A Travel Price Comparison for Switzerland Bern vs. Basel for Attractions, Old Town, Families, and Couples

Should you visit Bern or Basel?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Should I visit Bern or Basel? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Bern

Bern is a historic, charming, and beautiful city. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. And you can't forget about the nightlife, food, and shopping.

Basel

Basel is a beautiful, vibrant, and historic city. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. It's also known for nightlife, food, and shopping.

Bern and Basel: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Impressive beauty


Is there more to do in Bern or Basel?

Both Basel and Bern have plenty of things to do for visitors. Both offer a variety of sights, activities, and attractions for tourists. Bern is famous for its well-preserved old town and its reputation as the home of the Lindt chocolate factory. Basel is famous for its many museums and its nice old town.

How is Bern different from Basel?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Basel and Bern. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Bern or Basel?

Bern
Basel

Both Bern and Basel have very good landmarks and museums for visitors.

Bern offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. The city is filled with architecture and charming character. While you're in town make sure you visit the Einstein Museum, the Clock Tower, and the Bern Cathedral.

Many visitors head to Basel specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. The city is filled with history. Head to Minster Hill to see the beautiful historic church and M├╝nsterplatz. There are also several unique museums around town including Jean Tinguely Museum, the Paper Mill Museum, the Historical Museum, and the Museum of Art.


Is the Food Better in Bern or Basel? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Bern
Basel

There are opportunities to sample the local cuisine at nice restaurants in both Bern and Basel.

Bern offers number of good local restaurants to choose from. The city has cozy cafes, high end fine dining, traditional eateries, and modern venues.

Basel has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. Food around town can be expensive, but there are some outdoor markets where you can buy fruit and a bratwurst for a reasonable price. The city is known for its breads, soups, and pastries, which are all delicious.

Is Bern or Basel Better for Nightlife?

Bern
Basel

Both Bern and Basel are nice when it comes to partying.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Bern. There are bars, Irish pubs, and clubs around town.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Basel. The city's nightlife comes alive as the sun sets. There are bars, pubs, and dance clubs that stay active until the early morning hours.

Is Bern or Basel Better for its Old Town?

Bern
Basel

It's fun to wander around the very good old towns in both Bern and Basel.

Many visitors explore the old town while visiting Bern. The charming old town is filled with quaint alleys and sandstone buildings. It's a compact area that flows down a hill to the River Aare.

There is a nice variety of sights in the old town of Basel. The charming old town is fun to explore on foot with its quaint streets and meandering alleys. The beautiful architecture and ornate fountains give the area a unique personality. On the hottest days you may even see locals swimming in some of the fountains.


Is the Shopping Better in Bern or Basel?

Bern
Basel

Both Bern and Basel are very good shopping destinations.

Bern is an extremely popular place for shoppers. The old town is filled with boutique shops and unique markets. The main shopping streets are Spitalgasse and Marktgasse and popular items to buy include jewelry, art, and watches.

Basel is well-known for its shopping. The old town is filled with shops that you can wander through as you explore. Popular shopping streets include Freie Strasse and the area around Marktplatz, where you'll find boutique shops and interesting trinkets. You can also head to the city's oldest department store - Manor.

Is Bern or Basel Better for Families?

Bern
Basel

Kids will enjoy a visit to either Bern or Basel.

Bern is a very family-friendly place to visit. This charming town has riverside parks and pools, a zoo, a waterpark, and kid-friendly museums that the whole family can enjoy. You can also visit nearby Gurten, a mountain with tobogganing, concerts, and a mini ski resort.

Because of its large number of kid-friendly activities, Basel is very family-friendly. The city has an impressive zoo, a really unique toy museum, as well as Aquabasilea with its pools and slides. It's also compact enough that little legs can explore and enjoy everything that it has to offer. If the weather's warm, head for the river to cool off.

Is Bern or Basel Better for Couples?

Bern
Basel

Bern is notable for its romantic activities. Also, Basel is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for couples.

