Northern Switzerland

Old town with Basler Muenster Cathedral on the banks of the Rhine river on a sunny spring day. City of Basel, Switzerland, Europe.
Regional map of Switzerland

Running along the northern Border, this fairly flat region is more than just a passageway in and out of Switzerland

Travelers will easily regard this region as the place where you enter or leave Switzerland. After all, Basel and Zurich are located here. Anyone on a European Rhine River cruise is probably going to travel to Basel, either at the end of their cruise or at the beginning, as Basel sits on the Rhine River. Also in this region is the city of Zurich and the main international airport located there. From Zurich, you can easily travel by train throughout Switzerland.

But there is more to this region than just being a stopping point. Settlements in this region date back to the Roman Empire. There are thermal springs in this area still in use, quiet villages, a host of museums, and annual festivals. The three main places to visit here are the town of Basel, Baden and Winterthur. 


Basel, Switzerland

Basel has at least 10 museums, covering everything from Art, to a toy museum and given the city’s development in the pharmaceutical industry, a pharmaceutical museum. The Kunstmuseum (Art Museum) in Basel is the largest art museum in Switzerland, and hosts an annual Art Fair in the city. 

The hub of the city is the Altstadt (Old Town) with shopping; and cafés and restaurants. This area also has the Basler Münster, a Gothic cathedral dating from the 12th century and built out of red sandstone. You can see it in this picture in the background. 

At the beginning of Lent every year, Europeans tend to let their hair down and the Swiss are no exception. Just after Ash Wednesday, Basel has a festival called Fasnacht, with three days of parties, parades and music.



Forty miles east of Basel is the town of Baden. Located on the River Limmat, and also dating back to Roman times, the town is best known as a popular spa center. There are 18 thermal springs in the town. Visitors can also see the remains of a castle and guard tower in the city. 

Although a quieter town than Basel, every ten years the town has a festival called Badenfahrt. The population in the town swells by a factor of 10, and partygoers will enjoy street food, a lot of beer, and music through most of the night. If this interests you, you’re in luck, because the next festival is in August 2023. This should be a really big one as it also marks the 100th year of these festivals.



I have to admit, I didn’t know about this town until doing some research, but it is another place to go to experience a traditional Swiss village with quiet streets, open spaces and a pedestrian town center.

Where to Stay

As can be expected due to its association with river cruises, Basel has the most options for places to stay, with over 60 hotels, 27 of which are in the 4-5 star range. These hotels range from traditional to modern and price ranges from $100 – $700. 

Baden has 5 hotels available and Winterthur has 10 hotels. 

Ready to Go?

Whether you want to visit these places before or after a river cruise, or just on your own, this region should not be overlooked. Contact me to help plan your trip.



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  1. Pingback: 6 Places to Visit in Central Switzerland - Patrick McGill Travel

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