The 10 Best Neighborhoods to Live in Basel: A Useful Must-Read Guide
Hunting for all the best neighborhoods in Basel? In this guide, we’ve brought you helpful details on the top 10, with information on housing, prices, nightlife, things to do, and plenty more. As always, your reliable relocation amigos at Homelike are here to help you out.
One of the best places to live in Europe, Basel is clean, tidy and organized, and it’s a perfect place for a pleasant life.
Packed with cobbled lanes, beautiful architecture, and endless art, it’s a pretty archetypal Swiss city. But because it lies right in the little borderlands pocket where Switzerland meets both France and Germany, it’s also a multicultural and multi-faceted place.
Basel is known for being a super-safe place, and it’s full of excellent conveniences and modernities… so it’s especially popular with middle-class movers, and people relocating with kids. And for that reason, it’s best suited to people who are looking for a quiet and calm life.
But the city still offers a relatively hefty slice of fun stuff, with diverse restaurants, lots of alfresco eats, many innovative cultural venues, and some pretty good nightlife.
In short, Basel is a great place to live for lots of different people.
But like any big city, Basel has various areas and neighborhoods… and they’re all different from one another. So to help you with your district-choosing dilemma, we’ve brought you all the best neighborhoods in Basel, and all the best places to live in Basel.
We’ve covered edgy areas, family-friendly districts, central neighborhoods, outskirt zones, nightlife hubs, laid-back spots, and everything in between. In our list of the best places to live in Basel, we’ve included the following 10 spots:
- Altstadt Grossbasel
- Altstadt Kleinbasel
- Basel St Alban
- Basel Am Ring
Keen to learn all about the best neighborhoods in Basel? Crack out your clock, grab some Gruyère, and come join the Swiss excitement!
1. Altstadt Grossbasel
Best for: Endless bustle, living like a long-term tourist, and close proximity to famous sights
Altstadt Grossbasel is the most well-known part of the city. ’Altstadt’ translates from German into English as ‘Old Town’—and most of Basel’s famous sights are crammed in and around this half of the Old Town (more on the area’s second half coming up soon).
It’s one of the best neighborhoods in Basel for first-time-stayers, and anyone hanging around for only a short while. It’s fun, beautiful and bustling, and it’s right in the middle of all the Basel-based excitement.
Some of the biggest attractions here include the Gothic cathedral of Basel Minster, the quaint coziness of the nearby Minster Cathedral Square, the massive Basel Town Hall, and a load of galleries and museums (two of the most popular are the Toy Museum and the excellent Museum of Natural History).
And because Altstadt Grossbasel is a busy area, you’ll find many varied places to eat, drink and dance—and packs of people to do those things with. The neighborhood also offers nice riverside stretches, and frequent and reliable transport to all other parts of the city.
So, in short, it serves up plenty of great stuff.
All of that said, Altstadt Grossbasel isn’t a great area for staying long-term—you’ll always be surrounded by tourists, and it’s a pretty pricey place to live (even by Basel’s standards!).
2. Altstadt Kleinbasel
Best for: Drinking and dancing, staying out late, hanging with hipsters, and exploring an edgier part of the center
Over on the other side of the river, you have the second part of the Old Town.
Slightly less touristy than Altstadt Grossbasel, Altstadt Kleinbasel is a little more hip and happening… it’s home to quirky art venues, the city’s best nightlife, and lots of kooky stores and boutiques.
The neighborhood’s best slurp-friendly venues include 8 Bar (a small bar with great live music), Silo Bar (cozy, atmospheric, and laid-back), and Schall und Rauch Bar (where you’ll always find late-night DJs, and a welcoming bunch of friendly faces). In Altstadt Kleinbasel, you’ll also find plenty of nightclub-style venues for some late-night boogying.
Other neighborhood highlights include swimming in the River Rhine, the banks along the river (which are always crammed with picnickers, food trucks and outdoor bars in summer), and lots of great arts venues.
If you’re young, like making friends, and love staying out late, Altstadt Kleinbasel is the perfect place for you. But because it’s such a busy area, it can be difficult to find a place to live here—it’s often easier to instead get a serviced apartment or a serviced flat in this part of town.
Best for: Living centrally but cheaply, chowing down on varied fayre, traveling by train, and finding budget bars
South of the Old Town, Gundeldingen is our first lesser-known Basel neighborhood. It doesn’t offer many famous tourist attractions, but it’s stuffed with fun and adventure.
