Car Rental in Basel
Cheapest Car Rental Rates
Most Popular Car Rental Deals
Why rent a car in Basel?
Basel is a great place to explore. Small and accessible, but with the energy of a big city, Basel is rich in interesting museums, classical architecture, and festivals that take place almost every week. With a rental car, you can easily travel to the nearby Alps and other Swiss destinations, or, if your rental car provider permits it, even pop over the border to one of Basel’s neighbors, Strasbourg in France of Freiburg in Germany.
One-Way Car Rentals in Basel
The most popular one-way rental options for pick up in Basel and drop off in another city include:
- From Basel to Geneva - 140 offers from $51.34 per day
- From Basel to Vienna - 37 offers from $100.79 per day
- From Basel to Zurich - 140 offers from $51.34 per day
- From Basel to Brussels - 37 offers from $96.39 per day
- From Basel to Mulhouse - 9 offers from $93.67 per day
Top ways to enter Basel
- EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg: Located just over the border in neighboring France, but also serving Switzerland and Germany, EuroAirport is the largest airport in the region. The airport has flights by around 20 different airlines, including low-cost carriers like easyJet, Wizz Air, and Eurowings. Although made up of a single terminal, the airport is divided into French and Swiss sectors. If you pick up your rental car in the French sector, ask your rental car provider if they permit you crossing the border with Switzerland - although both countries are members of the Schengen area, some rental car providers nonetheless don’t permit or charge an additional fee for crossing the border. EuroAirport is located just 8 km (5 miles) northwest of Basel and can be reached in 15 minutes.
- Zurich Airport: The busiest airport in the country, Zurich Airport handled 31 million travelers in 2018. The airport is a hub for Edelweiss Air and Swiss International Air Lines but also has flights by low-cost companies like Vueling. Located 90 km (54 miles) east of Basel, Zurich Airport can be reached in about one hour by car.
- Geneva Airport: Serving the second-largest city of Switzerland, Geneva Airport handled over 17 million travelers in 2018. The airport offers flights to and from many destinations in Europe as well as the Middle East, East Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Located 250 km (155 miles) southwest of Basel, Geneva Airport can be reached in about three hours.
- Strasbourg Airport: Serving the capital of the Alsace region and one of the capitals of the European Union, Strasbourg Airport handled 1.3 million travelers in 2018. Although the airport is generally considered to be one of the most expensive ones in France, it is served by low-cost airlines like Ryanair and Volotea. Located just 135 km (84 miles) north, it is also one of the nearest airports to Basel and can be reached in about 90 minutes. If you plan to travel from France to Switzerland in a rental car, ask your rental car provider in advance if they permit it.
- Frankfurt Airport: The busiest in Germany and fourth-busiest in Europe, Frankfurt Airport handled 69 million travelers in 2018. A hub for Lufthansa, but with flights by tens of other airlines, it hosts flights to and from all of the continents of the world. Located 320 km (198 miles) north of Basel, Frankfurt Airport can be reached in about 3 hours and 10 minutes. Like with Strasbourg, if you plan to cross the international border, ask your rental car provider in advance if they permit it.
- By rail: If arriving in Basel by train, you can conveniently pick up your rental car at the Basel SBB railway station or Bahnhof Basel SBB (the part of the station serving trains to and from France is known as Bâle SNCF).
- Located in the northwest corner of Switzerland, Basel has a temperate oceanic climate with warm summers and cold, snowy winters. The average high temperature is 25°C (78°F) in July, the warmest month, and 2°C (35°F) in January, the coldest. May is, on average, the wettest month while January and February are the driest. Basel has an average elevation of 260 m (865 ft).
- Like in the rest of Northern Switzerland, the main spoken language of Basel is German of the Swiss variety. Knowledge of English and French is also very high, especially among the people working in the service industry. Many other languages of the diaspora groups living in Basel like Italian, Turkish, Albanian, Serbian, and Spanish are also spoken in the city on a daily basis.
Top destinations and activities
- Basel Minster. Built as a Catholic cathedral and later turned into a Protestant one, Basel Minster is one of the most impressive buildings in the city. The first stone of the Gothic church was laid exactly 1,000 years ago (in 1019); later, the church was destroyed ny an earthquake in 1366 but was quickly rebuilt. After this, the southern tower was added.
- Fine Arts Museum. The largest art museum in Switzerland, it hosts works by world-famous masters such as Paul Gauguin, Pablo Picasso, Edward Munch, and Claude Monet, among others. The museum is located in a purpose-built early 20th-century building. An absolute-must place to visit, the ticket for the fine arts museum also permits entrance to the nearby Contemporary Art Museum.
- Museum of Ancient Art and Ludwig Collection. If artworks created in the last few centuries doesn’t impress you much, how about those that were created thousands of years ago? The Museum of Ancient Art has one of the largest collections of Ancient Greek art in Europe as well as impressive artifacts from Ancient Egypt and the Fertile Crescent.
