Basel : city transport and tours
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Stay overnight in Basel and you are automatically entitled to a Mobility Card, giving free tram and bus travel throughout the city; the card is available from your hotel at check-in. Basel runs on trams, with buses serving outlying neighbourhoods only. The whole of the city centre, as far north as the German border, is in Zone 10. Tickets for a four-stop journey cost Fr.1.80, for a longer journey within one zone Fr.2.80, across two zones (valid for the Vitra museum in Germany) Fr.3.60. There’s little point shelling out Fr.7.80 for a day pass. Eurailers and InterRailers get no reductions on Basel city transport, but Swiss Pass holders travel free. Virtually all trams pass through Barfüsserplatz.

There are three bridges linking the city centre with Kleinbasel, but a more fun way to cross – and a method used by many locals too – is on one of the cable-ferries that have plied to and fro for centuries (although the boats themselves are newer than that). The most useful, from north to south, are the Vogel Gryff, or Klingentalfähre (March–Oct Mon–Fri 7am–7pm, Sat & Sun 9am–7pm; Feb & Nov daily 9am–7pm); the Leu, or Münsterfähre (March–Oct daily 9am–noon & 1–7pm, except Fri morning); and the Wild Maa, or St Alban-Fähre (April–Sept Mon–Fri 7am–7pm, Sat & Sun 10am–7pm; March, Oct & Nov Mon–Fri 7–8am & 11.30am–6pm, Sat & Sun 10am–6pm). Fares are in the order of Fr.1.

As well as a host of eat-aboard cruises, Basler Personenschiffahrt (061/639 95 00, www.bpg.ch) runs a couple of scheduled passenger boats to nearby points up and down the Rhine (May–Oct only), including a round trip to the German border at Dreiländereck (Fr.13), and a longer journey east to Kaiseraugst (Fr.35 round trip) and Rheinfelden (Fr.44 round trip). Boats depart from Schifflände beside the tourist office in the city centre, next to their information and ticket booth (Mon–Fri 9am–noon & 1–5pm; April–Oct also Sat 11am–6pm & Sun 8am–3pm).

Bike rental is available at the station (daily 7am–9pm). Taxis, such as those from 33er (061/633 33 33), are a great way to get around if you think a Fr.5.30 flagfall plus Fr.2.65/km is a fair and reasonable price.

The tourist office co-ordinates guided tours of the city and the region – but they’re not cheap. “Basel on foot” tours divide the city in two: one meets at the Münster (Cathedral; Mon 2.30pm; Fr.10) and ends at the Rathaus (Town Hall); the other starts from the Rathaus (Fri 2.30pm; Fr.10) and ends at the Leonhardskirche. Both take an hour and a half. There’s also a tour of the Rathaus itself (Tues 3pm; Fr.10). All these run from late May to early October only.

Otherwise, you can follow any of five self-guided historical wanders, all starting from Marktplatz and marked by small blue information signs: the Erasmus Stroll (red on blue; 30min); Burckhardt Stroll (light blue on blue; 45min); Platter Stroll (yellow on blue; 45min); Paracelsus Stroll (grey on blue; 1hr); or Holbein Stroll (green on blue; 1hr 30min). All of them are described in a leaflet (free) and a book (Fr.26) available from the tourist office. The tourist office also has a brochure showing two self-guided bike tours of the city.

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