18 amazing things to do in Bern, Switzerland

Untertorbrücke Bridge

Bern is the charming capital city of Switzerland that is renowned for having a rich history and stunning architecture. Nestled in the heart of the Swiss Alps, I love that Bern perfectly mixes old-world charm and modern lifestyle. 

Whether you’re interested in exploring the city’s unique museums and impressive galleries, sampling some of the region’s world-famous chocolate and cheese, or simply taking in the breathtaking scenery, I know you’re going to love this Swiss bucket list destination.

One of my favourite parts of Bern, and its most famous landmark, is the mediaeval old town. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back to the 12th century.

With its winding streets, quaint shops, and picturesque fountains, I’m not surprised that the endearing old town draws visitors from both near and far. 

Avid history buff, foodie, or art enthusiast, Bern has something to offer everyone. With its simply stunning scenery, rich cultural heritage and friendly locals, it’s no wonder that Bern is quickly becoming one of Europe’s unmissable travel hotspots.

I’d recommend visiting before it gets too popular! It’s one of my favourite cities to visit in Switzerland and I can’t wait to share my top tips and favourite things to do in Bern with you.

Author Bio: Jessie Moore

Jessie Moore is a luxury travel expert with years of experience travelling the world to find the best destinations, hotels and adventures.

How to get to Bern

By air

Bern has a small airport (Bern Airport) which is located approximately 6 kilometres southeast of the city centre.

The airport serves international destinations – including London, Amsterdam, and Munich – as well as several domestic destinations within Switzerland.

From the airport, I’d recommend taking a taxi or a bus to reach the city centre. The bus service is operated by Bernmobil and takes approximately 30 minutes to reach the city centre.

Alternatively, you can fly into Zurich Airport, which is the largest airport in Switzerland.

You can easily take a train from Zurich Airport (Zürich Flughafen) to Bern, which takes approximately one hour and 15 minutes.

By train

I love that Bern is well-connected to other major cities in Switzerland and Europe by train. The city has two train stations: Bern Hauptbahnhof (Bern main station) and Bern Wankdorf.

From Bern Hauptbahnhof, there are frequent trains to other major Swiss cities, such as Zurich, Geneva, and Basel, as well as to other European destinations including Paris and Milan.

Easily accessible by train and car, Bern is one of the best day trips from Zurich.

By car

You can also reach Bern by car as the city is located at the intersection of several major highways, including the A1, A6, and A12.

However, I would note that driving in the city centre can be challenging due to narrow streets and limited parking options. 

Good to know: To avoid driving in Bern city centre, I’d recommend parking in one of the many parking garages located on the outskirts of the city and take public transportation or walk to the city centre.

Swiss Travel Pass

I’d advise getting the Swiss Travel Pass, which allows you to explore Switzerland by train, bus, and boat.

It offers unlimited travel on the Swiss Travel System network, which includes Switzerland’s extensive public transportation system, as well as some private railways, cable cars, and funiculars. 

The pass is available for purchase for a duration of three, four, eight, or 15 consecutive days. As a bonus, I love that it includes free admission to more than 90 museums and exhibitions across the country.

Children under the age of 16 travel for free with a parent or guardian who has a Swiss Travel Pass.

Included with the pass are some of Switzerland’s most scenic train journeys, such as the iconic Glacier Express, Bernina Express, Golden Pass Line, Jungfrau Railway and among others, the Wengernalpbahn Railway.

Glacier Express Switzerland

I’d recommend the Swiss Travel Pass as a great option for those who want to explore Switzerland’s scenic landscapes and cities without worrying about the cost of transportation.

It also offers discounts on mountain excursions and other activities, making it a cost-effective way to experience all of the best that Switzerland has to offer.

Insider travel tip: Some train journeys included in the Swiss Travel Pass require you to reserve a seat, so do check beforehand. 

How to get around Bern

Public transportation

I’m pleased to say that Bern has an excellent public transportation system, which includes buses, trams and trains.

The city’s public transport network is operated by Bernmobil, which is part of the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB). 

Insider travel tip: A single ticket is typically valid for one hour. Alternatively, you can purchase a day pass which allows unlimited travel on all modes of public transport within Bern for 24 hours.

Walking and biking

I love that Bern is a very walkable city, and many of the main attractions are within easy walking distance of each other.

