Three Countries Triangle - Merian Gärten

Travel Diary

Basel is a wonderful city with a lot to offer. Check out our Guide to Basel if you plan on going!

We took advantage of the Ryanair Brexit sale and got some £10 flights to Basel. We've wanted to go to Switzerland for a while now but the flights are always £100 each or more. The only catch was that we had to fly out of London Stansted.

We decided to take the the train to Stansted the night before so we didn't have to wake up super early in order to catch our morning flight.

We stayed at the Premier Inn which is kind of close to the Stansted Airport and train station. It was not very pedestrian friendly to walk there though. We thought it was so we decided to forgo finding the shuttle bus to the hotel. We were lucky that we arrived at night when there was no cars on the motorway since we had to cross some busy roads and the motorway a few times.

Premier Inn is good for a basic clean room when there isn't any Travelodges around. It is a little bit more money. but the room is nicer, and you get unlimited basic internet.



We woke up and took the shuttle bus to the airport which was a very short ride.

We got through security and on the flight with no major problems. The flight was delayed but not that long. The flight was only a little over an hour long.
Before we knew it we were in Basel trying to figure out how to buy a bus ticket to get to our hotel. It turned out to be really easy. There were automated machines and they even had an English language option.

The bus ride was only about 20-30 minutes to the stop closest to our hotel.
We started walking towards our hotel. We saw the cool trams that run all over the city. We didn't have any data on our phones so what we did was download the offline map for Basel but also screenshot the direction from the airport to the hotel. The handy thing about downloading the offline maps is that if you get lost you can use the gps to find yourself and it doesn't use any data.
People like to go on trips to "find themselves" which is easier said than done when you're dealing with crazy amounts of glare on your phone. :P

The weather was beautiful. 

The sun was out but it definitely felt a bit colder than back in Birmingham.

We were wondering if we should have brought our coats in stead of our hoodies.
We eventually found the street that our hotel was on and walked past a vegan store. We'd only been walking around in Basel for 10 minutes and already happened upon a vegan place which seemed like good luck. We picked up some snacks from the Vegan store.
Our hotel was in a massive old building.
Our hotel room ended up being a lot nicer than we expected. It was one of the cheapest places that we were able to find in Basel.

We were pretty much on the top floor. There was a floor above us but it must have been the attic or something.

We dropped our stuff off and then explored the area. First we went to the coop supermarket and picked up some food for a picnic.


This old building was right near our hotel.
There is a few buildings like this from back in the day when there was a wall around the city.


We walked around not really having a clue where we were going.

We were looking for a good spot to have a picnic.

We found a park that looked like a good spot to picnic.
We were going to eat our food close to the hotel but we couldn't find a nice park near there.
This looks like a much nicer place for a picnic.

We found a bench and started making our sandwiches. We thought that maybe the locals would think we were strange sitting on a bench making sandwiches but then we saw a lady washing some grapes in one of the fountains close by which was probably a bit more strange.
We made it to the river and we were impressed by the view. We had to get some selfies to prove that we were really there.

We were on the shady side and wanted to get over to the sunny side since it was kinda chilly outside.


The bridge was pretty full of tourist looking people.

People seemed to just chill on the other side of the river with the big steps and lots of sun. It was a great spot.

It was definitely sunny on this side.

The sun was setting and we were feeling a bit wiped out from all the travel and walking so we started heading back to the hotel.


The coop supermarket has a vegan line of food and there were ads all over the city.
We made it back to our hotel and hung out. We ate food that we got from the supermarket since going out to eat is expensive in Basel and we wanted to ration our meals out so we didn't have to worry about spending too much.

The next day we ventured out toward the paper museum. We got off the tram at St. Alban and walked through the park to find the museum.

We got to cross this lovely creek.

Photo opp!
Our walk lead us pass the Old city wall.
There are remnants of the wall that used to surround the city scattered around Basel.

This is the largest portion of the city wall that we found.

We made it down to the water. Sometimes we take pictures of road signs so we can remember where we've been.

We tried out our selfie stick to capture us and the Rhine.

We came down this way to check out the paper museum.

There buildings were very Swiss looking and there was a water mill.


