How to Spend 3 Days in Bern Itinerary: 22 Things to Do

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Bern is the one city in Switzerland where I could happily spend the entire day wandering. Its old city is among the most architecturally stunning places I’ve had the pleasure of exploring. The well-structured city blocks and striking architectural landmarks of Bern, already a sight to behold from the streets, left an even greater impression on me when I viewed from above. Yes — Bern is dotted with viewpoints that offer pleasing panoramas of its Old City.

Here’s my verdict: if beauty is what you seek as a traveler, I have no doubt that Bern is the destination for you. However, Bern has more to offer than just enjoyable sightseeing, so you’ll probably want to stay longer than just one or two days — perhaps even three. With its array of fascinating landmarks, engaging museums, and outdoor attractions, Bern offers plenty to explore.

To fully experience what Bern has to offer, a three-day stay would be ideal. How can you make the most of your time in Bern? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. In this blog post, I’ll provide a complete itinerary and valuable information for exploring every tourist attraction in Bern.

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Bern, the capital of Switzerland and my favorite European destination, has always held a firm spot on my list of must-visit places in this wonderful country.

The city’s well-preserved Old City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, assures an authentic experience that I’ve never doubted. With roots dating back to the 12th century, it’s not just the Old City that piques my interest in Bern, but also its history (Fortunately, for those who share this interest in Bern’s past, the city boasts a number of museums ready to satisfy your curiosity)

One of the things I’m specifically fascinated about Bern is how its name originated. As legend has it, Berchtold V, Duke of Zähringen and the founder of Bern, vowed to name the city after the first animal he encountered on his hunting trip. As it turned out, this animal was a bear, which not only gave the city its name but also its heraldic symbol. This is why you’ll notice that as you wander through the streets of Bern, many fountains and parks prominently feature a bear.

Speaking of fountains, Bern is teeming with them. You’ll find two or three in every street you wander through. With these, I think, Bern is like a museum of beautiful medieval fountains. It’s one of the things that make Bern a unique city.

There are so many more cool things about Bern that I can’t wait to share with you. You’ll come across these as we delve into the 3-day itinerary for Bern, revealing a host of things to do that will enrich your stay in this captivating city.

Bern 3-Day Itinerary

One of the nice aspects of spending three days in Bern is that most of the intriguing attractions are within walking distance of each other. As someone who loves to wander, this is a feature I so much appreciate—you can simply stroll around and unexpectedly come across sights that are both stunning and stimulating.

This opens up many different ways on how you can spend three days in Bern. However, to me, the best way to visit Bern for three days is this:

  1. On the first day, focus on the Old City. Visit the highlights of Bern which include its historical landmarks, architectural attractions, and scenic spots. This should give you a lasting beautiful first impression of the city.
  2. On the second day, it’s time to delve deeper into the city’s details. Discover Bern’s history, find hidden gems, and uncover interesting things that are unique to Bern. You can do this by spending time in the city’s museums which are clustered together in the museum district of Bern, just a bridge away from the Old City.
  3. Lastly, on your third day in Bern, it’s time to reward yourself for a well-done exploration of the city. Relax in the city’s nearby mountain resort or visit another museum with a refreshing view outside the city.

Sound like a great plan? Here are the details.

Note: The itineraries I’ll provide include timestamps and summaries of experiences for each destination in Bern. While exact hours and minutes are indicated, it’s not necessary to follow them strictly. Instead, they serve as guides to prevent you from spending too much time at a single attraction. For more information about each place of interest in Bern, please check my list of things to do in Bern.

Day 1 in Bern

Hour Destination Notes/Summary
8:10 am Kleine Schanze Revel in the invigorating views of Bern’s southern landscape, the tranquil river Aare, and the diverse architecture of the Old City.
8:50 am Bundeshaus Snap a selfie! Take a moment to appreciate the architecture. Wander around the Parliament Building and soak in the stunning vistas that unfold behind it.
10:30 am Berner Münster and Münsterplattform Take a moment to admire the Bern Cathedral, ascend its towering structure, and feast your eyes on the panoramic views from the Münsterplattform.
12:00 pm Lunch Reserve one to two hours for this. Giving Kornhauskeller a try is a must.
2:00 pm More fountains in the Old City Wander around the streets to see Kindlifresserbrunnen, Schützenbrunnen, Anna-Seiler-Brunnen, Pfeiferbrunnen, and Ryfflibrunnen
2:50 pm Zytglogge Catch the full-hour spectacle of the clock tower.
3:10 pm Einsteinhaus and fountains in Kramgrasse Step into Einstein’s simple apartment and delve into the narratives of his life. Stroll along Kramgasse and admire its beautiful fountains, such as Zähringerbrunnen and Gerechtigkeitsbrunnen.
5:00 pm Bear Pit Observe bear feeding up close and venture into different parts of the bear enclosures. Take a moment to relax and appreciate the tranquil view of the Aare River.
6:00 pm Rose Garden Savor the panoramic view, snap a selfie with the Einstein statue, and watch as the sun sets! End the day with a delightful dinner and refreshing drinks at the garden restaurant.
9:00 pm Hotel Rest time!
Day 1 in Bern

Day 2 in Bern

Hour Destination Notes
10:00 am Bern Historical Museum and Einstein Museum Discover items dating back to the prehistoric times to present. Also, learn about Einstein through the 500+ objects about him.
12:00 pm Lunch Allocate 1 to 2 hours.
2:00 pm Natural History Museum or Museum of Communication or Zentrum Paul Klee or Bern Animal Park Choose whatever museum/park you want to visit.
6:00 pm Join the Spooky Bern Tour As dusk falls, the chilling Bern Tour commences. Uncover the intriguing and darker side of Bern.
8:00 pm Hotel and Dinner! Rest and Refreshments!
2-Day Bern Itinerary

Day 3 in Bern

Hour Destination Notes
7:00 am Gurten Ascend the tower, soak in the panoramic views, experience the thrill of tobogganing, engage in a game of Disc golf, embark on a hiking adventure, try out skiing, and partake in many more exhilarating activities.
12:00 pm Restaurant Gurtners Dine-in at Gurten’s fantastic restaurant.
2:00 pm Natural History Museum or Museum of Communication or Zentrum Paul Klee or Bern Animal Park Choose whatever museum/park you haven’t visited.
7:00 pm Hotel and Dinner! Rest and Refreshments!
3-Day Bern Itinerary

Best Time to Visit Bern

Before going on your journey to Bern, there are a few things you might want to keep in mind. The time of year, the tourist attractions that are open and their hours of operation, your budget, and any unique events taking place can all contribute to an unforgettable experience.

Here are some tips to guide you.

Consider the Season

Spring (March to June) in Bern is a time when the city comes alive with the colors of blooming flowers and the pleasant weather makes it a joy to explore. You know the cute fountains in Bern? They’re adorned with colorful flowers!

Spring is not as crowded as the summer months, so you can enjoy the city’s attractions like the Zytglogge and the Kunstmuseum at your own pace. However, keep in mind that May can be a bit rainy, and if you’re looking forward to a dip in the Aare River, you might find the water still too chilly. (You won’t see the locals having fun in the Aare River yet!)

When Summer (June to August) rolls around, Bern truly shines. The warm weather is perfect for wandering around the city. Summer is also the time when tourist attractions in the city have the longest opening hours, thus the best time to have a 3-day trip to Bern.

