The Carnival of Basel is the largest Carnival of Switzerland, and one of the most lively Carnivals in Europe.
The party always starts on Monday, after Ash Wednesday, at 4am (!), and lasts exactly 72 hours. At Basler Fasnacht, you can meet many groups of dressed-up people ready to celebrate in the historical part of the city.
The opening of the party is the Morgestraich, a very old tradition of Basel city. You should aim to arrive early to get a nice spot place. And it’s a magical kick-off: all the lights of the city are turned off, so locals bring lanterns. It’s in this cozy, unique environment that the Carnival of Basel begins. Musicians with flutes, drums and percussion cheer up the 3 days of partying, and there are several parades and groups of masked people who throw confettis to spectators.
The Carnival of Basel is quite animated and full of traditions and customs.
For example, don’t leave the party without tasting the Mehlsuppe – a kind of flour soup (indeed!), very traditional in this time of year. Another typical plate is the onion and cheese quiche, equally delicious. As the event runs on private initiative and funds, the organization asks that revelers acquire a kind of badge (this is not mandatory) – the income from sales reverts to the groups that make the event happen. It’s a nice way to recognize the work done by these organizations and associations.
Besides the Morgestraich, the Carnival meets the Children and Family Fasnacht, a party for families with children, that happens on Tuesday. The Gugge shows start on that evening, with the lantern parade, and all lanterns are then exposed for dwellers to appreciate them until Wednesday morning, at Münsterplatz.
In 2017, the Carnival of Basel was considered Intangible Cultural Heritage and, despite being a very traditional party, attracts many tourists, who end up knowing Basel city just because of the event.
Faro Airport has flights to Basel on Monday and Friday with easyJet. See you there?