Things To Do In Bern Switzerland

Things To Do In Bern Switzerland.jpg

Visiting For The Things Do In Bern Switzerland

We found lots to see and do in Bern Switzerland. We enjoyed the city and even did a day trip out of town and visited Interlaken in the Swiss Alps.

Bern was the second stop on our visit to Switzerland. The train between our stay in Zurich and Bern ran every 30 minutes. It was the same train we later used to move on to Geneva.

Since it was only an hour ride, we booked a second class ticket with no reserved seat. Little did we know that on a Saturday this train was full! We were not the only ones who looked for lots of things to do in Bern.

It turned out that we were also in Bern on a Swiss holiday long weekend. It meant the city was a little busier. But unfortunately it also meant that many of the restaurants and shops were closed up both Sunday and Monday when we visited. We planned our food stops with this in mind.

When we arrived in Bern, the downtown area by the train station was packed and noisy. There were signs all around for the Bern Grand Prix. As a fast car junky, I immediately wanted to get tickets. We asked a couple of people and they seemed perplexed at our interest. Only later we realized this was a running race and not a big auto race. One of the things to do in Bern we did not attend.

Our Base In Bern

Our hotel was located a bit out of town. But one tram and one train line ran right from the train station to the front of our hotel. Since it was such a short travel day, we figured we could haul our bags by tram rather than take a taxi. Unfortunately, Bern was not an Uber friendly city.

With check-in at our hotel, we got a Bern Transport Card. This seemed to be a common thing that hotels offered. It made getting around Bern really easy. We used it for the subway, the trams and several times to get up or down the hills around the city. It certainly made it easy to see lots of things to do in Bern.

Transport Card Tram.jpg

The Holiday Inn Westside had a big mall and waterpark attached to it. On the weekend the waterpark was far too busy with kids to draw our attention. On our last day, we arrived back from our day trip to Interlaken too tired to try the waterpark. But this was a great one of the things to do in Bern if you visit with kids.

Holiday Inn Westside Pool and Slides.jpg

The other big attraction in this part of Bern was the Toblerone chocolate factory right by our hotel. We often smelled chocolate in the air. But we sadly never got the chance to visit!

See The Aare River

The entire Old Town of Bern was designated as a UNESCO site. There were so many interesting sites to explore when we headed into the Old Town.

The Aare River ran through the old town of Bern. Our first stop was at a viewpoint close to the Federal Palace. From here we looked down at the river. And across to the Historical Museum. Off in the distance we saw the Gurten Mountain we explored on another day.

Old Town Aare River.jpg

Old Town Aare River Kirchenfeldbrucke Bridge - Things To Do In Bern Switzerland.jpg

When we crossed the Kirchenfeldbrucke Bridge. From there it was a short walk to the Historical Museum.

Old Town Aare River Kirchenfeldbrucke Bridge - Things To Do In Bern Switzerland.jpg

The Historical Museum was the second largest historical museum in Switzerland. It housed ten permanent exhibitions on history, archeology and ethnography. There was a section devoted to Einstein. And large spaces for temporary exhibits.

Historical Museum - Things To Do In Bern Switzerland.jpg

Historical Museum - Things To Do In Bern Switzerland.jpg

On this visit to Bern, we just wandered around and enjoyed the art on the outside of the museum.

Heading Back Into Old Town

From the river bank, we got a great view across towards the Federal Palace. And got our first view of the Munster Cathedral.

Federal Palace - Things To Do In Bern Switzerland.jpg

Munster Cathedral - Things To Do In Bern Switzerland.jpg

When we crossed back and wandered around the Federal Palace we came to the Kleine Schanze park. This was yet another spot with views down to the terraced lower levels of town. The Marzili funicular was at this spot. It offered one of several ways to get down the hills to the river and was free with our Bern Transport Card.

Kleine Schanze Park view.jpg

Kleine Schanze Park view - Things To Do In Bern Switzerland.jpg

Kleine Schanze Park Marzili Funicular.jpg

Wandering along both sides of the Aare River was one of the scenic things to do in Bern.

Inside The Munster Cathedral

The Munster Cathedral was the largest church in the old town of Bern. There was a service in progress when we arrived. On the front we found a beautiful detailed scene that depicted the Last judgment. As we wandered outside we saw an interesting variety in the stone carvings on this church.

