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Time to see some of Basel?

We will be disembarking in Basel from an AMA river cruise by about 9 a.m. and need to catch a flight at the Basel airport that leaves at 2 p.m.. There is a transfer from the boat to the airport available at 9:00 but we would rather not spend all that time sitting in the airport. We are wondering if it would be possible to see some of Basel and still be at the airport in time. Any suggestions about how best to do that would be appreciated.

Posted by
8889 posts

Easy,
Depends partially where your boat docks, and can you carry your luggage with you through the day?
There are two places passenger boats dock, either the passenger ship terminal ("Passagierschiff-terminal", click here), or the main docks (click here).
From the first location it is easy, walk across the park and take tram 11 to the Marktplatz (1 zone, cost CHF 3.60).
From the main docks it is a longer walk to the tram (No. 8, tramstop "Kleinhünigen", see map). That also goes to the Marktplatz (same fare).
If in doubt, ask a local.

Use Marktplatz (with the red town hall and tower) as a base, (click here for a picture of Basel Marktplatz with a No. 11 tram) and explore the side streets, or rest in a café as you want. If you have time (and the inclination) climb the hill to the cathedral.

There is a bus from the main station to the airport
2pm (14:00 departure), you need to be at the airport about 12:00, leave central Basel no later than 11:30.
From Marktplatz, buy a 2-zone ticket (cost CHF 4.40), take tram 8 or 11 to the station ("Bahnhof SBB") and then bus 50.
A taxi would be faster (taxi rank in Marktplatz), but a lot more expensive (CHF 40).

Posted by
36 posts

Thank you very much! The taxi to the airport is tempting. What would the cost be converted to dollars?

Posted by
16883 posts

If stopping in the city, I think you'd want to head to Basel Hbf train station first, leave luggage in a locker there, then return to take the airport bus from that station, but there's obviously not much time. A Swiss Franc is roughly equal to a US dollar.

Posted by
8889 posts

Wendy,
I didn't suggest leaving luggage at the station because of the limited time available, instead I said "and can you carry your luggage with you through the day".
The station is called "Basel SBB", NOT Hbf (Hauptbahnhof), they use that name in Germany, not Switzerland.

And finally - what sort of dollar? - I don't know where you live, so I don't know whether you mean Australian, Singapore, Canadian, or what sort of dollar. If you know the standard 3-letter abbreviation for your type of dollar (AUD, SGD, CAD, NZD, or click here for a full list), go to google, and type "CHF 40 = USD" and it will convert for you, using the current exchange rate. You can do this for any currency if you know the 3-letter abbreviation

Posted by
36 posts

Thank you. Where is the train station in relation to the Marketplatz?

Posted by
36 posts

Thanks, Chris. We're Canadian but an American dollar amount would give us an idea too.

Posted by
8889 posts

Wendy,
Marktplatz to station, 4 stops by tram, or about 7 minutes. Click here for a tram and bus map of Basel. Bus 50 from station to airport is 17 minutes.

  • If you look in the centre of the map (square C3) you can see the Marktplatz.
  • If you go 4 stops south, you can see "Bahnhof SBB/SNCF" in square D4, connected to the Marktplatz by Nos. 8 (purple) and 11 (red).
  • If you look in square A2, you can see the airport, connected to Bahnhof SBB by bus route 50 (grey).

You can also see the tram stops for the two boat docking locations (St. Johannstor, tram 11, square C2 and Kleinhüningen, tram 8, square D2).

If you prefer a more conventional map, see the one I linked to earlier (click here). you can pan and zoom it.

40 Swiss Franc = 52.73 Canadian Dollar as of today, according to Google. Taxis are not cheap in Basel.

Posted by
8 posts

If your flight out of Basel is international, you need to be at the airport 3 hours before, 11:00. That doesn't really give you any time to see anything, even if you leave the boat earlier than 9:00. Taxis are very expensive in Basel. I think it was about 25 chf from the train station to the Marketplace area. If you do want to see a tiny bit of Basel, take a taxi from the boat to the marketplace ( the desk on the boat will call one for you and have the driver wait, with your bags, while you have a look around) and then go to the train station and take a train to the airport. It will cost a fortune, but you will at least be able to see a little.

Posted by
8 posts

If your flight out of Basel is international, you need to be at the airport 3 hours before, 11:00. That doesn't really give you any time to see anything, even if you leave the boat earlier than 9:00. Taxis are very expensive in Basel. I think it was about 25 chf from the train station to the Marketplace area. If you do want to see a tiny bit of Basel, take a taxi from the boat to the marketplace ( the desk on the boat will call one for you and have the driver wait, with your bags, while you have a look around) and then go to the train station and take a train to the airport. It will cost a fortune, but you will at least be able to see a little.

Posted by
36 posts

Thank you. Your reply is very helpful. AMA's transfer service to the airport costs $60 per person, a total of $120 for the two of us. Would a taxi from the boat docks, to the Marketplatz and then to the airport be even more than that? If we skipped the Marketplatz how would it compare?

Posted by
8889 posts

Jane, ALL flights out of Basel are international!

Wendy, yes you need to check your ticket to see the minimum check-in time. It is usually 1 - 1½ hours for budget airlines, less for full service airlines.
By the taxi-rank in Marktplatz is a small sign showing estimated taxi fares, I guess to prevent arguments from foreign who are suprised by the cost. It says ~CHF 40 to the airport. Boat dock to the airport would be about the same (similar distance). Boat dock to Marktplatz would be (I guess) CHF 15 to 25, depending on which boat dock.

I don't take taxis in Basel, they are too expensive; I take the tram, like most other people in Basel. Nobody but a tourist would take a taxi from the train station to the Marktplatz - ~CHF 25 for a taxi against CHF 3.60 for the tram. As for "have the driver wait, with your bags, while you have a look around)". I hate to think what that would cost in waiting time.

Posted by
36 posts

Thank you, Jane &Chris. You've given me lots of info to help me decide what to do.

Posted by
36 posts

Thank you, Jane &Chris. You've given me lots of info to help me decide what to do.

Posted by
8 posts

Chris,
Perhaps I sure have said "overseas", instead of " international"