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You might not know it yet, but a trip to Basel in Switzerland should be bang in the centre of your short-break radar. The Alpine country's third-largest city epitomises the salubrious Swiss approach to living – easy, slow and clinically clean. 

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Take the Rhine river, for example – the city’s main waterway is immaculate, and a favoured swimming spot among residents. They strap on a ‘Wickelfisch’ – waterproof backpacks that hold their earthly possessions – and let the currents gently push them downstream. When they’ve had enough of that, they dry off on the banks and crack open a beer with their pals.

That’s Basel, in a nutshell. It’s a place to meander – from the impressive medieval Old Town to the pretty residential Kleinbasel neighbourhood, the city’s compact size means that you can see it all at a leisurely pace. And there’s certainly enough to fill up a weekend: marvelling at the hilltop Basel Minster cathedral, mooching around the stalls at the colourful Marktplatz, or just lingering over a beer on a sunny terrace. Plus, the city’s art-world cred, care of the annual ART Basel festival, means there’s no shortage of quality museums and galleries – like the modernist Vitra Design Museum, the colossal Kunstmuseum Basel (Fine Arts Museum), and the cutting-edge Museum of Contemporary Art, to name just a few.