We have traveled in Switzerland in the past but have never visited Basel, Bern, or Murten. RS doesn't even print about Basel in his books. Please, we would appreciate any advice on where to spend 5 night in the three cities during the latter part of August. We are older, do not hike but enjoy the mountains, lakes, museums, sightseeing - quiet things. We will arrive in Basel via longboat and fly out of Basel six days later. Travel via public transportation. Normally we would never consider three cities in 5 nights but they are so close together it's a possibility. Ideas? Thank you for your help. Best Wishes, Emma
I'd be tempted to stay in Bern the entire time so I wouldn't have to change hotels. If my target list of sights in Basel was long, I'd split my time between Basel and Bern. Murten is quite small, and to get there from Basel you must change trains in Bern, for a total travel time of about 1 hr. 45 min.
On our last trip to Switzerland (stayed in Wengen) we decided to take the train to Murten which is recommended in RS guide book. We very much regretted it--there is very little there to enjoy--a portion of an old wall, a church that was closed to visitors, a COOP store , and some shops. A public toilet sits in a sort of town square. On a previous trip we visited Lucerne and Bern--attractive towns. Alternatively, we should have gone to Gruyeres. Switzerland is all about the Alps for us.
Emma, below I'll re-post some info on Basel I posted as an answer elsewhere. See if it appeals to you.
Murten is small and worth a few hours only. Bern is worth longer.
If you want a circuit of mountains sitting in a comfortable seat, I recommend the following circuit by rail:
Basel (or wherever) - Luzern - (Brünig Pass line) Meiringen - Interlaken - Bern - back to Basel.
There will be time to stop off for 1-2 hours en route, all trains are hourly or more frequent.
I find Basel a lovely city to walk around, with plenty to see.
It has a lovely intact old town, full of squares and narrow alleys. You can just wander around, and think "WTF century am I in?".
For example, 360° panorama of Münsterplatz (cathedral square): https://v8a-moving-pictures.com/basel_tourismus/index.html?nav_id=3311-30721
More 360° panoramas here: https://www.basel.com/en/360
Walking along the river is pretty (view of the Münster from across the river): https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/cb/Rhine_Rhein_Basel_2006_871.JPG/1280px-Rhine_Rhein_Basel_2006_871.JPG
See the small ferry in the middle of the river. That is a fun trip.
It also has a lot of museums. For art, there is the Kunstmuseum and for modern art (Picasso's etc.) the Fondation Beyeler.
See here: https://www.basel.com/en/Art-Culture/Top-10-Museen
And it is dead easy to get around as there are trams (and buses) everywhere.
For lots more info see the official website: https://www.basel.com/en