget on two beers and a plate of cervelat.