Just today, we unveiled the stunning Rhineland and Bavarian itineraries set for two of the new river yachts that will join the Crystal River Cruises fleet in 2018: Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel. Words that immediately come to mind when imagining the riverside ports the luxury river yachts will call in next year include “charming,” “medieval,” “lovely,” and “fascinating.” And we’re fairly certain you’ll think of several other superlatives for these ancient villages once you’re wandering their cobbled alleyways.
As the embarkation and debarkation port for several Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel voyages along the Rhine, Basel is one that stands out as among the most culturally intriguing, as well as one of the most beautiful. On Crystal Debussy’s April 23, 2018 voyage, and several others, she’ll conclude her journey with an overnight in this bustling trade hub, allowing you ample time to appreciate the marvelous marks of historic and modern commerce and culture that will surround you.
Here are a few things you can expect to marvel at during your stay:
Three countries in one. Basel is located at the juncture of the Swiss, French and German borders and is the third largest city in Switzerland. While the official language of the city is Swiss German, you’ll also enjoy profound influences from its neighboring countries, from French fashion and pastries, to German ballet and music, and the decidedly Swiss aristocracy and customary elegance.
A pastry challenge. Derived from the German word for delicious, “lecker,” Basler Läckerli is a traditional hard spice biscuit made from honey, hazelnuts, almonds, candied peel and Kirsch, all topped with a sugar glaze. The classic treat originated in Basel, although there are arguments made that leckerli made in nearby Bern is superior. We urge you to try as much as possible and decide for yourself.
One architectural wonder after another. The Münster, the profoundly imposing cathedral that dominates the city’s skyline, is impossible to miss and nearly as impossible to tear your gaze from. The Rathaus (or town hall) in Basel is among the most striking in all of Switzerland, with blood-red walls, gilded details, intricately tiled roofs and a massive tower crowning the lot. The Tinguely Museum contrasts the former two sites with its famous quirkiness that pays homage to Swiss artist Jean Tinguely, the museum itself housing the master’s sculptures in the manner of a mad scientist.
A warm glow. Basel is the warmest city in Switzerland, even occasionally sporting a sunlight sky at Christmastime. Don’t be fooled into ditching your layers, though, the snow-lined river is a reminder in winter months that you are still in Switzerland. But those few additional degrees mean you may just get away with one hot cocoa instead of two.
You’ll feel right at home, no matter where “home” is. Roughly half of the population of Basel Stadt (city proper) and Basel Land (surrounding areas) comprises foreign nationals. Not surprising, as Basel remains the seat of such international powerhouses as UBS AG, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) and several of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies.
Crystal Debussy’s “Splendors of the Rhine” and “Legendary Rhine” voyages both call in Basel. Sailings are open for booking now.