Bern travel guide

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Introduction to Bern

Bern is known for attractions like The Cathedral of Bern, UNESCO - Bern Old Town, and Bern Rose Garden. Travelers who visit this city in Switzerland, capital of the canton of Bern and de facto capital of Switzerland are often fascinated by the rich history and interesting culture it offers. We recommend taking the time to explore this city in Switzerland on foot and walk alongside the 134.5 thousand locals who live in Bern.

Traveling to Bern is especially rewarding for anyone eager to connect with locals and learn more about their unique culture and traditions. German is the official language in Bern.

Easily accessible from Bern, Bern is the perfect base for a memorable and unique vacation in Switzerland any time of the year. For further insights into the city's events, traditions, and heritage, consult the official website of Bern.

History of Bern

Bern, the capital of Switzerland, is a city steeped in history. Known for its well-preserved medieval cityscape, Bern's history dates back to the 12th century.

It was founded in 1191 by Duke Berthold V of Zähringen and was part of the Holy Roman Empire. The city quickly grew in importance due to its strategic location.

In the 16th century, Bern adopted the Reformation and became a focal point for Protestantism. The city underwent a significant transformation during the 19th century, transitioning from a predominantly agricultural society to a burgeoning urban center with the arrival of the railroad in 1848.

Despite the ravages of time and war, Bern has managed to preserve its historical charm. Today, its Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site, attracting visitors from around the world keen to explore its historic streets, fountains, and iconic clock tower.

Top services in Bern

On this page, you'll find all the top travel services in Bern, Switzerland. Enjoy the convenience of planning and booking every detail of your trip to Bern, including flights, accommodations, activities, and more, in one place.

Discover the cheapest and most popular flights offered by a variety of airlines that fly to Switzerland. Check out the best things to do in Bern by browsing over 80 top-rated tours available to you in the city. Compare the rates and services of the stays and 5 car rental companies offering CDW insurance coverage.

Experience the best of Bern with an expertly curated and fully customizable itinerary. Get answers to questions about the routes and services offered in Bern from our free 24/7 customer support. We make it easy for you to find and book every detail of your trip to Bern with this travel guide.

Continue reading this Bern travel guide to learn how you can enjoy a stress-free and memorable vacation in the city of Bern!

Best time to visit Bern

The best time to explore Bern, Switzerland is during the summer months from June to August. During this season, the city experiences pleasant weather with temperatures ranging from 18°C to 25°C, ideal for outdoor activities and sightseeing. The summer season also coincides with many of Bern's popular events like the Gurtenfestival and the Buskers Street Music Festival, offering a unique cultural experience. However, these months also attract the highest number of tourists, so be prepared for crowded attractions. The shoulder season, May and September, provides a balance between good weather and moderate crowd levels. For winter sports enthusiasts, visiting Bern from December to February can be thrilling, with nearby ski resorts offering excellent facilities. To experience Bern's Christmas markets, a visit in late November or December is recommended. Ultimately, the best time to explore Bern depends on your interests and the activities you wish to enjoy during your visit.

Weather in Bern

Bern, the capital city of Switzerland, experiences a temperate oceanic climate. This means that the city enjoys warm, moderately hot summers and cold, snowy winters. Summer temperatures in Bern, from June to August, typically range from 20°C to 25°C. This is the wettest season, with frequent rain showers and thunderstorms. The winters, from December to February, are usually cold with temperatures often dropping below freezing, and heavy snowfall is common.

The transitional seasons, spring and autumn, are generally mild and relatively dry. Spring, from March to May, sees temperatures gradually rising from 10°C to 20°C. Autumn, from September to November, experiences gradually cooling temperatures with averages between 10°C and 20°C. It's worth noting that the weather in Bern can be quite changeable, so it's recommended to pack clothing for all conditions. Also, the city's altitude of over 500 meters can make the climate cooler than other regions at the same latitude. This can make the winter feel particularly chilly, so warm clothing is essential if you're visiting during this season.

Local tip for visiting Bern

Embrace the slow-paced life of Bern by exploring the city on two wheels. Renting a bicycle is not just a common mode of transport for locals, but an insider tip for tourists wanting to experience Bern as the Bernese do. The city's bike-friendly infrastructure, with well-marked lanes and ample parking facilities, makes cycling a breeze. Don't miss out on the scenic Gurtenbahn, a bike route that takes you up the local mountain, Gurten, offering panoramic views of Bern. Besides, most rental services offer e-bikes, making the uphill journey easier. Renting a bike is not only eco-friendly but also allows you to discover hidden corners of the city at your own pace. Remember to ring the bell before overtaking and use hand signals while turning, as is the Bernese custom. This insider tip will help you blend in with the locals and make your visit to Bern truly memorable.