One of the best foodie districts in the city, it’s a great neighborhood for finding cut-price eateries. Here, you’ll find Asian eats, local joints, Turkish food, canteen-style hangouts, and plenty more—and it all reflects the multicultural vibe of the area. Start your Gundeldingen food odyssey at Khao Hom Thai and Café Bohemia.
You’ll also find lots of excellent low-budget bars in the neighborhood, where you can grab cheap drinks to chase your cheap food.
One of the district’s most famous venues is Gundeldinger Feld, a trendy converted factory now home to a variety of hip hangouts. Head here for street food, inexpensive drinks, performing arts, yoga classes, unusual events, and plenty more.
Gundeldingen is also home to the city’s main railway station… so it’s one of the best neighborhoods in Basel for anyone who wants (or needs) to do lots of traveling. From here, you can explore other parts of the city, other parts of the nation, and even nearby countries.
It’s also a good district for finding a central but affordable place to live—prices here aren’t super low, but they’re a lot lower than the two districts we’ve covered so far.
And last of all, it’s a great choice for families. There are many green spaces in and around the district (Margarethenpark is a big favorite), the city’s huge zoo is just on the area’s outskirts, and the train station gives you endless access to loads of family-friendly adventures.
4. Basel St Alban
Best for: Vast green spaces, raising a family, finding a beautiful home, and living in an upscale area
Bordering Gundeldingen to the east, you’ll find the classy district of Basel St Alban. It’s home to townhouses, villas, comfy family homes, and endless Gothic architecture.
It’s another of the best places to live in Basel for anyone moving with kids—the neighborhood is residential, super safe, and surrounded by many great green spaces. Flower-filled Merian Gärten is a big favorite, while pond-packed Park im Grünen is home to playparks, ducks, and a hefty sculpture of a dinosaur.
In and around the district, you’ll find three of the city’s best cultural venues: Kunsthaus Baselland (a bold and bizarre contemporary art museum), St. Jakob-Park (where soccer team FC Basel play their home games), and Das Viertel (one of the best nightclubs in the city).
And because Basel St Alban is close to the city’s main train station, it’s well-located for venturing further afield.
Because Basel St Alban is a sought-after area, it can often be challenging to secure an apartment here—the best places are usually snapped up swiftly. To avoid that problem, it’s a good idea to find a serviced apartment or a serviced flat in this part of the city.
Best for: Living in an emerging area, an affordable-but-central life, and making friends with other expats
Just to the east of Altstadt Kleinbasel, it’s the emerging district of Wettstein.
Once a pretty undesirable place to live, it’s recently undergone an impressive resurgence… and it’s become (and is still becoming!) a popular place to live.
It’s therefore a good option for finding a central home without spending a huge amount of money. The prices here (for now!) are still alluringly low.
No matter where you’re from, Wettstein is among the best places to live in Basel. It’s one of the most multicultural areas of the city, and it’s home to people from all pockets of the planet… so if you’re looking for other expats who’ll understand your culture, you’ll likely find them here.
It’s a relatively laid-back district, and it’s crammed with riverside eateries, al fresco cafes, and lots of places to chomp and slurp. Traditional-style Warteck Brewery Basel is great for Swiss eats and treats, while Kulturbeiz 113 has a lovely terrace with lovely views.
All in all, Wettstein isn’t the most exciting district, but it’s affordable, diverse, incredibly welcoming and friendly, and very well-connected. And, importantly, it’s only getting better and better.
Best for: A kid-friendly life, finding an affordable home, and living in an upcoming area
Over on the other side of Altstadt Kleinbasel from Wettstein, you’ll find Matthaus… and it’s another of the city’s most emerging areas.
Though it’s a little quieter and more laid-back than some of the neighborhoods we’ve featured so far, you’ll still find some great venues here. A local favorite is modern and funky Restaurant Union, while Boo Klybeck is great for casual Thai food. For sipping on a post-meal drink, speakeasy-style Angels’ Share is a fantastic cocktail bar.
Matthaus is a pretty good neighborhood for families. It’s very close to SIS Swiss International School (one of the best bilingual schools in the city, and part of a well-known educational chain)… and it borders Kannenfeld Park, one of the top family-friendly areas in Basel.
If you’re on a relative budget, this is one of the best neighborhoods in Basel (or at least one of the best neighborhoods in central Basel!). Because it’s an up-and-coming area, prices are still pretty low for now…though they might not stay that way for much longer!