Bern is a very popular place to visit for couples. With charming restaurants, a beautiful rose garden, and nice hotels and spas, this town makes a beautiful romantic getaway.

Basel is a good city for couples to visit. Nice restaurants, interesting museums, and several great spas make this a nice place for a romantic trip.


Is Bern or Basel Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Bern
Basel

Bern is notable for backpackers. Also, Basel is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for backpackers and budget travelers.

Bern is a great city to visit for backpackers. Like most of Switzerland, prices are a bit high, but there are some hostels and free activities that backpackers and budget travelers can enjoy.

Basel is a good city to visit for backpackers. There are a few hostels and a really useful City Pass that make this city an option for backpackers and budget travelers. It's also a major transit center so accessibility is convenient. If you're traveling around Europe by train, you'll likely pass through Basel at some point.

Is Bern or Basel Better for Students?

Bern
Basel

Basel is a well-known place for students. However, Bern is not popular with students.

Basel is a very popular city for students and younger travelers. The University of Basel brings in international students from around the world. The city makes a nice base for exploring Europe, but it's also a bit expensive which can be challenging on a student income.

Bern is not popular with students.

Is Bern or Basel Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Bern
Basel

Both Bern and Basel offer very good public transit options.

Visitors to Bern can move around easily with public transportation. There are trams and buses that run around town.

The public transit in Basel can get you around easily. Trams and buses make it easy to get around town.


Is Bern or Basel a more walkable city?

Bern
Basel

Basel is renowned for its walkability. Also, Bern is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its high level of walkability.

It is easy to get around Basel on foot. The old town and most of the major attractions are easily accessible on foot.

Bern is a very walkable city. It's fun to explore the old town on foot. It is compact enough to that you can see all of the highlights in a few hours.

For even more information, also check out Is Bern Worth Visiting? and Is Basel Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Basel or Bern?

How long in Bern or Basel?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Bern and Basel. You can spend similar amounts of time exploring each one. However, 1-3 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

Families should spend more time in Basel than Bern. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Basel, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Bern than Basel. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Bern that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Bern than Basel if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Bern.


  • How many days in Bern or Basel? Ideal Length of Stay
    Bern 1-3 
    Basel 1-3

One day in Bern or Basel?

In Bern, many people enjoy the shopping and museums that this cultural destination offers. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Because of this, one day is usually enough time for a trip here.

Visitors enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the destination of Basel. Visiting the old town is also a must. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One day is usually enough time to experience most activities.

A weekend in Bern or Basel?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Bern. For many, it makes a great getaway for a weekend. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. This would be the perfect place to spend a weekend, as it has just the right amount of activities. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.

Basel is a fun place to experience. If you have a weekend, this is a great place to go. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. A weekend is often enough time to do most activities. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.


Five days in Bern or Basel?

Bern is a fun place to experience. Travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the destination of Bern. Visiting the old town is also a must. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything.

You'll find museums and nightlife around the cultural destination of Basel. This city offers something for everyone. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

A week in Bern or Basel?

You'll find food and shopping around the beautiful destination of Bern. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

The cultural city of Basel offers nightlife and food. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Family-Friendly Tours to Switzerland, The Best Hiking & Trekking Tours in Switzerland, The Best 10-Day Tours in Switzerland, and The Best One Week (7-Day) Tours in Switzerland.


Which place is cheaper, Basel or Bern?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Bern is $249, while the average daily cost in Basel is $236. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Bern and Basel in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Bern $161
    Basel $143
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Bern $322
    Basel $286
Compare Hotels in Bern and Basel

Looking for a hotel in Bern or Basel? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Bern


Hotels in Basel


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Bern Hotel Prices and Basel Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Bern $33
    Basel $45

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Bern

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Bern:

  • Private Car Departure Transfer from Bern to Bern Airport BRN: $72
  • Private Direct Transfer From Bern to Basel: $190
  • Private Transfer From Bern To Basel With a 2 Hour Stop in Olten: $212
  • Private Transfer From Bern to Zurich, English Speaking Driver: $226
  • Private Transfer from Bern to Zurich with 2h of Sightseeing: $299

