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  #1  
Old July 22nd, 2013, 09:52 AM
tulok tulok is offline
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Default Basel

Just got back into the states yesterday from the Viking Rhine Getaway. I will be writing a full review of the boat and trip after this post, but I had a lot of questions about Basel and thought I would give it is own post since many visit this city on all the lines.

I will tell the story on the review but I flew into Frankfurt and my DH, sister and brother in law flew into Zurich. Either destination is easy to train to Basel. Find the best airfare. Frankfurt has a train station in the airport and it has a non-change train to Basel SBB. About $100USD if you wait last minute but much cheaper if you get your train ticket on-line in advance. They also have a train every hour. Some will change in Mannheim but that is an easy change as we stopped there and I saw how little the train station is to change. But every couple of hours is a non-change train. They will say non-stop but you stop at every train station along the way you just dont get off the train. Easy...easy. I got in 30mins after they did.

We stayed at the Hotel Victoria. Right outside of the Basel SBB and a perfect location. The local tram station is right at the front door. The hotel Schweizerhof was next to us and both hotels look about the same. We booked ahead and was able to get a rate of 120.USD with full cancellation. Some reviews stated that the hotel was noisy because of the train station, but we didn't hear a thing. In fact I have a hard time believing this as we didn't even hear the trains outside the hotel.

When people say Switzerland is expensive, they are telling the truth.
We arrived in Basel around noon. We got a map from the front desk and they told us about the free trams. The trams work off numbers and the maps had the routes in colors. We never did figure out the colors system. We rode around the city getting off and on as we wanted. We would stop and eat as we saw things that looked good. Junk in other words but very tasty junk. Did a little shopping and a lot of looking. We decided that we would eat a small dinner around 7ish since we had been snacking the entire day and headed back to the hotel around 6p. We thought we would look for a pub around the hotel for dinner. Could not find one even though we found many as we were tramming around town but had no idea how to get back to them.
We looked at the restaurant outside the hotel and decided to get a bier there. We were drinking a couple of biers and were looking around at what people were eating. Some had pizza, veal cutlet with fries, etc. So we asked for a menu. The veal with fries was $46.00 which was the cheapest thing on the menu. We decided we would find a pub. (I know there will be many comments about how you spend that for a good meal in the states but I dont necessary think of "chicken fried" veal with fries a great meal.) As we were sitting and watching people come out of the train terminal we noticed that many locals were getting their meal from the train station. Even the person at our front desk got a great looking sandwich from there.

We walked over to the terminal and found all kinds of food to choose from, even a grocery store that had a hot meal section. We picked out a few sandwiches, polish sausage, pretzel, desserts, water, beer and fruit. Walked a block to the park and ate watching the locals with their dogs and enjoying the great weather. It was one of our best meals and the cost was about 30.00 for all four. We fit in with the locals as many were eating in the park also.
The next day we woke up early and took the tram to the river and walked next to the river to the red sandstone cathedral. There are a lot of river cafes that we would have gone to the night before if we knew.

You have to go see the cathedral. The area it is in and the cathedral was great. One of the best cathedrals we saw on the trip.

Took the tram back to the hotel, checked out and went to the boat around 1230p. The taxi was 35chf for four and about a 15-20min ride.

Any questions about Basel, please let me know but we only stayed there 24hrs. We did see a lot in a short time and I am hoping to go back to the area to stay longer.
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  #2  
Old July 22nd, 2013, 11:44 AM
cb222 cb222 is offline
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Very interested in your trip report.
Will you post it here or somewhere else? If so where?

Thanks, cb
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  #3  
Old July 22nd, 2013, 08:52 PM
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FotoPeg FotoPeg is offline
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tulok ~ THANK you so much for all your info!!!! Will add the Cathedral to our list! We're stayng near the train station also so happy to know its a good area!

We've heard that Basel is expensive - think we'll be doing a lot of looking, not sure about buying at the Christmas Markets!!

I'm sure I'll be back with more questions!
Webe waiting your cruise review!
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  #4  
Old July 22nd, 2013, 09:20 PM
shoshona2 shoshona2 is offline
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Default Basel

we spent several days in Basel. Since it is Switzerland, it is VERY expensive. I learned on Cruise Critic to take the free bus tickets and go to the main part of downtown Basel and eat lunch at the Manor Department store. They have a wonderful European food court there and they will make you delicious sandwiches. The prices are about the same as the USA. We had pizza the first night and two beers in a restaurant for about $35 American. The hotel concierge will give you a list of some very interesting museums.

We loved Basel!

Sheila
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Old July 24th, 2013, 02:51 PM
hcross888 hcross888 is offline
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We have spent a lot of time in Switzerland before going on our Rhine cruise. It is really expensive to eat out.

We also stayed in the hotel by the train station and took the trolleys and buses with the free pass. We even used the pass to take a tram that got us to the dock for the boat.

The red cathedral is also one of my favorites. You can see Anna Hapsburg's resting place, she was one of the first Hapsburgs(1200.) If you like art, do not miss the art museum. They have a wonderful collection. Their impressionist room is memorable.
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Old July 29th, 2013, 06:57 PM
Texas Texas is offline
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Thanks for the great info. Looking forward to reading your full report. We are planning on flying into Zurich and wondering how far it is to Basel? Would we need to hire a car or is there public transportation that is not to difficult to maneuver with luggage. Appreciate your response.
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  #7  
Old July 29th, 2013, 07:18 PM
hcross888 hcross888 is offline
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It is easy to catch a train from the Zurich airport to Basel train station (SBB). The train station is in the lower level of the airport. There are 4 trains to Basel every hour. You might want to wait for one that doesn't have any stops. It takes 1 1/2 hour to get there and costs 18.50 Swiss Franks.

