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