The city also has an extensive network of cycle paths, making it a great place to explore by bike. There are several bike rental shops in and around the city which offer a range of bikes for rent at reasonable prices.

Bern Buildings

Taxis and car rentals

Taxis are readily available in Bern, and can be hailed on the street or booked in advance. All taxis in Bern are metered, and fares are regulated by the city. 

Alternatively, you can rent a car from one of the many car rental companies in the city.

Car rental prices vary depending on the type of vehicle, the rental period, and the company you rent from. So it’s worth shopping around to find the best deal.

18 best things to do in Bern

From its winding mediaeval streets to its stunning mountain views, here is my pick of the best things to do in Bern.

1. Explore the old town

Bern’s old town is a certified UNESCO World Heritage Site and considered one of the most well-preserved mediaeval towns in Europe.

Situated on a hill providing gorgeous views of the city below and surrounded by the River Aare, I’d really recommend leaving plenty of time to explore the old town.

Navigate through the narrow streets and alleys which are lined with charming buildings, fountains, and fantastic sculptures.

One of the most famous landmarks in the old town is the Zytglogge Clock Tower, which dates back to the 13th century and features a moving parade of bears.

Additionally, you’ll find many museums to explore, family-run shops, and cafés and restaurants to dine at.

I’d suggest sampling traditional Swiss dishes, such as cheese fondue and rösti, or enjoy a steaming cup of coffee or hot chocolate surrounded by incredible scenery.

Top tours to book: 

Good to know: Bern’s old town is best explored on foot, so make sure to wear comfortable shoes as the streets are cobbled and can be steep in places. 

Want up to 25% off hotels?

Subscribe to my newsletter and get immediate access to my guide on how to save money on flights and hotels. Our weekly emails are filled with adventure inspiration, insider travel tips and exclusive discounts.

2. Tour Zytglogge clock tower

Opening times:

  • Daily from 1 April to 31 October and 26 December to 31 December
  • Every Saturday from 1 November to 31 March


  • Adults: CHF 20
  • Children aged six to 16: CHF 10
  • Students and seniors: CHF 18
  • Group of up to 19 people: CHF 250

Tickets: Bern: Zytglogge – Tour Through the Clock Tower

Zytglogge Clocktower

A truly iconic landmark in Bern, the Zytglogge clock tower has been proudly standing since the 13th century.

This mediaeval clock tower used to serve as the main gate to the city and is now one of the most popular tourist attractions in Bern – and I can see why.

Rather than just seeing it from the outside, I’d advise that you take a guided tour of the clock tower, including a visit to the clock mechanism room. Here you can see the intricate workings of the clock up close.

The tour also takes you to the top of the tower, where you can enjoy beautiful views of the city.

Insider travel tip: Make sure you’re there on the hour to watch the clock strike and see the famous figures in action. These include a parade of bears, a jester, a golden rooster and Chronos, the god of time. 

3. Admire Bern Cathedral

Opening times: 

  • Early-April to mid-October:
    • Monday – Saturday 10:00 – 17:00
    • Sunday 11:30 – 17:00
  • Mid-October to early-April:
    • Monday – Friday 12:00 – 16:00
    • Saturday 10:00 – 17:00
    • Sunday 11:30 – 16:00


  • Entrance to the cathedral is free
  • Entrance to the tower costs CHF 5 for adults and CHF 2 for children.
Bern Cathedral

A stunning example of Gothic architecture located in the heart of the city, Bern Cathedral was built in the 15th century and is considered one of the most important landmarks in Bern.

The cathedral’s most striking feature is its towering spire, which stands at 100 metres tall and can be seen from many parts of the city.

If you’re feeling brave enough, you can climb to the top of the spire for panoramic views of Bern and the surrounding countryside. I really think the views are worth the climb!

Inside the cathedral, take time to admire the intricate stained glass windows which cast colourful shadows over the ornate altar and impressive pipe organ.

The cathedral also houses a number of important religious relics, including a piece of the True Cross and a fragment of the veil of the Virgin Mary.

4. See the Untertorbrücke Bridge

Located in the beating heart of Bern, the Untertorbrücke Bridge is one of the most stunning and iconic landmarks in the city.

This historic bridge spans the Aare River, connecting the old town with the river’s eastern bank. While the bridge was originally built in the 15th century, it has undergone several renovations over the years.