The city is buzzing with life and events, but this also means it can get quite busy with tourists. If you want, you can join the locals and other tourists swimming in the Aare River at Freibad Marzili.

As Autumn (September to November) sets in, Bern turns into a picturesque postcard with beautiful fall foliage. You’ll love the view from the Rose Garden! It’s also when the city hosts the unique Zibelemärit Onion Market.

But remember, as the leaves change, so does the weather. The temperature starts to drop and there might be weeks of heavy fog.

Winter (December to February) transforms Bern into a winter wonderland. You can enjoy ice skating at Rathausplatz or sledding at Gurten mountain, followed by some warming food. However, do keep in mind that snowfall can make the weather unpredictable, and some outdoor activities might not be available due to the cold.

Visit Bern During the Shoulder Season? Not So Fast…

If you prefer to avoid the crowds, the best time to visit Bern would be during the shoulder seasons of spring (March to June) and autumn (September to November). These periods typically see fewer tourists, allowing you to enjoy the city’s attractions more peacefully.

However, do keep in mind that the weather during these seasons can be unpredictable, with spring being the wettest season and autumn experiencing weeks of heavy fog.

Visit Bern During Cultural Events

Visiting Bern during cultural events offers a unique and festive experience, allowing you to immerse yourself in local traditions and cuisine. It’s a great opportunity to interact with locals and create unforgettable memories. These events truly bring the city to life, making your visit even more special.

Here are some events that I find interesting:

  1. Bern Carnival (February or March): Imagine a city taken over by jesters, musicians, and masked figures! That’s the Bern Carnival for you. It’s a tradition that dates back to the 16th century, starting with the symbolic release of a bear from the Prison Tower. Quite a spectacle!
  2. Museum Night (March): Ever fancied roaming around museums under the starry night sky? Well, Bern’s Museum Night is just the event for you. With a single ticket, you can explore over 40 museums until the wee hours of the morning.
  3. Bern International Jazz Festival (March to May): If you’re a fan of Jazz, Blues, or Soul music, you’re in for a treat! This two-month-long festival draws top performers from around the globe, filling the city with soulful tunes.
  4. Buskers Street Music Festival (August): This is when Bern’s streets turn into a stage. Musicians, artists, and performers from all corners of the world gather to entertain and amaze. It’s a burst of creativity and talent like no other!
  5. Zibelemärit Onion Market (November): Picture this – over 50 tons of onions artistically woven into braids and brought to Bern by local farmers. It’s an onion lover’s dream come true! This unique folk festival takes place on the fourth Monday in November.

For more options, check Bern’s Calendar of Events.

How to Get to Bern

If you’re flying into Switzerland, the closest airport to Bern is the Bern Airport (BRN). It’s just a short distance from the city center, about 6 km away.

Once you land, you have a few options to reach the heart of Bern:

  • By Bus: There’s a bus that can take you directly from Bern Airport to Bern, Bahnhof. The journey is pretty quick, usually around 18 minutes.
  • By Train: Another option is to take the line 160 bus from Bern Airport to Belp, Bahnhof. From there, you can catch a train to Bern. This route takes a bit longer, around 30 minutes.
  • By Taxi: If you prefer a more direct route, a taxi from Bern Airport to the city center might be your best bet. The trip typically takes between 15 to 25 minutes.

If you’re already in Switzerland and traveling from another city like Zurich, Geneva, or Basel, trains are a great way to get to Bern:

  • From Zurich: Trains run from Zürich HB to Bern every 20 minutes and the journey takes about 56 min. Alternatively, there’s a daily bus service from Zurich Bus Station to Bern.
  • From Geneva: Trains from Genève to Bern run every 30 minutes and the journey takes about 1h 44m. There’s also a bus service from Geneva to Bern three times a day.
  • From Basel: Trains from Basel Sbb to Bern run every 30 minutes and the journey takes about 58 min. There’s also a twice-daily bus service from Basel SBB to Bern.

Getting Around Bern

If you’re driving in Switzerland and plan to visit Bern, there are plenty of parking options available.

The city has around 3500 short-term parking spaces in multistory parking garages, and as you approach the city from the motorway, signs will guide you to available spaces.

Here are a couple of options:

  • Bahnhof Parking at Parkterrasse 14 – 3012 Bern: This is near the main train station, making it convenient if you plan to use public transportation. It’s a great option if you want to park your car for the day and explore the city on foot or by public transport.
  • Parkhaus Metro at Waisenhausplatz 19 – 3011 Bern: This is located near the city center, providing easy access to various attractions.

While having a car can provide flexibility, Bern’s efficient public transportation system and pedestrian-friendly design make it easy to explore without one. Plus, many areas in Bern are car-free zones like the Old City, so using public transport could be more convenient.

Most importantly, the city boasts an extensive network of trams and buses (run by Bernmobil). You can grab your tickets from machines or at the LIBERO shop at the main station. Just a heads up, you’ll need to buy your ticket before you hop on, as they aren’t sold on the vehicles themselves.

Now, here’s a little insider tip: if you’re staying overnight in Bern, you’ll get a Bern Ticket for your entire stay.

This golden ticket lets you travel for free in zones 100/101 operated by LIBERO. And guess what? It also includes the Gurten funicular, the Marzilibahn funicular, and the lift to Minster terrace, as well as your journey to and from Bern Airport.

On your arrival day in Bern, your reservation confirmation will serve as your transfer ticket from the train station or Bern Airport to your accommodation. You’ll receive your actual Bern Ticket when you check in.

Old City to Gurten

If you’re in the Old City and want to visit Gurten, the journey is quite straightforward.

You can hop on the S-Bahn no. 3/31 towards Belp and get off at the “Wabern” station or take tram no. 9 towards Wabern until the “Gurtenbahn” stop. From there, it’s just a short walk to the Gurten funicular valley station. The funicular ride up to Gurten is quite scenic and takes around 15 minutes.

Don’t forget to check the timetable!

Old City to Paul Klee Museum

For art lovers heading to the Paul Klee Museum, you can take the line 12 bus from Bern, Liebegg directly to Bern, Zentrum Paul Klee, which takes around 6 minutes. Alternatively, you can take the line 7 tram from Bern, Helvetiaplatz to Bern, Ostring. Either way, you’ll find it’s a breeze to get there.

Where to Stay in Bern

When you’re looking for the best places to stay in Bern, you’ve got some great options.

If you want to be right in the heart of the action, the Old Town, or Altstadt, is your best bet. It’s also the most convenient area in terms of transportation, restaurants, and attractions. Everything is within walking distance – from historical sites to the train station and even shopping options. But keep in mind, being in such a prime location might make it a bit pricier.

For those who prefer a quieter stay, Kirchenfeld-Schosshalde is a residential area with easy access to the city center. However, it might not have as many dining and nightlife options as Old Town.

Now, if you’re traveling on a budget, don’t worry. Despite Switzerland being known for its high cost of living, you can still find affordable accommodations in Bern. Actually, you can find budget accommodations in even in Old City of Bern starting at just $44 per person per night. (Yes, in 2023!)

But remember, to snag these deals, you’ll need to book as early as possible.

Here’s where you can find the best hotel deals in Bern.

22 Things to Do in Bern Switzerland

Ready for action? Here’s the summary of the attractions and places of interest in Bern.

