The Swiss city lures with its cultural offerings all year round.

Kunstmuseum Basel Switzerland
Credit: Julian Salinas

Mention this Swiss city and many people immediately think of Art Basel, the king of contemporary art fairs. But with more than 40 design and art museums—about half of which rival the best galleries in Europe—this town of just 175,000 deserves its reputation as a year-round cultural hub. Currently winning worldwide acclaim is the Kunstmuseum Basel, the world’s first municipal art collection, which has been renovated and last month unveiled a third building. The new extension opened with “Sculpture on the Move, 1946–2016” a much-anticipated group exhibition that includes works by Alexander Calder, Joseph Beuys, and Matthew Barney, among others (through September 18). Later this year, the museum will run a major exhibition of Jackson Pollock’s figurative work. “It’s pretty incredible to have such a small population so steeped in art,” says Kunsthalle director Elena Filipovic.