- Laurenz-Stiftung Schaulager. Displaying both classical and contemporary art, this is quite likely the fanciest warehouse in all of Switzerland. Repurposed by a local foundation, it is now a notable cultural and arts space with frequently changing exhibitions. The center is located some distance south of the city center and can be reached by car in about 10-15 minutes.
Traffic and parking
- Switzerland drives on the right-hand side of the road.
- The speed limit in Switzerland is 100-120 km/h (62-75 mph) on motorways, 80 km/h (50 mph) on all other intercity roads, and 50 km/h (31 mph) inside urban and built-up areas. Switzerland has some of the strictest laws in the world when it comes to speeding - it is considered a legal offense; exceeding the limits very excessively can even lead to prison time.
- Switzerland is a very mountainous country. While it has some of the best roads in the world, driving on remote mountain roads can still be a challenging experience as many are very narrow and steep. If you’re driving on an especially narrow round and can’t see around the nearest bend, the law requires you to use your horn in advance.
- During the winter months, all cars must be equipped with winter tires and if the snow is especially strong, using tire chains might also be required. All Swiss rental cars will have winter tires and many will also come with tire chains (though do ask your rental car in advance), but these requirements are important to keep in mind if you’re traveling to Switzerland with a rental car picked up in a neighboring country like Italy, France, or Germany.
- Many mountain passes are closed during the winter months. It’s a good idea to get an up-to-date GPS system that will notify you which roads are accessible and which are not.
- It is illegal to use a mobile phone while driving. This law is strictly enforced and the fines are high.
- The legal alcohol limit is 0.05% for experienced drivers and 0.00% for novice drivers. Exceeding these limits can lead to very steep fines or even imprisonment.
- The car’s registration and insurance documents must be in it at all times.
- When driving, you need to have your passport or ID card with you at all times.
- Children younger than 12 years of age must have a child seat. Ask your rental car provider about the availability of one if you will be traveling with a young child.
- The general emergency number in Switzerland, like in the European Union, is 112. You can also call 117 for police, 118 for the fire brigade, and 144 for an ambulance.
Switzerland does not have toll roads as in some other European countries. Instead, a vignette is required to use the motorways of the country. If renting a car in Switzerland, the vignette should already be on the car when you receive it. However, if you rent a car in neighboring France, Italy, Germany or Austria, you will need to purchase a vignette when entering Switzerland (i.e., near the customs checkpoint). Unfortunately, there is only one type of vignette offered, one lasting the entire year (valid until January 31 of next year). This has the unfortunate effect of costing the traveler more than residents on a per-day basis. The cost of the vignette is currently 40 CHF.
While there are no toll roads, there are two tunnels that are tolled. These are the Grand St. Bernhard Tunnel spout of Lake Geneva near the border with Italy and the Munt la Schera near the Italian border in the far east of the country.
There are also five toll tunnels where vehicles are transported by train. The nearest to Basel is the Oberalp Pass, about 180 km (112 miles) south of the city.
Ideas for day trips
- Zurich. The largest city in Switzerland, Zurich is well-known for its financial and banking muscle, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing for a traveler to enjoy. A truly sophisticated place, the city is home to many unique museums, impressive churches of different styles, a well-preserved old town, and a beautiful promenade that snakes along Lake Zurich. Located just 87 km (54 miles) east of Basel, Zurich can be reached in about one hour.
- Bern. Small, pretty, and accessible, Bern might be one of the coziest capital cities in the world. Located on a peninsula surrounded by Aare river, it has all the attractions of a proper city (think galleries, impressive buildings, and restaurants ) but none of the hustle and bustle that can sometimes overwhelm you in Basel or Zurich. Located 100 km (62 miles) south of Basel, Bern can be reached in 1 hour and 10 minutes, and is very much worth a shot.
- Interlaken. Located in the Bernese Oberland region, Interlaken sits right between two of Switzerland’s most picturesque lakes, Brienz and Thun. This is one place that truly feels like the Switzerland you see on postcards - a quaint little town surrounded by navy blue waters with snow-capped mountains in the distance. Take pictures and Instagram away, but do not forget to also try the local cuisine in one of Interlaken’s small restaurants. Located 152 km (94 miles) south of Basel, Interlaken can be reached in 1 hour and 40 minutes.
- Thal Regional Nature Park. Although its hilly scenery might be a touch less majestic than some of Switzerland’s most imposing Alps, Thal is one of the nicest nature preserves in the area. Characterized by long, wooded valleys, as well as some seriously bucolic farmland, its network of hiking trails is simply calling you to take a long and leisurely walk. The drive from Basel takes about one hour.
Most popular cars
The most popular rental car in Basel is the Volkswagen Golf, closely followed by the Volkswagen Polo and the Hyundai i10. The most popular rental car types are compact, economy, and standard.
