Begin exploring Basel's delightful medieval Old Town in the Marktplatz, dominated by the astonishingly vivid red facade of the 16th-century Rathaus. From here, climb 400m west along Spalenberg through the former artisans’ district to the 600-year-old Spalentor city gate, one of only three to survive the walls’ demolition in 1866. Along the way, linger in captivating lanes such as Spalenberg, Heuberg and Leonhardsberg, lined by impeccably maintained, centuries-old houses.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Basel attractions

1. Rathaus

0.02 MILES

One of Basel's most entrancing landmarks, the 16th-century Rathaus takes pride of place on Marktplatz. Its ornate red sandstone facade is smothered in…

2. Lällekönig

0.11 MILES

You'll find this replica of the 15th-century animated bust of the Lällekönig (Tongue King) on the Grossbasel side of the Mittlere Brücke, sticking his…

3. Naturhistorisches Museum

0.13 MILES

With almost eight million objects and artefacts relating to zoology, anthropology and archaeology in its holdings, the mission of the Natural History…

4. Mittlere Brücke

0.16 MILES

It's hard to believe that this bridge, the symbol of Basel, has been spanning the rushing Rhine, connecting lofty Grossbasel with lowly Kleinbasel, since…

5. Museum für Musik

0.24 MILES

This museum, featuring the nation's largest collection of musical instruments – a veritable orchestra – focuses on a period spanning five centuries and…

6. Münster

0.25 MILES

Blending Gothic exteriors with Romanesque interiors, this 13th-century cathedral was largely rebuilt after an earthquake in 1356. Renaissance humanist…

7. Barfüsserplatz

0.26 MILES

This bustling square is named after the barefoot Franciscan friars who founded the eponymous Barfüsserkirche (Barefooted Ones Church) here in the 14th…

8. Museum für Geschichte

0.28 MILES

This flagship of three museums operating under the banner of 'Historisches Museum Basel' (Basel Historical Museum), which opened in 1894, is well worth a…