A Travel Price Comparison for Switzerland Geneva vs. Basel for Attractions, Food, Old Town, and Families

Should you visit Geneva or Basel?

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

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Geneva and Basel. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Geneva

Geneva is a diverse, international, and professional city. Travelers will also find plenty of sights and attractions here, as it's a big city that attracts lots of visitors. It's a beautiful place to visit, too. 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 shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Geneva and Basel: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Big city activities
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty


Is there more to do in Geneva or Basel?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Geneva. Although Geneva and Basel are about the same size, Geneva has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Geneva is very popular for its food, shopping, and big city activities, while Basel attracts visitors for its historical sights and impressive beauty. Geneva is famous for its role as a global hub for the United Nations, the Red Cross, and the World Health Organization. It is also well known for The Geneva Water Fountain (The Jet d'Eau). Basel is famous for its many museums and its nice old town.

How is Geneva different from Basel?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

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

Geneva
Basel

Both Geneva and Basel have great landmarks and museums for visitors.

Visitors can fill many days exploring the museums and attractions around Geneva. Famous sights and landmarks include the spectacular Water Jet, St Pierre Cathedral, and the Palais des Nations. There are also impressive art and history museums in the city.

Basel offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. 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 Geneva or Basel? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Geneva
Basel

Geneva is notable for its local cuisine and restaurants. Also, Basel is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its restaurants.

Eating is part of the travel experience when you visit Geneva. The city has an amazing mix of traditional Swiss restaurants as well as diverse ethnic options. Traditional dishes include fondue and raclette, both of which involve the decadent Swiss cheese.

Basel is becoming an appealing option for foodies. 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 Geneva or Basel Better for Nightlife?

Geneva
Basel

It's hard to distinguish whether Geneva or Basel has a better nightlife scene.

Geneva has an active nightlife scene for those who seek it out. During the day the city is all business, but at night the professionals, interns, students, and NGO workers all come together to enjoy a drink at a bar or dance at one of the city's diverse clubs.

If you're looking for night time activities Basel has a few options to choose from. 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 Geneva or Basel Better for its Old Town?

Geneva
Basel

Basel is a great destination for its historic old town. Also, Geneva is still popular, but not quite as popular for its old town.

There are many historical things to see 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.

Plenty of visitors enjoy exploring the old town in Geneva. The Old Town offers a number of charming streets where you can wander as well as historical buildings including St. Pierre Cathedral.


Is the Shopping Better in Geneva or Basel?

Geneva
Basel

Geneva is a world-class destination for its shopping opportunities. Also, Basel is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its shopping areas.

The abundance of shops in Geneva make it a world-class shopping destination. Famous for its posh shops and luxury brands, this city is a popular shopping destination. From chic boutiques to deluxe toy stores, you'll find something for everyone. In particular, the city is known for its Swiss watches, Swiss Army knives, chocolate, and wine.

Many visitors explore the shopping areas in Basel. 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 Geneva or Basel Better for Families?

Geneva
Basel

Basel is a great destination for its family-friendly activities. Also, Geneva is still popular, but not quite as popular for its kid-friendly activities.

Basel is a very family-friendly place to visit. 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.

Geneva offers lots of family activities. This diverse city has a number of chocolate shops, toy stores, and parks where kids can play. They'll be impressed by the Water Jet and there are few places where you can swim in the lake when the weather is warm.

Is Geneva or Basel Better for Couples?

Geneva
Basel

Geneva and Basel both nice destinations for a couple.

Geneva is a nice destination for couples. Wandering Old Town, sampling Swiss chocolate, and enjoying one of the many ethnic restaurants around town all make for great date activities. Fondue in a traditional restaurant is also a not to be missed experience.

Basel makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. Nice restaurants, interesting museums, and several great spas make this a nice place for a romantic trip.


Is Geneva or Basel Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Geneva
Basel

Basel is a good destination for backpackers. However, Geneva is a city with minimal options for backpackers and budget travelers.