  1. Old City of Bern: Wander in The Picturesque Streets
  2. Bern’s Minster: Admire Gorgeous Architecture
  3. Einstein House: Visit Einstein’s Home in Bern
  4. Zytglogge: Gaze at Bern’s Impressive Clock Tower
  5. Fountains In Bern: Hunt for The City’s Character
  6. Parliament Building: Visit the Heart of Swiss Democracy
  7. Kornhauskeller: Dine in Bern’s Most Beautiful Restaurant
  8. Bern Historical Museum: History to Ethnography
  9. Einstein Museum: Discover Einstein’s Bright Mind
  10. Natural History Museum: The oldest museum in Bern
  11. Museum of Communication: Nostalgic Phones and More!
  12. Zentrum Paul Klee: Museum and Modern Achitecture
  13. Rosengarten: Romantic Overlooking View of Bern and Aare
  14. Kleine Schanze: Visit a Christmas Market
  15. Aare River: Rafting in Bern
  16. Gurten: Mountain Fun and Adventure
  17. Bern Animal Park: For The Kids
  18. Bear Pit: See the Animals in Bern’s Coat of Arms
  19. Spooky Bern: Discover the Other Side of Bern
  20. Day Trip to Thun: A City With Fairytale Lake
  21. Day Trip to Jungfrau Region: Heaven on Earth Scenery
  22. Day Trip to Lucerne: Historical and Scenic Town

For more activities in Bern (guided tours and fun games), check out this list of more things to do in Bern.

Let’s get into details!

1. Old City of Bern: Wander in The Picturesque Streets

It goes without saying, but a leisurely stroll through Bern’s Old City is an absolute must! In my personal view, Bern’s Old City is the foremost reason why a visit to Bern is so worthwhile. It’s the meticulously preserved medieval core that left me truly impressed with its elegance and visually appealing architectural harmony.

2 Things to do in Bern, Switzerland_ Kramgasse, Old City, Bern

Did you know that the Old City of Bern has remained virtually unchanged since the early 15th century? UNESCO describes it as a prime example of a city that has managed to preserve its medieval urban structure while adapting to the evolving roles of a modern state’s capital.

As you wander through the city, each masonry cut-stone structure transports you back to medieval Switzerland. The vernacular architecture of the townscape invites you to take a leisurely stroll along the charming cobblestone streets. The houses in the old city, all in varying shades of brown and adorned with stuccos and murals, exude an air of elegance that is simply breathtaking.

3 Things to do in Bern, Switzerland_ Old City, Bern

Embarking on a leisurely stroll through the main parts of the Old City of Bern – Kramgasse, Marktgasse, Munstergasse, Bundesplatz, Munsterplatz, and Münsterplattform – can be a delightful experience that lasts up to an hour and a half or more.

With picturesque houses and buildings at every turn, you’ll find yourself lost in the beauty of the city, hardly noticing the miles you’ve covered. As you reach Münsterplattform, a beautiful park nestled beside Bern’s iconic church, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of gorgeous houses and the serene River Aare.

When hunger strikes, simply explore the myriad of arcades that house charming shops and cafes where you can take a breather.

4 Things to do in Bern, Switzerland_ Old City, Bern

Visiting Information: Old City of Bern

  • Location in Google MapsUNESCO- Von Bern
  • Entry Fee: Free
  • Opening Hours: Open all-day
  • Time Needed: 1 hour to 2 hours
  • Source/

2. Bern’s Minster: Admire Gorgeous Architecture

The Cathedral in the Old City of Bern is a sight to behold. Often referred to as Bern’s Minster, it exudes an indescribable grandeur that is evident in its elaborately designed exterior. Taking time to appreciate its intricate details is a must-do when visiting Bern.

5 Things to do in Bern, Switzerland_ Bern Cathedral

Despite being the tallest structure in Bern, the Minster isn’t easily visible within the Old City. The charming town buildings, typically three to four stories high, often obscure its view as you stroll along the streets.

However, as you approach Munsterplatz, your attention will inevitably be drawn upwards by the bell tower of Bern’s Minster. Its magnificent gothic spire soars to a height of 100 meters (328 feet), making it Switzerland’s tallest bell tower. If you’re up for an adventure, you can visit its bell at the top by ascending the cathedral’s staircase of over 300 steps.

It might sound like a strenuous climb, but rest assured, the awe-inspiring view from atop Bern’s Minster makes it well worth the effort! You’ll be greeted with a 360-degree view of Bern and vistas stretching all the way to the snowy peaks of the Alps.

Interestingly, did you know that Switzerland’s largest bell resides in Bern’s Minster tower? This massive bell, cast in 1611 and measuring 2.5 meters (8.1 feet) in diameter, still rings every hour! With a weight of 10 tons, its sound is incredibly loud.

6 Things to do in Bern, Switzerland_ Bern Cathedral

Stepping inside Bern Cathedral, you’re greeted by an understated grace typical of a Protestant Church. It once housed an array of art and grand altars, but these were removed during the iconoclasm of the Protestant Reformation. Yet, despite this loss, several beautiful pieces still remain.

Take for instance its vibrant stained-glass windows from the mid-15th century. When sunlight streams through them, they illuminate the cathedral with a divine light, showcasing various biblical images and heraldic symbols. One window in particular stands out – the ‘Dance of Death.’

It serves as a stark reminder to all – locals and travelers alike – that death is an inevitable part of life, irrespective of our societal standing.

But for me, it’s the architectural features on the outside of Bern’s Minster that truly catch the eye. From the gothic statues at the portal to its tympanum, rose windows, spires, and flying buttresses – these are marvels you simply can’t overlook!

7 Things to do in Bern, Switzerland_ Bern Cathedral

Visiting Information: Bern’s Minster 

  • Location in Google MapsThe Cathedral of Bern
  • Entry Fee (Only when climbing the tower): 5 CHF (Adult), 2 CHF (Children 7 to 16 years old).  
  • Opening Hours: Open all week. It has different opening hours for summer and winter, weekdays and weekends. However, it’s sure that you can enter Bern’s Minster and its tower from 11:30 am until 04:30 pm. Check the source for exact details.
  • Time Needed1 hour to 2 hours
  • Source/

You can find tours and travel services in Bern here.

3. Einstein House: Visit Einstein’s Home in Bern

Situated in the heart of the Old City of Bern is a simple dwelling that was once home to Albert Einstein, one of the world’s most brilliant minds.

Although he was born in Ulm, Germany, it was here in Bern that he finalized his revolutionary Theory of Relativity. From 1903 to 1905, this world-renowned genius lived in a modest apartment in Bern.

Viewed from Kramgrasse’s cobblestone streets, Einstein’s house appears unassuming, much like the other buildings in the Old City. Indeed, with their strikingly similar appearances, finding Einstein’s house amidst these structures can be somewhat challenging.

Amidst the uniformity of buildings in the Old City of Bern, Einstein’s house is subtly marked by small, red letters spelling out “EINSTEIN-HAUS.” These letters are positioned in the upper left corner of the arcade of the building.

To be precise, it’s located on the second floor of apartment no. 49 on Kramgasse. If you’re standing with your back to Zytglogge, you’ll find the entrance to Einstein’s apartment in the arcades on your right. A brief 2-minute stroll from Zytgloggle will lead you straight to apartment no. 49.

Open to the public for a small entry fee (details provided later), Einstein’s apartment offers a fascinating glimpse into the life of this extraordinary man. Spread across three floors, the second and third levels house objects that provide insights into Einstein’s life during his time in Bern.