We were going to go in the museum but it was 15 CHF each so we decided to see if there were any other museums around.

There was chestnut trees all over Basel and street vendors selling roasted chestnuts as well.

We considered going into the modern art museum but we decided to go to the cartoon museum instead.

We found the Cartoon Museum no problem thanks to our map the hotel gave us. We headed on in and they had an exhibit on the alternative comics artists Robert Crumb and Aline Kominsky-Crumb.

They were both very important to the alternative comics scene.

They made some comics together where they would each draw themselves and write their own lines so it was as if they were having a real conversation with the comics.
There was lots of their work on display.


We took a stroll over to the huge art museum the kunstmuseum to catch the tram.



There's a peek into the Kunstmuseum.
We took the tram across the bridge to the other side of town to check it out and find a vegetarian place we heard about.
The trams are fun and easy to ride.

We walked around for a long time looking for the restaurant Acero because  we either didn't label it well on our map.
We went all the place looking for this restaurant. We went up and down the street it was supposed to be on and inside some of the shopping centres.

Finally we tried going one street down from where it was on our map and we found it right away. We're not sure how we labelled our map wrong. Always take care in labeling your map or use google maps.
Acero is a vegetarian place but they have a bunch of vegan options.
The vegan quiche was very good but the salad was straight up lettuce. The lettuce salad cost a shocking 5.50 CHF which is 4.55 GBP or 7.41 CAD!  Buyer beware.

When she took our order the waitress asked if we wanted a side salad and we agreed not knowing that the salad was going to cost almost as much as the quiche and consist of just lettuce and dressing. I can't stress this enough, it was JUST LETTUCE and dressing. There was no other vegetables in the salad. What you see in that photo is what we got. The quiche was 6.50 CHF so we wish just got a couple of those each instead of that salad. Yikes. Their food was very tasty though so no complaints there.
The cake was great as well.
We took the tram back to the other side of the bridge to the Marktplatz
 We saw the town hall. We didn't have a clue about what the big red building was. All the tourists were going over to it and it towers over the square. It's definitely worth taking a few pictures of the town hall.


The inside was crowded with tourists taking pictures just like us.

We walked along the shopping area towards the Barfüsserplatz. There was a lot of trams in this part of town.



I remember we looked around and said yeah this is pretty much what we expected Switzerland to look like. Everything looks like Switzerland. It was cool.

It sounds strange thinking that it looked as we expected but that's not a bad thing. When you go to a destination you want it to look like your imagined ideal.


There were lots of steep hills and small streets with unique looking shops.

We walked around a lot checking out the town and sight seeing before heading back to the hotel.
We took advantage of our tram pass the next morning to head out to what was supposed to be a castle. It was kind of a castle but it was also a restaurant that was currently in business. Considering that the lower scale restaurants in Basel were expensive we didn't even want to know how much eating in a castle would cost.
We took some selfies and crossed the red carpet.



Exploring the castle did not take as long as we thought it would so we headed back to city centre.
We found some cool murals just off one of the roads in city centre.


There was a classic rock mural outside of a rock club.

It was still raining a bit, so we didn't have to compete with other tourists. There wasn't many people around anywhere. It was perfect for taking pictures.



We continued exploring, walking up and down little side streets. We checked out a few stores along our way, but didn't seem anything we liked.

The rain was slowing down and the people were starting to emerge.

We were getting hungry and remembered seeing a Japanese restaurant near by, So we headed there to see what we could have for some lunch.
Namamen is a Japanese ramen restaurant that has a few vegan options which are clearly labelled on the menu. We got the Vegetarian Ramen Noodles, but this dish isn't labelled as being vegan, as one of the sauces they can make it with isn't vegan. You have to tell them you are vegan so they can tell you which sauce not to order.
The soup was really delicious and we were very full afterwards.

We decided to catch the #6 tram all the way to the end to see where we would end up. Turns out it terminates at the German border. We got off the tram and started walking in the direction of the city centre.
We found some nice trails, and the sun was starting to shine. It was lovely weather for a walk.

We even found a corn field! We took a walk through the corn field and just enjoyed.

We could even see the mountains in the background.
It was a lovely walk.

We walked past a famous art museum called Fondation Beyeler without knowing what it was. This is the wall behind it.