Plenty of backpackers visit Basel. 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.

Geneva is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. The city is often overlooked by backpackers as it is pretty expensive. Many hotels cater to the business traveler crowd, but there are a few hostels to choose from.

Is Geneva or Basel Better for Students?

Geneva
Basel

Geneva and Basel are great places to visit for students.

Many students visit Geneva. The University of Geneva attracts many international students and the city is quite diverse. It feels like a mixing bowl of cultures, so students will feel very welcomed and comfortable here.

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.

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

Geneva
Basel

Geneva is a world-class destination for its public transit. Also, Basel is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for times when you don't have a car.

With a huge network, the transit system in Geneva can get you around easily. The very comprehensive system includes trams, buses, and boats.

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


Is Geneva or Basel a more walkable city?

Geneva
Basel

Basel is an unbeatable place for its walkability. Also, Geneva is still popular, but not quite as popular for its high level of walkability.

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

Geneva is a very walkable city. Most areas where visitors spend their time can be easily explored on foot.

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

Should I spend more time in Basel or Geneva?

How long in Geneva or Basel?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Geneva and Basel. In our opinion, Basel has more to see and do, so we recommend spending more time in Basel than Geneva. However, 1-3 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Basel than Geneva 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 Basel.


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

One day in Geneva or Basel?

Each neighborhood in Geneva has its own distinct appeal, so there are pleny of areas to explore. Lots of people come for the shopping. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Because of this, one day is usually enough time for a trip here.

Many travelers enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting the destination of Basel. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. One day is often enough time to do most activities.

A weekend in Geneva or Basel?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Geneva. For many, it makes a great getaway for a weekend. 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 great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here. Your budget might influence how long you stay.


Five days in Geneva or Basel?

Geneva is a fun place to experience. Travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the big city destination of Geneva. Lots of people come for the shopping. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Basel. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

A week in Geneva or Basel?

You'll find food and shopping around the diverse big city of Geneva. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. Lots of people come for the shopping. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the vibrant destination of Basel. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.


For some great organized tour ideas, see Tours for Outdoor and Nature Lovers in Switzerland, The Best Adventure Tours to Switzerland, The Best Sightseeing Tours in Switzerland, and The Best Romantic Tours for Couples in Switzerland.


Which place is cheaper, Basel or Geneva?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Geneva is $214, while the average daily cost in Basel is $240. 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 Geneva and Basel in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Geneva $147
    Basel $146
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Geneva $294
    Basel $292
Compare Hotels in Geneva and Basel

Looking for a hotel in Geneva 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 Geneva


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: Geneva Hotel Prices and Basel Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Geneva $9.56
    Basel $46

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Geneva

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Geneva:

  • Geneva Int Airport (GVA) to La Clusaz - Arrival Private Transfer: $50
  • Geneva Airport (GVA) to Lausanne - Arrival Private Transfer: $54
  • Geneva Airport (GVA) to Geneva - Arrival Private Transfer: $55
  • Geneva to Geneva Airport (GVA)- Departure Private Transfer: $55
  • Geneva Airport (GVA) to Verbier - Arrival Private Transfer: $77
  • Geneva Departure Private Transfers from Geneva City to Geneva Airport GVA: $88
  • Geneva Airport Transfers : Geneva City to Geneva Airport GVA in Business Car: $88
  • Geneva Airport Transfers : Geneva City to Geneva Airport GVA in Business Van: $103
  • Geneva Airport Transfers : Geneva City to Geneva Airport GVA in Luxury Van: $107
  • Private Geneva Arrival or Departure Transfer: $108
  • Private Geneva Arrival or Departure Transfer: $110
  • Private Transfer from Geneva Airpot to Geneva City: $114

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Basel

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Basel:

