Things To Do In Bern

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In addition to a wide variety of activities and experiences to suit every taste, many people flock to Switzerland’s capital to take in the gorgeous sites. Bern has a stunning Old Town with most of its core dating back to the 15th century. 

10 Best things to do in Bern in a day

Bern, with a quaint 130,000 citizens is an amazing place to visit; with stunning gems to discover around every corner. From cobbled streets to 15th-century buildings and expansive arcades, you can easily fill a day in Switzerland’s capital city.

If you need any more reasons to visit Bern, here are ten activities you can experience.

1. Visit the Paul Klee Museum

This modern museum houses one of the early 20th century’s most influential artists. The museum was opened in 2005 and is designed as an oscillating wave, a piece of art in itself. The Paul Klee Museum now houses his entire collection, including childhood sketches as well as his Surrealist, Cubist and Expressionist pieces.

If you have visited the museum before and are considering returning, you will be pleased to know that the temporary shows change regularly; so you are sure to experience something new.

2. Spend some time in the Old Town

Sadly, a fire burned most of the city in 1405, which led to the old wooden houses being replaced with tall sandstone buildings. These are, however, still a breathtaking sight to behold and well worth a visit.

Why not try and spot all of the Renaissance fountains within the centre? There are 11 in total.

One of the defining characteristics are the arcades that weave through the Town and are home to a variety of shops, cafes, bars and restaurants.

3. Take a dip in the Aare river

Whilst the idea of swimming in the Aare may seem a little worrisome in the spring and summer months, if you travel south of the Altstadt you will find a perfectly safe place to dip your toes or even go for a swim.

4. Visit the Zytglogge

The Zytglogge tower is located in the Old Town and was built towards the end of the 12th century. Whatever time of year you choose to visit Bern, a popular experience is a trip to this tower to take in one of Switzerland’s oldest clocks. Installed in 1530, you can watch the clock’s charming figures come to life; moving in sequence every hour.

You can even book a tour of the tower where you can watch the show behind the scenes. We recommend booking in advance as the tour numbers are limited.

5. Drop by Bern Cathedral

In addition to one of Switzerland’s oldest clocks, Bern is also home to the country’s tallest cathedral. Built gradually throughout the 15th and 16th centuries, the spire reaches 100 metres high. Climb over 400 stairs for a spectacular view of snowy Alps in the distance.

The cathedral’s amazing views don’t stop there. Inside, you can see one of Europe’s matchless groups of Gothic sculptures: Last Judgement.

After soaking up this amazing set-piece, make your way to the 16th-century stunning stained windows and carved choice stalls.

6. Picnic in the Rose Garden

Near BärenPark, on high ground and with a wonderful view of Bern’s Old Town, is the city’s rose garden. Join families, couples and friends as they picnic surrounded by beautiful flowers.

The first of the garden’s roses were planted in 1917 and is best enjoyed throughout spring and early summer where you will enjoy:

  • 223 species of roses
  • 200 iris species
  • 23 species of rhododendron
  • A pond graced with lilies

7. Stop off at Einstein’s house

Seeing where Einstein lived  (1903 – 1905) easily made it onto our list of places to visit in Bern. Einstein lived here during his employment at the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property, sharing his space with his wife and son.

Feel inspired standing in the same space where the genius changed the way the universe is understood through his Annus Mirabilis papers.

8. Taste cheese at Emmental Cheese Dairy

Lovers of cheese will feel at home in Switzerland. Once you have enjoyed as much fondue as you can, visit Bern to savour the world’s most famous cheese at the Emmental Show Dairy.

Have you ever wondered how the holes appear in the cheese? Discover the answer at the show dairy, which is open every day of the year (and has been since 1989). Watch as 8,000 litres of milk is transformed into cheese every day and perhaps even try your hand at cheese-making yourself.

As with the other experience mentioned in this post, book your tour to avoid disappointment.

9. Visit the bear enclosure

The bear has been an emblem of Bern dating back to the 12th century. It even has an enclosure housing three bears near the Aare river and the Old Town.

Bears have been ‘kept’ in Bern since the 16th century (at least) but were moved to their new enclosure in 1857. A new, more modern space was opened in 2009 featuring two enclosures and a river for the bears to enjoy.

10. Stop by Swiss Parliament

When visiting Switzerland’s capital, a trip to the Swiss Federal Assembly is a must. As one of the world’s oldest democracies, the Bundeshaus was constructed towards the end of the 19th century.

Outside you will find a fountain with 26 jets, symbolising the country’s Cantons.

Book well in advance if you want to step inside for a tour. This extremely popular experience, led by a knowledgeable guide will pass on a wealth of information surrounding the history of federal government, including some myths surrounding its founding.

Whatever time of year you visit Switzerland, be sure to include the amazing city of Bern in your plans.

 

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