Untertorbrücke Bridge

Today, it is a popular spot for both locals and tourists to take in the breathtaking views of the river and the city. I spent a lot of time here with my camera, as it is just so wonderfully picturesque.

Insider travel tip: A well-timed sunset visit to the Untertorbrücke Bridge is like a scene straight from a film. The reflection of the lights on the river creates a magical atmosphere that is truly unforgettable.

5. Find the Bern fountains

Bern is famous for its many fountains, which can be found all over the city. Many of these fountains date back to the 16th century and are considered to be works of art.

Bern Fountains

Here are some of my favourite fountains to check out while in Bern:

Zähringerbrunnen: Classed as a Swiss Cultural Property of National Significance, this fountain is located in the heart of the old town.

Built in 1535 as a memorial to the city’s founder, Berchtold von Zähringer, the fountain features a statue of a bear wearing full armour, with a bear cub at its feet..

Kindlifresserbrunnen: This fountain – also known as the “Child-Eater Fountain” – features a statue of an ogre eating a child, next to a bag full of more children.

I admit this does sound somewhat unsettling! But I’d say that it’s all the more worth seeing due to its quirks. The fountain was built in the 16th century and has contested representations from carnival characters to cannibals. 

Mosesbrunnen: This impressive fountain features a statue of Moses holding the Ten Commandments and bringing them to the Tribes of Israel.

The fountain was built in the 16th century and rebuilt in the 18th century after damage from a storm.

Anna Seiler Brunnen: This fountain features a statue of the Bernese woman Anna Seiler, dressed in blue and pouring water into a bowl. The fountain was built to memorialise Selier, who founded Bern’s hospital.

Good to know: You can easily find these and many more fountains by walking around the quaint old town. Many of the fountains are located in public squares and are easy to spot. 

6. Tour the Bundeshaus (Swiss Parliament Building)

Opening times: Tour times are dependent on which language you’d like to take the tour in.

Prices: Free

The Swiss Parliament Building, also known as the Bundeshaus, is a prominent landmark in Bern.

It is the seat of the Swiss government and houses the National Council and the Council of States, the two chambers of the Swiss federal parliament.

I think a tour of the Bundeshaus is one of the best things to do in Bern, provided Parliament is not in session.

Swiss Parliament Building

The tours last 60 minutes and are available in four languages, including: English, French, German and Italian.

During the tour, you can explore the impressive halls and ornate chambers of the building, including the National Council Chamber, the Council of States Chamber, and the Federal Assembly Hall.

You can also see the famous “Hall of the Dome,” which features a beautiful stained-glass dome and is used for official ceremonies and events.

Good to know: Visitors aged 16 and over are required to deposit an official identity document with security and pass through a metal detector. While photography is permitted during the tour, filming is not allowed.

7. Go swimming in the Aare

One of the most popular things to do in Bern during the summer months is to go for a swim in the Aare River.

The crystal-clear water is perfect for cooling off on a hot day and the river is easily accessible from various points in the city.

I’d advise that the best spot to start your Aare swim is at the Marzili public swimming pool, which has changing rooms and lockers available. From there, you can jump into the river and let the current carry you downstream.

River Aare

There are several exits along the river where you can get out and walk back to your starting point or continue your swim.

The most popular exit is at Eichholz, where you can relax on the riverbank or grab a snack at the nearby kiosk.

Good to know: The Aare is a fast-flowing river, so it’s recommended to wear a life jacket and always swim with a partner.

The water temperature is also quite chilly, even in the summer, so be prepared for a refreshing but invigorating swim!

8. Visit the Zentrum Paul Klee Art Museum

Opening hours: 


  • Adult: CHF 20
  • Senior citizens and concessions: CHF 18
  • Students and apprentices: CHF 10
  • Children aged six to 16: CHF 7
  • Various family tickets are available.

Trust me when I say that the Zentrum Paul Klee Art Museum is a truly unmissable attraction in Bern for art lovers.

It’s dedicated to the awe-inspiring work of the Swiss artist Paul Klee, who is renowned for his colourful and imaginative paintings. 

The museum’s collection includes over 4,000 works by Klee, making it one of the most extensive collections of his work in Europe and around the world.

Zentrum Paul Klee © Hans Schürmann

The building itself is a work of art, designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano. Shaped like three hills and covered in a shimmering steel roof, the building’s interior is spacious and light, with large windows that offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

As well as exploring the magnificent permanent collection, visitors to the Zentrum Paul Klee Art Museum can explore various temporary exhibitions.