  • Basel Airport Transfer: Basel to EuroAirport (BSL MLH EAP) in Business Car: $109
  • Basel Airport Transfer: EuroAirport (BSL MLH EAP) to Basel in Luxury Car: $159
  • ONE WAY: Basel Train Station (ZDH) to / from Basel transfer: $88
  • Private Arrival Transfer: from Basel Airport to Zurich City: $295
  • Private One-way Transfer From Basel to Zurich, English Speaking Driver: $187
  • Private Transfer From Basel To Bern With a 2 Hour Stop in Olten: $226
  • Private Transfer Service from Basel to Basel Airport: $106
  • Private Transfer from Basel to Zurich with 3h Sightseeing Stops: $254
  • Private Transfer: Basel Airport BSL to Zurich in Luxury Van: $264
  • Private transfer from Basel to Strasbourg with a local driver: $235
  • Round Trip Private Transfer From Basel EuroAirport to Feldberg: $88

Is it cheaper to fly into Geneva or Basel?

Prices for flights to both Basel and Geneva 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
    Geneva $53
    Basel $62

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Geneva

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

  • Geneva City Tour with Cooking Class: $147
  • City Tour and Fondue Cooking Class: $189
  • Food tour in Geneva: $2,456

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Basel

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

  • Private Swiss Cooking "Zopf" and Breakfast : $41
  • Private Italian Cooking Class and Dining Experience: $89
  • Lasagne Private Italian Cooking / Dining Class: $89
  • Private Italian Cooking Class and Dining Experience: $112
  • Cheese, Chocolate and Pastry Food Tour: $167

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Geneva $30
    Basel $38

Tours and Activities in Geneva

Here are a few actual costs in Geneva for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • First Discovery Walk and Reading Walking Tour: $3.25
  • City Exploration Game and Tour on your Phone: $6.45
  • Escape Game and Tour: $6.50
  • Geneva Highlights Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt and Tour: $6.50
  • Geneva Lakeside Stroll: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $6.99
  • "Dark History" Quest Experience: $7.03
  • International District Self-Guided City Sightseeing: $7.81
  • Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Tour: $7.81
  • Geneva Zombie Chase: Quest Experience: $8.12
  • Old Town Self-Guided Audio Tour: $9.99
  • Discover A Lakeside In-App Audio Tour: $11
  • Self-Guided Audio Tour: $11

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: $3.25
  • Basel Highlights Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt and Tour: $5.42
  • Basel Scavenger Hunt and Best Landmarks Self-Guided Tour: $5.51
  • Basel's Portrait: Self-Guided Reading City Tour: $5.58
  • Basel's Portrait: Self-Guided Reading City Tour: $5.68
  • Basel Exploration Game and City Tour on your Phone: $6.16
  • City Exploration Game and Tour: $6.50
  • City Exploration Game and Tour on your Phone: $7.58
  • Basel (Kleinbasel) Scavenger Hunt and Self-Guided Tour: $7.81
  • Old Town Scavenger Hunt and Self-Guided Tour: $7.81
  • Hidden Treasures Self-Guided Audio Walking Tour: $8.99
  • The Best of Basel’s Hidden Treasures: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $8.99

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Geneva $23
    Basel $33

Sample the Local Flavors in Geneva

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Geneva:

  • Geneva Countryside and Wine tasting By E-Bike: $168
  • Geneva Wine Tasting Tour: $176

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: $285
  • Half Day Private Cheese & Wine Tasting in Vineyard in Basel: $293


When comparing the travel costs between Geneva and Basel, we can see that Basel 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 Geneva Expensive? and Is Basel Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Geneva or Basel?

Geneva has a larger population, and is about 12% larger than the population of Basel. When comparing the sizes of Geneva 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 Geneva 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 Geneva or Basel in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Geneva and Basel. Many visitors come to Geneva in the summer for the city activities and the family-friendly experiences. Furthermore, most visitors come to Basel for the family-friendly experiences during these months.

