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About Bern

Bern, the capital city of Switzerland, lies on the northern side of the Bernese Alps on the plateau in the canton of Bern. One of the most photographed cities in the world, Bern is a place that looks straight out of your dreams. The city, one of the best places to visit in Switzerland, is known as one of the most well-preserved cities in the world and this is evident in the way it has lovingly maintained its heritage, culture, and architecture for centuries. One of the best attractions of Bern is its hundreds of fountains dating back to the 13th-century, and each of them is a unique artwork.

The most unusual of them all, and a must-visit on your Switzerland trip, is Kindlifresserbrunnen (Ogre Fountain) depicting a scary medieval ogre devouring children. Now that’s a sight you will not see anywhere in the world! Bern’s Old Town area due to its stunning medieval-era beauty finds a place amongst UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The cobbled streets here are dotted with the majestic Parliament building, offices of some major Swiss banks, and grand hotels. In the nearby Kramgasse (market alley) you will pass century-old buildings that were wine cellars and granaries in ancient times.

This is where you can see the residence of Albert Einstein as well. Another famous Bernese attraction is the 11th-century Clock Tower that allows visitors to tour inside and see the still working mechanisms. The viewing platform atop the tower looks onto panoramic vistas of the Bernese peaks. The Bern Cathedral is a must-visit for not only its magnificent Gothic architecture and a huge façade depicting the ‘Last Judgement’, but also for seeing stunning views as far as Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau from its watchtower. 

Bern is one of the few cities in the world that allows one to sightsee not only on foot but also from its waters as you swim across its famed River Aare. The long winding river passes through all the major attractions like the Botanical Gardens and Old Matte District. The culinary landscape of Bern is famous as well! Try authentic Swiss delicacies at Restaurant Rosengarten that edges along with the famous rose garden or the magnificently decorated Kornhauskeller with its humongous chandeliers and fresco ceiling. Bern is mostly rainy throughout the year. The summers are warm, yet pleasant with temperatures averaging at around 20°C. The winters are short but cold with snowfall.

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Bern FAQ's

What are the main attractions in Bern?

Bern is the capital of Switzerland and, more importantly, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Throughout the year, millions of tourists throng this beautiful, quiet, and laidback city. You could say that it is one of the most overlooked small towns in the whole of Europe.  

Some of the main attractions in Bern are as follows:

1. The Old Town
The old town in Bern is a must-go spot and is located in the middle of the city. It is surrounded by water of the Aare river on all 3 sides. The medieval beauty and charm of the city have been well-preserved by the designers. The lower sector has cafes, bookshops, and restaurants whereas the upper side comes with apartments and buildings. 

Location: Kramgasse 40, 3011 Bern, Switzerland
Timings: Open 24 hours 

2. Kunstmuseum
The Kunstmuseum is also known as the museum of art where you can find more than 50000 paintings and artwork, which have been carefully preserved. Apart from that, you can also find photographs, films, prints, and drawings. It is one of the oldest museums in Switzerland, built in the 18th century having work of noted artists including Trecento, Niklaus Manuel, Ferdinand Hodler, and others. 

Location: Hodlerstrasse 8, 3011 Bern, Switzerland
Timings: 10am to 5pm 

3. The Einstein Museum and the Historical Museum of Bern
This was the same house that Albert Einstein rented out for a few years during his stay during the 19th century. This 15th-century building was designed by Andre-Lambert and contained more than half a million relics. The Einstein Museum and the Historical Museum of Bern feature the relics from the period of the Romans, Celts, Napoleonic, and the Stone age, to the 19th and 20th centuries.

Location: Helvetia Pl. 5, 3005 Bern, Switzerland
Timings: 10 am to 5-pm. 

4. Clock Tower
The clock tower is also known as the Zytglogge that is an 800-year-old tower and a famous landmark in Bern. The clock was designed and built in the 15th century, above the western gate tower. It is more than 20 meters in height and comes with a large astronomical clock that attracts many tourists. 