The temporary exhibitions feature works by other artists, as well as thematic exhibitions that explore different aspects of Klee’s art.

Good to know: The museum also offers a range of educational programmes and events, including lectures, workshops, and guided tours. 

Want up to 25% off hotels?

Subscribe to my newsletter and get immediate access to my guide on how to save money on flights and hotels. Our weekly emails are filled with adventure inspiration, insider travel tips and exclusive discounts.

9. Explore the Bern Historical Museum & Einstein Museum

Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00 – 17:00


  • Adults: CHF 16
  • Concessions: CHF 14
  • Children aged six to 16: CHF 8
  • Families of up to five people with a maximum of two adults: CHF 35
  • Prices are for the basic rate, which allows entry to permanent and temporary exhibitions. For other costs, visit the official site. 

The Bern Historical Museum is one of the largest historical museums in Switzerland and one of the best things to do in Bern. It’s located in the Kirchenfeld district of the city.

The museum showcases the rich and varied history of the city and the country. Plus, it houses a vast collection of artefacts, documents, and paintings that date back to the Stone Age.

Here, you can explore the museum’s various sections, which span significant periods of Swiss history.

Einstein Museum

The museum’s most famous exhibit is the Einstein Museum, which is dedicated to the life and work of Albert Einstein, who lived in Bern from 1902 to 1909.

I’d really recommend a visit to the Einstein Museum, not only for budding physicists! The museum has a collection of original documents, manuscripts, and personal belongings of Einstein.

Learn about Einstein’s theories, including the theory of relativity, and his life in Bern.

Good to know: The museum has an interactive exhibition that allows visitors to perform experiments and learn about the principles of physics.

10. Take the funicular to Gurten Mountain

Opening times: 

  • Monday to Saturday: 07:00 – 23:45 with the last ascent at 23:30
  • Sunday and public holidays: 07:00 – 20:15 with the last ascent at 20:00


  • Adults: single CHF 6; return CHF 11
  • Children aged six to 16: half fare

If you’re keen to enjoy breathtaking views of the city and the surrounding countryside, I’d advise taking the funicular to Gurten Mountain.

The funicular is a quick and convenient way to reach the summit, which stands at an altitude of 858 metres.

Gurten funicular

Once you reach the top, take in the gorgeous panoramic views of the city, the Swiss Alps, and the Jura Mountains. On a perfectly clear day, you can see as far as the striking Black Forest in Germany.

There are several walking trails to explore, including a circular trail that takes about an hour to complete.  The trails are well-marked, making it easy to find your way around, and suitable for various experience levels.

In addition to the gorgeous views, Gurten Mountain also offers a range of activities for visitors of all ages.

There is a playground for children, a mini-golf course, a restaurant that serves delectable Swiss cuisine, and a tobogganing run for adrenaline junkies.

Good to know: Every summer, the Gurten Mountain hosts the GurtenFestival for four days, welcoming music-lovers from across the globe.

Don’t have time to finish reading? Save on Pinterest for later!

11. See the bears at BärenPark

Opening hours: Open 24/7, 365 days per year. Park keepers are on site from 08:00 – 17:00 daily.

Prices: Free

One of the most popular and unique tourist attractions in Bern is the BärenPark, a spacious 5,000 square metre area that is home to several Bernese brown bears.

The park is located in the heart of the city and is easily accessible by public transport, offering a once-in-a-lifetime experience for visitors.

Here, you can watch the magnificent bears as they play, swim, and relax in their habitat. The park also features several viewing platforms that offer unparalleled views of the city and the surrounding mountains.

In addition to watching the bears, visitors can learn about the history of the park and the bears that call it home at Bärenpark – Björk, Finn, and Ursina. 

Top tour to book: Bern: City Sightseeing Self-Guided Walking Tour Game 

Good to know: The “BäreBähnli” provides obstacle-free wheelchair access to the Aare at the BearPark. It connects the upper viewing platform with the lower Aare promenade.

12. Visit Rosengarten (Rose Garden Park)

One of the top things to do in Bern is to visit the Rosengarten. This beautiful park is located on a hill overlooking the city, and it’s one of my favourite viewpoints in Bern.

It provides visitors with breathtaking views of the old town and the Aare River against the backdrop of hundreds of flourishing blooms.

