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  • Writer's pictureTheresa Brandt

Cruising the Rhine from Basel?

A mournful lion monument made of stone

Cruising the Rhine from Basel? Don’t Miss the Famous Lion Monument!

If you’ve chosen a Rhine River cruise, it’s most likely you’ll be departing from, or sailing into, Basel, Switzerland. This enticing city has long been known as an important commerce and transportation site - you’ll find many a big-name headquarters here - but its cobbled streets, historic architecture and penchant for all things artistic are a bigger draw for most visitors.

While you can easily spend a full day wandering between the art galleries, museums and exquisite 18th-century patrician residences of Switzerland’s third-largest city, I might suggest taking a walking or biking tour in the morning to check off the city highlights, then taking an excursion to Lucerne to the south to see the famous Lion Monument. Why? Read on …

Visit Lake Lucerne to See the Lion Monument

Not only will a trip to the Lion Monument take you out of the city and to one of Switzerland’s most beautiful lakes, but you’ll have the chance to see what Mark Twain described as “the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world.”

At once a work of art, a memorial and a commemoration, the “Lion of Lucerne” was carved into the hillside in honor of the Swiss Guards who were killed during the French Revolution in 1792. For centuries, visitors have made their way to the rocky grotto where the lion is carved. The massive statue is approximately 32 feet long and nearly 20 feet wide, and is situated behind a pool of water. Its front paw rests on a shield adorned with the French monarchy’s fleur-de-lys, while a nearby shield depicts the Swiss cross. The monument inscription includes the names of the officers who died that day, and the numbers 760 and 350, which refer to the number of Swiss Guards who were killed and those who survived, respectively. Be sure to read the interpretation panels that explain the full story and the monument’s significance.

What Else Can I Do in Lucerne?

Having checked the Lion Monument off your list, if you’re making a full day of your trip to Lucerne from Basel, there’s plenty more to do. Don’t miss the postcard-perfect old town, the wooden Chapel Bridge and a scenic cruise on Lake Lucerne, all the while gaping at the spectacular mountain panorama surrounding you. At day’s end, you’ll be easily able to catch the train back to Basel.

What Else Can I Do in Basel?

If you’re spending the morning in Basel, then heading to Lucerne, focus your time with a guided walking tour. Explore Tinguely Fountain, Cathedral Hill, the magnificent town hall on Market Square and the well-preserved Aldstadt (Old Town). Insider tip: Refuel with a coffee and a delicious Basel Gold, an indulgent almond cake found at most local bakeries.

However you choose to use your time in Basel, before or after your Rhine River cruise, you’ll feel the multicultural appeal of a city that sits at the juncture of three countries. Let’s chat about what you’d most like to see and do and how you can best soak up the cultural and historical appeal of the region.

Reach out by booking a consultation through my Services page.


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