🚆 Getting around
Public transport in Basel is excellent and easily accessible. Here are the most important tips to make your transition faster:
First and foremost, don't forget to purchase a ticket at the ticket machine you'll see at all Tram stops.
✔︎ To travel around Switzerland, book train rides with ease, get transport passes and discounts from the Swiss public transportation (SBB) website or SBB Mobile app.
✔︎ If you're traveling within Basel city, check the latest transportation updates on the Basel Public Transportation (BVB) website.
✔︎Consider getting an U-abo if you're a frequent traveler: U-Abo mobility.
✔︎ Find the best itinerary and transportation options during your first weeks.
🧒 Children younger than 6 travel for free
🐕 For dogs over 30 cm (12 inches) tall, you will need to pay second-class half-fare or purchase day cards and GA passes. Small dogs can travel for free in a carrier or basket.
🚲 If you want to transport your bicycle or unloaded bike trailers on SBB/CFF trains, private railways or PostBuses, you will need to buy a supplementary bike ticket. Folded bikes can be stored as hand lugagge for free. Note that capacity for bicycle transport may be restricted during peak traffic times.
Getting around by car 🚙
🅿️ Basel city center is largely car free. For more info on parking in the city have a look at this website.
📱 Must-Have Apps & Online Services for Daily Life in Basel
⚕️ Medical & Dentist services
🏥 The main hospital in Basel is Basel-Stadt Trauma Hospital. The top emergency unit for kids and teens: University Children's Hospital Basel (UKBB). If your doctor is not available and your emergency is not so severe to require hospital attention, then you can receive comprehensive medical care at MedBase.
⚕️This pharmacy in the city center is open 24h: 24 Stunden Apotheke.
🚑 Here is also a guide on how to act in a medical emergency, from Baselland Hospitals.
🦷 Zahnarzt Zentrum, one of the top providers of dental care in Switzerland.
☀️ Daily life
One of the things you'll notice as you move to Basel is how difficult it is to predict the weather. Based on our experience so far, On Meteo Swiss you'll find the most accurate weather reports
• Find info about businesses and services in Basel on local.ch, the largest business directory.
• Check traffic updates on Swiss Traffic.
• Call a taxi via GO app.
• Flight information on Euro Airport website.
There are 2 tourist office centres in town: one at the main train station Basel SBB and one in the city centre at Steinenberg 14. Get info material, brochures, maps, event calendars. Book city tours and excursions.
• Plan a tour of Basel city.
• Basel art & culture, a guide by Packimpex MyJourney.
🗑 Garbage Disposal in Basel-Stadt: All You Need to Know
In Switzerland, you can dispose of household waste by purchasing a specific refuse bag called a 'Bebby Sack' which can be purchased at the Migros or Coop supermarkets at a separate counter where you would purchase magazines, liquor and cigarettes. You purchase a roll of trash bags that come in a variety of sizes ranging from 17 litres to 60 litres.
Certain items should be recycled and not thrown away with your household garbage, as such:
✔︎ Glass jars and bottles (without deposit), aluminium and tin, batteries must be put into containers. The location of the containers is marked on the map.
✔︎ Glass bottles with deposit, plastic bottles, plastic milk or cream bottles and batteries can be taken back to the supermarket where they were purchased.
✔︎ Newspaper and magazines (Altpapier), cardboard (Karton) must be bundled up and collected regularly, according to your recycling schedule. On the date of pick-up, place your bundled paper and cardboard on the sidewalk.
🛍 Shopping in the Basel Area
🇨🇭 Shopping in Switzerland
In general, stores in Switzerland are opened Monday to Friday between 08:00 – 18:30
and on Saturday between 07:30 – 17:00. On Sundays, they are closed, and some shops might close over lunch time.
However, there are 2 options with longer opening hours:
• the Coop store at the main train station is open daily from 06:00 - 22:00, and on Sundays 07:30 - 22:00.
• the Migros store at the main train station is open daily from 07:30 - 22:00.
• the St. Jakob Park Shopping Mall is open daily from 09:00 – 20:00, Saturdays 09:00 – 18:00
🇩🇪 Shopping in Germany
You can easily travel from Basel to shop in Germany. You will generally find stores opened between 08:00 – 20:00 Monday to Friday, and 08:00 – 18:00 on Saturdays. On Sundays, all shops are closed.
Some of the bigger grocery shops like Hieber, Rewe, Aldi, Lidl, are open until 22:00 Monday to Friday. There are also malls that are easy to reach:
• Rheincenter: Weil-Friedlingen, directly at the border, take tram 8 to stop 'Dreiländerbrücke'.
• Die Insel: Weil am Rheim, Hauptstrasse 333-339, take tram 8 to stop 'Weil am Rhein'.
