Getting there & away
The E25/E60 motorway heads down from Strasbourg and passes by EuroAirport, and the E35/A5 hugs the German side of the Rhine.
Try Hertz (061 205 92 22; Nauenstrasse 33) and Avis (061 206 95 45; Aeschengraben 31) in the Hilton Hotel. They also have branches near the SBB station and the airport. A Smart Car from CityRent (061 685 70 01; www.cityrent.ch; Hotel Alexander, Riehenring 83; per hr/day/week Sfr7/55/370 plus mileage) is a great way to zip around town.
Basel has two main train stations: the Swiss/French train station (SBB Bahnhof) in the city's south and the German train station (Badischer Bahnhof or BBF) on the northern bank.
Services within Switzerland leave from the SBB Bahnhof; there are two fast trains an hour to Geneva (Sfr67, 2¾ hours) and Zürich (Sfr30, one hour). Trains to France also leave from this station, although from the special SNCF section within it. There are services to Paris (Sfr51, six daily, five hours), Brussels (Sfr110, three daily, seven hours) and Strasbourg (Sfr19, 17 daily, 1½ hours).
Fast intercity services into Germany stop at both stations, but if you want to get to a smaller town in southern Germany, you will need to board at the Badischer Bahnhof (BBF). Two to three trains an hour run to Freiburg (€10 to €18, 30 minutes). Main destinations via BBF are Frankfurt (€60, plus German rail supplement for fast trains, 2¾ to 3¾ hours depending on service) and Berlin (€110, seven to 9½ hours).
An enjoyable, if slow, way to travel to/from Basel is via boat along the Rhine. The landing stage is between Johanniterbrücke and Dreirosenbrücke.
Viking River Cruises (1-818-227 1234; www.vikingrivers.com; 21820 Burbank Blvd, Woodland Hills, California) runs an eight-day trip from Amsterdam starting from around UK£1565. Travel Renaissance (0870 850 1690; The Bothy, Albury Park, Albury, Surrey GU5 9BU) is the company's representative in the UK, or you can call it in Germany (0800 258 46 65) or Switzerland (0800 84 54 64).
Also try Scylla Tours (061 638 81 81; www.scylla-tours.com; Uferstrasse 90).
EuroAirport (061 325 31 11; www.euroairport.com) serves Basel (as well as Mulhouse, France and Freiburg, Germany). Located 5km north in France, it has several routes to London on Swiss International Air Lines and low-cost carrier easyJet, with direct flights to many continental cities, including Alicante, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Brussels, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Madrid, Naples, Paris and Rome.