As you ascend the preserved original spiral staircase, you can almost picture Einstein himself making the same journey.

The second floor, in particular, paints a vivid picture of Einstein’s daily life with his family in Bern – from the furniture and instruments to photographs and views from the window. Here, you’ll also learn about Einstein’s wife, Mileva. The third floor delves into Einstein’s works and biography.

If reading isn’t your thing, there’s a small screen that plays a video about Einstein.

Visiting Information: Einsteinhaus 

  • Location in Google MapsEinsteinhaus
  • Entry Fee: 5 CHF (adults), 3 CHF (students and senior citizens)
  • Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm (3:45 pm is the last entry). Check the source for recent announcements!
  • Time Needed1 hour (~2 hours in detailed visit) 
  • Source/

You can find tours and travel services in Bern here.

4. Zytglogge: Gaze at Bern’s Impressive Clock Tower

No visit to Bern would be complete without a stop at the city’s most iconic landmark, Zytglogge. More than just a stunning clock tower, it’s a testament to the marvels of mechanical engineering. Standing at 54.5 meters, this structure offers a captivating sight that ranks high on the list of things to see in Bern.

Constructed in the early 13th century, when Bern was just beginning to establish its primary defenses, Zytglogge has undergone several transformations over the years. From a guard tower and prison to the city’s social center, it now stands as a civic memorial.

8 Things to do in Bern, Switzerland_ Zytglogge

From a distance, it might seem like just another clock tower. But as you draw nearer and take a closer look, you’ll discover a world of extraordinary details.

To truly appreciate its magic, make sure to catch the clock tower as it chimes on the hour. At this time, the various parts and charming decorations of Zytglogge spring to life. I recommend finding a spot in Kramgasse that offers a clear view of the top of Zytglogge, where the Gilded Jacquemart resides. This human statue strikes the bell when the hour arrives.

Aim to be near Zytglogge at least 5 minutes before the hour to fully experience the spectacle. It’s not just about the bell chiming; it’s a mini-show performed by Zytglogge’s mechanical figures.

Here’s a spoiler!

The show kicks off with the crowing of the tower’s rooster figure. This is followed by the rotation of bears under Chronos, who holds an hourglass, while the jester rings out a melody on the smaller bells. As the climax approaches, Chronos flips his hourglass and swings his scepter in rhythm, while Jacquemart tolls the bells at the top of the tower to mark the exact hour.

9 Things to do in Bern, Switzerland_ Zytglogge

Even if you visit Zytglogge outside of the full hour, there’s still plenty to admire, including its astronomical clock and frieze paintings.

The astronomical clock, in particular, is sure to leave you in awe. As I stood before Zytglogge’s astronomical clock, I found myself marveling at how the clockmaker managed to accurately calculate the shapes and sizes of the mechanical parts to display the current Zodiac sign, day of the week, and more.

You can also tour Zytglogge to see the mechanism that powers these clocks, but you’ll need to join an afternoon tour (not available in winter) for access. At the top of the tower, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the Old City of Bern.

While Zytglogge can be seen from both Marktgasse and Kramgasse, it’s from Kramgasse that it presents its most picturesque view, thanks to the leading lines created by the houses and arcades on either side.

For a perfect photo opportunity, include Zähringerbrunnen in your frame.

Visiting Information: Zytglogge 

  • Location in Google MapsZytglogge 
  • Public Tour Fee: 20 CHF (adults), 15 CHF (Senior Citizens), 10 CHF (6 to 16 years old) 
  • Tour Hours: 2:15 pm (Monday, Friday, and Saturday), 3:15 pm (Wednesday and Sunday)
  • Tour Duration: 1 hour
  • Visiting Duration: 5 to 10 minutes
  • Source/ and
  • Note: Please read the instructions carefully for the tours on An advance booking reservation is recommended. Call +41 31 328 12 12 or send an e-mail to

You can find more tours and travel services in Bern here.

5. Fountains In Bern: Hunt for The City’s Character

One of the fun things you can do while exploring the Old City of Bern is to look for the fountains that are scattered throughout the city. These fountains are not only landmarks, but also symbols of Bern’s history and culture.

They were built in the 16th century and have been preserved along with the buildings. Each fountain is unique and artistic, and you will be amazed by their variety and beauty.

10 Things to do in Bern, Switzerland_ Zytglogge & Simsonbrunnen

The fountains in the Old City of Bern are not only beautiful, but also meaningful. They have intricate decorations and elegant pillars that will make you want to take photos. On top of each pillar, there is a statue that represents a value or a character that is important to Bern.

The city has more than 100 public fountains, some of which are stunning examples of Renaissance art. The best part is that the water from these fountains is clean and drinkable, and you don’t have to pay anything for it.

If you want to see the most gorgeous fountains, I have already done the research for you. Here are the 10 most beautiful fountains in Bern, arranged in a convenient order. Starting with the fountain nearest to the Bern Bahnhof:

  1. Ryfflibrunnen – on top of this fountain, you’ll see Ryffli, the marksman who defeated knight Jordan III with a single shot.
  2. Pfeiferbrunnen – see a statue of a Musician playing his bagpipe with his goose and monkey.
  3. Anna-Seiler-Brunnen – is the fountain dedicated to Anna Seiler, who donated a hospital to the city. The statue on top depicts Hebe, the goddess of youth.
  4. Schützenbrunnen – is the fountain featuring a marksman that holds the banner of “Society of Musketry.” A cute bear holding a gun kneels between his legs.
  5. Kindlifresserbrunnen – has a statue of a bear devouring a baby. Stories say that the fountain was used by parents to scare their naughty kids to make them behave.
  6. Zähringenbrunnen – has an armored bear statue with his cub eating grapes on top. The heraldic bear symbolizes Bern’s founders, the Zähringen people.
  7. Simsonbrunnen – is the fountain with the statue of the biblical hero Samson on top. Samson is holding the mouth of a lion statue, signifying “strength.” 
  8. Mosesbrunnen – is the fountain in Minster Square. It has the statue of Moses on top, holding the tablets of commandments. 
  9. Vennerbrunnen – is the fountain in Town Hall Square. On top of its column is a mighty armored Bernese standard-bearer.
  10. Gerechtigkeitsbrunnen – has the Lady of Justice covered in golden armor on top of its beautiful column. She stands with sword and scale, higher than a king, sultan, pope, and emperor. 
11 Things to do in Bern, Switzerland_ Simsonbrunnen
12 Things to do in Bern, Switzerland_ Gerechtigkeitsbrunnen 
13 Things to do in Bern, Switzerland_ Pfeiferbrunnen 
14 Things to do in Bern, Switzerland_ Zähringenbrunnen 

Visiting Information: Fountains in Bern

Below are their exact locations in Maps, in case you want to visit every one of them. 

Seeing these 10 fountains in the Old City of Bern would take you at least 17 to 20 minutes, considering that you follow this route. But, I think it can get much longer to 40 minutes or 1 hour if you’ll stop for a minute, photograph, or simply admire each.  

You can find tours and travel services in Bern here.

6. Parliament Building: Visit the Heart of Swiss Democracy

The capital of Switzerland, Bern, has some unique landmarks and buildings that you can only see there. One of them is the Bundeshaus or the Parliament Building, also known as the Federal Palace of Switzerland.

