Help with Basel and recommendations: Alsace, Black Forest, or Switzerland?

Going to Basel for a conference in end August.

Did a quick search on this forum and there’s not much information, but hoping for any help with recommendations in Basel itself, or thoughts on travel thereafter.

I love Alsace and was last there in 2017, but thought the Black Forest might be an alternative, versus just staying in Switzerland (wife has been, but my first time).

Priority is mainly relaxation, nice food and wine, casual hiking and maybe a winery visit a day.

Thanks in advance!

You might want to consider the Savoie/Isere area and/or the Val d’Aosta–should be able to hit all of your goals easily. Depending on when in August your conference ends, wineries in the Savoie/Isere ought to be open for visits. Gran Paradiso National Park is well named; the scenery and hiking there are magnificent. There are trails suited for various abilities (even for children), a nice alpine botanical garden just outside (in fact, quite walkable from) Cogne.

Savoie/Aosto while nice is quite off Basel actually

From Basel the Black Forrest is just around the corner, for a winery the Alsace is not far as is the Kaiserstuhl area on the german side, quite nice for hiking but probably quite warm/hot in August, an hour from Basel north for both.

Going south from Basel some of the majestic alps are just like an hour away … places like Lake Lucerne / Engelberg would be worth a visit.

In Basel a stroll through the pedestrian area city center is quite nice, some shopping for the wife included, a good set of museums in Basel actually too.

Going north you hit the Black Forrest, highest place would be the Feldberg, nice for hiking especially in August. Lots of nice places to visit, castles, great nature like the Wutach-Schlucht, geourgous place to hike through and can do from short trips to longer ones.

Down the Rhine valley you hit Kaiserstuhl and Freiburg, lovely city, worth a visit too. Good area for hiking, wineries, good food, shopping. On the other side of the Rhine in France you have nice places like Colmar, or little wine villages like Riquewihr.

Up the Rhine to the east you would be hitting the Rheinfall and further the Bodensee if you like water more than the mountains.

Overall, great areas for short sight-seeing trips, all of them actually, recommended, and well, its where I live so hit me up with further questions when getting closer.

I cannot remember the name, but there is a unique jam/jelly from that area that is pretty impossible to find outside the region. It might be worth picking up.

How many days do you have? And transportation wise?

Thanks for the suggestions!

I was in Savoie last year as a quick trip from Lyon, so might not do that again although the scenery was stunning and the wines were pretty fun.

It’s not a terribly long trip as we would feel bad leaving the kids with the grandparents for too long - I’ll be in the area from 22nd to 31st August (10 days, but the 31st itself is a travel day so realistically 9 days) and need to be in Basel probably from 26th AM to 28th AM. So it’s looking like a couple of short trips of 3-4 days on either end with a couple days in Basel in the middle. Although if we are based not too far away, it’s tempting to just drive in to Basel on the days of my presentations.

Will most likely rent a car, unless we are staying entirely in Switzerland in which case I understand rail transit may be more convenient?

Reading through Klaus’ suggestions I’m thinking the Black Forest sounds great. And I can pass through Baden along the way up which has some of my favourite Spatburgunder producers (Huber, Wasenhaus) if they allow visits. And it might be nice to pop over the Rhine to revisit the lovely memories during my Christmas trip to Alsace in 2017. Klaus, would you suggest that I do a road trip sort of itinerary or is there a good central location to base myself out of? The driving distances don’t look too terrible.

Thanks everyone - happy to hear more suggestions!

Gerald, what are you looking for accomodation wise?

I would probably drive up to Freiburg, like 1 hour north of Basel, from here you can visit the Baden wineries in short distance, go to the Black Forrest and drive over to the Alsace too.

Nice place in Freiburg would be the Hotel Hirschen, nice hotel, good food, good wine Baumgartner Gaststätten Betriebe GmbH - - just outside the central city. Huber in Malterdingen is like 15 minutes to the north, Wasenhaus 20 minutes south. Riquewihr, Ribeauville, Colmar is 1 hour west. Black Forrest at your doorsteps. Welcome to Freiburg | Freiburg Tourism

Huber is avaiable for visits
not sure on Wasenhaus, will report back if/when they answer my request

Basel is 1h drive by car or train ride to Freiburg, both is doable and I have friends who did this as a daily commute for decades. How many presentations you have to do?

I would probably go to Freiburg first, then stay in Basel for a few days / presentations (really nice city) and last few days in Luzern which is 1h south The Official Lucerne & Lake Lucerne Region Guide | for some alps experience.


dined here in Basel
did not expect such brilliance

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Thank you Klaus for the detailed suggestions and even for reaching out to Wasenhaus!

Hirschen looks great and also good value. Nice wine list in the restaurant including back vintages of Huber. Was briefly looking around and chanced on the Franz Keller hotel, which seems really enticing mainly for the insanely good wine list at the restaurant which is the sort of list that would make me tempted to just eat there every day and explore. A pity my wife doesn’t drink that much these days, but perhaps the best opportunity to get her back on board.

Will take you up on your offer for more recommendations closer to the time. In particular, restaurants, wine shops in the area worth a visit. These days some of the established wineries (eg Huber) are fairly well distributed where I live but I am hoping it will be a good chance to find some bottles from smaller places or back vintages, which aren’t readily available here.

That sounds like a perfect itinerary. I actually only have 1 presentation to do, but the timings/days are usually released only the month before. I suppose if it’s an easy day trip we could still plan to see Basel from Freiburg, but I guess it might be easier to return the car and stay there for a couple of nights to see the town too as it sounds lovely.

Thanks Philip for the suggestion of Cheval Blanc too. I’ve not been to many 3* as they have sometimes been underwhelming for the premium - but will look it up. I’m guessing they have a top class wine list too?

I haven’t been to Basel for too many years to make restaurant reservations, but I heartily recommend a visit the the Beyeler Foundation, home to an exceptional Impressionist and Post-Impressionist collection, and then some. Take the Number 6 trolley to the Foundation.

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for sure the Schwarzer Adler is phantastic for food and wine and the hotel is great as well, but I never stayed in the hotel … Franz Keller: Schwarzer Adler • Franz Keller … the wine list was historically heavy on BDX and if you like that you‘ll be amazed, haven‘t checked them much on other regions tbh.

As for great places to eat out you probably like → Auberge de l'Ill & Hôtel des Berges in Illhaeusern, Alsace | 5-star luxury hotel and restaurant with 2 Michelin stars

The region is known for having the highest concentration of Michelin starred restaurants outside Paris … not sure thats acurate but one could well imagine.

Like if you want to visit Strassbourg and the northern Black Forrest a nice place to stay and dine would be Your 5 star superior hotel in the Black Forest - Relais & Châteaux Hotel Dollenberg and the area there is like 10 Michelin stars in very close proximity.

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@Gerald_Sng , Wasenhaus is open for a pre-arranged visit, let me know if you need support talking to them

Thanks Klaus! Very much appreciated.

I will reach out to them closer to the time when my plans are confirmed. But fortunately thanks to your help it’s looking pretty much decided already.

Thanks for suggestions further north too. Michelin dining isn’t necessarily what I’m after, I prefer simpler meals these days as long as food is solid and wine list is good. Can’t really sit through 3h long dinners every evening anyway! And it seems the Southern Black Forest has plenty enough to do for a relaxing trip.

You are welcome Gerald, and I do agree on dining, there are also plenty of places with solidly good food without Michelin Stars in this area of germany, probably by french and austrian influence over the centuries.