Switzerland is quite beautiful with the high Alps and the charming small villages located on the hills in the valleys. Among such places is the capital of Switzerland, Bern. Bern is known for its abundant natural beauty. Built on a sandstone ridge, and encircled from three sides by Aare river, Bern is place you must not miss while you visit Switzerland. There are high-level bridges that link the higher parts of city to the newer parts of the city on the other side of the river. The city has a distinct vibe to it with different shops and houses projecting architecture of 17th and 18th century. Also, the Old Town Bern is the well-preserved town right in the vicinity of the modern city even today. Also, it is considered as the UNESCO World Heritage site.
Bern is quite rich in culture with a number of events going on throughout the year. Also, there are quite a few museums and theatres to keep you engaged while you are visiting the city. Let us now take a look at the best time to visit Bern.
Best time to visit Bern
While Bern is a year around destination, the best time to visit the city is during April to September when the late spring season is on. The weather during this time is quite pleasant and days last long. This is the ideal time to explore the city with all its activities.
Summers are also a good time , but you will find large crowds during the months from July to August. If you wish to explore the city while escaping the crowds, it is better to visit during winters. The weather is cold and you might also get discounts on hotels during winters.
Thus, depending on your time and preference, the late spring is the best time to visit Bern .
Top incredible things to do in Bern
1) The Old Town
What you will absolutely love about the Old Town of Bern is it’s uniformity. Most of the city was brought down by fire in 1405 and tall sandstone buildings took over from the old-age wooden houses. Explore the Old Town of Bern where most of the houses are woven with arcades on their ground floor. The old streets with buildings full of rich culture and heritage is what Old Town is all about.
There are six kilometers of arcades in all buildings including hiding shops, bars, cafes and restaurants. While you can explore the Old Town at your own pace, you can also go for the free walking tours that are arranged. One of the ways to explore the town i by trying to find the all 11 Renaissance fountains in the center.
Thus, taking a stroll through the Old Town Bern is one of the best things to do in Bern.
2) Zentrum Paul Klee
Located in the Bern’s eastern outskirts, is one of the most phenomenal modern museum for one of the greatest artist of early 20th century. Paul Klee was born just outside Bern and his painting style largely included Expressionism, Cubism and Surrealism. The design of the museum itself is interesting like an oscillating wave. Do not forget to visit the museum to witness the art of Klee through different versions of his paintings.
Also, Klee’s paintings at the museum are presented in the ever changing shows on different themes. So, no two visits to the museum would be same for you making it a must visit while you are in Bern.
3) Experiencing the Zytglogge
Bern is quite popular for some of the most antiques in the world. Located on a street in the Old Town, the clock tower at Zytglogge is one of the remarkable places you must visit. Built in the early 13th century, the landmark has served as the guard tower, clock tower, prison, center of urban life and civic memorial as well . The tower features a huge clock that was installed in 1530. Visit this place to witness the grand tower along with the astounding astronomical clock below it.
Also, do not forget to go to Marktgasse to see the clock tower working with mechanical figures during the stroke of an hour. The whole mechanism of clock tower , the astronomical clock and the mechanical figures are controlled by the same mechanism. If you wish to spend a day relaxing in Bern, you can come down at Zytglogge.
If you are planning to stay in Bern for more than one day, you must make a visit to the Bern’s own hill, Gurten. For reaching the hill, you will need to take a funicular from Aare in Waben. The ride will get you to the top of the hill in just 5 minutes. The views from above are spectacular, with the whole town in front of your eyes surrounded by the mountains from sides.
Also, you can go for a number of hikes here during summers when the weather is pretty clear. It is during the month of mid-July, the Gurtenfestival is held here with a number of artists performing. If you wish to spend a day while overlooking the town and do nothing, Gurten is the perfect place to do so. A one day picnic to the hill is one of the most amazing experiences you will ever have. Thus, Gurten is easily among the best places to visit in Bern in one day.
5) Bern Historical Museum
Switzerland is quite popular for a number of museums. Among the Swiss’s second largest institution in this field, the Bern National Museum is some of the some of the historical and ethnographic collections that quite date back to stone age.
The whole collections are kept properly in a Neo-Renaissance edifice which has a modern extension for temporary exhibitions that keep happening here. Visit the museum to indulge yourself in an experience like never before. The museum is quite big in size and will keep you engaged for the whole day. Bern Historical Museum is among the places to visit in Bern in one day.