This building is more than just the center of Swiss democracy, it is also a magnificent display of Renaissance Revival architecture. You will love its appearance from the outside, but the true marvel is inside.

15 Things to do in Bern, Switzerland_ Bundeshaus

Did you know that the Bundeshaus in Bern is made mostly of local materials?

According to the records of its construction from 1984 to 1902, 95% of the concrete, steel, and wood used for the Bundeshaus came from Switzerland.

The Bundeshaus has a lot of beauty and meaning inside. It may not be as grand as some other palaces in Europe, like Versailles in Paris or the Palazzo Pitti in Florence, but its domed hall, council chambers, and other parts are still impressive. You can learn a lot about Switzerland from the sculptures, frescoes, and symbols inside the Bundeshaus.

They tell the story of Switzerland’s origins and values.

16 Things to do in Bern, Switzerland_ Bundeshaus

The Bundeshaus in Bern has many symbols inside that reflect the diversity and unity of Switzerland.

For example, the four statues of mercenaries on the balustrades of the central dome represent the four national languages of Switzerland: German, French, Italian, and Romansh. In the domed hall, you can admire the stunning and colorful glass dome, with the Swiss flag at the center.

The flag is surrounded by the coats of arms of the cantons, showing the united Swiss federal state. You can also see the magnificent murals in the chambers.

The Council of States Chamber has a mural of a people’s assembly in Nidwalden. The National Council Chamber has a mural of Rütli meadow, where the Swiss Confederation was born.

17 Things to do in Bern, Switzerland_ Bundeshaus

The best way to see the inside of the Bundeshaus is to join a guided tour. The guides will take you inside the palace for an hour and show you the lobby, the domed hall, and the council chambers. They will also tell you about the history and meaning of each part.

18 Things to do in Bern, Switzerland_ Bundeshaus

Visiting Information: Bundeshaus

  • Location in Google MapsBundeshaus
  • Public Tour Fee: Free. But you must book in advance. See the reservation procedure on the source website below.
  • Tour Hours: English tours occur at 2:00 pm on a Saturday. There are German, French, and Italian tours on other days of the week unless there is a parliament session. See the link below for more info.
  • Tour Duration: 1 hour
  • Visiting Duration: 30 minutes (stroll outside and take photos)
  • Source/
  • Note: Read the announcements and requirements carefully when visiting or joining a tour. Booking is made on Bundeshaus’s website.

You can find tours and travel services in Bern here.

7. Kornhauskeller: Dine in Bern’s Most Beautiful Restaurant

There is one more beautiful attraction in the Old City of Bern that we have not talked about. It is Kornhauskeller, the most beautiful restaurant and bar in Bern.

You can enjoy Swiss and Bernese specialties under the impressive vaulted cellar of the restaurant. It is a great way to experience Bern. Kornhauskeller is located in Kornhaus, an 18th-century granary that is now an architectural wonder. Kornhaus also has a library and a forum, where you can find items related to city development, history, and social policy.

The restaurant in the cellar and the Galeriebar on the upper level of Kornhaus are worth seeing. They have an old-fashioned but stylish interior that enhances your dining experience. You will admire the church-like architecture of Kornhauskeller, with a nave and two aisles. It complements the medieval vibes of the Old City of Bern.

You will also enjoy the delicious food that Kornhauskeller serves. They have Swiss traditional and Bernese specialties, as well as Mediterranean cuisine, vegan choices, and more.

You can find the website and the menu of Kornhauskeller restaurant below (information section). You can pair the delicious dishes from Kornhauskeller with their wide selection of wines.

But if you are looking for drinks, you should really go to the Galeriebar on the upper level. The Galeriebar in Kornhaus is the perfect place for a digestif, in my opinion. They have all kinds of liquor that suit your taste, from champagnes to wines, cocktails to rums, whiskey to beers. It would be a great place to go with your partner or friends. The only downside is that the food and drinks are pricey.

Visiting Information: Kornhauskeller

  • Location: Kornhauskeller
  • Visiting Duration: Lunch (1 to 2 hours), Dine + bar (3 hours)
  • Restaurant Opening Hours: 
    • Monday to Thursday – 11:30 am to 2:30 pm and 3:30 pm to 10:00 pm
    • Friday and Saturday – 11:30 am to 2:30 pm and 3:30 pm to 11:00 pm
    • Sunday – closed
  • Bar Opening Hours:
    • Monday and Wednesday – 3:00 pm to 11:00 pm
    • Thursday and Friday – 3:00 pm to 12:00 am
    • Sunday – closed
  • MenuChubu_Speisekarte_01.22-EN.pdf

You can find tours and travel services in Bern here.

8. Bern Historical Museum: History to Ethnography

Bern boasts of several stunning museums, but none is as closely located to the Old City as the Bern Historical Museum. Positioned south of the city across the Aare River and after Kirchenfeldbrücke, it’s accessible in no time.

The museum contains over half a million pieces, including archeological and ethnographical items as well as worldwide history artifacts. By exploring these collections, you get to travel the globe without leaving Bern. 

The Bern Historical Museum is a treasure trove of knowledge, with countless archives that make it a reservoir of world history. It’s also home to a collection that preserves the cultural heritage of Bern. If you’re looking to learn more about the city, this is the perfect place to start.

But what sets the Bern Historical Museum apart from other museums? The museum. I mean, the physical museum. It is not just a museum, but a “Museum Castle.” At first glance, the Bern Historical Museum appears quite magical with its tall and pointy witch-hat roofs. 

Interestingly, it reminds me of Oberhofen Castle, located in Lake Thun located south of Bern near Thun and Interlaken.

As you step into the museum’s main entrance, your eyes will be drawn to a stunning glass mosaic by Léo-Paul Robert. This artwork showcases scenes from different periods of history, providing a glimpse of what awaits you inside.

The Bern Historical Museum has recently expanded, adding a new building called the Kubus Annex. Its solid glass northern facade is an Instagram-worthy sight, while the other side boasts a layer of concrete with a beautiful crystalline texture.

Visiting Information: Bern Historical Museum

  • Location in Google MapsBernisches Historisches Museum
  • Opening hours: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, from Tuesday to Sunday.
  • Entry Fee: CHF 13 (adults), CHF 4 (kids 6 to 16 years old)
  • Visit Duration: 2 to 3 hours

You can find tours and travel services in Bern here.

9. Einstein Museum: Discover Einstein’s Bright Mind

If you’re a fan of Albert Einstein, you’ll be happy to know that there is a dedicated floor in Bern Historical Museum just for him. It’s called Einstein Museum and it has everything you need to know about his entire life.

On the second floor of Museum Castle, you’ll find 70 films and animations, as well as 550 items of Einstein’s possessions (some are replicas only). The entire exhibit is spread over approximately 1000 square meters, so there’s plenty to explore.

The Einstein museum employs modern techniques to illustrate the life of Einstein, starting right from the entrance. You’ll be struck by the mirrored staircase that greets you, leaving a beautiful impression.

The museum covers both personal and professional aspects of Einstein’s life, including his romantic relationships and dramas. You’ll gain an understanding of how to become a genius in the early 20th century, a time when the world was experiencing its worst. The exhibition also features a wide range of Einstein’s belongings, from his watch to his hand luggage, printed documents, and published works.