- Alsace. Located a literal stone’s throw from Basel, Alsace is one of the prettiest regions of neighboring France. Enjoy its lovely capital, Strasbourg, but do not stop there - the region also offers pretty little towns with unique wooden architecture, idyllic countryside, and some of the best wineries in Europe (if you decide to stay for a night or are traveling with a friend who can drive, it would be a shame not to try the local wines). Strasbourg is 136 km (84 miles) north of Basel and you can explore the rest of the region from there. To go from Switzerland to France, you have to cross the international border, so ask your rental car provider in advance if they permit it.
- Geneva. The largest city of the French-speaking part of Switzerland, Geneva is more than just a diplomatic hub. Travelers love it for its iconic Jet d'Eau fountain, well-preserved Vieille Ville or Old Town, unique neighborhoods, Lake Geneva, and the nearby Alps. Located 255 km (158 miles) south of Basel, Geneva can be reached in 2 hours and 45 minutes.
- The Black Forest. An old forest said to have inspired many of the famous German fairy tales and legends, the Black Forest is a popular travel destination. During summer months, the forest is a perfect place for hiking, rafting, and paragliding, while in wintertime, it's possible to ski and snowboard. On the edges of the forest, you can find lovely German cities like Freiburg and Baden-Baden as well as many smaller towns and villages. Freiburg is just 70 km (43 miles) north of Basel and takes 55 minutes to reach. As with Alsace, ask your rental car provider in advance if they permit you crossing the border.
- Swiss National Park. Located in the southeastern part of the country, this is the only official national park in Switzerland - the rest are designated as nature parks. Although not as high as the Matterhorn - its highest peaks reach about 3,170 m (10,400 feet) - this is a wonderful place to enjoy the traditional Swiss Alpine scenery. The area is home to a number of unique flora and fauna species, so there are a number of rules about how to behave when visiting – learn more about them on the park’s official English language website. A car trip from Basel to here takes about 3 hours and 30 minutes.
Car Rental Prices in Basel
- Station wagons - from $83 per day
- Large cars - from $70 per day
- Medium cars - from $61 per day
- Vans - from $303 per day
- Premium cars - from $105 per day
- Small cars - from $51 per day
- SUVs - from $109 per day
Try these simple tips to land a great rental car in Basel:
- Compare the rates of different rental car providers
- Book your rental car well in advance
- Plan your route before you go
- Know your fuel and mileage requirements
- Visit during the month when the rental prices are the cheapest. According to our data, visiting Basel is the cheapest in April when renting a car is 55% cheaper than the yearly average and a whole 73% cheaper than renting a vehicle in June. Come visit Switzerland in the springtime!
Top 16 Cities near Basel
Geneva Car Rentals from $114.23 per day186.3 km / 115.7 miles away
84.3 km / 52.4 miles away
76.0 km / 47.3 miles away
206.2 km / 128.1 miles away
Interlaken Car Rentals from $56.29 per day104.4 km / 64.9 miles away
Lucerne Car Rentals from $45.77 per day85.3 km / 53.0 miles away
Sion Car Rentals from $116.33 per day154.0 km / 95.7 miles away
Chur Car Rentals from $76.62 per day172.5 km / 107.2 miles away
Altenrhein Car Rentals from $51.16 per day153.3 km / 95.3 miles away
St. Gallen Car Rentals from $54.98 per day137.9 km / 85.7 miles away
Bellinzona Car Rentals from $76.62 per day193.3 km / 120.1 miles away
Locarno Car Rentals from $71.75 per day186.1 km / 115.7 miles away
126.4 km / 78.5 miles away
Thun Car Rentals from $61.86 per day95.9 km / 59.6 miles away
Staad Car Rentals from $84.16 per day151.5 km / 94.2 miles away
171.2 km / 106.4 miles away
Top 6 Locations near Basel
Basel Airport Car Rentals from $51.05 per day6.6 km / 4.1 miles away
Zurich Airport Car Rentals from $54.92 per day72.2 km / 44.9 miles away
St.Gallen–Altenrhein Airport Car Rentals from $51.16 per day147.6 km / 91.7 miles away
Geneva Airport Car Rentals from $56.46 per day186.0 km / 115.6 miles away
Geneva Train Station Car Rentals from $75.55 per day186.9 km / 116.1 miles away
Geneva Acacias Car Rentals from $60.35 per day189.1 km / 117.5 miles away
Map of Car Rental Locations
Which is the cheapest month to rent a car in Basel?
What’s the usual rental length in Basel?
What's the most popular month to rent a car in Basel?
Most Popular Car Models of Rental Suppliers
|Alamo||Volkswagen Polo||4||2||Small cars|
|Alamo||Volkswagen Polo||4||2||Small cars|
|Alamo||Fiat 500||2||2||Small cars|
|SIXT||Renault Captur||4||1||Medium cars|
|Alamo||Volkswagen Golf||5||2||Medium cars|
|Alamo||Mercedes Benz A Class||4||1||Medium cars|
|Alamo||Mini Cooper||5||2||Small cars|
|Alamo||Skoda Octavia STW||5||3||Station wagons|
|Alamo||Ford Focus STW||5||3||Station wagons|
Our Customers' Reviews
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