The rose garden is home to over 400 types of roses and irises as well as 28 different rhododendrons, making it a must-visit destination for flower lovers and budding botanists.

View of Bern from Rose Garden Park

The park also features a beautiful fountain, a pond, and several sculptures. In addition to its natural beauty, the park has a restaurant that serves mouth-watering Swiss cuisine.

The restaurant’s outdoor terrace offers breathtaking views of the city, and I’d recommend it as the perfect spot for a romantic Swiss dinner or a relaxing lunch.

Good to know: The park is also a popular spot for picnics and offers several picnic tables for you to use.

13. Explore the Museum of Fine Arts

Opening hours:

  • Tuesday: 10:00 – 21:00 
  • Wednesday to Sunday: 10:00 – 17:00


  • Prices for all exhibitions are as follows:
  • Adult: CHF 24 
  • Concessions: CHF 20
  • Students: CHF 12
  • Children under 16: Free

The Museum of Fine Arts in Bern is a popular tourist attraction in the city; in my opinion, this is one of the best winter things to do in Bern.

It houses a vast collection of art and artefacts from various periods in history, from the mediaeval period to the present day. 

One of the highlights of the museum is the collection of Swiss art, which includes works by famous artists such as Ferdinand Hodler and Albert Anker.

The museum also has an extensive collection of international art, including works by Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee, and Salvador Dalí.

You can take a guided tour of the museum to learn more about the art and artefacts on display and delve deeper into their history. The museum also offers audio guides in several languages, including English.

Good to know: I’d advise purchasing a combined ticket for the Museum of Fine Arts and the Zentrum Paul Klee Art Museum, which is located nearby.

14. Relax at the Hammam & Spa Oktogon

Opening hours:

  • Monday: 9:00 – 21:30 for ‘Quiet Day’
  • Tuesday: 9:00 – 21:30 
  • Wednesday: 13:00 – 21:30 
  • Thursday and Friday: 09:00 – 21:30 
  • Saturday and Sunday: 10:00 – 20:00
  • The spa stops running 30 minutes before closing.

If you’re seeking a relaxing and rejuvenating spa experience in Bern, look no further than the Hammam & Spa Oktogon.

This luxurious spa offers a range of glorious treatments and services designed to help you unwind and feel your best.

One of the most popular offerings at the Hammam & Spa Oktogon is the traditional Hammam experience.

This involves a series of treatments such as steam baths, body scrubs, and massages to help detoxify the body and leave you feeling utterly refreshed and renewed. Sign me up!

In addition to the restoring Hammam experience, the spa offers a range of other deluxe treatments, including facials, massages, and body wraps.

Whether you’re looking to soothe sore muscles from hiking or simply relax and unwind surrounded by the splendid Swiss landscape, a visit to the Hammam & Spa Oktogon is one of the best things to do in Bern.

The spa’s facilities are top-notch, with a range of amenities designed to help you feel comfortable and at ease.

These include a heated pool, a sauna, and a relaxation room, as well as a range of complimentary teas and snacks.

Good to know: At the Hammam & Spa Oktogon, Tuesdays are ‘women only’ days, meaning there is no admission for men.

15. Embark on a scavenger hunt

For a fun and interactive way to explore Bern, I’d recommend embarking on a scavenger hunt in the city. These hunts are a great way to see the city’s top sights and learn about the immense history and culture in a unique and engaging way.

The scavenger hunts typically last between two to three hours and can be tailored to suit your interests and preferences.

Exploring Bern

During the Bern city scavenger hunt, you’ll be given a set of clues and challenges to solve, which will lead you to various locations and attractions around the city.

Along the way, you’ll learn about Bern’s history, culture and architecture. Some of the challenges you might encounter during a scavenger hunt include solving riddles, taking photos at specific locations, and answering trivia questions.

You’ll need to work together as a team to complete the challenges and solve the clues. So it’s a great activity for couples, families and groups of friends.

Top tours to book:

Good to know: Some of these scavenger hunts can involve a fair bit of walking around the city. So make sure you’re wearing suitable clothing, comfortable shoes and have packed the SPF!

16. Go shopping at the weekly markets

Bern is well known across the country for its weekly markets offering a range of fresh produce, local crafts, and unique souvenirs.

Take a trip to the city centre on market days and find fresh fruits, vegetables, honey, cheese, and meat from local farmers and producers. 