All in all, Matthaus is a reasonable balance between lots of different things. If you want action, education, and a budget-friendly option, this’ll tick all your boxes.
Best for: A quiet life, lots of great green spaces, and good proximity to the airport
The residential neighborhood of Iselin is west of the Old Town and northwest of Gundeldingen.
This isn’t the most exciting place on the planet—so if you want good nightlife and lots of things to do, you’re best off looking elsewhere. But if you’re on the hunt for a quiet family life in an affordable district, you might just love living here.
It’s home to Gartenbad Bachgraben (a big outdoor swimming pool with cafes, kiosks and picnic spots), and it’s very close to Parc des Carrières (another of the city’s many peaceful parks).
If you regularly travel internationally, Iselin is a good choice. It’s close to the city’s well-connected airport, giving you good proximity to many other places.
If you want a nice balance between quiet outskirts and relative centrality, this is one of the best places to live in Basel. But some people might find it a little mundane.
Best for: Living in a safe neighborhood, visiting Basel Zoo, and good balance between suburbia and excitement
Just south of Iselin, and bordering the western part of Gundeldingen, Bachletten is pretty similar to Iselin.
Again, it’s mainly a residential zone with safe and comfortable family homes. That said, it’s a little more action-packed than Iselin, with some nice venues and attractions.
It houses the city’s zoo and the impressive St. Paul’s Church, and it’s close to popular Schützenmatt Park (where you’ll find sculptures, a cafe, and lots of green space for energetic little kids to run around in).
It’s a pretty popular place for expats from around the planet… so if you want a residential neighborhood where you’ll easily make some brand-new buddies, Bachletten is a good choice. It’s one of the most diverse districts in the city, with people of all types, ages and origins.
For a good combo of safety, fun (for both kids and adults!), and finding new friends, Bachletten is one of the best places to live in Basel. And because it’s becoming more popular, it won’t be long until it becomes a much trendier place to live.
9. Basel Am Ring
Best for: Young professionals and young families, having the best of all worlds, and good connections to all other parts of the city
Basel Am Ring (or Am Ring Basel, depending on your preferred pronunciation) is the part of Basel separating the Old Town from its northwestern residential neighbors.
A semicircular district, it borders Iselin and Bachletten on one side, and the more famous parts of the city on the other. It doesn’t have a huge amount inside of its confines—but it’s well-located for exploring all the fun and adventure of the city’s most central districts.
For that reason, it’s one of the best neighborhoods in Basel for anyone seeking a compromise of a life. It’s not quite central but not quite residential; not too loud but not too quiet, and it’s close to lots of excitement without being surrounded by constant bustle.
Best for: Lots of outdoor adventures, a fantastic quality of life, and feeling like you live in a separate town
Last up, it’s Riehen… which is different to any other district we’ve featured on our list.
A sprawling neighborhood on the northern side of the river, Riehen feels like a town of its own (rather than just another part of Basel).
For people who don’t like city life, this is one of the best neighborhoods in Basel. Most days, you won’t even venture close to the heart of the city… and you’ll spend the vast majority of your time in Riehen, which has everything you could ever need.
Here, you’ll find supermarkets, cafes, restaurants, pharmacies, and lots more essentials (and non-essentials!). And even better, it’s very close to the Free Evangelical School (one of the best international schools in the city), and it’s absolutely packed with green spaces.
Whether you have kids or not, Riehen is perfect for outdoor adventures. It’s home to forests, agricultural areas, and some great low-level hikes. Even the neighborhood’s traditional-style houses are quaint and pretty—nabbing a home here makes you feel like you’re living inside a postcard.
But it’s not an option for everyone—although Riehen is on the outskirts of Basel, rents are surprisingly high. It’s firmly a middle-class neighborhood, with the lofty fees to match.
Best neighborhoods to live in Basel: final thoughts
There they are—the 10 best neighborhoods in Basel, and all the best places to live in Basel.
If you’re hunting for a serviced apartment or a serviced flat in the city, we have lots of great places to call home. They’re all affordable, comfortable, cozy, and fully-furnished… and best of all, they’re ready to move into today.
And if you’re not yet sure on which Swiss city you want to live in, here’s our guide to all the best neighborhoods in Zurich.
Thanks for reading, thanks for choosing Homelike, and thanks for being such an intrepid adventurer!