Best day trips from Basel, Switzerland – some travel daydreaming and planning

Need to know the best day trips from Basel? Read on! Researching and planning for trips is really an addictive activity for me. The more blog posts I read about my destination, the more I want to read. The more airbnb apartments I look up, the more I want to search for. The more train timetables I devour, the more I want to find. Which is why the realisation that I “need” to find great day trips by train from Basel, Switzerland is the equivalent of giving me a huge box of chocolates. Yippee!

Day trip destinations from Basel

A day trip from Basel by train to … somewhere

Thanks to our lovely Eurail pass, we have an extra day of train travel to use while we’re staying with my sister-in-law in Basel, Switzerland. (We don’t have to use this extra day but of course it would be a shame not to, right?)

Which means I get to explore the Eurail timetables for possible daytrips from Basel. And if you’re like me you’ll understand finding places to visit near Basel is a rather exciting prospect! (If you’re not, well, just ask me to help out next time you need to do some serious travel planning and I will figure out your Basel day trips for you!)

If you’re not lucky enough to have a relative to stay with in Basel, check availability on Basel accommodation here:

Basel to Strasbourg, France

There are so many potential train trips from Basel, but my first thought was to head on a day trip from Basel to France, partly because my son’s never been there so it’d be a bit of a thrill, and partly of course because it’s great to be able to go to a different country for a day “just because” – well it is when you’re an Australian, because we simply can’t do that here!

In fact, I visited Strasbourg on a whim once before, as a long weekend from Germany. I was researching for a magazine story I was writing (back in the day when I did such things) and one of the highlights was a laundromat with a webcam (back in the day when that was super-weird … okay it’s still kind of weird though!).

Strasbourg, France - a day trip from Basel

Strasbourg, France – day trip to Basel – image by stephanemartin

Anyway, the nice thing about Strasbourg as a one day trip from Basel is that we’d only need to take one train, no changes, and the travel time is about an hour and 20 minutes each way – very manageable, even for a five-year-old – and there are numerous trains each day. This puts it high on the list. I also know from my own experience that it’s a lovely picturesque city, and it’s easy to walk around the city centre.

Basel to Geneva, Switzerland

Although I’ve visited Switzerland many times, I’ve mostly stuck around the German-speaking areas. But Geneva keeps popping up on my radar recently. Just the other day I was chatting away online to a friend of mine who lives in the Middle East (but is a flight attendant) and after half an hour he suddenly disclosed that at that moment, he was in Geneva. I was instantly envious!

Trains from Basel to Geneva take about 2 hours 40 mins (and if we timed it right we could get a direct one with no changes), but this does make for a longish travelling day if we’re coming back the same night. (But if my son’s been doing well on the train travel up until then, I’d feel better about it.)

I don’t know much about Geneva but a quick read makes it sound like an impressive city with plenty to do in the centre for a day trip. (I’ll be asking for your opinion at the end, in case you know more than I do!) Chocolate gets a few mentions wherever I read, so that’s obviously a big plus!

Think Geneva deserves more than a day trip? I think you might be right! Check for accommodation availability here:


Basel to Brig, Switzerland

My mother’s going to flip out when she sees Brig on the list – it’s one of her favourite places in the world. I nearly didn’t even do the search as the map makes it seem far from Basel and I was figuring there are mountains in the way, but the travel time is only just over two hours each way, so it’s not out of the realms of possibility. Just going to prove there are so many awesome places near Basel to visit!

Brig is a gorgeous little town surrounded by mountains and it’s a starting point for exploring the Alps more thoroughly – but would probably be a great destination of its own. It would sure make my mother envious (we could send her a postcard, I guess?!).

Basel to Freiburg, Germany

It seems kind of odd to me to go back into Germany when we’ll have just spent ten days there but I do know that the university town of Freiburg is a particularly cool place to visit, plus the train travel time from Basel is around an hour (or even just three quarters of an hour if you pick the right train).

Freiburg, Germany - day trip from Basel

Freiburg, Germany – the “little rivers” – image by Clement Belleudy

I remember Freiburg well after visiting it about ten years ago while on a camping trip in the Black Forest. It’s got a gorgeous old town and there are these little “rivers” running across streets everywhere and is definitely my pick of day trips from Basel to Germany.

Basel to Interlaken, Switzerland

I know nothing about Interlaken but I saw it on the Eurail map and thought I’d better check into it – it’s only two hours by train from Basel. Then I hopped on the MySwitzerland tourism site to look it up, and got more intrigued, saw they had a live chat facility and ended up deep in conversation with someone named Heidi who suggested Interlaken above all the other parts of Switzerland I mentioned!

Day trips from Basel - MySwitzerland recommends Interlaken

A day trip to Interlaken from Basel (as recommended by Heidi at MySwitzerland!)

Heidi told me you can take a lake cruise (Interlaken is uniquely sandwiched between two lakes), or take a funicular up into the mountains, and it seems that it’s all pretty close and easy to manage during a day trip. Weirdly, this last ditch find is feeling like it’s very high up on my list now!

So where should we go on our day trip from Basel?

Where would you choose? Got any experience with these destinations? Especially with a five-year-old? I’d love to get some opinions to help me decide how to spend this “bonus day” of train travel in Switzerland (or beyond) – thanks in advance!



  1. I vote for Strasbourg, for the “just because” reason. And yes, you cannot go to another country when you drive an hour 20 mins away from Perth. You will be in … Mandurah… Enough said. 😛

    • Thanks Eunice, I’m so glad you get the “just because” reason! And, yes. Mandurah versus another country … definitely enough said!
      (PS fabulous to see you today and so excited about your plans!)

  2. Amanda, thank you so much for these suggestions. We are planning a Rhine River cruise in December, ending in Basel and plan staying a further 3 or 4 days so been looking for daytrips to explore the surrounding areas. Thanks for the heads up! If you find any daytrips, specifically good for December please let me know.

    • Oh that’s perfect then Lyn! Basel itself is also a really lovely city – I’m only looking to go beyond because we have visited probably a dozen times (my sister-in-law lives there and we visited often when we lived in Germany, and every time we’ve returned since). Hopefully I will get my act together and write a Basel post for you before your trip. You’ll probably be there at Christmas market time!

      • Amanda we’ll be in Basel from 10-14 December, not sure but think we’ll head to Vienna for Christmas day, but plan to see several Christmas markets while in Europe. We have from the end of November until the first week in January to keep ourselves stimulated and intrigued 🙂

        • Oh that sounds divine! Vienna would be a lovely spot for Christmas. Some of the southern German Christmas markets off the tourist track are just divine – my favourites are in Bad Wimpfen. You will definitely find plenty to keep yourselves stimulated and intrigued!

  3. Lynn Reeser says

    We have 3 – 4 days for a Swiss adventure from Basel and would love to do this by train. Any itinerary suggestions?
    There are so many choices we are overwhelmed.

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