Learn more about Switzerland

With destinations such as Bern, a trip to Switzerland needs no further explanation. Spanning over 41,285 square kilometers, Switzerland is an expansive playground of discovery, offering a wealth of diverse landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and captivating experiences awaiting exploration. From bustling metropolises to historic towns and modern urban hubs, Switzerland has something to enchant every traveler.

In Bern alone, travelers are spoiled for choice with an array of experiences and world-famous attractions such as The Cathedral of Bern, UNESCO - Bern Old Town, and Bern Rose Garden. Thus, a trip to Switzerland becomes essential. Whether you're drawn to historical sites, natural wonders, or vibrant cultural experiences, Switzerland offers an abundance of treasures waiting to be discovered.

There's so much to explore and uncover in Switzerland. Click or tap the link below to discover more about Switzerland and its offers.

What to see in Bern

Photo of  view of the old city center ,Bern, Switzerland.

Expect an exhilarating journey through Bern, a haven brimming with attractions to suit every traveler’s taste. From historical landmarks to natural wonders, and delectable cuisine, Bern offers an abundance of experiences waiting to be discovered. Dive into this ultimate Bern travel guide to uncover must-visit spots and get the scoop on what makes the city so special.

Top attractions in Bern

With its blend of traditional and modern culture, Bern is more than just a wonderful city in Switzerland. It's a hub for diverse experiences, boasting top attractions that range from historical landmarks to modern marvels, offering a glimpse into Switzerland's rich heritage and innovative spirit.

One popular place to visit in Bern is the unforgettable The Cathedral of Bern. Considered one of the most well-known attractions in the city, a visit to this spectacular travel destination is something you shouldn't miss on your trip to Bern.

For more information about what you can expect during a vacation in Bern, check out our list of top attractions below. Discover the best places to visit in Bern, including the fascinating The Cathedral of Bern, UNESCO - Bern Old Town, Bern Rose Garden, Zytglogge, and Bundesplatz.

Map of attractions

Take a closer look at the city map below for the exact locations of all the top attractions in Bern.

Things to do in Bern

Photo of cathedral in the old city of Bern in Switzerland.

You've explored Bern's top attractions and marked them on your map. So now, it's time to delve deeper and discover the top things to do in Bern. These activities not only offer excitement and adventure but also provide unique insights into the city's culture and heritage. Take your experience to the next level by checking out the best sights with a knowledgeable guide, embarking on fun adventures unique to Bern, or learning more about the city's rich history and traditions.

Discover the most popular tours and experiences in the city below.

Most popular experiences in Bern

A visit to Bern gets more exciting with memorable experiences. And the city is just perfect for that, with plenty of fun activities. Walking Tours, Historical Tours, Full-day Tours, and more are just some of the options you could explore to fully immerse yourself and make the most of your time.

In this travel guide, we've included some of the best things to do in Bern, adding a special touch to your journey in this vibrant city. Explore bustling markets, embark on scenic hikes, sample local delicacies, or immerse yourself in the rich history and heritage of Bern. Browse this diverse array of unforgettable experiences Bern offers and let your adventures begin!

Top tours & tickets starting in Bern

In Bern, travelers are spoiled for choice with a dazzling array of 13 categories of top-rated tours and tickets. But among this sea of options, one category reigns supreme: Activities.

Activities offer an unparalleled opportunity to immerse yourself in the heart and soul of Bern. For example, the fantastic Bern Like a Local: Customized Private Tour.

Bern also offers plenty of budget-friendly tours and activities that promise travelers a unique experience. This experience costs around 3 EUR.

Elevate your upcoming Bern adventure with unforgettable experiences by booking top-rated tours in the city. Uncover the finest tours, activities, and tickets awaiting you in Bern right below.

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Search for things to do in Bern

Discover the best things to do in Bern. Choose from 80 fantastic tours and activities available in the city.

Select your dates and number of travelers in the search bar below to receive the best recommendations for your vacation in Bern. Click the green button to view your options and discover a variety of exciting things to do in Bern.