As you wander near, you’ll smell scrumptious fresh-bread, mouth-watering baked goods and delectable meats from artisan sellers. I’d advise sampling the local delights and enjoying a feast for the senses. 

Some markets sell goods aside from produce, including fresh flowers, clothing and jewellery. Stop by and find a momento from your trip. 

Good to know: These markets can be busy, as locals and tourists alike flock to find a great deal.

Want up to 25% off hotels?

Subscribe to my newsletter and get immediate access to my guide on how to save money on flights and hotels. Our weekly emails are filled with adventure inspiration, insider travel tips and exclusive discounts.

17. Gruyères Cheese Factory & Maison Cailler Tasting Tour

Opening hours: 

  • Gruyères Cheese Factory is open June to September: 09:00 – 18.30 pm with last entrance at 18:00.
  • Maison Cailler is open daily 10:00 – 17:00 between November and March and 10:00 – 18:00 between April and October.


  • Gruyères Cheese Factory:
    • CHF 7 for adults
    • CHF 6 for students from age 12 and senior citizens
    • CHF 12 for a family ticket (two adults and children up to age 12).
  • Maison Cailler:
    • CHF 17 for adults
    • CHF 14 for students, seniors and disabled people
    • CHF 7 for children aged between six and 15

Visiting the Gruyères Cheese Factory and Maison Cailler is a must-do if, like me, you love cheese and chocolate.

Located in the picturesque town of Gruyères, the cheese factory offers an interactive tour where you can learn about the history of cheese-making and watch the cheese being made in the traditional Swiss way.

After the cheese factory tour, you can head to the nearby Maison Cailler chocolate factory for a delightful tasting tour.


The tour takes you through the history of chocolate-making and the production process. There are plenty of opportunities to sample the delicious chocolate along the way, making it one of the best things to do near Bern.

The chocolate produced at Maison Cailler is known for its smooth and creamy texture, and there are a variety of flavours to choose from.

You can also purchase some of this delectable chocolate to take home. Booking a tour of both attractions is perfect for foodies hoping to experience the culinary delights of Switzerland.

Top tours to book:

Good to know: Some tours depart from Bern (like the first one linked above), so you don’t need to worry about getting there and back. 

18. Take to the skies in a helicopter flight over the Swiss Alps

There’s nothing quite like experiencing the stunning beauty of the Swiss Alps from the skies, soaring above the trees and seeing the Alps up close and personal. I’ve included this as a real bucket list activity!

Flights typically range from just under 20 minutes to over an hour. During the flight, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the snow-capped peaks, glaciers, and alpine lakes.

Aerial view over the city of Bern

Fly over some of the most iconic landmarks in the region, such as the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau mountains.

This isn’t just for adrenaline junkies: it’s a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience that I know will stay with you for the rest of your life. 

Top tours to book: 

Good to know: Helicopter pilots typically provide commentary during the flight, pointing out famous landmarks and impressive sights.

Best time to visit Bern

Bern is a beautiful city in Switzerland that is worth visiting at any time of year. However, some seasons are better than others, depending on what you want to do and see.

Here are my recommendations for when to visit Bern:

Spring (March – May)

I think spring is a beautiful time to visit Bern and it’s my personal favourite time of year to visit. The city’s flowers are blooming and the weather is starting to warm up.

The average temperature during this season is around 13°C, making it perfect for exploring the city’s parks and gardens.

Hiking the nearby mountains is easier in this more temperate weather, with no glaring sun or snowstorms. 

Summer (June – August)

As to be expected, summer is the peak tourist season in Bern. With the warmer weather, the city comes alive with events and activities.

The average temperature during this season is around 23°C, making it ideal for outdoor activities like hiking, swimming, and cycling. The city also hosts various festivals during this season, such as the GurtenFestival.

Bern in Summer

Autumn (September – November)

Autumn is a beautiful time to visit Bern, with the city’s trees turning golden and red.

The weather is cooler, with an average temperature of 12°C. This makes it a great time to explore the city’s museums, galleries, and historical sites.

With less tourists in the city, it’s easier to see all the sites you want to see.

Winter (December – February)

Winter is a magical time to visit Bern, with the city’s streets and buildings adorned with Christmas lights and decorations.

The average temperature during this season is around -1°C, making it ideal for winter sports like skiing and snowboarding.

The city also hosts various Christmas markets, including the famous Berner Weihnachtsmarkt.

