Muensterplatz in Basel, Switzerland
Muensterplatz in Basel, Switzerland
Muensterplatz in Basel, Switzerland

Basel, Switzerland

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Jul 30, 2021

Summary: Basel, Switzerland has approximately 170,000 residents and is situated on the Rhine River. Basel is known for its museums, The University of Basel (the oldest in Switzerland), its beautiful Old Town and yearly Fastnacht or Carnival. Expats confess that life in Basel if very expensive and takes some adjustment. In this article, they offer advice to help ease your transition. Apartment Hunting Tip: ask if a building has rules that prohibit flushing toilets and showering during certain times of day. These types of rules exist and you should be aware of them before you sign a lease!

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What do I need to know about living in Basel?

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When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Basel, they said:

"Watch out for the landlords. Protect yourself as the business people appear, but are not, honest. They have little ethics. The city is central to everything and getting around is easy. If you like culture, this city has a lot to offer. The food is terrible. It is very expensive to live there. There are no provisions for working women. Men are very chauvinistic. I made a number of friends and do like the Swiss, but watch out for the ethical guidelines as they are not like ours," said another expat in Basel.

What do I need to know before moving to Basel?

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When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Basel, they said:

"Make sure you visit the apartment first and bring your US furniture with you and as much US things as possible to save yourself money. Be careful about furniture fitting up stairways. Be careful about silly rules...no flushing of toilets or taking showers during certain hours, etc," said another expat in Basel.

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How do I find a place to live in Basel?

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We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:

"I used a relocation agent who showed me multiple neighborhoods and described pros/cons. I then asked colleagues what they thought and went for their recommendations," added another person living in Basel.

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We've partnered with Explorastay, the largest aggregator of 1-12+ month stays. Compare listings and rental rates from 20+ accommodation sites in one search, including: Booking.com, VRBO, Expedia, UniPlaces, Spotahome, HousingAnywhere, Zumper and over a dozen more accommodation companies. Search rental properties in Switzerland.

We've partnered with Explorastay, the largest aggregator of 1-12+ month stays. Compare listings and rental rates from 20+ accommodation sites in one search, including: Booking.com, VRBO, Expedia, UniPlaces, Spotahome, HousingAnywhere, Zumper and over a dozen more accommodation companies. Search rental properties in Switzerland.

What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Basel?

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"A multi-level city apartment in the center of town. No. It is hard to find an apartment like this. They are highly desirable and usually are taken by Swiss citizens," explained one expat living in Basel.

What is the average cost of housing in Basel?

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If you are thinking about moving to Basel, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"Higher, but an apartment like I had in NYC would have been much more expensive. $3000 per month plus utilities for a two bedroom apartment," explained one expat living in Basel.

Need a rental in Switzerland? We've partnered with Explorastay, the largest aggregator of 1-12+ month stays. Compare listings and rental rates from 20+ accommodation sites in one search, including: Booking.com, VRBO, Expedia, UniPlaces, Spotahome, HousingAnywhere, Zumper and over a dozen more accommodation companies.

Search for Rentals

Need a rental in Switzerland? We've partnered with Explorastay, the largest aggregator of 1-12+ month stays. Compare listings and rental rates from 20+ accommodation sites in one search, including: Booking.com, VRBO, Expedia, UniPlaces, Spotahome, HousingAnywhere, Zumper and over a dozen more accommodation companies. Search for Rentals in Switzerland

What to Bring When Moving to Basel (and what to leave behind)

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When we asked expats living in Switzerland what they wish they had brought when moving to Switzerland and what they wish they had left at home, they replied:

"1. More lamps (you can use european light bulbs) 2. A multisystem tv purchased on the internet and 220 appliances. 3. A videocam system to see my family. wish I had left at home... 1. All electrical appliances that I thought I could easily convert. 2. My rugs...you can purchase great ones in Turkey and they were damaged in the move. 3. My favorite glass items..they were broken," said another expat in Basel.

Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in Basel accepting of differences?

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"Yes, there are a number of Turks. Discrimination is great. I found my landlord, who owns Muki Shoes, dishonest as he refused to return my rent money which was erroneously deposited in his account by my bank through direct rental payment. I think the Swiss businesses take advantage of Americans. They are envious of us, but hate us as well," explained one expat.

What are the schools in Basel like?

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"Make arrangements for a tour of the facility and discussion of the curriculum if possible prior to enrolling," remarked another parent with kids at International School of Basel in Basel.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder of Expat Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Some of Betsy's more popular articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Italy, 12 Things to Know Before Moving to The Dominican Republic and the Living in Panama Guide. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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Muensterplatz in Basel, Switzerland
William Russell Health InsuranceInternational Health Insurance

Get a quotes for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
Get a Quote

Basel, SwitzerlandGuide to Living in Basel, Switzerland

Basel, Switzerland: Cost of Living, Healthcare and What to Know About Living in Basel

Switzerland Forum Switzerland Forum
Join our Switzerland forum to meet other people living in Basel, Switzerland.

ContributeContribute
Help other expats and newcomers by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Basel.

Healthcare in SwitzerlandHealthcare in Switzerland

Information about healthcare and hospitals in Switzerland.

Basel, SwitzerlandMoving to Basel, Switzerland

Expats offer advice about everything you need to know before moving to Basel: what to bring (and what to leave behind), how to find housing and more.

Basel, SwitzerlandExpats Talk about Living in Basel

Expats talk about what it's like living in Basel, Switzerland: Cost of Living, Healthcare and What Newcomers to Basel Should Know

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