Address: Bim Zytglogge 1, 3011 Bern, Switzerland
Entry: For adults CHF 20.00, students and seniors CHF 18.00, and children between 6 to 16 years CHF 10.00

5. Paul Klee Center
The Paul Klee Center is dedicated to Paul Klee, who was a German-Swiss painter whose work was famous all throughout Europe. His writing is noted as one of the most crucial works of art to have been written during the 20th century. So, by visiting this center you will be rewarded with his work that is carefully preserved here. 

Address: Monument im Fruchtland 3, 3006 Bern, Switzerland
Timings: 10am to 5pm

Which are the best things to do in Bern?

You can take part in a plethora of things and enjoy sightseeing while in Bern. We have listed a few of them below:

1. Witness Myriads of Fountains
The city of Bern is also known as the city of fountains. Visitors will be quite surprised seeing the number of fountains sprawling all around this place, in almost every corner of the street. These fountains were designed during the 14th to 15th centuries by several artists.

2. Discover Vibrant Flora at Botanical Garden
The botanical garden in Bern is something that a nature lover must visit under any circumstance. The vibrant flowers and plants are beautifully placed in several sectors, creating a stunning ambiance that you’ll be unable to resist capturing in the camera. You’ll also view some endangered species of plants here.

3. Splurge on shopping  
If you are a shopaholic and visiting the town in winter, do not give Bern’s Christmas markets a miss. You can visit famous markets Waisenhausplatz and Münsterplatz to buy lovely hand-made wooden souvenirs. The city is also known to host several weekly markets, one of them is the Mühleplatz flea market, held on every 3rd Saturday. 

4. Admire the Scenic Views
Being in Switzerland and not treating your eyes with the beautiful panorama is a definite no-no! So, to reward your eyes you can head to Bern’s hill called Gurten. It will reward you with the breath-taking views of Bern.

5. Museums Hopping
For history enthusiasts, there are many museums in Bern to choose from. Visit the Natural History Museum to see more than 200 ancient artifacts and the display of crystals and rare stones of the earth. Further, explore the unique Communication Museum whose highlight is a display of all the communication systems dating back among mankind including postal service and sign language. Also, visit the Einstein Museum to see photography, footage, and objects exhibiting how Einstein's lived in Bern

6. Chill out at The Granary
The granary is one of a kind location boasting a theatre, a library, and several restaurants around it. The building today is, however, well-designed for modern use. The décor is worth admiring especially the pillars of Bernese women, wearing the traditional outfit. 

7. Explore the French Church
The French church is one of the most popularly visited buildings in Bern completed in 1754. It is located behind the Granary, and was beautifully designed by “Master of the Carnation." The church will offer you otherworldly experience.

What is the most romantic thing to do in Bern?

Bern showcases numerous fountains giving you the thrills and some spills. The well-designed architecture and a beautiful river to walk past, it cannot get any better. You can either walk around the town or use a cab to admire this beautiful scene along with your better half. 

1. Wander around The Old Town
The Old Town, as it is called, has the Aare river flowing on both sides. The arcades and ancient buildings surrounding it give you a very romantic feeling while strolling around. You and your partner can explore the nooks and corners of the streets.

2. Visit Bear park
The symbol of the city is the bear that you can even notice in door frames and coats found in this city. However, you can also spot bears in the bear park roaming around, thanks to the ongoing work of the environmentalist, a few years ago. 

3. Refresh Your Senses at Rosengarten
The rose garden possesses more than 200 types of rose flowers planted all over the garden. Once you roam around the gorgeous yard, your mind will be taken aback at the full range of colors that you can get to see in there.

What is Bern famous for?

Bern may not be a vast city, but that does not stop it from having a few popular sightseeing places for millions of tourists who throng the capital city of Switzerland every year. The most iconic buildings located here are the Berner Münster.

It is also called the Cathedral of St. Vincent or Bern Cathedral. The beauty of this church is that it was built during the middle ages, and stands tall even today. The cathedral played a prominent role in the architecture of the city to what it is today.

What is Bern?

Bern is the capital of the beautiful country, Switzerland. The small city is based around the roaring Aare River. The town represents deep-rooted ancient art and history that can be seen around many bylanes. 

There is also a popular site called Zytglogge, from where visitors can see numerous shops and houses that benevolently surround the capital with protruding arcades and roofs. It highlights the progress of the city, from the 18th century. 

Is Bern worth visiting?

