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#8. Basel

This is an interesting, compact city (pop. 170,000) that is overlooked by most American tourists.

Though only a quarter the size of the city of San Francisco, Basel has more and better museums, a better zoo (nearly 6,000 animals from five continents) and twice as many symphony orchestras. Most San Franciscans are afraid to ride their city's spooky, graffiti-ridden, catch-as-catch-can bus system. In Basel, 40% of the population regularly buys season passes on the Tramli, which runs at six to 10-minute intervals during the day and every 15 minutes at night. Basel has three railway stations; San Francisco none. In 1460, when the most important structure on what was to become San Francisco's Nob Hill was a teepee, Basel already had a university.

Top Sights:

Suggested Activities:

  • An excursion to Augusta Raurica, the remains of the oldest known Roman settlement on the Rhine. It is approximately 11 kilometers (7 miles) east of Basel and accessible by car, rail, bus, boat and bicycle.

Places to Stay:

  • Hotel St. Gotthard Basel, Centralbahnstrasse 13, CH-4002 Basel, tel. +41/061/225 13 13, fax 225 13 14.

Food Suggestion:

  • Restaurant Der Teufelhof gets one Michelin star. For a less expensive meal from the same great kitchen, eat in its brasserie-style Weinstube.