The best things to do in Bern

Bern, the capital city of Switzerland, is a charming and historic city that is often overlooked by tourists in favor of bigger cities like Zurich and Geneva. However, there is much to see and do in Bern, from exploring its medieval Old Town to taking in the stunning views from the top of the city’s famous bear pit. Here are just a few of the many things to do in Bern that you won’t want to miss.

Explore the Old Town

The Old Town of Bern is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and for good reason. The city’s medieval center is a maze of narrow streets and charming arcades, lined with colorful houses and beautiful fountains. The most famous of these is the Zytglogge, a 13th-century clock tower that is one of the most photographed landmarks in Bern. The Old Town is also home to many of Bern’s most important buildings, including the Federal Palace, where the Swiss government meets.

Visit the Bear Pits

The bear pits are one of Bern’s most iconic attractions. These large pits have been home to bears since the 16th century, and today they are home to a small colony of brown bears. The bear pits are located in the heart of the city and are easily accessible from the Old Town. Visitors can watch the bears from above or take a tour of the pits to learn more about these fascinating animals.

Climb to the Top of the Cathedral

The Cathedral of Bern is another of the city’s most famous landmarks. The Gothic-style cathedral was built in the 15th and 16th centuries and is home to many beautiful works of art. Visitors can climb the 343 steps to the top of the cathedral’s tower for breathtaking views over the city and the surrounding mountains.

Take a Boat Ride on the River Aare

The River Aare runs through the heart of Bern, and a boat ride is a great way to see the city from a different perspective. There are several boat tour operators that offer rides on the river, some of which include a commentary on the history and sights of Bern. The boat ride is also a great way to take in the beautiful scenery of the surrounding mountains.

Visit the Einstein House

Albert Einstein, one of the most famous scientists in history, lived in Bern for several years while he worked as a patent clerk. Today, his former home is open to the public as the Einstein House. Visitors can tour the apartment where Einstein lived and worked, and see many of his personal belongings, including the famous blackboard on which he wrote many of his famous equations.

Take a Day Trip to the Jungfraujoch

If you have time, consider taking a day trip to the Jungfraujoch, which is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Switzerland. The Jungfraujoch is a high-altitude railway station located at the top of the Jungfrau mountain. The trip up to the Jungfraujoch is an experience in itself, and once you reach the top, you can enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers.

Visit the Paul Klee Centre

The Paul Klee Centre is a museum dedicated to the work of the Swiss artist Paul Klee. The museum houses over 4,000 of Klee’s works, including paintings, drawings, and prints, making it the largest collection of Klee’s work in the world. The museum also features temporary exhibitions of works by other artists and regular events and activities.

Experience the Bernese Alps

Bern is surrounded by the beautiful Bernese Alps, and there are plenty of opportunities to experience the natural beauty of the area. Hiking and skiing are popular activities in the summer and winter months respectively. Visitors can also take a cable car or cogwheel train to the top of some of the surrounding peaks for panoramic views of the city and the mountains.

Take a Stroll Through the Rose Garden

The Rose Garden is a beautiful park located on the banks of the River Aare. It is home to over 12,000 roses of different varieties, making it a popular spot for visitors and locals alike. The garden also features beautiful views of the city and the surrounding mountains, and is a great place to relax and enjoy nature.

Sample Local Cuisine

Bern is known for its delicious Swiss cuisine, and there are many restaurants and cafes in the city that serve traditional dishes. Some of the most popular dishes to try include fondue, raclette, and rösti, all of which are made with local ingredients. Visitors can also sample local cheeses and chocolates, which are famous throughout Switzerland.

Attend a Cultural Event

Bern is home to many cultural events throughout the year, including music and theater performances, art exhibitions, and festivals. Some of the most popular events include the Bern Jazz Festival, the Bern International Film Festival, and the Bern Street Parade. Visitors can check local listings for upcoming events and plan their trip accordingly.

In conclusion, Bern is a city that has something for everyone, whether you’re interested in history, culture, nature or just soaking up the atmosphere of a charming Swiss city. With its beautiful medieval architecture, stunning views, and rich cultural heritage, Bern is a destination that should not be missed. So, next time you’re planning a trip to Switzerland, consider adding Bern to your itinerary, you won’t regret it.