A visit to Bern is a must for travel lovers. It is the capital city of Switzerland that offers a strange feeling that transfers you back in time, thanks to its marvelous medieval buildings that are well-preserved here. It is one of the most overlooked cities in the whole of Europe. 

The food, culture, the climate is something to be cherished for a lifetime. Make sure not to end up here on Sunday because most of the hotels and shops are closed at that time. For a tranquil and secluded tour with a lovely river and old buildings, a visit to Bern is a definite bucket-list destination.

What is the best time to visit Bern?

The best time during the year to visit Bern would be during the summer season, i.e., March to June. You will find a large number of tourists during this time as the climatic conditions are just perfect for enjoying long walks and sightseeing. 

However, if you want to beat the crowd, then visit from September to October would be fine too. The winters can be harsh and blistering, especially if you are from a tropical region. You may want to consider this aspect before booking your travel down to Switzerland at this particular time.

What currency is used in Bern?

The Swiss Franc (CHF) is the official currency used in Switzerland. Visitors need to know that the Swiss Franc is mostly overvalued. Hence, things might be little on the higher side. However, if you decide to use the Euro, then you would want to know that it is a foreign currency here. 

When shopping, sellers will charge you for extra taxes and costs. Not to mention, it comes at its risks. The exchange rate might not suit your cause. So, please consider that fact and we recommend changing your Euros or national currency into the Swiss Franc (CHF) only from your hometown.

Do you need a visa to travel to Bern?

It depends on which part of the world you belong to. Thanks to the Schengen Visa system, citizens from the United States of America, Canada, and Australia, can stay in Switzerland for 90 days without a visa. 

However, if you are a citizen of India, then it would be best to apply for a proper visa a few months in advance. You can apply for a visit, tourist, or business visa online. Before traveling to the Schengen area, you may want to ensure that you have a valid permit with you.

Is Zurich or Bern better?

Bern is a better culture and history-wise. At the same time, Zurich provides you with the feel of the modern lifestyle of the Swiss people and culture. So, both Bern and Zurich come with their beauty and charm. The thing about Bern is that it is a surprisingly small town, to be called capital. This is the first thing that hits visitors when they arrive here for the first time. The architecture is classic and takes you back to olden times. 

You can be done within a few hours and call it a pleasant day. On the other hand, Zurich is a much bigger city and gives you a feeling that you are in a real town. You can head to large shopping complexes where lots of people roam around throughout the day as well as at night.

Which is better to visit Lucerne or Bern?

Both Bern and Lucerne come with their share of art and natural beauty that are identical in the area. The ancient buildings, rivers, and medieval homes welcome you in both these magnificent places. But probably the only difference between the two towns is the Chapel Bridge that is a wooden bridge belonging to the 14th century in Lucerne. The distance between the two cities is 110kms and the travel time from Bern to Lucerne takes 1 hour 15 minutes by train.

How many days do you need to visit in Bern?

It depends on the kind of holiday you are looking for. Usually, even a day is sufficient to walk around this small city that is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can set out on your journey during the morning and come back at night. With the charming buildings, old designed homes, and well-preserved artifacts, you will be amazed at what every street has to offer to you.

Is Bern safe at night?

Yes, Bern is safe at night and daytime both. The Swiss people are generally very down to earth and helpful. They can fluently converse with you in English, French, as well as German. However, there are some parking lots or the Reitschule that might not be the right place for a visitor to be waiting alone at night. Otherwise, you can consider visiting Bern or Switzerland for that matter alone, even if you are a woman.

Which are the must-visit fountains in Bern?

Visitors tend to be taken aback by the myriad of fountains present in the city of Bern. It is as if every street and corner boast one. Well, you can find more than 100 fountains all over Bern, built during the 15th century, by Hans Gieng, who was a great artist. 

1. Ogre Fountain (Kindlifresserbrunnen)
The Ogre fountain is one of the most iconic structures in Bern, built in the 15th century. The Orge depicts devouring small children. At the same time, water gently flows below him. The citizens are proud of this iconic structure, and tourists ensure that they take a few snaps of the fountain. 

2. Steinbrunnen
The Steinbrunnen is one of the oldest fountains in Bern that was designed in the 14th century. The fountain is built on a bench made from stone. You can find children and women of all ages relaxing and chatting along here. 

