Susan Worner Tours

Basel – Private Gardens of the former Prince Bishopric & the Jura Hinterland

Basel – Private Gardens of the former Prince Bishopric & the Jura Hinterland

Basel joined the Swiss Confederation in 1501. Situated in a strategic position on the River Rhine, it also acquired agricultural lands of the former Prince-Bishopric state. We visit private gardens in Basel, even a roof-top one, venture into the rolling wooded Jura hills, discover gardens in villages with attractive half-timbered farmhouses, enjoy ripe cherries cultivated extensively in the pastures. Crossing into France we visit an exceptional garden, Berchigranges in the Vosges mountains.

Hotel Basel is situated in a quiet part of the fascinating medieval town centre. It is most comfortable and has a good restaurant. Winding cobbled streets, squares with cafes; the hotel is in easy walking distance of the Rhine.

The group will comprise a maximum of fifteen participants. We reach the gardens by foot, minibus, tramway and train. Minimal travelling apart from the day visiting Berchigranges, though the scenery in the Vosges mountains is beautiful.




Morning flight from London Heathrow to Basel. Transfer to Hotel Basel arriving in time for a light lunch. Afternoon guided tour of the medieval centre with our excellent local guide, Peter Habicht. This is followed by a visit to a private garden overlooking the Rhine. The owners have invited us for an aperitif before we return to the hotel for dinner.


Depart by coach into the Jura countryside. Visit to the Massler’s beautifully planted, hillside garden in the village of Linn with its half-timbered houses. At the village entrance an eight hundred year old lime tree is still growing vigorously. We continue to Maja Coletti’s garden where we are invited for a delicious lunch. Afternoon visits to attractive small village gardens deep in the rolling countryside. Late afternoon return to Basel. Evening at leisure.


Morning visit to the Merian garden, a well laid out botanic garden on the outskirts of Basel. Beat Fischer, our botanist from the Botanic Gardens in Bern, will give an enthusiastic guided visit. We enjoy lunch on the terrace of the former residence of the Merian family. An intriguing well-planted roof garden with superb views is quite an achievement: we are welcomed by the creator of this peaceful, decorative garden. Evening at leisure.


Time in the morning to visit the mouth-watering daily market in the Marktplatz before leaving for Arlesheim, a village south of Basel. We visit a farmer’s garden and a wine grower to enjoy a glass of their wine before a light lunch. Leave by coach into the Jura hinterland in the French-speaking region, visiting the beautiful medieval town of Porruntry on the River Ajoie. Once the seat of the Bishop of Basel, it passed under French rule, during which time a botanic garden was founded in the late eighteenth century. We visit the garden which has some important plant collections. We continue up the Ajoie valley to a designer’s decorative topiary garden and enjoy an aperitif there above the river in a wooded valley. Dinner al fresco on the riverside with the owner awaits us.


We leave by train to Colmar in Alsace transferring to a minibus to take the road into the Vosges mountains. Jardin de Berchigranges is a wonderful success, created over the past fifteen years by Monique and Thierry, two passionate gardeners. A huge restoration of a rocky wooded mountainside has been carried out. We lunch nearby, returning to see Thierry’s latest additions to their garden. Return to Basel late afternoon. This evening we take a river boat on the Rhine, venturing upstream before returning towards the French/German border. We enjoy an aperitif on boarding followed by a tasty barbeque.


Morning visit to the hill village of Riehen to the Fondation Beyeler. Villa Berower is surrounded by gardens which lead to the contemporary Renzo Piano designed museum. Visit to the permanent art collection of the Beyelers which include Monet, van Gogh, Picasso and more. We then enjoy refreshments in the attractive garden with views to the Black Forest. Afternoon departure to the airport for the return flights.


Map of Switzerland

Tour Costs

Flight/train, Hotel and itinerary costs £1860pp
Accommodation based on 2 people sharing
Dinner on 3 evenings and 4 lunches
Supplement – single use of double room £415

Activity Level:

On/off trains, trams,boats. Considerable walking.

Additional Information:

Possibility to add a few days in the mountains.

If you are interested in finding out more information about one of our bespoke itineraries, please give us a call on 01423 326 300 or email Alternatively, click here to use our general enquiry form.