🇫🇷 Shopping in France
Stores in France are generally opened Monday to Friday between 09:00 – 19:00, on Saturday between 09:00 – 18:00, while Sundays they stay closed.
Shopping malls that are easy to reach from Basel:
• Geant Casino in St. Louis.
• Leclerc in St. Louis.
📦 Tax-free goods
When you purchase goods from abroad, you will be charged a tax at the Swiss border. However, there are goods which can be imported free of customs duty and tax, within certain limits.
✔︎ Personal belongings
Used personal effects such as clothing, underwear, toilet articles, sports gear, photo and film cameras, camcorders, portable computers, musical instruments and other articles which travellers living in Switzerland took along when going abroad or travellers living abroad use during their stay in Switzerland and take back when leaving.
✔︎ Travelling provisions
Food stuff ready to eat and non-alcoholic beverages for the day of travelling.
Importation, transit and export of liquid funds (cash, securities, amongst others) with a value of more than CHF 10.000 is possible upon request. You need to provide information on the origin, the intended use and the beneficial owner.
✔︎ Alcohol and tobacco
People aged at least 17 can carry tax-free alcoholic beverages into Switzerland as such: max. 5 litres for drinks up to 18% abv, and max. 1 litre of beverages 15% abv.
Tobacco is also tax-exempt within certain limits: max. 250 grams of cigarettes or cut tobacco (including pipe-tobacco, chewing tobacco and oral and nasal snuff) and max. 200 units of cigarette paper (Regardless of any other imported tobacco).
Fresh meat and meat products, as well as cream or butter, remain tax-free under 1kg, while the limit for Oil, grease, and margarine is 5kg.
✔︎ Other goods
For other goods in tourist traffic there is a total value limit of CHF 300 per person.
If you import goods worth more than CHF 300, you must pay duty and tax on the full value, not just the value above the allowance. You cannot group individual allowances together.
Diverse goods which constitute one unit (sets e.g. as in model railway kits, 4 summer tyres, a dismantled bed or cutlery sets) may not be shared out between several people. Sets of this nature are, if they exceed the CHF 300 ceiling value, liable to tax as a unit.
💸 Duties and taxes
Goods in tourist traffic which exceed the tax-free limit of CHF 300 and thereby in principle are liable for duty, may be imported duty-free (exceptions: alcoholic beverages, tobacco goods and sensitive agricultural products). However, VAT of 2.5 % or 7.7 % of the value of the goods has to be paid.
Showing the sales slips or any other proof of the value helps clearing customs.
Dutiable goods must be declared for assessment verbally or in writing without any request having to be made, more detailed information here.
🛋️ Brockis and second hand stores
Switzerland is a very second-hand friendly country and Basel is no exception. You will find quite numerous websites and apps for second-hand goods sale. The most popular are Ricardo, Tutti and Anibis (mostly in the French part of Switzerland).
In the city, second-hand stores are called Brockenstube or Brocki in short. See here where they are located. You can not only shop from Brockis but also sell or donate your own stuff.
🛍️ Online shopping
The most popular websites are Zalando (for clothing) and Galaxus/ digitech (for electronics mostly, but Galaxus has a wide range of products, very similar to amazon).
«Make sure to always keep some cash in your pocket, some 10 CHF will do, as Switzerland is still cash based and you never know when you might need some cash at hand.»
🍕 Eating out, Restaurants and Nightlife
Basel has a lot of old inns and guild houses, beer halls and wine pubs, but also trendy and hip ones. Here's a great website to check restaurants in Basel.
Like in most Swiss cities, many restaurants are closed on Sunday, so make sure you check the schedule well in advance.
Reservations are recommended in some places, especially during large trade fairs like the Herbstmesse, one of the largest fairs in Basel.
At Markthalle, a few minutes away from the main train station you will find numerous restaurants under one roof, almost all of excellent quality and not very expensive. For lunch, this is one of the most popular spots in Basel, regardless of the season.
In summer, there's no better place to be than by the Rhine. You'll find numerous bars all along the river, with Dreiländereck as a top attraction.
«My favorite thing to do in Basel in the summer is to dive in the Rhine, have dinner at the exquisite Les Trois Rois, then have drinks at Landestelle. The recipe for a perfect day!»
💡 Are you ready for more?
Some parts of the Swiss lifestyle can be hard to grasp even after years of living here. Once you've mastered your basics, you're ready to dive into Packimpex MyJourney where you'll find:
✔︎ Clear information to help you manage your Swiss life.
✔︎ An action plan supported by expert-approved guides that help you identify gaps.
✔︎ On-demand support by verified experts.Explore MyJourney