3. Bundesplatz-Wasserspiel
The Bundesplatz-Wasserspiel is the newest addition in the town that is located in the Bundeshaus. Built-in the year 2004, you can find kids running through jets of water then spurting through the air and on to the pavement.

What are the things to do in Bern at night?

Bern has an active nightlife. You will find numerous pubs and bars that are open till late at night. We have listed a few spots that you can consider visiting when in Bern. 

1. Relish Dinner at Sky Terrace
Devour delectable summer dishes while enjoying mesmerizing panorama at Sky Terrace that presents a 360 degrees view of the town. Relax and enjoy a drink or two while listening to soft music and admiring the ambiance. It’s an ideal place to spend night time with a lover or friends.

2. Explore the Parliament Building 
The Parliament Building is a delight to watch and see at night. Though you are not allowed inside at night, the sheer view of its glory and beautiful lights make it worth your time. Furthermore, the nearby market square is decorated splendidly during the festival.

3. Play Casino Games
If you are thinking gambling and having some fun, then you can do so at the Grand Casino, located at the Kornhausstrasse. Here, you can find tons of popular casino games to play till 5 am like Roulette and Blackjack. There are also several slot machines to try your luck! 

4. Clubbing at Du Theatre & Dudu Bar
The Club Du Theatre & Dudu Bar is located at Hotelgasse and offers you with some of the best bar and lounge facilities in Bern. It features the right nightlife ambiance with chandeliers increasing its charms. Here you can dance till you drop on amazing beats!

What can you at in Bern for free?

There are a couple of things that are free and you might enjoy doing it as listed below: 

1. Riverside Picnic
Visit Aare outdoor bath that is an open-air swimming pool accessible during the summer season for free. Take a dip while seeing the beautiful sights surrounding the swimming pool. Further, you can visit the nearby BarenPark, where you can see bears roaming around freely.

2. Stroll at Beautiful Gardens
You can visit the botanical garden, and also the rose garden with your partner or family. The entry to these places is free, and you can view the beautiful sights in there. 

3. Visiting Church
Apart from that, you can also stroll around Münster Cathedral. The peaceful surrounding and natural beauty will melt your heart. 

4. Watching Winter Show
During November, there is a show for free hosted at Swiss Parliament House, known as the Rendez-vous Bundesplatz. It is half an hour’s light show done twice a day and attracts a lot of tourists.

5. Explore the Old Town
The narrow bylanes of Bern’s old town are ideal for sightseeing to discover the medieval era. Within a few hours, you will see several sites, statutes, and more than 100 fountains boosting the beauty of its streets.
6. Ice-skating
Thrill-seekers can also consider some ice-skating in Bern near the Parliament House. Several ice skaters crowd this place to enjoy the winter sports. You can also head to the Schwarzsee lake or Oeschinensee lake to skate for free.

Which are the best areas to stay in Bern?

Bern is a beautiful town with 1 million residents. The irony is that the visitors, at a time, outnumber the citizens of this prosperous city due to many wonderful tourist spots found here. This laidback town can really throw a few surprises to visitors. We have listed a few places that you can consider staying at when visiting Bern. 

1. Beauvilla Bern
For getting the ancient feel, you might consider residing in Beauvilla Bern. The villa is a setting that is based on the early 1900s era. The building resembles a large cottage; there is a garden with sun lounger and antique décor inside.  You can even bring along your pet through request. 

Location: Jungfraustrasse 28, 3005, Bern, Switzerland.
Fee/Price: Starting at $130

2. Hotel Bellevue Palace Bern
For a more luxurious stay in Bern, you may prefer staying at the Hotel Bellevue Palace Bern, which is a 5-star hotel. The hotel is based right at the heart of the town and is just a few meters away from the Federal Parliament. The building dates back to the 1900s and offers amenities like a fitness center, restaurant, and sauna. 

Location: Hotel Bellevue Palace Bern, Kochergasse 3-5, 3011 Bern, Switzerland
Fee/Price: Starting at $352

Remember, the taxes are on the higher side in Bern and Zurich. So, if you plan on residing in a hotel or apartment on rent, then you will need to pay a little more. However, if you plan on staying a little longer, like a few weeks or a month, then you may want to look for flats or luxury villas that meet your requirements.