In the summer, Geneva is around the same temperature as Basel. Typically, the summer temperatures in Geneva in July average around 22°C (71°F), and Basel averages at about 21°C (70°F).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Basel this time of the year. In Geneva, it's very sunny this time of the year. Geneva usually receives more sunshine than Basel during summer. Geneva gets 285 hours of sunny skies, while Basel receives 241 hours of full sun in the summer.

In July, Geneva usually receives less rain than Basel. Geneva gets 61 mm (2.4 in) of rain, while Basel receives 89 mm (3.5 in) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Geneva 22°C (71°F) 
    Basel 21°C (70°F)

Should I visit Geneva or Basel in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Geneva as well as Basel. Most visitors come to Geneva for the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area during these months. Additionally, the autumn months attract visitors to Basel because of the shopping scene and the natural beauty of the area.

In October, Geneva is generally around the same temperature as Basel. Daily temperatures in Geneva average around 14°C (56°F), and Basel fluctuates around 13°C (56°F).

In the autumn, Geneva often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Basel. Geneva gets 127 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Basel receives 120 hours of full sun.

Geneva usually gets more rain in October than Basel. Geneva gets 78 mm (3.1 in) of rain, while Basel receives 70 mm (2.8 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Geneva 14°C (56°F) 
    Basel 13°C (56°F)

Should I visit Geneva or Basel in the Winter?

Both Basel and Geneva are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. The winter months attract visitors to Geneva because of the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Also, the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Basel this time of year.

It's quite cold in Basel in the winter. The weather in Geneva can be very cold. Geneva is a little warmer than Basel in the winter. The daily temperature in Geneva averages around 4°C (39°F) in January, and Basel fluctuates around 3°C (37°F).

Geneva usually receives more sunshine than Basel during winter. Geneva gets 62 hours of sunny skies, while Basel receives 55 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Geneva usually receives less rain than Basel. Geneva gets 55 mm (2.1 in) of rain, while Basel receives 77 mm (3 in) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Geneva 4°C (39°F) 
    Basel 3°C (37°F)

Should I visit Geneva or Basel in the Spring?

Both Basel and Geneva during the spring are popular places to visit. The activities around the city and the natural beauty are the main draw to Geneva this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Basel for the natural beauty.

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

In the spring, Geneva often gets more sunshine than Basel. Geneva gets 174 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Basel receives 150 hours of full sun.

Geneva usually gets less rain in April than Basel. Geneva gets 65 mm (2.6 in) of rain, while Basel receives 79 mm (3.1 in) of rain this time of the year.


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

Typical Weather for Basel and Geneva

Geneva Basel
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 4°C (39°F) 55 mm (2.1 in) 3°C (37°F) 77 mm (3 in)
Feb 6°C (42°F) 54 mm (2.1 in) 5°C (40°F) 70 mm (2.8 in)
Mar 8°C (47°F) 62 mm (2.4 in) 8°C (46°F) 72 mm (2.8 in)
Apr 11°C (53°F) 65 mm (2.6 in) 12°C (53°F) 79 mm (3.1 in)
May 15°C (60°F) 85 mm (3.4 in) 16°C (60°F) 101 mm (4 in)
Jun 19°C (66°F) 75 mm (3 in) 19°C (66°F) 100 mm (3.9 in)
Jul 22°C (71°F) 61 mm (2.4 in) 21°C (70°F) 89 mm (3.5 in)
Aug 21°C (70°F) 75 mm (3 in) 21°C (69°F) 104 mm (4.1 in)
Sep 18°C (65°F) 75 mm (3 in) 18°C (64°F) 79 mm (3.1 in)
Oct 14°C (56°F) 78 mm (3.1 in) 13°C (56°F) 70 mm (2.8 in)
Nov 8°C (46°F) 70 mm (2.8 in) 7°C (45°F) 82 mm (3.2 in)
Dec 4°C (40°F) 57 mm (2.3 in) 4°C (39°F) 83 mm (3.3 in)