Among the large displays at the museum the most popular one’s are the spoils of wars. You will be shocked to see the remain of some of the things from World War here. Aso, the integrated Einstein Museum is a must see while you are here. It contains a lot of footages , photographs and objects illustrating his time spent in Bern when he devised the famous Theory of Relativity.
6) Bern Cathedral
While there are quite a few free walking tours in Bern, there is nothing quite like the Bern Cathedral. Regarded as the Switzerland’s tallest cathedral , it is remarkable with its architecture and place in the history. The single spire of the cathedral soars high upto 100 meters which offers the spectacular views of the alps. You can reach the top by climbing the 400 odd-steps through the cathedral. It might seem tiring but the view that you get after reaching the top is all worth it.
As you enter the Cathedral, you will be greeted by the Last Judgement which is an astonishing set piece on the main portal. Once you are inside, you can witness the 16th century carved choir stalls along with the “Dance of Death” stained glass window. The whole cathedral is a piece of architectural marvel that you must see.
If you walk past the Aare bridge and head further up from the BarenPark , you will reach the rose gardens of the city. The rose gardens on the high grounds overlooking the beautiful Old Town. You can visit the park to spend a day at slow pace while seeing the magnificent views of the Old Town.
The Rosengarten was a cemetery until 1913. The first of the roses were planted in 1917. The early summer and spring are the best seasons to visit here as you will witness around more than 220 species of roses blooming . The whole view of the rose gardens during spring along with the backdrop of the beautiful Old Town is something you must not miss. You can spend the whole day here along with your family and friends. Thus, visiting Rosengarten is easily among the best things to do in bern.
Apart from the Historical Museum, this place has the minor attraction on the second floor of the building where Einstein lived during 1903-1905. He shared this place with his wife Mileva Maric and their son Sans Albert.
Visit the place to see where the genius compiled the famous Annus Mirabilis papers which changed the way we look the universe now.
The room has now been remade with the contemporary architecture depicting his work of early life. It is a different experience altogether to visit the place where Einstein actually lived and worked on his scientific discoveries. You can combine the visit of Einsteinhaus along with Bern Historical Museum. Thus, Einsteinhaus is a perfect place to visit in Bern on a free day.
If you visit Bern and do not see the Swiss Federal Assembly, your trip is incomplete. The Bundeshaus was completed in stages throughout the second half of 19th century and is home to the world’s oldest democracy.
If you wish to see the building from inside, it is better to book online early. There are a number of guided tours which can help you understand the history of the building in a proper manner. The interior is even more remarkable than the exterior of Neo-Renaissance building. While there are paid guide tours, you will also find a number of free walking tours here.
10) Baren Park
If you cross the bridge from from Old Town, you will find yourself the company of the three brown bears. Bern has been a long affectionate of bears. The city had adopted the animal as an emblem since 12th century.
Bern has kept its own bears since 16th century and they were moved here in 1857. Also, in 2009 the new habitable space was opened for them. If you are habitual of seeing animals in captivity, seeing the bears of BarenPark will be refreshing for you. The three healthy bears also take a dip in the river while you see them.
In the end, Bern is a perfect combination of modern marvels with rich history and culture along with the abundant natural beauty. Thus, with the above list of things to do in Bern, we are sure you will make the most of your trip.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ’s) about Bern
- What is the best ideal season to visit Bern ?
Ans. Although Bern is a year around destination , the spring months from April to September are the best to visit. It is during this season you will be able to explore Bern. Also, September being the blooming season, you will spot a lot of flowers during this time.
- What are the places that you must see in one day in Bern ?
Ans. Few of the places that you must visit in Bern in one day period are Zytglogge, The Cathedral of Bern, Bundeshaus, BarenPark.
- How to look for a walking tour and book it while you are in Bern ?
Ans. You can either book the walking tours online at freewalkingtoursbern.ch website. Also, while you explore the city, you can find a lot of information regarding different tours that are happening on the streets itself. You might also spot the free walking tours registration desks at places.
- What is the best affordable mode of transport to explore Bern ?
Ans. While you can always book a taxi or get yourself a self-driving car in Bern to explore the city, the local transport is quite affordable and reliable. You can go the numerous trams or buses that are available at multiple locations. Also, if you are someone who loves exploring on bikes, Bern’s bike sharing is an amazing way to rent bicycles and explore the city at your pace.
- What is the one place you must not miss in Bern ?
Ans. Undoubtedly the Old Town of Bern is the one place you must not miss visiting. With the old age architecture and numerous cafes lined up, Old Town is a perfect place to enjoy the old world charm.
Further Read: Top Incredible places in Europe