What to Eat in Bern

Bern, the captivating capital of Switzerland, is a food lover's paradise. The city is teeming with culinary treasures waiting to be discovered, from bustling street markets to upscale dining establishments. The Old Town, UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the best places to eat in Bern with a plethora of eateries offering local and international cuisines. Don't miss out on tasting the traditional Bernese Platter, a hearty dish of various meats and potatoes, or the Berner Rösti, a potato dish often paired with meat or eggs. For more upscale dining, the Gerechtigkeitsgasse is known for its high-end restaurants serving exquisite Swiss and European dishes. Street food lovers should visit the Waisenhausplatz market, where vendors serve everything from Swiss cheese to locally produced wines. For a sweet finish, indulge in the famous Swiss chocolate or the Bernese Leckerli, a hard spice biscuit. Remember to pair your meals with a local wine or beer for the complete Bernese culinary experience.

Best Shopping in Bern

Bern, home to a delightful blend of old charm and contemporary chic, is a haven for shoppers. The city's distinct fashion scene and local craftsmanship make it the best place to go shopping in Bern. Start your shopping journey at the iconic Kramgasse, where you'll find an array of boutiques that showcase local designers and high-quality Swiss watches. The Bernese arcades, one of the longest covered shopping promenades in Europe, offer an elegant and comfortable shopping experience, rain or shine. For a more modern shopping experience, head to Westside Shopping Mall, an architectural marvel housing over 70 stores.

Don't miss out on visiting the traditional markets like Waisenhausplatz and Münstergasse, brimming with fresh produce, antique books, and unique trinkets. When looking for souvenirs, be sure to pick up the Bernese honey, Swiss cheese or a cuckoo clock, symbols of Swiss craftsmanship. Remember, shopping hours in Bern typically run from 9 am to 7 pm on weekdays, with shorter hours on Saturdays, and most shops are closed on Sundays. Happy shopping!

Best Free Things to Do in Bern

Discover the best free things to do in Bern, a city steeped in history and Swiss charm. Start at the Bundesplatz, where the Parliament building stands majestically. Don't miss the captivating light and sound show projected onto the building's facade each evening. Stroll through the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, with well-preserved medieval architecture, fountains, and the iconic Zytglogge clock tower. Witness the intricate astronomical clock mechanism in action on the hour. Visit the Bear Park, home to Bern's symbolic animals, where you can watch them frolic in a natural habitat. Explore the Rosengarten, a beautiful rose garden offering panoramic views of the city skyline. If you're an art lover, visit the Zentrum Paul Klee, which offers free admission on select days, housing the world's largest collection of works by Swiss painter Paul Klee. Lastly, immerse yourself in the local culture by visiting the open-air markets on Tuesdays and Saturdays, where you can sample Swiss cheeses, breads, and other local delicacies. These activities are a testament to the city's rich cultural tapestry and are sure to create lasting memories of your visit to Bern.

How to get to Bern

International travelers can fly to Bern by booking flights with Helvetic Airways, offering flights to Bern. From the arrival airport, travelers can choose from various public and private transfer options to Bern.

For those seeking the best flight ticket deals to Bern, knowing the cheapest travel times and which airlines offer the most affordable flights is helpful. Luckily, we provide this information to help you discover the cheapest and most popular flights to Bern. Go to this page to compare all flights to Bern.

Find cheap flights to Bern

Photo of Historical Thun city with snow covered Bernese Highlands swiss Alps mountains in background, Bern, Switzerland.

Booking budget-friendly flights to Bern is a crucial part of planning your trip to the city. This section will guide you through the process, helping you find the best deals for your journey.

Booking in advance is a smart move when traveling to Bern. Airlines release their best deals months ahead of departure, so early birds catch the lower fares. Consider flexible travel dates while planning your visit to the city. Mid-week and off-peak seasons often offer more wallet-friendly options.

To help you find cheap flights to Bern, you can use the powerful booking widget below. Enter your departure city, choose between round trip or one-way, pick your fare class, select travel dates, and specify the number of travelers. Click "Search" and the widget will do the rest. You'll see a list of flights matching your criteria, making your trip to Bern even more convenient.

Fine-tune your search with filters to sort by price, airline, layovers, and more. Once you've found your ideal flight, click "Book" and you'll be redirected to the booking page to complete your reservation. Enter your payment details and receive a confirmation – it's that simple!

Remember to book ahead, stay flexible, and utilize the widget's features to make your journey to Bern both affordable and unforgettable.