Where to stay in Bern

Bern is an enchanting city that offers plenty of accommodation options for visitors.

Read my full guide to the best hotels in Bern or discover my top picks of the best places to stay in Bern:

1. Hotel Bellevue Palace

Best for: Luxury and opulence

Address: Kochergasse 3-5, 3011 Bern

Bellevue Palace ©Stafno Candito

As the official guesthouse of the Swiss government, Hotel Bellevue Palace oozes luxury and subtle decadence.

Located in the heart of Bern, I adore the epic views of the Bernese Alps and the city that this hotel offers. 

You’ll also find elegant rooms and suites, as well as a gym and sauna; plus, the hotel has a fantastic restaurant that serves delicious Swiss cuisine.

Book with ASMALLWORLD for VIP benefits like free room upgrades when available.

2. Hotel Schweizerhof

Best for: Classical charm

Address: Bahnhofplatz 11, 3001 Bern

Hotel Schweizerhof Bern & Spa Bathroom

Hotel Schweizerhof is a historic hotel that has been welcoming guests since 1859 and is located in the city centre, close to the main train station.

The hotel features spacious rooms and suites that are gorgeously decorated and equipped with modern amenities. 

Proudly offering five-star luxury and comfort, the hotel has a restaurant that serves delicious Swiss and international cuisine, a bar, and a luxurious spa.

Book with ASMALLWORLD for access to perks like free room upgrades and late check-outs. Or discover more of the best Swiss spa hotels.

3. Hotel Savoy

Best for: A sustainable stay

Address: Neuengasse 26, 3011 Bern

Hotel Savoy Bern

Hotel Savoy is a ‘Swisstainable’ engaged company, committed to helping Switzerland become the leading destination for sustainable travel.

With light modern rooms and suites, the hotel offers both style and comfort.  Guests can make use of gym facilities a short walk from the hotel seven days per week, free of charge.

As well as this, the hotel’s restaurant serves up mouth-watering dishes for hotel guests each day and night. 

Want up to 25% off hotels?

Subscribe to my newsletter and get immediate access to my guide on how to save money on flights and hotels. Our weekly emails are filled with adventure inspiration, insider travel tips and exclusive discounts.

Best restaurants in Bern

1. Wein & Sein

Best for: Fine dining

Address: Munstergasse 50, 3011 Bern

Awarded a Michelin-star, Wein & Sein is a cosy wine bar and restaurant located in the heart of Bern’s Old Town.

Combining traditional Swiss dishes with modern flavour combinations, the chef will cook up a storm.  The menu features a variety of Swiss and European dishes, with a focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients.

If enjoying over four courses of delectable cuisine is your idea of a perfect meal, then I’d definitely recommend booking into Wein & Sein. 

2. Kornhauskeller

Best for: A romantic setting

Address: Kornhausplatz 18, 3011 Bern

Kornhauskeller is a historic restaurant located in a 500-year-old cellar in the city centre. The grand dining hall oozes old-world charm and romance, so I’d recommend this spot for couples in particular. 

The menu features traditional Swiss cuisine, including fondue, raclette, and schnitzel, plus a great selection of local beers and wines.

I love the atmosphere here, which is rustic and charming with vaulted ceilings, stone walls, and candlelit tables.

3. Klösterli Weincafe

Best for: Wine lovers

Address: Klösterlistutz 16, 3013 Bern

Klösterli Weincafe is a small, intimate wine bar and restaurant located in the trendy Matte neighbourhood.

The menu features a variety of Mediterranean-inspired dishes, with a focus on fresh, local ingredients.  An impressive wine list features a range of Swiss and international wines available by the glass or bottle.

The atmosphere is relaxed and casual, making it one of my favourite spots for a low-key dinner or a glass of wine after adventuring.

Best day trips from Bern

Bern is a beautiful city with plenty of things to see and do. However, if you’re looking to explore beautiful Swiss towns beyond the city limits, there are several fantastic day trips you can take.

Here are three of the my favourite options:

1. Interlaken

Best for: Water sports and adrenaline-fuelled activities

Travel time: From 49 minutes by train

Train tickets: Bern to Interlaken

Interlaken is a picturesque town located in the heart of the Swiss Alps. It’s a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, thanks to its stunning scenery and wide range of activities on offer.

From hiking and mountain biking to paragliding and white-water rafting, I love that there is something for everyone in Interlaken.

