Bern Travel Tips. An article sharing travel tips about visiting Bern. How to get there and more…
Mark Ford, Founder of Plus1 Travel
It’s great to have you here searching for Bern travel tips. The Swiss capital city of Bern is built on a peninsula created by a hairpin turn of the Aare River. Its pointy towers and arcaded streets make it one of Europe’s finest surviving medieval towns. Bern is stately but accessible, classy but fun. The city, founded in 1191, has managed to avoid war damage and hasn’t burned down since 1405.
After that fire, wooden buildings were discouraged and Bern gained its gray-green sandstone complexion. Colorful 16th-century fountains are Bern’s trademark. They were commissioned to brighten up the stony cityscape, to show off the town’s wealth, and to remind citizens of local heroes and events. The city is named for its mascot, a bear, and bears are a recurring theme all over town. This famous clock tower was part of the main gate of the original town wall. One side of it has a playful mechanical show, appropriate in this country so famous for its timepieces.
Bern Travel Tips – How To Get From The Airport To Bern
Looking into Bern travel tips and how to best get from the airport, there are two main transportation methods from Zurich airport to the city of Bern. The first and most common option is by train, while the least preferred choice is
transportation by taxi, mainly due to the excessive cost of the trip.
A train from Zurich airport to Bern will take around 1 hour 15 minutes and one way tickets cost 23€.
Zurich airport taxis take around 1 hour 30 minutes for the same distance and the overall price will usually sum up to 400€. Extremely expensive and only worth it if you are splitting the bill.
Bern Travel Tips – How To Get Around Bern
Searching for Bern travel tips and how to best get around. Switzerland’s capital city is small and compact, with a lovely atmosphere, picture-perfect cobblestone streets and beautiful views of the river Aare. Bern can be reached by train and by car. The old town center is the main tourist attraction. It is compact and can easily be explored on foot from the rail station. There is free public transport across the entire town.
Bern Public Transport
Free public transport
The main rail station is simply called ‘Bern’ and is situated in the heart of the city, at the edge of the historical town center. The station offers
a shopping center that is opened every day of the week, and many train services to towns all over Switzerland.
Berns public transport is a network of trams, buses and local trains (S-Bahn) that allow for you to easily travel all over town. A car is not needed to get around. The Bern Ticket offers free traveling in the public transport zones 100 and 101, which is basically all of Bern. You will get a free Bern Ticket if any accommodation in Bern.
After arrival in Bern, you can use your printed booking confirmation to travel from the rail station or airport to your accommodation for free. You will receive the Bern Ticket when you check in. Many of the Swiss rail passes also include free traveling in Bern.
Best Places To Stay In Bern
Switzerland’s capital city, Bern, is a great place to base yourself for exploring the beauty of Switzerland. Searching for Bern travel tips and the best places to stay in the city. Bern is blessed with both natural beauty and history. Here are the best neighborhoods in Bern Switzerland, you can find the perfect Bern accommodation for your travel tastes and budget.
Old Town – for tourists
Bern has one of the largest medieval city centers in Europe, and unlike many capital cities, the Old Town, or Altstadt, remains the city center.
Bern Old Town
Bern city was founded at a curve in the Aare River, which forms a peninsula containing the Altstadt. The train station at the western edge of Old Town, offers easy transportation throughout Switzerland and the rest of Europe. Altstadt is the best area for tourists who are looking for hotels in Bern Switzerland near the train station.
Lorraine – a local experience
Lorraine occupies a narrow strip of land along the Aare River. From the center of Lorraine, one can reach the Old Town in about 30 minutes walking. This residential area has fewer hotels than other parts of Bern, but apartment rentals are available. This is one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Bern if you want to have a more “local” experience and explore the parks and grocery stores like a resident. There are several restaurants and parks scattered throughout the neighborhood, offering plenty of opportunities for leisurely exploration.
Kirchenfeld – if you bring the family
Kirchenfeld is known as the museum district of Bern, the northern half of the neighborhood is filled with museums, including the Kunsthalle, History Museum, Natural History Museum, the Alpine Museum of Switzerland, and the Museum of Communication. Tierpark Bern is not to be missed if you are visiting Switzerland with kids. This historic animal park contains an aquarium, petting zoo, and a bear exhibit. A calm part of town that is perfect for the whole family to enjoy.
When looking into Bern travel tips and the city’s food culture. Bern was founded way back in the early 12th century, and the city is known worldwide for its medieval centre and beautiful surroundings. The cultural gastronomy also finds a prominent place in the city’s attractions. These are the top places to try to get the most out of your Bern food experience.