Munster Cathedral Last Supper Carving - Things To Do In Bern Switzerland.jpg

Munster Cathedral Steeple.jpg

Munster Cathedral Gargoyle.jpg

Munster Cathedral Carvings.jpg

Once the service was finished we headed inside and found a standard Gothic layout. There was a newer organ at the front of the church. High at the back was the original large decorative organ.

Munster Cathedral Altar and Organ - Things To Do In Bern Switzerland.jpg

Munster Cathedral Organ - Things To Do In Bern Switzerland.jpg

At the front alter there was a 3 part stained glass window. Around the sides there was a colourful array of other stained glass windows.

Munster Cathedral Stained Glass.jpg

Munster Cathedral Stained Glass - Things To Do In Bern Switzerland.jpg

Munster Cathedral Stained Glass.jpg

A visit to the Munster Cathedral was definitely one of the things to do in Bern. It was even possible to walk up the church tower for a panoramic view. We were sorry we missed this on our visit.

Walk Through Old Town

We spent a morning as we strolled through Old Town in Bern. The cobblestone streets led us from one spot to the next. Flags fluttered above our heads and drew our eyes up. Interesting buildings lined the streets. The bear was a symbol of both the city and surrounding canton and we found bears in many spots.

Old Town Buildings.jpg

Old Town Buildings.jpg

Old Town Buildings Mural.jpg

Old Town Buildings Bear.jpg

Every few blocks we came to yet one more interesting statue. Some were old and historic. Some were modern. Most were artistic. Few seemed to be memorials.

Old Town Statues Around The World - Things To Do In Bern Switzerland.jpg

Old Town Statues Soldier - Things To Do In Bern Switzerland.jpg

Old Town Statues Knight.jpg

Old Town Statues Priest.jpg

Old Town Statues Bear History Museum - Things To Do In Bern Switzerland.jpg

When we looked up, we always found a clock tower. Not surprising since we were in Switzerland. The biggest disappointment was when we found the astrological clock covered in scaffolding. We missed the Astrological Clock in Prague as well due to renovation work.

Old Town Clock Church of the Holy Ghost - Things To Do In Bern Switzerland.jpg

Old Town Clock.jpg

Old Town Clock Astrological.jpg

Old Town Clock Astrological - Things To Do In Bern Switzerland.jpg

A walk in Old Town was one of the things to do in Bern that we didn’t want to miss. As a UNESCO site, we knew there were many interesting things to see.

Get A Panoramic View Of Bern

After we walked the Old Town and got a view down to the river level, we wanted to go high for a panoramic view down over Bern. There was no better way to do this than to take the funicular up to Gurten Mountain.

Gurten Funicular - Things To Do In Bern Switzerland.jpg

From several points around the park on the top of Gurten Mountain we got great views down over the city of Bern. But then we climbed to the top of the tower and got a 360° view over Bern and the surrounding countryside.

Gurten Funicular View - Things To Do In Bern Switzerland.jpg

We went up the Gurten Mountain for the views but we saw so much more to do when we got there. Families enjoyed the play areas and toboggan runs. Mountain bikers sped down the dirt trails. And people enjoyed the patios in the sun.

Gurten Funicular Things To Do.jpg

Heading high above the city was one of our favourite things to do in Bern.

See The Swiss Alps In Interlaken

We were not finished with our views from above. One day we planned a day trip to Interlaken and got a view of the Swiss Alps. We enjoyed our day walking around town. It was a perfect picturesque Swiss town.

Interlaken Town Friendship Hotel.jpg

The Harderbahn funicular up to the Harder Kulm viewpoint provided a great view out over the town and the lakes at either end of the town. When we looked off in the distance we saw the higher peaks of the Swiss Alps. The summit at Jungfrau came in and out of the clouds.

Interlaken Harder Kulm view.jpg

Interlaken Harder Kulm view - Things To Do In Bern Switzerland.jpg

We watched the paragliders launch from high in the mountains. And then stopped by the landing zone and saw them as they landed. This was definitely something to try on our return trip to Interlaken.