Popular flights to Bern

Travelers visiting Bern can easily access the city via Bern, offering direct connection to 3 destinations worldwide. To streamline your travel planning process, explore the most popular flights to Bern below. Discover direct routes from major international hubs and convenient connections tailored to suit your travel preferences. Click to delve into the diverse array of flights available to Bern and embark on an unforgettable journey.

Car rentals in Bern

Photo of streets with shopping area and Zytglogge astronomical clock tower in the historic old medieval city centre of Bern, Switzerland.

To navigate Bern effortlessly, renting a car is an excellent choice. With your own wheels, you can explore every nook and cranny of the destination without relying on public transportation and even venture off the beaten path. On our website, you'll discover a selection of over 5 car rental companies in Bern, ready to provide you with the perfect vehicle for your travels.

Automatic cars for rent in Bern start at 64 EUR per day or 447 EUR per week. The cheapest automatic rental car is a Volkswagen Polo. If you prefer driving a manual car, you'll find multiple options for rent in Bern, starting at 64 EUR per day or 447 EUR per week. The cheapest manual rental car is a Mitsubishi Asx.

Learn more about the different types of cars you can rent in Bern, Switzerland below.

Popular types of cars for rent in Bern

Renting a car in Bern is a popular choice among travelers who want to explore the city at their own pace. A wide variety of popular car rentals are available to choose from in Bern, ensuring you find the best car for your travel plans.

Check out all the options available and book your car rental in Bern for your upcoming adventures in Switzerland below. All car rentals come with CDW insurance for added protection throughout your trip.

Search for car rentals in Bern

Get ready to hit the road and explore the beautiful city of Bern. Find the best deals on a variety of popular car rentals in Bern, Switzerland, or any other destination in Europe by using the search tool below.

Enter your pick-up and drop-off location, driver's age, and dates. Click the green button to view your options.

Popular destinations to visit after Bern

Photo of Outdoor activities, Canton of Bern, Switzerland.

The city of Bern is just one of the many unique and scenic destinations you can visit in Switzerland. So if you're itching for another cultural adventure, a relaxing road trip, an action-filled city break, or a memorable weekend getaway, know that Switzerland has it all.

Each destination in Switzerland offers something unique to experience! Take the opportunity to visit other captivating places in Switzerland that are as magical as the city of Bern. The most popular travel destinations in Switzerland are listed below. Click on the name of the place you want to explore next to learn more about it.

All the best destinations in Switzerland

When unsure about where to go next, use the map below. This map shows the locations of all the best destinations in Switzerland. Use the map to plan your trip and find the best routes.

Domestic flights from Bern

Photo of night image of the Federal Palace in Bern, Switzerland.

Experience the authentic charm of Switzerland by expanding your travels beyond the boundaries of Bern. Explore other destinations around Switzerland with a domestic flight. A domestic flight is typically a short-haul flight, with the longest duration not exceeding two hours. To find the best flights from Bern to other amazing locations in Switzerland, add the required details below and select 'Search' to view the best domestic flights in Switzerland for your chosen dates. You can also jump to the last section of this travel guide to find the most popular domestic flights from Bern.

Popular domestic flights from Bern

Travelers in Switzerland can catch flights to domestic airports in Basel, Geneva, and Zürich. Domestic flights in Switzerland are operated by 1 airline, including Helvetic Airways. There are around 4 scheduled flight routes operating to Bern on a weekly basis.

From Bern, travelers can book scheduled flights to 3 domestic destinations.

Search domestic flights from Bern

Traveling to another city or region in Switzerland? Use the flight search tool below to quickly find the cheapest one-way or round-trip flights from Bern to different local destinations.

Enter all the necessary information and click or tap on the Search button to see a list of the available domestic flights in Switzerland on the selected dates.

Transportation in Bern

Bern, the capital city of Switzerland, offers a variety of transportation options for locals and tourists alike. The city boasts an efficient and comprehensive public transit system: Bernmobil. It consists of trams, buses, and S-Bahn trains, ensuring you can easily reach any part of the city and surrounding areas.

Taxis are also readily available throughout Bern, offering a convenient and direct transportation option. Taxi Bern and Bären Taxi are two of the main taxi companies operating in the city.

For those who prefer to drive, several car rental companies, such as Europcar and Sixt, are located in Bern, providing a range of vehicles to suit different travel needs. One unique and eco-friendly transportation experience is the use of 'Bern Rollt,' a free bike rental service. All you need to do is leave a deposit and you can explore the picturesque city at your own pace.

Lastly, the Bern Card offers free transportation within the city for the duration of your stay, making it an economical option for tourists planning to explore extensively.

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