We continued on toward city centre until we got tired.

We hopped back on the tram back to city centre just before it started to get dark. We went to Coop again and bought some treats for when we got hungry later that evening.

The next morning we set off towards the Three Countries Triangle. 


The tram makes it easy to get to all the different parts of town.


We weren't 100% sure that we were headed to the right spot or even that it was a tourist attraction. We knew that the 3 countries met at this point in the water but the area looked very industrial. Once we saw the signs we knew we were on the right track.
There was a walking path along the river towards the Three Countries Triangle.

We found some other tourists and followed them to our destination.
There was just enough tourists there to get someone to take our picture. We took their picture as well.
It was cool seeing Switzerland, France and Germany all at once.



We got back on the Tram and rode it toward St. Jakob Park which is the home of Basel FC.


St Jakob Park
Close to St. Jakob was the Merian Gärten which is a massive park.
We took a walk around the park and it was incredible.

We got a little map for children that shows you the different routes around the park and we followed the violet route since it looked the best.

This shows how awesome Basel is since you can do all of the city sight seeing but also easily get to this big park and enjoy a nice walk.



The park was well maintained.


We followed the violet posts that were marking our route.


We were starting to wonder if we were the only people in this park. We came upon some big green houses but no people.
The trail took us along the edge of the park on the side of a hill.

There was tons of chestnuts all over.

It was very peaceful in the Merian Gärten.



We made it to the middle of the park and found the other people.
We honestly didn't realise that this park was going to be so nice.

We weren't sure where to go in Basel and decided that we wanted to go for a hike so we picked this park since it was a big green space on our tourist map.

Heading to green spaces on maps seems to work out well for us a lot of the time.
Most of the people were near the little lake which had a restaurant next to it. It didn't look like there was much in the way of vegan options there. We just went inside to use the free toilets.




We watched the ducks for a bit. We crossed a floating bridge across the lake which it appears we didn't take any pictures of. Sometimes we take video for vlogs so we forget to get some pictures as well.





There was a dinosaur on the other side of the bridge. I think it's a brontosaurus.

After finishing up with the park we took the bus to this pizza place called Pizza Time which all the locals were talking about on the Basel Vegan group. It was in a part of town we hadn't been to yet. Unfortunately, when we got there we tried to order the vegan pizza and it was sold out. They said we'd have to come tomorrow if we wanted the pizza. We kept that in mind but it was not the closest restaurant to get to from our hotel.

We decided to go back to the city centre to check out the famous veggie restaurant Tibits. It was even listed in the Basel must see tourist guides we got from the hotel. It is a mainstream restaurant which is always good to see. They have a location in London but we've never been there before.
It turned out to be very good food. Everything was clearly labelled which was good since not everything there was vegan so the labelling helped us find the vegan stuff easily.

It was one of those restaurants with a buffet where you load up your plate and then pay by weight. These types of restaurants aren't our favourites since you can get hit with a surprisingly large bill but it was reasonably priced place especially when you consider how much all the other restaurants are in Basel.


After we left we saw across the street there was a burger restaurant with a vegan burger called the RONIN! Ronin being the lord less or master less samurai. It is sometimes used nowadays to describe a drifter or wanderer.
We headed back to the hotel and took some pictures of our money while we still have some. The CHF money is pretty cool looking. It was almost on par with the USD so whenever we were spending it we'd be thinking about the cost that way.

The next day we woke up and got ready. We took it pretty easy on this trip waking up whenever we felt like it. We didn't feel pressured to get up super early to be able to see everything. We took advantage of the free coffee/tea everyday in our hotel since it was there.

We went to the the Markthalle to check out Vegiman which we had heard great things about. We were sure to double check that he was there that day since it sounds like a couple people on facebook were complaining they went to get food from the stall to find he wasn't there that day. Always double check.

It was delicious. Vegiman has some great homemade sauces which MAKE the burger.

The Markthalle has a bunch of different stalls in there but we were definitely there for vegiman.
There was a choice of the escalator or the slide down to the lower level. Not a bad idea. It was fun seeing a lady in her 50s going down the slide as well. She just casually walked up to it and went down like she does it every day.