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Basel

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Basel:

  • Round Trip Private Transfer From Basel EuroAirport to Feldberg: $87
  • ONE WAY: Basel Train Station (ZDH) to / from Basel transfer: $88
  • Arrival Private Transfer: EuroAirport (BSL MLH EAP) to Basel in Luxury Van: $118
  • Basel Airport Transfer: EuroAirport (BSL MLH EAP) to Basel in Luxury Van: $118
  • Basel Airport Transfer: EuroAirport (BSL MLH EAP) to Basel in Luxury Car: $156
  • Basel Airport Transfer: Basel to EuroAirport (BSL MLH EAP) in Luxury Car: $156
  • Private direct transfer from Basel to Lucerne with a local driver: $176
  • Private One-way Transfer From Basel to Zurich, English Speaking Driver: $184
  • Private Direct Transfer from Basel to Zurich: $204
  • Private transfer from Basel to Strasbourg with a local driver: $231
  • Private Transfer from Basel to Zurich with 3h Sightseeing Stops: $249
  • Private Transfer: Basel Airport BSL to Zurich in Luxury Van: $259

Is it cheaper to fly into Bern or Basel?

Prices for flights to both Basel and Bern change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Bern $60
    Basel $61

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Bern

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Bern.

  • Bern Food Market: Brunch & Local Food Tour: $63
  • Cooking delicious Spanish paella in Switzerland.: $63

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Bern $34
    Basel $37

Tours and Activities in Bern

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Bern are as follows:

  • First Discovery Walk and Reading Walking Tour: $3.20
  • Bern Scavenger Hunt and Best Landmarks Self-Guided Tour: $4.34
  • Bern Highlights Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt and Walking Tour: $6.93
  • City Exploration Game and Tour on your Phone: $7.41
  • Escape Game and Tour: $8.52
  • Beautiful Bern's Old Town: Self Guided Audio Tour: $9.99
  • Self-Guided Tour of Bern's Fountains, Clocktowers, and Legends: $9.99
  • Self-Guided Audio Tour: $11
  • City Sightseeing Self-Guided Walking Tour Game: $15
  • Fribourg Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Tour: $16
  • Bern Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Tour: $16
  • Thun Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Tour: $16

Tours and Activities in Basel

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Basel are as follows:

  • First Discovery Walk and Reading Walking Tour: $3.20
  • Basel Highlights Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt and Tour: $5.33
  • Basel's Portrait: Self-Guided Reading City Tour: $5.49
  • Basel's Portrait Self Guided Audio City Tour: $5.61
  • City Exploration Game and Tour: $6.39
  • Hidden Treasures Self-Guided Audio Walking Tour: $8.99
  • The Best of Basel’s Hidden Treasures: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $8.99
  • Self-Guided Audio Tour: $11
  • Basel's Portrait: Self-Guided Audio City Tour: $11
  • Basel (Kleinbasel) Scavenger Hunt and Self-Guided Tour: $15
  • Old Town Scavenger Hunt and Self-Guided Tour: $15
  • Basel Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Tour: $16

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Bern $27
    Basel $33

Sample the Local Flavors in Basel

Also in Basel, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Pub Crawl Meet People and Hidden Bars and Clubs: $33
  • Pinot Noir & Pinot Wine Tour to Baden-Württemberg: $281
  • Fantastic, full day, private wine tour to Alsace!: $286
  • Half Day Private Cheese & Wine Tasting in Vineyard in Basel: $290


When comparing the travel costs between Bern and Basel, we can see that Bern is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in Europe, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Bern Expensive? and Is Basel Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Bern or Basel?

Basel has a larger population, and is about 35% larger than the population of Bern. When comparing the sizes of Bern and Basel, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Bern or Basel?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Bern or Basel in the Summer?

Both Basel and Bern are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities. Many travelers come to Bern for the family-friendly experiences. Also, many visitors come to Basel in the summer for the family-friendly experiences.

