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

Should you visit Lausanne or Basel?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Lausanne or Basel, this travel comparison, which includes costs, can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison down below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.


Lausanne is a cultural, international, and diverse city. It's a beautiful place to visit, too. And you can't forget about the nightlife, food, and shopping.


Basel is a historic, cultural, and museum-filled city. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. Other popular activities here include shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Lausanne and Basel: Pros and Cons

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

Is there more to do in Lausanne or Basel?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Basel than Lausanne, as it is bigger with more sights, attractions, and activities for visitors. Basel is more popular for its historical sights and impressive beauty, while Lausanne is known for its food. Basel is more touristy than Lausanne and is known for its many museums and its nice old town. It is also home to The Kunstmuseum Basel. Lausanne is popular for being the home of the International Olympic Committee headquarters.

How is Lausanne different from Basel?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

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


For an educational experience, head to a museum or a notable sight in either Lausanne or Basel.

With a variety of museums, monuments, and historical sights, a trip to Lausanne can be an interesting and educational experience. You'll find many great museums around town that cover a range of topics. The Olympic Museum is very interesting. You should also check out the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, and the Hermitage Foundation.

You'll find a good number of museums and monuments packed into Basel. 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 Lausanne or Basel? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?


Lausanne 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 Lausanne. The city is filled with delicious chocolate, cheese, and wine. Fondue is a favorite, but you'll also find cured meats on most menus. While food can be expensive, it's also high quality and usually locally produced.

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 Lausanne or Basel Better for Nightlife?


Party-goers will find similar levels of energy in Lausanne and Basel.

Lausanne has an active nightlife scene for those who seek it out. There are a surprising number of clubs around town and it's not hard to find somewhere to party. The large student population and the international vibe make this a fascinating place for nightlife.

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 Lausanne or Basel Better for its Old Town?


Basel is well known for its historic old town charm. Also, Lausanne is still popular, but not quite as popular for its historic old town.

Many visitors go to Basel to see the historical old town. 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.

Lausanne is a good destination for visiting its old town. There's a relatively large historic section that has a Gothic cathedral and many quaint shops.

Is the Shopping Better in Lausanne or Basel?


Shopping is a popular activity in both Basel and Lausanne.

Browsing through shops is a popular activity in Lausanne. You'll find luxury Swiss watch brands, jewelry, chocolate, and many other interesting things to buy. Prices can be high, but so is the quality. It's fun to look, even if you're not planning to purchase.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting 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 Lausanne or Basel Better for Families?


Basel is well known for its family-friendly activities. Also, Lausanne is still popular, but not quite as popular for its kid-friendly activities.

Basel is known to be 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.

Lausanne offers lots of family activities. There are kid-friendly museums, petting zoos, and other fun activities in town. You can also take a boat ride or let the kids run around one of the parks in town.

Is Lausanne or Basel Better for Couples?


Lausanne and Basel are both good to visit as a couple.

Lausanne is a good city for couples to visit. The medieval old city is fun to explore. The lakefront setting also offers fun activities like boating. There are also a number of museums in town to explore.

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

Is Lausanne or Basel Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?


Basel is a nice place to visit for backpackers. However, Lausanne is not particularly known for backpackers and budget travelers.

It's common for backpackers to 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.

Lausanne is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. It's not the most popular town for backpackers but there are some affordable hotels. It's also more reasonably priced than many Swiss cities.

Is Lausanne or Basel Better for Students?


Lausanne and Basel are superb places to visit for students.

Lausanne is a great city to visit as a student. There are 11 institutes for higher learning in town, so students make up a significant percentage of the population. The city is also full of culture, making it a very livable city.

Students come from all over to stay in Basel. 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 Lausanne or Basel Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?


Basel is well known for its public transit. Also, Lausanne is still popular, but not quite as popular for times when you don't have a car.

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

While Lausanne offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. There is a comprehensive network of transportation options available in town including buses and boats.

Is Lausanne or Basel a more walkable city?


Basel is a world-class destination for its ease of walking around. Also, Lausanne is still popular, but not quite as popular for its walkability.

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

Lausanne is somewhat walkable. Many parts of the city, including the historic sections, and relatively easy to explore on foot.

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

Should I spend more time in Basel or Lausanne?

How long in Lausanne or Basel?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Lausanne and Basel. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Basel than in Lausanne. Usually, 1-2 days is a good amount of time for Lausanne, and 1-3 days is enough time in Basel.

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Basel than Lausanne 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 Lausanne or Basel? Ideal Length of Stay
    Lausanne 1-2 
    Basel 1-3

One day in Lausanne or Basel?

In Lausanne, many people enjoy the shopping and museums that this diverse destination offers. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Because of this, one day is usually enough time for a trip here.

