When it comes to the accumulation of cultural attractions in the smallest of spaces, only few European cities can rival Basel. Tourists will find more than one museum per square kilometer in Switzerland’s second-largest city, and there are over 40 in total. In addition, numerous exhibitions are housed in buildings that are works of art in their own right, designed by great architects such as Renzo Piano and Frank O. The two sides of Basel are connected by six bridges over the Rhine. On the left bank you will find the old town with all its attractions and cultural sights.
Basel, like most Swiss cities, has an extensive, reliable and safe public transportation network. It is really easy to get around without a car. In addition, you can benefit from a variety of discounted passes for young people, pensioners and families. Basel is also very bike and pedestrian friendly and in combination with the public transport connections perfect for day trips.
Public transportation in Basel
The entire city and its suburbs are covered by a network of trams and feeder buses. These run every 7½ minutes from about 5:30 a.m. to midnight (15 minutes in the evening and 10 minutes on Sundays). Good to know: Those staying at a Basel hotel will receive a free public transportation ticket valid for the entire length of their stay.
Basel trams and ticket prices
Most tram lines run together through the pedestrian zone with the two main stops: Barfüsserplatz and Marktplatz. The latter is also where the famous red town hall is located. The network of stops is very dense, and every single stop is equipped with a map and a ticket machine. At the main stops there are also display boards showing the times to the next tram. In charge for the smooth operation are the Basler Verkehrsbetriebe (BVB), which within Switzerland is assigned to the TNW, short for Tarifverbund Nordwestschweiz.
One-way tickets for one-way trips are available at all TNW ticket vending machines, BVB customer service, the BLT ticket counter, via the TNW ticket app, and at the SBB train station. Children between the ages of 6 and 16 and half-price travel card holders pay a reduced price for one-way tickets. Children under 6 travel free of charge. The GA (General Abonnement – General Travelcard) is valid throughout the entire Swiss route network of BVB. Tickets allow one-way travel within the specified period, but only in one direction. The validity period is always printed on the ticket. The short journey ticket has a validity period of 30 minutes, including any line changes, and is also limited to four stops or fare points after boarding. The price for a “short journey” is CHF 2.30, and a multi-use ticket for a total of 6 trips is priced at CHF 12.40. The prices increase according to the number of zones selected. For several journeys per day, a day ticket with CHF 9.90 is particularly profitable.
E-scooter providers and prices
It is quick and easy to discover Basel with one of the 6 e-scooter providers. The billing model varies, but of course, significant price differences can be seen here. For a short ride of about 8 minutes, VOI is listed as the cheapest provider with a total price of CHF 2.75. Generally, the price results from a basic fee and the minutes traveled.
In the Whim app you will find the e-trotti providers TIER and VOI. Booking an e-scooter in Basel is super easy, fast and simple with Whim. The big advantage of Whim is that several e-scooter providers are united in one app and you don’t need the separate apps of all providers.
Whim allows you to easily search for the nearest e-scooter in the app. Once you have selected your e-scooter, you can either unlock it by scanning the QR code on the scooter handlebars with your camera, or you can select the desired e-scooter directly in the app and press the “Unlock Scooter” button. Again, you can expect an activation fee and a per-minute ride fee:
- Activation fee: CHF 1 with the providers TIER and VOI.
- Fee per kilometer: CHF 0.39 with the provider VOI
- Fee per kilometer: CHF 0.40 with the provider TIER
TNW – the transport association of North-West Switzerland
The TNW covers an area of 1,101 km², making it one of the largest in Switzerland. It contains 163 municipalities, divided into five cantons or one département and two states.
- One-way tickets are issued for single trips over short distances and for 1 to 8 zones. They are valid from 30 minutes to 4 hours, depending on the number of zones, and entitle the holder to one single trip.
- Multi-trip tickets are issued for 6 single trips for short distances and for 1 to 8 zones. As with one-way tickets, the validity ranges from 30 minutes to 4 hours.
- Day tickets are available as “Zentrumstageskarte” and Mobility Ticket (given to every hotel guest staying overnight in Basel) for the center zones 10, 11, 13 (EuroAirport) and 15 and as TNW Day Ticket for journeys in the entire TNW area (available for 1, 2, 3, 4 and 7 days).
- Ticket TriRegio entitles you to travel in the border triangle of northwestern Switzerland, the district of Lörrach (RVL) and parts of Alsace (Distribus and SNCF line Basel – Mulhouse) and is valid for 24 hours throughout the TNW from the time it is issued or stamped.
SBB and the SwissPass
The Swiss Federal Railways are, of course, also active in Basel, where they have two main stations on opposite sides of the Rhine. “Basel Badischer Bahnhof” is part of the DB network. “Basel SBB” is part of the Swiss rail network and also serves trains to and from France. Both main stations are easily accessible via several routes and by tram. All this can be viewed quite conveniently via Whim as well as all information about the SwissPass.
The SwissPass is the chip card for public transport in Switzerland. It allows you to easily manage your travel data and to use all partner services. The following mobility offers are currently available on the SwissPass:
- GA and Half-Fare travel cards
- Mobility car sharing
- MobilSki passes for ski resorts
So all in all, it’s a useful offer for all those who want to explore Switzerland by public transportation. Well then, just download the Whim app and off you go. Enjoy!
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Featured image: Vincent Ghilione via unsplash