One of the most popular things to do in Interlaken is to take a trip up to Jungfraujoch, the highest railway station in Europe. From here, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers.

Other must-see attractions in Interlaken include Lake Brienz, the Harder Kulm viewpoint, and the St. Beatus Caves.

If you fancy staying for a night or two, discover my guide to the best hotels in Interlaken.

2. Lucerne

Best for: Stunning lakeside views

Travel time: From 1 hour 1 minute by train

Train tickets: Bern to Lucerne


Lucerne is a charmingly quaint city located on the shores of Lake Lucerne. It’s famous for its well-preserved mediaeval architecture, including the Chapel Bridge and the Water Tower.

There are also several excellent museums in Lucerne for culture enthusiasts, including the Swiss Museum of Transport and the Richard Wagner Museum.

In my opinion, one of the best ways to explore Lucerne is by taking a boat trip on Lake Lucerne. You’ll be greeted with stunning views of the city and the towering snow-capped mountains. 

Best activities to book in Lucerne:

3. Thun

Best for: Alpine vistas

Travel time: From 18 minutes by train

Train tickets: Bern to Thun

A small but bubbly town located on the banks of the River Aare, Thun is known for its beautiful castle, which dates back to the 12th century.

The castle now houses a museum, which gives you an insight into the rich history of the town and the surrounding Swiss areas.

I think Thun is a great base for exploring further afield, including the scenic valley town, Lauterbrunnen, the quaint town on the banks of the Lake Thun, Spiez, and the Pearl of the Swiss Riviera, Montreux.

Frequently asked questions

Is Bern the Capital of Switzerland?

Yes, Bern is the capital of Switzerland. It is located in the central part of the country and is the fifth-largest city in Switzerland.

Is Bern worth visiting?

Yes, Bern is definitely worth visiting in my opinion! The city has a rich history and culture, and there are many things to see and do for every taste and the whole family.

Plus, Bern is a great base for exploring the surrounding mountains, waterfalls and Swiss countryside.

What are the best viewpoints in Bern?

There are several great viewpoints in Bern that offer breathtaking views of the city and unparalleled alpine scenes.

Bern View

Some of my favourite viewpoints include:

  • Gurten: This mountain is located just outside of the city and offers stunning panoramic views of Bern and the Alps.
  • Rosengarten: This park is located on a hill above the old town and offers great views of the city and the Aare River.
  • Münsterplattform: This terrace is located next to the Bern Cathedral and offers breathtaking views of both the old town and the nearby mountains.
  • Nydeggbrücke: This bridge crosses the Aare River and offers incredible views of the river, the old town and the incredible Swiss landscape. 

What are the closest ski resorts to Bern?

There are several ski resorts located within easy reach of Bern, including:

  • Adelboden: This resort is located about an hour from Bern and offers over 200 kilometres of ski runs.
  • Gstaad: This resort is located 1 hour 30 minutes from Bern and is known for its luxury hotels and high-end shopping. Discover more of the best ski luxury resorts in Europe.
  • Jungfrau Region: This region is located just under an hour from Bern and is home to several ski resorts, including Grindelwald, Wengen, and Mürren.

Are there Christmas markets in Bern?

Yes, there are several Christmas markets in Bern. My favourite markets are: Waisenhausplatz Christmas Market, Berner Sternenmarkt and Bern Minster Christmas Market.

Expect traditional Swiss food and drink, handmade ornaments and gifts, as well as a hearty dose of festive cheer. 

Watch my travel vlog to see what I got up to on my most recent visit to Bern:

To help you plan your Bern trip, unearth my pick of the best hotels in Bern. If you have any questions or recommendations for visiting Bern, do get in touch in the comments!

Planning a trip to Switzerland? You may also like:

Want up to 25% off hotels?

Subscribe to my newsletter and get immediate access to my guide on how to save money on flights and hotels. Our weekly emails are filled with adventure inspiration, insider travel tips and exclusive discounts.

Jessie Moore
Jessie Moore

Jessie is a luxury travel expert with years of experience travelling the world to find the best destinations, hotels and adventures.

Find me on: Web | Instagram


Want up to 25% off hotels?

Subscribe to my newsletter and get immediate access to my guide on how to save money on flights and hotels. Our weekly emails are filled with adventure inspiration, insider travel tips and exclusive discounts.