If ever there was one word to describe the city of Basel, it would be heterogeneous. Blending beauty and tranquility, this charming medieval town balances the hustle and bustle of a cultural, economic, and financial city with ease.

Falling under the spell of Basel

Let’s start with a fun fact: This Swiss city has 4 widely-used spellings and pronunciations: Basilea in Italian, Bâle in French, Basle in Swiss-German, and finally, Basel in English.

Why is this so important? As the third most populous city in Switzerland, Basel is not only an international city but the “district of three borders,” marked by its tripoint landmark called Dreiländereck. The city is literally on a corner of 3 countries: France, Germany, and Switzerland.

To live in Basel is to live in a vibrant city. On the streets, you’ll find a striking contrast between medieval architecture, wood-framed houses (also popular in Alsace, the neighboring region), beautiful 19th-century mansions, and the modern spirit of the business world matched by the excitement of a city constantly in action.

Recognized as a major banking center in the world of finance, Basel is also known around the world for its international fairs. Situated on the shores of the Rhine River, the city attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors almost all year round. Baselworld is a watch and jewelry show featuring all of the world’s biggest brands, a luxury rendezvous.

Consider this: The budget of some booth exhibitors is worth the price of a very (very) beautiful apartment in the city … and to think that each of these fabulous displays will be dismantled like a cardboard box after only a short week of exhibiting.

Every year, the ultra-publicized Art Basel, a mini Basel in Miami and Hong Kong, presents the most extraordinary contemporary artworks in June. These are just a few examples of the big fairs that add an attractive flair to life in Basel.The city (already rich on its own) has been taken over by a very (very) affluent population.

Basel offers its residents and visitors every high-end service you can possibly imagine. Its transportation system is on par with that of major metropolises EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg for international flights; 5 train stations, 3 of which include international lines; and the famous trams that service the entire city. Luxury hotels are often the scene of spectacular events. Likewise, the city’s gourmet restaurants have garnered the attention of the culinary world for their creativity.

Without hesitation, you’ll choose to live in Basel because …

  1. You simply cannot resist the charm of the houses in Basel
  2. You start a sentence in German, continue it in Italian and finish it in French, then you’re home sweet home
  3. Culture + watchmaking + art = Your very own Swiss cuckoo clock

Picking sides: Petit-Basel or Grand-Basel?

Basel’s population is all about energy and vitality, making the city’s atmosphere full of good vibes. Basel is an important port city for international exchanges, which is how it got the nickname 'The Golden Gate of Switzerland'; it’s the only place with access to the sea.

Split in half by the Rhine River, the city is (geographically) divided into Petit-Basel and Grand-Basel. As the largest open-air swimming pool, the river serves as a kind of symbolic watering hole. Its banks are inviting and full of tasty restaurants to dine on flowery terraces.

The Old Town neighborhood and the Rhine’s 2 banks are highly sought-after residential areas: Saint Alban in Grand-Basel and Wettstein in the Petite-Basel, not to mention the Gellert and Bachletten neighborhoods near the famous Zoo that boasts 11 hectares in the heart of the city.

Apartments are modern, yet possess all the charm of the renovated old buildings they’re hidden in. Basel is a city of culture, with many museums to explore. An intimate family town as well, you can get anywhere by foot, bike or tram. Families are fans of the large modern apartments located near excellent schools. Houses are often located in residential areas with large green areas or on the outskirts of Basel for a little more space. Housing options are vast and real estate prices attractive compared to other major Swiss cities.

For those interested in investing and profiting from short-term rental yields, the luxury rental market is extremely lucrative, especially during fair season when both visitors and exhibitors are looking for temporary accommodations.

Rental apartments offer a multitude of services. With a high demand and limited properties, the market is relatively competitive. But not to worry, it’s really common to find housing 60 km outside of the city.

Big or small, pick Basel if …

  1. Size doesn't matter, quality of life does
  2. It’s a wooden-framed house on the shores of the Rhine, or nothing
  3. You are addicted to triathlon training … from the comfort of your balcony