What are the essential items that one must pack while travelling to Zurich?

Here’s a season-wise list of essentials to pack:

1. Summers
- Light jacket 
- Thin full sleeve sweaters
- Raincoat/ umbrella
- Cotton T-shirts, shirts & trousers
- Sunglasses, hats, sunscreen
- Flat shoes or open sandals and sneakers.
- Pack hiking boots if you plan to trek.
- Cotton socks

2. Winters
- Thermal inners
- Sweaters
- Fleece tops and bottoms
- Heavy layered jackets, preferably waterproof
- Sunscreen, hat, sunglasses
- Closed-toe sandals, hiking boots, and sneakers
- Woollen gloves & socks

Which are the best places to enjoy shopping in Bern?

Shopping is considered to be amongst the top 10 things to do in Bern for its sheer range of independent labels, large department houses, and mom and pop stores. Some of the best places for shopping here are:

1. Spitalgasse: One of the best shopping areas in Bern, Spitalgasse is dotted with international clothing label shops, independent boutiques, Swiss watch stores, and art galleries. Some of the best shops here include Changemaker, Swatch, Dress Code Project GmbH, etc. Don’t miss to explore the huge Globus department store here for everything ranging from fashion labels, cosmetics, fine foods, and homeware.

2. Kramgasse: One of the most fun things to do in Bern in winter sun is to go on a shopping spree at the amazing Kramgasse. The medieval atmosphere of Kramgasse is as amazing as its stores. The entire area is paved in cobbled streets and house centuries-old cellars that have now been converted into shops. You will find the best of Swiss chocolates, watches, wines, handbags, apparel, and carpets here.

3. Old Town area: The six kilometre long cobbled streets of the Old Town area is a paradise for shoppers. Some of the best places to explore are Bazaar58 for its collection of over 10,000 buttons & Indonesian Ikat fabrics, Maison Art for its enamel & glass homeware, and Amuse Brocante for its unique antiquities and concept dresses. If you don’t want to shop, you can spend time window shopping, which is one of the best free things to do in Bern.

4. Christmas markets: During the Christmas time, every nook and corner of Bern fills up with the fragrance of freshly baked bread, roasted chestnuts, coffee, and spiced wines. Some of the most charming Christmas markets in the city are Stars market (on the Kleine Schanze) famous for its huge fondue chalet, Bern Minster (Minster Square) market for its handicrafts & jewellery, and the Waisenhausplatz Market (Orphanage Square) for its caramels, mulled wine, and gingerbread. One of the best things to do in Bern in winter is to try and take a tour of as many winter markets as possible.

What can you do in Bern for free?

These are some of the most amazing and surprisingly free things to do in Bern:

1. Visit the weekly markets: Bern is a city of vibrant pop-up farmer’s markets that are a great way to enjoy the sights and fragrances of the city. One of the most interesting markets here is Zibelemarit (Onion Market), (every 4th Monday in November) where you can see 50 tonnes of onions woven in braids with garlic, which is one of the most interesting things to do in Bern in winter. 

Other great options are the weekly market (Tuesday and Saturday at Waisenhausplatz), Market of Wild Plants (late April) and the Flea Market (3rd Saturday of every month from May-October).

2. See the House of Parliament: The Swiss Parliament is an imposing building with magnificent architecture edging on the Aare River. Its copper and golden coloured domes and interiors have been decorated by 38 of the most famous Swiss artists.

Free guided tours are conducted 5 times each day daily that narrate the workings of the building and take visitors through all the important areas and the art collections of the Parliament. These tours rank amongst the top free things to do in Bern.

3. Visit the lush Botanical Garden: One doesn’t have to shell out money to spend a beautiful day surrounded by sunshine, cool breeze, and the intoxicating fragrance of thousands of flowers. The garden houses over 5000 types of plants from all over the world including regions like Mediterranean, Asia, Balkans, Himalayas, etc. 

Don’t miss to see the patches of pineapple, cherry blossoms, and roses here. You can also see the memorial of the famous artist Paul Klee here, which is one of the most surreal things to do in Bern.

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