Overall, the museum has seven rooms dedicated to elaborating on Einstein’s life, including his time in Zurich, Aarau, Ulm, Munich, Bern, Berlin, and Princeton, and his contributions to the Special Theory of Relativity, General Theory of Relativity, and Cosmology.

Visiting Information: Bern Historical Museum + Einstein Museum

  • Location in Google MapsBernisches Historisches Museum
  • Opening hours: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, from Tuesday to Sunday.
  • Entry Fee: CHF 18 (adults), CHF 8 (kids 6 to 16 years old)
  • Visit Duration: 2 to 3 hours + 1 hour for Einstein Museum

You can find tours and travel services in Bern here.

10. Natural History Museum: The oldest museum in Bern

Despite being less known for its museums when compared to cities like Geneva or Zurich, Bern is a great destination for museum lovers.

The museums here are all within walking distance of each other, making museum hopping a breeze. Of particular interest is the Natural History Museum, which holds the distinction of being the oldest museum in Bern. Established almost 200 years ago, it boasts Switzerland’s largest collection of animal skeletons and bones, as well as an impressive collection of 220 life-sized dioramas.

The Natural History Museum is a place where you can learn about nature in all its forms. You can see exhibits that showcase animals, meteorites, fossils, minerals, and many other things. The museum has a huge collection of specimens: more than 5 million invertebrates, more than 60,000 vertebrates, more than 70,000 minerals and meteorites, and more than 380,000 fossils.

You can find some incredible specimens at the Natural History Museum One of them is the fin whale, the largest mammal specimen ever. It is 18.2 meters long and it is located in the Great Bone Cabinet section of the museum.

Another one is the Etruscan shrew, the smallest mammal specimen ever. It is only 45mm long and it is very cute.

The museum does not have English translations for the exhibitions yet, but you can still enjoy the exhibits without reading much. You will be amazed by the creatures that you never knew existed.

If you want to understand the descriptions of the exhibits, you can use the Google Translate App as a handy tool. The museum might not have English translations for everything, but you can use the app to translate the words in other languages by scanning them with your phone.

The Natural History Museum is a great place to visit with your kids. They will love seeing the thousands of stuffed animals and dinosaurs, the skeletons of different creatures, the stones that glow in the dark, and more.

You should also check out the section dedicated to Barry, the famous St. Bernard dog from Switzerland. He was a hero who saved many lives in the mountains.

Visiting Information: Natural History Museum

  • Location in Google MapsNaturhistorisches Museum Bern
  • Opening hours: (Please see the source for holidays)
    • Monday 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
    • Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
    • Wednesday 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
    • Saturday, Sunday – 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
  • Visit duration: 3 to 4 hours
  • Entry Fee: 12 CHF (adults), 10 CHF (Senior citizens and handicapped), FREE (16 years old and below)
  • Source or

You can find tours and travel services in Bern here.

11. Museum of Communication: Nostalgic Phones and More!

We have already mentioned three museums in Bern that are perfect for museum-hopping: the Natural History Museum, the Bern Historical Museum, and the Einstein Museum.

They are all near the Old City, which is a great place to start your tour. But there is another museum that you should check out. It is the Museum of Communication (Museum für Kommunikation), and it is just a short walk from the other three museums.

The Museum of Communication is a cool thing to do in Bern, especially if you want to go back in time and see how communication was different before smartphones.

As someone who studied electronics engineering with a focus on communications, I am always curious and excited about the exhibits in this museum. The Museum of Communication has displays of different communication devices, from the first Swiss computer (ERMETH) to futuristic robots.

The museum is very modern and interactive, and it has many fun games that you can play with your friends. The museum is not only fun, but also educational. The museum also teaches you about the fundamentals of communication, such as how we use words and gestures.

I found it interesting to see old vehicles in the museum, like cars, bikes, and motorcycles. They made me think about how they can also communicate something.

The Museum of Communication is a great place to visit with your kids. It is also a good option when the weather is bad. You can spend hours exploring the three floors of interactive exhibits that will keep you interested and amazed.

Visiting Information: Museum of Communications

  • Location in Google MapsMuseum of Communications
  • Opening hours: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm Tuesday to Sunday (Please see the source for holidays)
  • Suggested visit duration: 4 to 6 hours 
  • Entry Fee: 15 CHF (adults), 5 CHF (5 to 15 years old)
  • Source or

You can find tours and travel services in Bern here.

12. Zentrum Paul Klee: Museum and Modern Achitecture

If you are a fan of modern art, you should visit the Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern. It is a museum dedicated to the works of Paul Klee, a famous Swiss-German painter and draftsman from the 20th century.

Paul Klee was an incredible artist who created more than 9000 artworks in his lifetime. He also composed music. Can you imagine that? He would have to make one artwork every day for almost 25 years to achieve that!

Klee’s works are special because they combine mystery, irony, and absurdity. He was influenced by different art movements, such as expressionism, cubism, and surrealism. He became famous all over the world, especially among art lovers.

The Zentrum Paul Klee is a museum that honors his works. Believe it or not, it has more than 3,500 of his artworks, which is 40 percent of his total output. The museum displays his works in rotation, so you can always see something new.

Another reason to visit the Zentrum Paul Klee is the museum’s architecture. It is one of the most photographed buildings in Bern, because it has a unique design that harmonizes with the landscape. The museum also has a beautiful interior design, and a warm and friendly atmosphere. tThe museum was designed by Renzo Piano, a famous Italian architect.

Visiting Information: Zentrum Paul Klee

  • Location in Google Maps: Zentrum Paul Klee
  • Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
  • Public Transportation: Bus no. 12 (to Zentrum Paul Klee), Tram no. 7 (to Ostring), Bus no. 10 (to Ostermundigen). The exact details are here.
  • Entry fee: CHF 20 (adults), CHF 18 (Senior Citizens), CHF 10 (Students)
  • Visiting duration: 2 to 3 hours
  • Source or website:

You can find tours and travel services in Bern here.

13. Rosengarten: Romantic Overlooking View of Bern and Aare

Seeing the beauty of the Old City of Bern from its streets is not enough. To appreciate its full beauty, you have to go to Rosengarten or Rose Garden. It is located east of the Old City, overlooking the Aare River and the whole peninsula, where the city lies gracefully.

The Rose Garden is a place to visit in Bern if you want to relax, take photos of the city, or enjoy a lovely time among the 400+ types of roses and 25+ rhododendrons that bloom in the garden. The park becomes more spectacular in spring and autumn, when the Japanese cherries blossom and change color with the season.

20 Things to do in Bern, Switzerland_ Rose Garden Bern

The Rose Garden in Bern is divided into four sections. The first and second sections, which are on the road side, have roses of different colors and a lily pond. The third and fourth sections are the picnic area where you can find scenic vantage points.

The view from these points is spectacular, especially during the golden hours of sunrise and sunset. You can see the whole Old City of Bern and the Gurten Mountain from there. The medieval city looks magical from above.

The Rose Garden has benches where you can sit and enjoy the view. If you want to catch the afternoon golden hour and watch the city light up at dusk, I suggest you come early and find the best spot. The garden can be crowded, especially in peak seasons.

And oh, don’t forget to take a selfie with the sculpture of Einstein on a bench! Behind him is a clear view of the Old City of Bern, and it is a beautiful spot for a photo souvenir.

If you feel hungry, you can go to the stylish Swiss restaurant at the south entrance of the park. It has a lovely view of the Old City and the Aare River, and it can be a very romantic place for you and your partner.