It is a very pretty ride to Basel.

To check details go to sbb.ch and choose the English menu. You can prepay your ticket.
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Old July 29th, 2013, 09:01 PM
Texas Texas is offline
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Thanks hcross. I really appreciate the info.
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Old July 30th, 2013, 06:12 AM
English Voyager English Voyager is offline
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Anyone in Basel between 18-26 July 2014-one would need to verify the dates- should try to see the Basel Tattoo.
One would probably need to book in advance.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IgbF3Ad4fs
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  #10  
Old July 30th, 2013, 11:10 AM
Texas Texas is offline
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To all those who have visited Switzerland; is not speaking German or French a challenge while visiting Zurich and Basel?
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  #11  
Old July 30th, 2013, 12:40 PM
hcross888 hcross888 is offline
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Most Swiss understand English. In Basel and Zurich they speak Swiss-German, which is not a written language. Even Germans can't understand it! The signs are in German. They only speak French in the western part of Switzerland.

I traveled by train through Switzerland for a couple months, and never had any trouble getting help if I needed it.

When you get to the train station, you can take public transport to the hotel for free. All you need is your reservation for a Basil hotel. When you get to the hotel they will give you the official voucher, but they encourage the use of public transport.

You can use the sbb.ch site to find out how to get to your hotel using the trams or buses.

I love Swiss trains and envy you!
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  #12  
Old July 30th, 2013, 12:42 PM
mathladyca mathladyca is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hcross888 View Post
It is easy to catch a train from the Zurich airport to Basel train station (SBB). The train station is in the lower level of the airport. There are 4 trains to Basel every hour. You might want to wait for one that doesn't have any stops. It takes 1 1/2 hour to get there and costs 18.50 Swiss Franks.

It is a very pretty ride to Basel.

To check details go to sbb.ch and choose the English menu. You can prepay your ticket.

You need to be careful with SBB. The price quoted on the first page of a schedule is the lowest fare (usually for students), Not until you go to buy ticket does the price for adults appear. One way from Z to B is now showing as 40 CHF.
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Old July 31st, 2013, 09:31 PM
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robinlynn robinlynn is offline
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Default Many stairs at train station in Basel??

Tulok, were there many stairs at the Basel train station? We will be 67 when we go next year, and am concerned about carrying our luggage up a large flight of stairs. Our luggage won't be too heavy, but could feel a lot heavier on steep steps! In our past experience on European trains, I don't remember much in the way of elevators or ramps for people with lots of luggage.
You have been so informative on youp trip reports. It is most appreciated!
Glad you had such a good time.
Robin
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Old August 1st, 2013, 07:53 AM
tulok tulok is offline
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Robinlynn-
There are escalators in the train stations. In Basel, you go up from the platform to the passenger bridge, back down an escalator into Basel. I had 2 carryon and 1 rolling suitcase and it was easy enough.
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Old August 1st, 2013, 07:56 AM
tulok tulok is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mathladyca View Post
You need to be careful with SBB. The price quoted on the first page of a schedule is the lowest fare (usually for students), Not until you go to buy ticket does the price for adults appear. One way from Z to B is now showing as 40 CHF.
40CHF is approx. what my DH paid at the Zurich airport.
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Old August 3rd, 2013, 12:24 AM
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robinlynn robinlynn is offline
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Default Thanks for the info!

Quote:
Originally Posted by tulok View Post
Robinlynn-
There are escalators in the train stations. In Basel, you go up from the platform to the passenger bridge, back down an escalator into Basel. I had 2 carryon and 1 rolling suitcase and it was easy enough.
Thanks!
Robin
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Next Cruise
Viking Gullveig May 9, 2014
Rhine Getaway Amsterdam to Basel
Our First River Cruise!

2o12 Celebrity Silhouette Adriatic/Italy Cruise
2009 Celebrity Solstice Mediterranean Cruise
1999 Seabourn Legend Mediterranean Cruise
Too many RCL Caribbean cruises to remember--we live in South Florida!
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  #17  
Old August 8th, 2013, 10:37 AM
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tulok ~ just went back to your OP to re-read you advice regarding Basel and you mentioned that you "walked over to the terminal and found all kinds of food to choose from" - what terminal was that? was it the train station?

Thanks for all your help!!!
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  #18  
Old August 13th, 2013, 06:42 PM
mathladyca mathladyca is offline
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Just doing some research on Basel and on the tourist office web site there are a lot of brochures (walking tours, maps etc) that you can order free by snail mail.
Just do a google search for basel tourist office and you will get to their website.
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Old August 14th, 2013, 10:44 PM
shoshona2 shoshona2 is offline
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Smile

Also, go to tripadvisor.com and put in Basel. There is a lot of great info there.

Sheila
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  #20  
Old August 16th, 2013, 09:41 AM
tulok tulok is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FotoPeg View Post
tulok ~ just went back to your OP to re-read you advice regarding Basel and you mentioned that you "walked over to the terminal and found all kinds of food to choose from" - what terminal was that? was it the train station?

Thanks for all your help!!!
Hello FotoPeg,
Yes it was the train station. I have an airline mentality.
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