Interlaken Paraglider Skydiver Landing - Things To Do In Bern Switzerland.jpg

From Interlaken it was possible to head further into the Swiss Alps. Interlaken was an easy great day trip and one of the things to do in Bern that we would highly recommend.

So Many Things To Do In Bern

We liked the feel of the city and certainly found many things to do in Bern. It was a great town to wander in. Our Bern Transport Card let us explore even more. The UNESCO Old Town with the cobblestone streets let us discover the city core as we walked along the Aare River.

It was great to go high above Bern on the Gurten Mountain. The views alone were worth the trip. But if you want to enjoy the green space or need a place to take kids, make sure you add this to your list of things to do in Bern.

There were many day trips from Bern. We enjoyed one trip and saw the Swiss Alps from Interlaken. There were many different things to do from Interlaken, so we planned to use that as a base on a return visit. Certainly getting a taste test of the Swiss Alps from Bern was one of our favourite things to do in Bern on our visit to Switzerland.

What was your favourite of the things to do in Bern? Was there something you would suggest that people take a pass on?

Save For Later – PIN To Pinterest:

Things To Do In Bern Switzerland.jpg

Things To Do In Bern Switzerland.jpg

Things To Do In Bern Switzerland.jpg

Things To Do In Bern Switzerland.jpg

We would love if you could share this!
  •  
  •  
  • 113
  •  
  •  
    113
    Shares
About TravelAtWill 633 Articles
Travel blogger and photographer! Scuba diving, luxury cruising, chocoholic, sea and sunshine addicts, camera attached and just generally curious! Join us on our adventures!

64 Comments

  1. Wow the Tobleron chocolate factory was sufficient for me to add Bern to my list. Such a beautiful place and yet another one of those that I missed when I was in Switzerland the last time. I will make sure to get the transportation card when I visit the place so I can use the public transport most times. Also, that paragliding is something I will not miss when I am there as I would love to see the landscapes from up above.

    • We debated where to choose as our base and did find Bern to be a great spot. Especially since we were travelling by train. But we found so much in Bern itself too!

  2. I haven’t been to Bern yet. It’s great to know that they have Bern Transport Card, which makes transportation and sighseeing much easier. I had no idea that the entire Old Town of Bern was designated as a UNESCO site. It’s so many to see there. Old town seems to be charming. I would like also to visit Historical Museum as the second largest historical museum in Switzerland.

    • We were happy to use Bern as our base. The Bern Transport Card worked out well for the things we wanted to see. More to see in the town than we expected.

  3. Gee, those carvings on the Muster church are fascinating! The hard work and effort to come up with something so intricate is outstanding. Though a bit shy, it looks like the summit of the Swiss Alps cooperated with you.

  4. I haven’t been to Bern (yet!) but it looks so pretty, especially those wonderful views you got from up high. Good thing there are so many funiculars! Munster Cathedral is just stunning – I think I could spend hours just admiring those stone carvings and the beautiful stained glass windows.

  5. Wow! I did not realize that there is so much to see and do in Bern. The intricate designs and the architure of The Munster Cathedral is fascinating. It’s stained glass window is also wonderful.

  6. Ahhh Bern is on our bucket list!! It looks absolutely beautiful! We were deciding between visiting Bern and Geneva a few years ago and wish we would have chosen Bern instead. This makes me so excited to finally make the trip!

    • It is funny you say that. We did both Bern and Geneva on this trip. So many people said not to go to Geneva but we were glad we did. But we were also happy we saw Bern.

  7. I loved the UNESCO town of Bern. You made me nostalgic. There is indeed lots to do there and if one loves walking, one can just keep strolling around. The carvings of the church, the Historical museum, the cobblestone streets, Kleine Schanze park, I loved it all. Thanks for taking me on this memory trip. Using transport cards is the best choice in Switzerland.

  8. It looks so beautiul and colourful. The transport card is a good idea for first time visitors. And the stained glass in the church looks marvellous. Everything about old towns is so fascinating.

  9. I recently spent a few days in Bern and missed the Toblerone factory! You are right, strolling through the old town was the highlight for us too. We also visited the art museum where they had a great exhibition of contemporary art from North and South Korea. And I liked watching the bears from the Aare bridge.