Visiting Information: Rose Garden

  • Location in Google MapsRosengarten
  • Public Transportation:
    • Bus No. 10 (to Ostermundigen, stop at Rosengarten)
    • Bus No. 12 (to Paul Klee Museum, stop at Barengraben)
  • Restaurant opening hours: 9:00 am to 11:30 pm Monday to Sunday 
  • Visiting duration: 30 mins or more
  • Website or

You can find tours and travel services in Bern here.

14. Kleine Schanze: Visit a Christmas Market

Located southwest of the old city, you’ll find another of Bern’s parks, Kleine Schanze.

Unlike the Rose Garden, which we’ve previously discussed for its charming roses, cherry trees, and lily ponds, Kleine Schanze presents itself as a more traditional park, complete with a stunning view of the Aare River. However, come Christmas season, Kleine Schanze transforms into a magical wonderland thanks to its Christmas Market.

If you’re visiting Switzerland during this festive period, this is an experience not to be missed. With around 80 stands offering a variety of local and designer products, there’s something for everyone. Like other European Christmas markets, you’ll find stalls serving delicious treats and warm drinks – perfect for a festive stroll.

During other seasons, you might catch local performances on the stage in the middle of Kleine Schanze – a delightful way to immerse yourself in the city’s culture.

And don’t miss the Universal Post Monument located right in the heart of Kleine Schanze.

Visiting Information: Kleine Schanze

  • Google Maps LocationKleine Schanze
  • Duration of visit: 30 minutes or more
  • Christmas Market Schedule: Last week of November to December 31, closed on Christmas day.
  • Christmas Market Opening hours:
    • Monday to Saturday, 11:00 am to 10:00 pm
    • Sunday, 11:00 am – 8:00 pm
    • December 24, 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
  • Source or

You can find tours and travel services in Bern here.

15. Aare River: Rafting in Bern

While Bern offers plenty of sightseeing and museum visits, it doesn’t mean there’s a lack of adventure in the city. The fun begins outdoors at the Aare River, the very river that gave life to Bern.

Of course, this is a summer activity when the waters of the Aare River are invitingly warm. As summer arrives, the river transforms into more than just a spot for a refreshing dip. Its rushing turquoise-blue waters become a haven for rafting, providing an exhilarating experience for you and your loved ones.

Did you know that the Aare River is known for having some of Europe’s cleanest waters? It’s said to be almost drinkable, but for safety’s sake, it’s best to quench your thirst with water from Bern’s fountains instead.

You can check this ultimate guide in Rafting in River Aare from Bern if you are interested in rafting during the summer. Your safety, rafting routes, equipment, and other necessary information and fascinating facts are stated in the guide.

If photography is your passion, consider renting a boat for a unique vantage point of the beautifully preserved buildings in Bern’s Old City. The view of the Parliament Building from the Aare River is a sight you won’t want to miss – it’s truly breathtaking!

16. Gurten: Mountain Fun and Adventure

Visitors to Bern need not venture far for an exhilarating outdoor experience. The city boasts its own mountain, Gurten, offering a range of fun activities akin to those found in the Swiss Alps.

However, if you’re seeking the ultimate mountain experience, you might be tempted to bypass Gurten and head straight for the Bernese Oberland region! This slice of paradise has so much to offer, from majestic castles and nostalgic trains to serene lakes and towering mountains.

While Gurten may not rival the majestic snow-capped peaks and stunning landscapes of the Swiss Alps, it’s a destination worth considering if you’re short on time in Switzerland and confined to Bern.

Perched at an altitude of 858 meters, Gurten promises not just a package of adventures but also breathtaking views of the city and the Swiss Alps.

In fact, Gurten has more to offer than meets the eye. It serves as a quick getaway from the city, offering a glimpse into Switzerland’s picturesque countryside. More than just a mountain with summer hiking trails and winter ski routes, Gurten boasts a playground that children will love, tobogganing runs for all ages, and scenic hiking and cycling trails for adults.

What’s more, every summer, the mountain comes alive with the Gurten Festival, providing an unforgettable musical experience for visitors.

21 Things to do in Bern, Switzerland_ Gurten

While Gurten may not be part of the Swiss Alps, the panoramic views from its peak are amazingly beautiful. The landscape of Gurten unfolds from tranquil meadows to charming rolling hills, the bustling city below, and the majestic snow-capped Alps to the south.

Nestled atop the mountain is Restaurant Gurtners, a haven for food lovers. Whether you’re dining indoors by candlelight or enjoying refreshments in the open air, Restaurant Gurtners promises an unforgettable dining experience. Patrons rave about their spine-tinglingly delicious food!

And before you leave Gurten, make sure to visit the observation tower. It’s a highlight of any trip to Gurten, offering a 360-degree view of all the stunning scenery mentioned earlier.

22 Things to do in Bern, Switzerland_ Gurten

Visiting Information: Gurten

Going to the Gurten is simple. From Bern’s station, just hop on streetcar no. 9 heading to Gurten Funicular valley station. The funiculars leave the valley station, going to the summit station every 15 minutes, starting at 7:00 am. Here is more additional information:

  • Google Maps LocationGurten Park
  • Funicular Schedule:
    • Monday to Saturday – Last ascent 11:30 pm, last descent 11:45 pm
    • Sundays and public holidays – Last ascent 8:00 pm, last trip downhill 8:15 pm
  • Funicular fee:
    • Adult: 6 CHF (one way), 11 CHF (roundtrip)
    • Kids 6 to 16 years old: 3 CHF (one way), 5.5 CHF (roundtrip)
  • Visiting Duration: 2 hours minimum
  • Websites or sources: (restaurants and other facilities)

You can find tours and travel services in Bern here.

17. Bern Animal Park: For The Kids

If you’re looking for kid-friendly activities in Bern, Gurten, which we’ve mentioned before, is a fantastic choice. But to truly make their day unforgettable, your next stop should be Bern Animal Park.

Situated in the heart of the Dählhölzli forest and along the serene River Aare, this park is not just an ordinary zoo. It’s home to a diverse array of 200 species, totaling over 3,000 animals – some of which can even be petted by visitors. That’s right – at this park, you can get up close and personal with the animals!

Here, you can pet adorable pygmy goats, donkeys, and mini pigs to your heart’s content. Unleash your inner animal lover at Bern Animal Park!

While not all animals in the park can be touched, they are still a cute to behold. From the Carpathian lynx and gray wolves to otters, muskox, and brown bears, the park’s mammal population is truly diverse. Bird enthusiasts will be thrilled to see species like the rock ptarmigan, flamingos, and Bali myna.

The park also features a variety of aquatic and terrestrial creatures housed in aquariums and vivariums. Discover new species you never knew existed – from fish and reptiles to invertebrates and amphibians.

But the fun doesn’t stop there! The park offers a range of activities for the whole family. Watch animals hunt for their food – like puffins diving underwater for fish. Kids can even enjoy pony rides!

Visiting Information: Bern Animal Park

  • Google Maps LocationBern, Dählhölzli + BärenPark zoo
  • Opening hours:
    • March to October 8:30 am to 7:00 pm
    • November to February 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
  • Entry Fee: CHF 10 (adult), CHF 6 (children), CHF 24 (family bundle)
  • Public Transport: Bus no. 19 (direction of “Elfenau” all the way to “Tierpark”)
  • Visiting Duration: 2 to 3 hours
  • Website or or

You can find tours and travel services in Bern here.