We took the tram to different parts of town.
We hadn't seen this part of the city wall yet, St Johanns Tor.


There are river cruises you can go on that look pretty cool. This is one of the cruise boats.
We headed to the shopping centre to find some souvenirs but it turned out to not really be that interesting. We headed back to city centre.
It's hard to take good night pictures with our camera.
We headed back to Tibits because it was so go the night before. We kinda wished that we went their everyday since it was so good. The bill would have added up pretty quick though. We tried to just eat out for one meal each day. We broke that rule since it was our last day.

We woke up on our last day and got everything ready and went to the Vegan store next to our hotel since we wanted to check out their belts. It wasn't open until 12:00 so we went to the botanical garden close by.
The garden was really cool so it worked out that we got to see it by trying to kill some time.

It was part of the university there.

The giant lily pads were awesome.

It felt like we stepped into the tropics in this greenhouse.
And then all of a sudden we were in the desert.



We went to the vegan shop and none of the belts fit. We made a beeline for the bus to the airport and caught one just as we got to the bus stop. In fact the bus was about to pull away but we pushed the button for the door to open and the driver let us on. That would be unheard of back in Birmingham. That saved us waiting for the next bus even though it probably would have only been a 10 minute wait or something. 

Basel is an incredible city with lots to offer in terms of sights and video of the city gives you more of a feel of what travelling around the city is like. We hope you enjoy the video we made to help show you why you should visit Basel on your next holiday.


We had no problems at the airport except for being stuck with CHF change. We tried to spend it in a shop there but found nothing. We walked to the otherside of the airport to find another store but all the stores on the otherside were priced in Euros since the airport was split between Switzerland, Germany and France. We just decided to trade the coins in since we found out the exchange places accepted coins. If you try to exchange foreign coins back in the UK they won't accept them. 

Anyway, it was a successful trip and we had a great time seeing the city at a relaxed pace. We would definitely recommend Basel to people visiting Switzerland. We would like to see more of Switzerland in the future as well. From what we've read and now experienced, Basel is a great place to start.


If you enjoyed reading this post, you may enjoy our trip to Gothenburg, Sweden when we explore Bohus Fortress. Thank you for reading!

Comments

  1. Wow that was a very detailed post :) I've taken note of some interesting attractions here that I will definitely visit once I've been in Basel, such as the cartoon museum, Acero and Weiherschloss :) Thank you for sharing!

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    1. We like the detailed posts for our memories. :) Basel was great for unique attractions.

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  2. Thank you for sharing your travel diary with us; really liked the layout of this post and the photos you posted. With them you inspired us and we'd love to try your same experience especially visiting the art museum called Fondation Beyeler, sounds interesting. We love museums :)

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    1. Museums are great to visit. Glad you enjoyed our post.

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  3. Wow, £10 flights to Basel.. I still don't get it how Airlines can make this happen.
    But good that you made such a deal, since everything else in Switzerland is kind of super expensive.
    Basel looks so beautiful, unfortunately I still didn't manage to get there, even though I live in Switzerland now already 7 months.

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    1. No idea! But I don't mind paying £10! Hope you get to Basel

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  4. WE wanted to go to Basel last year to visit a friend, unfortunately we couldn't but after seeing your pics I find that is a place we would have fun at. I love the street art specially!

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    1. Ah, that is too bad. Yes, we love finding street art.

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  5. Glad there were some good things to come out of BRITEX haha. Good old Ryanair! Basel looks great, and for only £10 you can't go wrong! I can't believe how much you were charged for lettuce! Great shots of the street art!

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    1. Yeah lettuce was just about as much as our flight!

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  6. £10??? what a fantastic deal! From your photos this place looks really wonderful and would be a nice place to visit. Will have to check this out sometime.

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    1. Yeah the flights were an incredible deal.

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  7. A great deal for traveling and a whole lot of pictures and stories to share. I am sure you will remember this for a long time to come.

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    1. We will. Basel is a great place to explore.

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  8. This sounds and looks like such a great trip! 10 pounds for a flight is a steal, I wish I lived in Europe to take advantage of such deals :)

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    1. Sadly we are leaving Europe, but the cheap flights were fun while they lasted.

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