Altes Tramdepot is located near BarenPark and is a site of gastronomic and natural interest. The menu offers a plate of sausages, bacon,
boiled beef, smoked pork sirloin, potatoes and sauerkraut, spätzli dishes. Along with traditional French cuisine, and Asian plates. However, the main attraction of Altes Tramdepot is its integrated brewery – copper vats are situated in the middle of the restaurant behind the bar – in which the house beer is produced. With nice views of the park, Bern’s Old Town, and the beautiful Aare river from its beer garden and front terrace, you just have to visit this restaurant to experience it for yourself.
Kornhauskeller is a restaurant renowned for its views, though in this case the views are interior. Featuring a cafe, bar, lounge and a gallery in addition to its central restaurant, Kornhauskeller can cater to all diners, whether in search of Mediterranean cuisine, a high-end venue for events, or a relaxed meeting place throughout the day. The architecture of the restaurant is striking and luxurious, with a painted ceiling and curved wooden staircases. There is a variety of meat and fish dishes, with options ranging from signature ‘Kornhaus’ hash browns to veal and white-wine risotto.
Della Casa has been a favorite in Bern since it opened way back in 1892. Though slightly expensive, Della Casa offers an atmosphere of Swiss authenticity, and its location makes it a handy option for those visiting the city centre. Known as ‘Delli’ to the locals, the restaurant prides itself on its friendly atmosphere and adherence to tradition. With seating on the ground and first floors, the menu features Swiss wines and ‘Delli’ favourites, such as veal liver and Bratwurst.
Jack’s Brasserie is the main restaurant at the Hotel Schweizerhof in Bern, and is remarkable for its use of fresh market produce in its changing seasonal menus. Etched glass, wooden panelling and stark white tablecloths evoke the atmosphere of a French bistro, with the service and sizeable wine menu only adding to its elegance. A busy lunch destination, the restaurant serves primarily French cuisine, though the selection of Swiss classics are also very popular. The Gault-Millau Guide for 2013 notes the high standards of Jack’s Brasserie, praising the famous (and generous) ‘Jack’s Wiener Schnitzel’ with warm potato salad, as well as other, perhaps more refined, dishes.
Bern’s Gothic cathedral Münster was built in the 15th century and it’s the town’s most impressive church. At over a 100 metres it’s the tallest in Switzerland and it is well worth walking up the steps to get a stunning view over Bern, including the Aare and the Alps in the Bernese Oberland. The construction started way back in 1421 and the spire was finished over 400 years later, in 1893. Historical and well worth a
Albert Einstein actually lived in Bern, and the house he rented from 1903 to 1905, turned into a museum, is worth a visit. Located on Kramgasse, which is one of Bern’s most charming streets, the house has been carefully refurbished so that it’s a copy of the great physicist’s home. This is where Einstein developed his famous Theory of Relativity and it goes without saying that it is one of the highlights of any trip to Bern.
The Kunstmuseum in Bern is Switzerland’s oldest fine art museum with a beautiful permanent collection. The Kunstmuseum houses artwork from the Middle Ages all up to the present day and is home to pieces by Swiss artists from the 15th century and onwards. Masters such as Botticelli, Manet, Picasso, Van Gogh and Wassmer, can also be viewed alongside over three thousand paintings and sculptures by other Swiss and international artists.
The Bundeshaus is home to the Swiss Parliament as well as the Federal Government. Both the exterior, with its large domed roof, and the interior are dramatic works of art. In the central hall, there are beautiful paintings that illustrate pivotal moments from Swiss history and all the government rooms are equally interesting to see. The building is open to the public as part of a one-hour guided tour in different languages, depending on the time of day.
Kunsthalle Bern was established in 1918 and has been receiving global recognition ever since. Showcasing regional, national and international art, the Kunsthalle organises new exhibitions each year, which features either individuals or groups of around 6-7 artists. Solo exhibits by contemporary artists, like Paul Klee in 1935 and Christo in 1968, brought the gallery to the world’s attention, making it one of Switzerland’s liveliest cultural hubs.
Switzerland’s second biggest history museum is the Historical Museum of Bern. It holds one of the most important and fascinating collections, that showcases the life of the Swiss from the Stone Age up until the 1900s. One of the highlights here is “Bern’s Silver Treasures”, where the historic silverware of the city’s rich and famous is on display. The museum also features interesting temporary exhibits that
change several times a year.
Bears have actually lived in the city since as far back as the 1500s and to this day, they can be seen in their new riverside “home”, an open-air park with access to water, which was built in 2009. Three bears live here at the moment, Finn, Björk and Ursina, and they can be seen eating, sleeping and playing from a short but safe distance. Not your typical tourist experience, a must to see!