In the summer, Bern is around the same temperature as Basel. Typically, the summer temperatures in Bern in July average around 21°C (70°F), and Basel averages at about 21°C (70°F).

It's quite sunny in Basel. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Bern. Bern usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Basel during summer. Bern gets 250 hours of sunny skies, while Basel receives 241 hours of full sun in the summer.

In July, Bern usually receives less rain than Basel. Bern gets 63 mm (2.5 in) of rain, while Basel receives 89 mm (3.5 in) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Bern 21°C (70°F) 
    Basel 21°C (70°F)

Should I visit Bern or Basel in the Autumn?

Both Basel and Bern during the autumn are popular places to visit. Many visitors come to Bern in the autumn for the shopping scene and the natural beauty of the area. Furthermore, most visitors come to Basel for the shopping scene and the natural beauty of the area during these months.

In October, Bern is generally around the same temperature as Basel. Daily temperatures in Bern average around 13°C (55°F), and Basel fluctuates around 13°C (56°F).

In the autumn, Bern often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Basel. Bern gets 126 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Basel receives 120 hours of full sun.

Bern usually gets less rain in October than Basel. Bern gets 49 mm (1.9 in) of rain, while Basel receives 70 mm (2.8 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Bern 13°C (55°F) 
    Basel 13°C (56°F)

Should I visit Bern or Basel in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Bern and Basel. Most visitors come to Bern for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months. Furthermore, the winter months attract visitors to Basel because of the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

The weather in Basel can be very cold. Bern can be very cold during winter. Bern is cooler than Basel in the winter. The daily temperature in Bern averages around 3°C (37°F) in January, and Basel fluctuates around 3°C (37°F).

Bern usually receives more sunshine than Basel during winter. Bern gets 65 hours of sunny skies, while Basel receives 55 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Bern usually receives less rain than Basel. Bern gets 54 mm (2.1 in) of rain, while Basel receives 77 mm (3 in) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Bern 3°C (37°F) 
    Basel 3°C (37°F)

Should I visit Bern or Basel in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Bern as well as Basel. The spring months attract visitors to Bern because of the natural beauty. Additionally, the natural beauty are the main draw to Basel this time of year.

In the spring, Bern is around the same temperature as Basel. Typically, the spring temperatures in Bern in April average around 11°C (52°F), and Basel averages at about 12°C (53°F).

In the spring, Bern often gets more sunshine than Basel. Bern gets 164 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Basel receives 150 hours of full sun.

Bern usually gets less rain in April than Basel. Bern gets 59 mm (2.3 in) of rain, while Basel receives 79 mm (3.1 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Bern 11°C (52°F) 
    Basel 12°C (53°F)

Typical Weather for Basel and Bern

Bern Basel
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 3°C (37°F) 54 mm (2.1 in) 3°C (37°F) 77 mm (3 in)
Feb 4°C (40°F) 51 mm (2 in) 5°C (40°F) 70 mm (2.8 in)
Mar 8°C (46°F) 50 mm (2 in) 8°C (46°F) 72 mm (2.8 in)
Apr 11°C (52°F) 59 mm (2.3 in) 12°C (53°F) 79 mm (3.1 in)
May 15°C (60°F) 76 mm (3 in) 16°C (60°F) 101 mm (4 in)
Jun 19°C (65°F) 74 mm (2.9 in) 19°C (66°F) 100 mm (3.9 in)
Jul 21°C (70°F) 63 mm (2.5 in) 21°C (70°F) 89 mm (3.5 in)
Aug 20°C (69°F) 80 mm (3.1 in) 21°C (69°F) 104 mm (4.1 in)
Sep 18°C (64°F) 55 mm (2.2 in) 18°C (64°F) 79 mm (3.1 in)
Oct 13°C (55°F) 49 mm (1.9 in) 13°C (56°F) 70 mm (2.8 in)
Nov 7°C (45°F) 58 mm (2.3 in) 7°C (45°F) 82 mm (3.2 in)
Dec 4°C (38°F) 55 mm (2.2 in) 4°C (39°F) 83 mm (3.3 in)