Bern, the historic capital of Switzerland, is a true gem that is often put aside by travellers who prefer to go straight for the likes of Zurich and Geneva. And yet, this medieval city is one of our favourite in the country…if not in Europe! Don’t believe us? We’re not the only ones to think so: Albert Einstein actually settled down here for two years, and loved it so much that it inspired the creation of the “Theory of Relativity”.
Here are our five favourite things about Bern:
1. An Open-Air Museum of its Own
Bern itself is like a giant open air museum that you can endlessly walk through on its cobbled streets, through its long archways, marveling at the flawless historic architecture, beautiful fixtures and unique fountains (which have drinking water and are tested daily!) throughout its old town. You spend your time here at a leisurely pace, far from the hustle and bustle of other European capitals. While you’re here, don’t miss the Zytglogge (Bern’s clock tower) which strikes every hour with a small show of mechanical figures. It’s no wonder that Bern is part of the UNESCO world heritage sites.
2. Local food & Artisans
Our travelers often ask us where the best places are to get authentic, locally-made souvenirs to take home. Bern always instantly comes to mind – it’s where we ourselves go when we want something that’s not a big brand name. In the old town especially you’ll find small independent boutiques that have been here for what feels like centuries, showcasing the best of Switzerland through delicious pastries, local produce, hand-crafted jewelry, artisan cuckoo clocks, wood-carvings, and more!
3. Oh the hotels…
While being perhaps less luxurious than the cosmopolitan cities Geneva and Zurich, Bern offers a unique selection of high-quality hotels that provide excellent service! Our favorite is the newly renovated Schweizerhof Hotel, with its perfect mix of modern & traditional style, delicious food, great spa and warm, hospitable staff. Well-worth the detour!
4. Surrounded by Nature
The great thing about Bern is that it’s not overwhelming or hectic like big cities often can be. And even if it were to become bustling, you can easily escape (or walk) to the tranquil nature that surrounds the capital: whether it be to the “Rosengarten” (Rose Garden) with over 200 types of roses overlooking the city, the fast-flowing (and very clean) Aare river where you’ll find locals swimming in the warm months, or the Dahlholzi Zoo where families can walk beside the river, into the forest, with animals all around you.
5. …which also means great day trips !
You could undoubtedly stay a week in Bern, with its remarkable abundance of day trips that can effortlessly be taken from here. Whether you visit the untouched “Emmental” valley and its green rolling hills, the famous Bernese Oberland with its mountain peaks, the medieval village of Gruyeres, the relaxing lakeside of Thun, the charming village of Murten… and if you’re looking to go skiing, there is certainly no lack of resorts within a 2 hour drive away!
For more scenic routes, your custom-designed roadtrip in Switzerland and access to our travel services, contact Chantal & Max Swiss Travel Design at firstname.lastname@example.org! We look forward to welcoming you!