Along the Rhine, not too far from the borders of France and Germany, is where Basel (the third-largest city in Switzerland) bustles with commercial activity and a trade fair history dating back to 1471. Today, the city continues the tradition of welcoming delegates from around the world. Planners always appreciate the variety of Basel event venues and experiences available to incorporate into their programs.
Groups often arrive via the EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiberg, located 10 minutes from the city center, or Zurich Airport, which is 52 miles away. As an international rail hub, Basel offers direct connections to and from other European destinations at one of its three train stations.
Chief among convention venues in Basel, the Congress Center Basel has a number of facilities for gatherings of all sizes. Currently, the largest space is San Francisco Hall, which spans 4,045 square meters and accommodates 1,500 for concerts, 1,210 for banquets and 900 for seminars. There are many other options for smaller breakouts such as the Osaka and Samarkand rooms, both of which can separately hold 75 people, and 150 when combined. Slated to open in spring 2013, the new Event Hall designed by Herzog & de Meuron will replace the existing ballroom and measure 10,498 square feet. Upon completion, this area will fit 2,500 for concerts, 1,700 for seated seminars and 1,360 for banquet seating. Over at EuroAirport, the Swiss Conference Center has an auditorium that fits 212 people along with smaller conference rooms for groups of 12 to 32.
Hotel venues in Basel include 50 properties and 4,500 rooms across all categories. Close to the Congress Center Basel are the 224-room Ramada Plaza Hotel & Conference Center and the 238-room Swissotel Le Plaza with 10 meeting rooms that can accommodate up to 200 people. Other options in the immediate vicinity are the 171-room Dorint and the 130-room Mercure Hotel Europe, boasting an array of amenities.
When it comes to special event venues in Basel, planners are able to wow guests with memorable locations such as the Pantheon Basel, a 24,600-square-foot, vintage car center in the neighboring town of Muttenz; and the Historic Stadtcasino, offering flexibility with three meeting rooms and a 750-person capacity. Those who want to to be on the water might consider contacting Basler Personenschiffarhtsgesellschaft, a company that specializes in river cruise events on the Rhine.
When not in meetings, groups can ride the first revolving cable car in the world to view the Titlis glacier and Swiss Alps, or make their own confections at Beschle Chocolatier and enjoy exhibits at the Museum Tinguely. During downtime, visitors will discover that Basel has a bevy of attractions, including nearly 40 museums like the Basel Art Museum and Museum of Cultures, family-friendly spots such as the largest zoo in Switzerland Etoscha House, historic landmarks, shopping and outdoor recreation. As for dining, Basel brings out the flavors of the world with restaurants serving French and Mediterranean fare at Restaurant Oliv, Indian specialties at Mandir and Thai at Krone-Krittpon; all three restaurants are group-friendly and have private dining.