One of the largest cities in Switzerland, containing the second largest urban area in the country, Basel sits in the northwest corner of the country along the Rhine River, functioning as one of the major industrial cities of the nation, especially in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. The history of the city dates back to the times when the ancient Celts established settlements throughout the area, but it was the Romans who first left their mark in terms of architecture, which can be seen in such epic glory as displayed at the Augusta Raurica. The city is also a haven for the younger generation due to the number of universities in the city, and the annual carnival is rated as one of the best in the world, but despite all this Basel remains one of Switzerland's most underrated tourist destinations, at least with foreigners, a fact that will slowly change as more and more people become aware of everything the city has to offer.
From the Basel Münster (where Jacob Bernoulli and Desiderius Erasumus rest in eternal slumber) to Mittlerle Brücke across the Rhine, Basel has history and charming ways. It remains a place of culture in Switzerland, and yet it is very close to to Alps, which the poet Lord Byron described as the "Palaces of Nature". This charming city offers both culture and accessibility to some of the most intriguing parts of Europe. Basel is a city that makes a bridge with France and Germany, while remaining independent.
A gateway to the Jura Mountains, the Black Forest of Germany, and the French region of Alsace, Basel sits in one of the most beautiful sections of Europe, a beauty which is only matched by the magnificence of the architectural wonders throughout the city. From the old city center with such attractions as the Munster, the Elisabethen, the market square known as Marktplatz, the renovated palace of Rathaus in all its Renaissance glory, and the Gates of the Walled City, to the various museums showcasing the history of the city over the years, there is so much to experience in Basel that it is entirely conceivable to lose several months exploring everything here. Festivals occur throughout the year, not the least of which is the carnival beginning on Ash Wednesday and running for three full days. All in all, Basel is a magnificent example of the perfect Swiss city, and definitely worth visiting any time of the year.