  10. So many historical buildings. No wonder the whole old town area is a designated UNESCO site. Hope you’ll get a chance to revisit so you can climb the church’s tower for the panoramic view.

  11. That Harderbahn funicular to Harder Kulm certainly provided a great view, yes. I think I could easily spend a day just strolling around Old Town though. Amazing how the river is white-water right in the centre of town.

    • There was certainly enough to keep us intrigued as we wandered in the Old Town in Bern – and we did not even get inside the museums. So many great sights and viewpoints.

  12. I’ve been to Basel and Zurich, but never to Bern. I thing that the city is highly underrated despite its political importance. From your pictures, it looks so cute – I think I might go there for at least one or two days next time I visit Switzerland.

  13. Good to know that there’s a transport card to help you get around! I also didn’t realize that there was an actual Old Town. It would be so fun to visit there. Also, I love your blog, but the sound always startles me when I come – I don’t know if it’s something you’d consider turning off, but it doesn’t encourage me to watch the video. It’s also distracting when I’m trying to read your great content. Just a thought…

    • Thanks for the feedback on the video feed. I will look into turning the sound off. My laptop is set up to never autoplay content so I don’t get it when I go to my page!

  14. It looks beautiful in Switzerland and I love how there is so much to do and explore. I have always wanted to travel here so its nice to see all of the historic buildings I can visit if I ever do!

  15. We are a few hours from Switzerland but I’ve never been to Bern. The views are so pretty, especially from the old town. I’d like to see the Munster Cathedral, the outside and in are both so stunning!

  16. It’s always such a disappointment when you miss seeing a site because they are renovating but I suppose it has to be done. Bern looks like a lovely place to explore and as for smelling that chocolate continuously I would HAVE to try some!

  17. Bern looks gorgeous! I have never visited & before I saw this post it would never have been on my radar but exploring those beautiful areas around the river would definitely be something I would enjoy. And it’s always good to get high for a view, so the funicular ride would also be on my itinerary. And those photos from Interlaken are stunning too! Clearly need to get back to Switzerland.

  18. I had heard of Bern, but wasn’t very familiar with it. It looks like such a beautiful city. And I really enjoy your photos, you really bring the city to life.

  19. I’ve heard some great things about Bern, and your photos have made me want to go even more. It looks like there are some fantastic things to do there!

  20. Bern looks like such a vibrant and colourful place! What a beautiful city! I’d love to admire the park and ride the Marzili funicular. I bet the views are incredible! I’d love to visit Bern one day. Thanks for the great guide!

  21. Bern sounds like an incredible city! I would love to wander around and explore the old town! And the panoramic view of the city sounds amazing to see as well!

  22. I still haven’t been to Bern, but it looks so nice in the summer! I’d love to see the clock tower and the beautiful street with all the flags!

  23. Wow! There are so many things to do in Bern, which I thought was a quiet one-street capital of Switzerland! When I visited Bern some 20 years ago, I just watched the big clock show in the old street full of flags and enjoyed a horse carriage ride. I would love to do the Gurten and Harderbahn funicular and get panoramic city views, check out the historical museum and the Munster Cathedral. Saving your blog for my future visit. 🙂

  24. Bern is a gorgeous city! First thing I’d want to do is take the funicular up to the mountain for those incredible views! I could probably spend hours wandering the Old Town and admiring the astrological clock even through the scaffolding. I too am always bummed when an iconic site is covered for maintenance. Look forward to visiting Bern one day!

  25. Your photos, as always, are so inspiring! I would love to go to Bern and see all of those beautiful views! I’d especially enjoy visiting the Munster Cathedral and the Historical Museum. Thanks for the interesting post.

  26. My husband and I were planning a trip to Switzerland and had to cancel due to Covid. Your pictures and post just get me excited for travel. I hope the world opens up again soon!

  27. I’ve been to Switzerland a couple of times, but didn’t get to Bern. It looks lovely. I love the old towns of Europe with their historical old towns, And the funicular sure looks like fun.
    Alison

  28. I love Switzerland! I would love to visit Bern. I have only done Lucerne and Interlaken. The Harderbahn funicular up to the Harder Kulm viewpoint looks super gorgeous and a stroll through old town sounds amazing!

We love to get your comments!