Things to do in Basel

The very beautiful Merian Gärten

Why visit?

What better way to spend a few hours on a Summer or Autumn day than wandering around the immaculate, beautiful and vast Merian Gärten in Basel.  Villa Merian was gifted to Christoph Merian on his wedding day in 1824 by his father.  The villa was used as Christoph and his wife Margaretha Burckhardt as a summer residence and was gifted to the Christoph Merian Stiftung in 1886.  In 1968 the Christoph Merian Stiftung gave Merian Gärten to Basel City so, we can all say we own a small piece of this amazing house and garden.  


Merian Gärten like many things in Switzerland is well organised, I spied a map of the gardens placed conveniently near the entrance and from the map it was clear that this is not just one large garden, it’s a bit like a Russian doll, a garden within a garden, within a garden, if you get my drift.  Villa Merian is right in the middle of the spot and is where you can get something to eat and drink, wrapped around Villa Merian is the grand English garden.  There is also the biggest Iris collection in Switzerland that is worth seeing during May but, by my visit the at the end of June, the Irises had been cut back and were being hoed to promote good growth for next years blooms.  Wander through the Clematis garden or visit the Orangery that is filled with tropical plants, how amazing.  Don’t miss the farm, museum and children’s playground too!

What struck me when I entered the garden was the immense sense of calm that washed over me, there was a smell of cut grass and wet soil that reminded me of my childhood garden back in England.  My mother was a keen gardener and I have the gardening bug too.

My first visit to Merian Gärten was in Jun 2020 and it hasn’t been my last recently, I visited the Merian Gärten plant sale in September 2020.

My recommendations


  • Get your 10,00 steps, no dogs allowed.  Remember suncream as there is little shade.
  • There’s a really great kids playground situated near the Villa Merian.
  • Enjoy live music at on of the Merian Garten’s outdoor concerts hosted most Sundays in July and August.
  • Be amazed at Thursday mornings market with many rare fruit and vegetables on offer such as black carrots and white currants or visit on of the gardens plant sales.
  • Book a tour of the Garden with a guide – most of the tours are in German but look out for tours by Hester MacDonald the author of ‘Garden Switzerland’ who gives wonderful tours of the garden in English.


  • The villa Merian offers ‘English High Tea’ just like the Queen has at one of her palaces in the UK.  The high tea includes champagne, scones, jam and cream and is served on the first Sunday of the month between 16:00-18:00.
  • There is also a brunch option on Sunday mornings between 10:00-14:00 price 38 CHF and half price for kids. 

Click here to access the garden’s calendar of events

Attractions near by

Just behind Merian Gärten is the Park im Grünen a huge green space with a manmade lake, restaurant and dinosaur park that has life size dinosaur models to play on and around. 

Travel to...

Walking from Aeschenplatz to Merian Gärten takes around 30 mins.

By Tram – Trams 10,11 or S-Bahn S3 to Haltestelle Dreispitz, approx. 5 minutes by foot the Brüglingerstrasse entrance.  Tram No. 14 or Bus 36 to Haltestelle St Jakob, approx. 5 mins walk to St Jakob’s entrance.

By Car – Autobahn A2/A3 exit Basel-Süd/St.Jakob.  Nearest park is St. Jakobshalle car park, you will be approx. 5 minutes by foot to St. Jakobs entrance.



Other gardens in or near Basel

The Botanical Garden at the University of Basel

The Botanical Garden of the University of Basel with a historical tropical greenhouse.  


Ettinbuhl Garden in Bad Bellingen, Germany

An English inspired garden just over the border in Germany with a wonderful rose garden that is worth a visit.  


Butterfly Gardens in Hunawihr - ALSACE


I am yet to visit the butterfly gardens in Hunawihr but they are work a mention here as they figure so highly on other blogs when I was researching this article.  I hope to visit the butterfly houses soon and write a blog article.  In the meantime here’s the link to the butterfly house’s Website:

Ricola Herb Gardens in Nenzlingen

One of the five Ricola herb gardens in Switzerland situated just outside of Nenzlingen in Basel land.  Take a look at the herbs growing int he garden and the amazing views of the Jura mountains too!  


Thanks for reading the Things to do in Basel blog.

Love, Louise

Blogger @ Things to do in Basel

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