The beautiful city of Basel offers food and shopping. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. With all of its activities, you can easily fill one day here. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

A weekend in Lausanne or Basel?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Lausanne. 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 popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have a weekend, this city makes for a great vacation. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Basel, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

Five days in Lausanne or Basel?

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

Basel is a popular choice for travelers. Five days 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. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

A week in Lausanne or Basel?

You'll find food and shopping around the cultural destination of Lausanne. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

Basel is a great place to explore. Visiting the old town is also a must. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This city offers something for everyone.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Luxury Tours to Switzerland, The Best Tours for Seniors to Switzerland, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Zurich, and The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Geneva.

Which place is cheaper, Basel or Lausanne?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Lausanne is $233, while the average daily cost in Basel is $242. 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 Lausanne and Basel in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Lausanne $139
    Basel $146
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Lausanne $278
    Basel $292
Compare Hotels in Lausanne and Basel

Looking for a hotel in Lausanne 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 Lausanne

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: Lausanne Hotel Prices and Basel Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Lausanne $42
    Basel $47

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Lausanne

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Lausanne:

  • Lausanne accommodation to Geneva Airport (GVA) - Departure Private Transfer: $53
  • Private Transfer from Geneva Airport to Évian-les-Bains: $160
  • Taxi, Airport Transfer and Limousine Service in Switzerland: $233
  • Private transfer from Vevey to Geneva Airport: $267

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Basel

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Basel:

  • Arrival Private Transfer: EuroAirport (BSL MLH EAP) to Basel in Business Car: $108
  • Basel Airport Transfer: Basel to EuroAirport (BSL MLH EAP) in Business Car: $108
  • Basel Airport Transfer: Basel to EuroAirport (BSL MLH EAP) in Luxury Car: $158
  • Basel Airport Transfer: EuroAirport (BSL MLH EAP) to Basel in Luxury Car: $158
  • Departure Private Transfer: Basel to EuroAirport (BSL MLH EAP) in Luxury Van: $119
  • Private One-way Transfer From Basel to Zurich, English Speaking Driver: $186
  • Private Transfer From Basel To Bern With a 2 Hour Stop in Olten: $224
  • Private Transfer Service from Basel to Basel Airport: $106
  • Private Transfer from Basel to Zurich with 3h Sightseeing Stops: $252
  • Private Transfer: Basel Airport BSL to Zurich in Luxury Van: $262
  • Private direct transfer from Basel to Lucerne with a local driver: $192
  • Private transfer from Basel to Strasbourg with a local driver: $233

Is it cheaper to fly into Lausanne or Basel?

Prices for flights to both Basel and Lausanne 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 Meals for one day
    Lausanne $63
    Basel $62

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Basel

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

  • Cheese, Chocolate and Pastry Food Tour: $169

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Lausanne $38
    Basel $38

Tours and Activities in Lausanne

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

  • First Discovery Walk and Reading Walking Tour: $3.21
  • Modern Medeival A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $4.99
  • Medieval A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.20
  • Lausanne Highlights Self Guided Scavenger Hunt & Tour: $5.35
  • Exploration Game and City Tour on your Phone: $6.37
  • Escape Game and Tour: $6.42
  • Lausanne Scavenger Hunt and Best Landmarks Self-Guided Tour: $6.55
  • Scavenger Hunt and Self-Guided City Walking Tour: $16
  • Lausanne (Ouchy District) City Sights Self-Guided Tour: $16
  • Lausanne Ouchy District City Sights Self-Guided Tour: $16
  • Lausanne (City Center) Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Tour: $16
  • The Olympic Museum Entry Ticket: $22

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: $3.21
  • Basel Highlights Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt and Tour: $5.35
  • Basel Scavenger Hunt and Best Landmarks Self-Guided Tour: $5.47
  • Basel's Portrait: Self-Guided Reading City Tour: $5.62
  • Basel's Portrait: Self-Guided Reading City Tour: $5.71
  • City Exploration Game and Tour: $6.42
  • City Exploration Game and Tour on your Phone: $7.48
  • The Best of Basel’s Hidden Treasures: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $8.99
  • Hidden Treasures Self-Guided Audio Walking Tour: $8.99
  • Uncover Basel's Charms: In-App Audio Tour of Cultural Gems: $11
  • Self-Guided Audio Tour: $11
  • Basel's Portrait: Self-Guided Audio City Tour: $11

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Lausanne $27
    Basel $34

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: $34
  • Fantastic, full day, private wine tour to Alsace!: $292
  • Half Day Private Cheese & Wine Tasting in Vineyard in Basel: $295

When comparing the travel costs between Lausanne 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 Lausanne Expensive? and Is Basel Expensive?.

Which is Bigger, Lausanne or Basel?

Basel has a larger population, and is about 41% larger than the population of Lausanne. When comparing the sizes of Lausanne 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.