18. Bear Pit: See the Animals in Bern’s Coat of Arms

Even before the inception of the first zoo in Bern, residents had a unique opportunity to observe wild animals, particularly bears, right within their city. This tradition started as early as the 1500s. The Bear Pit or Bärengraben offers a glimpse into this past, showcasing where bears were kept for centuries.

But why bears?

This choice is rooted in a story from the 12th century. Furthermore, the bear holds significant symbolic value for Bern, as can be seen in their coat of arms. (Like what I’ve explained in the beginning)

Bears are also the reason why Bern is called Bern

23 Things to do in Bern, Switzerland_ Bärengraben 

The Bear Pit, or Bärengraben, has faced controversy in the past due to concerns about the welfare of the bears, with some labeling it as “animal cruelty.” However, with the implementation of new laws, the pit has been transformed into a more bear-friendly environment.

Today, visitors to the park will find both the original concrete circular enclosure and a newer, more inviting enclosure blanketed in lush grass. This new habitat, located below the old pit and adjacent to the Aare River, is connected to the old enclosure via a tunnel, allowing the bears to roam freely between the two.

The enclosure even features a pool or “Bear Bath” that flows into the Aare River, providing a delightful sight of bears swimming during the summer months. Guided tours are available for those interested in learning more about the Bear Pit (bookings can be made through the official website).

Located just a short walk from Bern’s Old City across the Aare River via Nydeggbrücke (east), the Bear Pit is easily accessible. However, if you’re planning a winter visit, keep in mind that you may not see any bears as they tend to hibernate during this chilly season.

Visiting Information: Bärengraben

  • Location in Google MapsBear Pit
  • Opening Hours: Accessible all day, but keepers are present in the area from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.
  • Entry Fee: Free
  • Visiting Duration: 30 minutes or more (60 minutes for guided tours)
  • Source or

You can find tours and travel services in Bern here.

19. Spooky Bern: Discover the Other Side of Bern

We’ve explored a myriad of stunning attractions and experiences in Bern thus far.

But if we were to single out one that truly encapsulates the spirit of wanderlust, which would it be? Without a doubt, it has to be the Old City, wouldn’t you agree?

24 Things to do in Bern, Switzerland_ Spooky Bern 

Did you know there’s more to the Old City of Bern than just its beautifully preserved architecture? You can delve deeper into its history by joining a unique city tour called Spooky Bern. This tour takes you beneath the charming streets of the Old City, revealing eerie tales that have been woven into its fabric over centuries.

It’s an experience like no other, guaranteed to send shivers down your spine. But be warned, the stories you’ll hear are not for the faint-hearted – they’re spine-chillingly creepy!

You can learn more about the activity from the official website of Bern.

20. Day Trip to Thun: A City With Fairytale Lake

Should you find yourself in Bern for a longer duration and have exhausted the activities tailored to your travel preferences, consider taking day trips as your next step.

Switzerland may be a small country, but it’s packed with beautiful destinations. And the best part? Bern is just a stone’s throw away from these awe-inspiring attractions.

25 Things to do in Bern, Switzerland_ Oberhofen Castle  

Just a short 30-kilometer journey south of Bern lies the charming city of Thun, easily accessible with a quick 20-minute train ride. Notably, Thun is the nearest town to Bern that boasts a lake. But Thunersee is no ordinary lake – it’s adorned with enchanting castles along its shores that are truly a sight to behold!

Thun is also home to the world’s oldest panorama painting, which beautifully depicts the town itself, the serene Thunersee, and the majestic Bernese Oberland in the Swiss Alps.

You can learn more about Thun and the attractions in this city from my other post.

21. Day Trip to Jungfrau Region: Heaven on Earth Scenery

Continuing from where we left off, if you find yourself in Bern and are seeking an adventure, look no further than the Jungfrau Region.

This area is home to Interlaken, known as the adventure capital of Switzerland.Additionally, Interlaken provides access to the Lauterbrunnen Valley, a destination so breathtakingly beautiful it’s often dubbed as Switzerland’s heaven on earth.

26 Things to do in Bern, Switzerland_ Oberhofen Castle  

Interlaken, a town beautifully situated between mountain ranges and lakes, promises an unforgettable experience.

With Lake Brienz to its east and Lake Thun to its west, there’s no shortage of natural beauty to explore. Take a leisurely boat ride or hop on a train to visit attractions such as the Saint Beatus Caves and Iseltwald that dot the lakes’ perimeters.

One thing’s for sure – in Interlaken, stunning views are always within reach. Conveniently located just 62 kilometers from Bern, Interlaken is an easy one-hour train ride away, with the journey taking you through the picturesque town of Thun.

I created another post stating the reasons why you should visit Interlaken.

There, I covered everything you need to know about the destinations in and from the town. You can also check my article about Lauterbrunnen – you must see its picturesque valley!

22. Day Trip to Lucerne: Historical and Scenic Town

 If you’re considering alternatives to Thun and Interlaken for a day trip from Bern, the beautiful city of Lucerne is well worth exploring.

It shares Thun’s allure with its captivating landmarks and mirrors Interlaken’s promise of spectacular vistas. Essentially, Lucerne combines the unique experiences offered by Interlaken, Thun, and Bern.

27 Things to do in Bern, Switzerland_ Lucerne  

The journey from Bern to Lucerne is roughly the same distance as that from Bern to Interlaken. A train ride between Bern and Lucerne typically takes between an hour to an hour and a half, making it a convenient day trip option.

Lucerne has much to offer, from its picturesque old town and medieval fortifications such as towers and walls, to its fantastic museums. The city also serves as a gateway to numerous adventures on Mount Pilatus, widely regarded as one of Switzerland’s most beautiful mountains!

Check out my other article about Lucerne, telling you some good reasons why you should take a day trip here from Bern. 

Map of the Attractions in Bern

To assist you in planning your visit to Bern, I’ve put together a map that pinpoints the exact locations of all the attractions mentioned above within the city.

You can refer to the map’s menu to identify each pin by name.

Where To Next After Bern?

Check this out: How To Spend 3, 7, 10, and 14 Days Switzerland Itinerary.

Best destinations in Switzerland near Bern:

Other recommended tourist attractions in Switzerland (complete list: Beautiful Villages in the Swiss Alps):

  • Kandersteg. A lovely village closest to Oeschinensee, one of the most beautiful lakes in Switzerland.
  • Gruyeres. A preserved medieval village in the Prealps. Come to taste authentic Gruyeres Cheese and unlimited chocolates!
  • Zermatt. An alpine village/ski resort/hiking destination where you can see the most famous mountain, the Matterhorn. You can see the best views of Matterhorn from Zermatt here.

You might also want to discover the cities near the Swiss Alps. These cities are in proximity to the best tourist attractions in the Swiss Alps. They can be an alternative home base for Switzerland’s major cities.

  • Sion. The capital of the canton of Valais with a hilltop church and hilltop chapel.
  • Thun. A picturesque city where you can find the oldest panorama painting and a few castles.
  • Montreux. A beautiful city beside lake Geneva. Come here to see Chillon Castle and Lavaux vineyard.
  • Brig. The city gateway to Italy. Come here to see Stockalper Palace and the scenic Simplon Pass.

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Things to do in Bern, Switzerland
Things to do in Bern, Switzerland

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