Getting around Basel Explore Basel

Public transport in Switzerland is extensive, reliable, safe and easy to use. It is simple to get around without a car. Enjoy significant savings with many discounted passes available for youth, pensioners, and families. Make sure to take advantage of day trip combination offers. Switzerland is also very bicycle and pedestrian friendly.

Public transport in Basel

An extensive network of trams, local trains and buses connects Basel with neighbouring regions and countries. Day and multiple trip tickets can be bought from TNW, automatic machines at stops, or from kiosks. Season tickets are obtainable through BVB (DE/FR), BLT, or TNW.

The left-bank of the river (Grossbasel) and right-bank (Kleinbasel) are connected by a railway bridge, four road bridges and four passenger ferries. Passenger ferries (DE) cross the Rhine in Basel throughout the day. These are used both by tourists and commuters. Basler Personenschifffahrt (DE) also offers a variety of fun river cruises.

Night buses (DE) run from Basel on Friday and Saturday nights between 1 and 4am. A separate ticket must be purchased for these rides. Check schedules and map your route online.

 

Travel passes and basic tips

Several travel passes, including the Half-Fare pass, Junior card, GA pass, day passes, and many more, are useful for individuals and families. Check out our article on the Swiss public transport system to learn about standard regulations and ticket options. Also, keep an eye out for frequent seasonal and holiday offers from SBB/CFF.

Here are a few helpful tips to get you started on Swiss public transport:

  • You must purchase your ticket before boarding (exceptions made for rural routes with no machine at the stop).
  • Children under six years of age travel for free.
  • Travelling with a dog: Dogs over 30 cm tall (about 12 inches) need to pay second-class half fare (there are also day cards and GA passes for dogs). Small dogs can travel for free in a carrier or basket.
  • Travelling with a bicycle: You are required to buy a supplementary bike ticket. You can bring your bicycle or unloaded bike trailers onto most SBB/CFF trains, private railways, and PostBuses. Folded bikes can be stored as hand luggage for free. Note: Capacities for bicycle transport may be restricted during peak traffic periods.
  • Utilise the excellent SBB/CFF apps for iPhone and Android.  

 

Cycling in and around Basel

As in the rest of Switzerland, it is convenient and easy to get around Basel by bicycle. There are plenty of interesting choices for cycling routes and bicycle hire. Visit Veloland, and Bikemap to find national, regional, and local cycling routes in English, as well as maps and other useful information. At Velo (DE), in the central train station, you can rent bikes, park your bike, and have your bike repaired.

A popular cycling route is the Petite Camargue Alsacienne (DE/FR), which runs along the canals of the Rhine. Another good route is the Rheinradweg (DE), which runs from Waldshut to Basel.

  

Basel on foot

Basel is compact and easy to explore on foot. The Basel Tourism website provides extensive information in English, including inspiration for walks and suggestions for sights to visit around the city.

Foxtrails are another great way to explore your new environment. These are scavenger hunt-like missions on which you solve riddles and decipher messages around the city before moving onto the next clue.

Find more activity suggestions in Enjoying Basel.

 

Parking in Basel

Parking can be difficult to find in Switzerland. For most street parking you need to buy a ticket from a machine to place in your window. Blue zones allow free parking up to 1.5 hours with a parking disc marking your arrival time in the window (buy this at the post office).

It is a good idea to take advantage of Park and Ride lots. These are paid parking lots located outside the city centre but near to other transport options. It is possible to purchase both day and monthly passes for Park and Ride lots. This can be a good option for individuals with limited parking near their homes. You can also find parking at most main SBB/CFF stations. Mobility car sharing is a convenient and eco-friendly alternative to owning a car.  

You may also be interested in the article on Driving and owning a car in Switzerland. 

 

Photo:swiss-image.ch/Christoph Schuerpf

Author: Nathalie Schmitt

Born in Basel, grown up in Baselland and now living across the border in France with my husband and son. After working 20 years in the aviation business, Relocation has now become my new challenge since more than one year.

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