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Basel vs Zurich: Choosing the Best City to Visit

  • Maya Keller
  • Post category:Travel Tips
  • Reading time:10 mins read
  • Published: 10 November, 2023
  • Last updated: 5 December, 2023

There are two Swiss main megapolises, which have a lot of particularities. The choice between them depends on what you’re looking for during your visit. Each city offers a unique set of attractions, cultural experiences, and lifestyles. Both metropolises have their own unique charms and advantages. Basel is popular for its cultural scene and historic Old Town. Zurich has its economic significance, shopping, and cosmopolitan lifestyle. It is necessary to consider your budget. You need to choose a city that aligns with your financial preferences. So, which city is better to visit Basel vs Zurich?

You should pay attention to your specific interests. Whether they involve outdoor activities, cultural experiences, historical sites, or culinary delights. Also, consider the timing of your visit. Check if any specific events or festivals align with your interests. For instance, if you’re a fan of contemporary art, attending Art Basel is a must. To decide whether to choose Basel vs Zurich, check out more information below.

Zurich and Basel: Main Features

Both cities have their own distinct charm and character. It makes them a popular tourist destination. These megapolises will appeal to those who are fond of culture and history. Also, you can taste urban life in Switzerland. Your choice between Basel vs Zurich will depend on your specific interests. Consider what you’re looking to experience during your visit. In both cities, you’ll find that communication in Swiss German is prevalent in daily life. French and English are often used for business, education, and international interactions.

Zurich is in the north-central part of Switzerland. It is in the German-speaking region of the country. Zurich is the largest megapolis in the country and serves as the capital of the canton of Zurich. Basel is in northwestern Switzerland, near the borders with Germany and France. It is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Zurich has a population of over 400,000 residents. This makes it the most populous city in Switzerland. The Greater Zurich Area is home to more than 1.5 million people. Basel is the third-largest city, with a population of over 190,000 residents. Its area includes the large neighboring cities in Switzerland, France, and Germany.


Zurich: houses on both sides of the river

It is a vibrant and rich metropolis that blends history and modernity: 

  • Economy: Zurich is one of the world’s major financial centers. It is home to many international banks and financial institutions. It’s often referred to as the “Banking Capital of Switzerland.” The city’s strong and stable economy contributes to the country’s financial sector.
  • Culinary scene: Zurich offers a variety of culinary delights. These include traditional Swiss cuisine and some international dishes. National specialties like fondue and raclette you can taste in local restaurants.
  • Cultural events: The city hosts various cultural events throughout the year. They include music festivals, theater performances, and art exhibitions.

Zurich offers a wide range of attractions and cultural experiences. Also, visitors may enjoy its natural beauty.


Basel’s combination of cultural richness, historical charm, and picturesque riverside location. These particularities make it a captivating tourist destination. Basel attracts travelers interested in art, history, and cultural experiences: 

  • Cultural hub: The megapolis is the cultural capital of the country, with a thriving arts scene. It’s home to world-class museums, galleries, and theaters.
  • Festivals and events: The city hosts various cultural festivals and events. There are celebrating music, art, and literature.
  • Fine dining: Basel offers a diverse culinary scene, with a range of restaurants. There you can try Swiss and international cuisine. You can enjoy national specialties and world-class dining.

Megapolise’s dynamic cultural scene and welcoming atmosphere contribute to its special character.

Zurich and Basel: Places to Visit

Both Zurich and Basel can boast many fascinating places to visit with a long history. Regardless of your decision, to ensure a delightful trip contact the Traserbas company. Here you can get quality transport services. In Zurich, you can visit Old Town (Altstadt). There, you’ll discover medieval buildings and charming squares. Also, here are iconic landmarks like the Grossmünster and Fraumünster churches. Kunsthaus Zurich is a renowned art museum house. 

There is an extensive collection of Swiss and international art. It includes works by famous artists like Alberto Giacometti and Vincent van Gogh. Basel Minster (Basler Münster), the stunning Gothic cathedral, is an iconic symbol of the city. If you will climb the tower, you will have a fascinating panoramic view of the megapolis. Kunstmuseum Basel is one of Switzerland’s most significant art museums. It features an extensive collection of Swiss and international art. There, you can see works by artists like Picasso, Monet, and Van Gogh.


This is one of the largest cities in Switzerland. Among its attractions are:

  • Lake Zurich (Zürichsee): You can take a boat ride, or relax by the lakeside promenades.
  • Bahnhofstrasse: It is one of the world’s most exclusive shopping streets. 
  • University of Zurich: Explore the campus of one of the Swiss leading universities.

If you want to get to the all popular locations in Zurich by a comfortable car, use the Traserbas car service in Zurich.


Basel: river with houses in the background

Basel, Switzerland’s cultural center, boasts a variety of attractions. Among them are:

  • Rhine River: Enjoy a walk along the Rhine River, and in the summer, take a swim or float down the river. 
  • Tinguely-Brunnen: This whimsical and kinetic water fountain. 
  • Basel Paper Mill: Discover the history of papermaking at this interactive museum. 

Traserbas company will provide you with comfortable transport in Basel. So, you will have an unforgettable trip to Basel’s attractions.

Is Basel or Zurich Better?

Whether Basel or Zurich is better for you depends on different factors. Among them are your lifestyle, career aspirations, and personal interests. Zurich is often chosen for its economic opportunities and cosmopolitan atmosphere. Basel is famous for art and culture enthusiasts and those seeking a high quality of life. Both cities have excellent public transportation and beautiful surroundings. Also, there is a high standard of living. It’s worth considering what factors are most important to you when making your choice. 

Zurich is a global city known for its cleanliness, efficiency, and high quality of life. It’s a melting pot of cultures and nationalities. Zurich’s international airport is one of the most well-connected airports in Europe. It is an ideal gateway for travelers. Basel is a significant hub for the pharmaceutical and chemical industries. It is home to major companies like Novartis and Roche. The local airport is a hub for several airlines. Among them are easyJet Switzerland and Ryanair. It hosts a wide range of domestic, European, and international carriers.


Basel is a charming Old Town with well-preserved medieval architecture and historic landmarks. It is near the borders of France and Germany. This is a strategic base for exploring neighboring countries. Basel ranks high in quality of life, safety, and cleanliness. 

This city is a significant hub for the pharmaceutical and chemical industries. Zurich is Switzerland’s economic center. It is famous for its financial and business opportunities, and it hosts a strong job market. It is a global city with a cosmopolitan atmosphere. There is a high standard of living, cleanliness, and efficiency. 

Zurich is famous for luxury shopping on Bahnhofstrasse and boasts a multicultural population. The city features a wide range of cultural attractions, including museums, and theaters. 

Whether Basel vs Zurich is better for you depends on your preferences and what you’re looking for in a city. Both main megapolises have their own unique historical and natural attractions.


Both cities are excellent destinations for art enthusiasts. Basel is often considered more suitable for those with a keen interest in art.

Zurich is often associated with its modern business environment and international character. Basel is famous for its rich cultural and artistic scene, and historical charm.

Yes, you can. Both cities provide opportunities to explore national culinary traditions.

Zurich generally offers a more extensive and diverse shopping experience.

Maya Keller author

Maya Keller

Maya Keller is a passionate traveler and writer focused on exploring and sharing the best of Zurich and Basel in Switzerland. With a love for uncovering hidden gems and sharing practical travel tips, Maya aims to inspire fellow adventure seekers to experience the beauty and culture of Swiss cities.