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Things to do in Bern, Switzerland, our must-sees - Blog Voyage - Découvrir Ensemble

Things to do in Bern, Switzerland, our must-sees

Last update : 29 April 2024
At the end of September, we had the opportunity to visit Bern and the Bernese Jura. This Swiss getaway really did us the world of good.

This was our second trip to Switzerland, and despite the inclement weather, we fell under the spell of Bern and its people. As the capital of Switzerland (yes, it is!), this city has a lot to offer. Berne’s historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it’s easy to see why: the architecture is beautiful, and the city boasts six kilometers of arcades. A real comfort for sheltering from the rain in winter and keeping cool in summer.

If you love architecture, history and gastronomy, you absolutely must visit Bern on your next vacation! To help you visit Bern and answer the question “what to do in Bern”, in this blog post we give you our must-sees and good places to go when you come to Bern.

Visiting Bern, where to sleep?

Bern Youth Hostel

Located in the lower part of the city, this youth hostel will enable you to visit Bern while maintaining good value for money. The hostel is a fifteen-minute walk from the main train station, and close to the Marzili swimming pool and the Aare. The staff are friendly and the rooms are in a minimalist industrial style. You’ll have access to a breakfast buffet in the morning, as well as locked lockers if, like us, you’d like to visit Berne without carrying your luggage around with you once you’ve returned your room keys. To get to the upper town more quickly, you can also take the funicular which is included in the Swiss Pass.

Where to sleep Bern

Visiting Bern, what to do?

Berne’s old town

As mentioned in our introduction, Berne’s city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. When you visit, you’ll quickly realize just how rich the city is, both in terms of history and architecture. When strolling through the center, we strongly recommend you take a guide. This will immerse you and give you an insight into Bern’s past, bringing your visit to life. That’s what we did, and we loved it. Our guide, Ursula, took us with her through the exciting history of the city and it was one of the moments we most enjoyed during our stay.

Old town Bern

The Clock Tower or Zytglogge

As you stroll through the narrow streets of Bern, stop in front of the Clock Tower. It used to be the city gate and has undergone many transformations. Today, it offers a musical and visual spectacle, every hour five minutes before the hour! If you’re wondering what this looks like, just imagine a dance of figurines (a bear, the city’s emblem, a madman, a rooster and Chronos) to music. We were lucky enough to discover the inside of the tower, and we can tell you it’s a real trip back in time! We discovered an incredible clockwork mechanism, and a magnificent view of the city that’s well worth the climb up a hundred steps.

Berne visiter berne

Berne’s allegorical fountains

What would Bern be without its famous fountains? They’ve been lining the streets of Berne since the Middle Ages, and you’ll find around a hundred of them. Eleven of them are allegorical and particularly worth a look! Over and above their decorative and symbolic value, they represent an innovative hydraulic system for the time, and an unmissable social gathering place – the coffee machine corner of the era after all! 😂😍

fontaines allégoriques Berne

Berne’s Arcades

Six kilometers of arcades, no less… They came into being after a great fire in the city of Berne in 1405, when many wooden houses burned down. The city was then redesigned with a strong emphasis on stone. Hence the invention of arcades! Today, they’re a real pleasure to stroll through, with their many little boutiques and restaurant terraces. We loved walking through them, and found they gave the city a distinctive visual style.

Arcana Bern

Berne Collegiate Church

We really liked this monument from the outside alone, it was closed when we came so we weren’t able to visit. Its bell tower is the tallest in Switzerland, no less! It’s possible to go inside and even climb over three hundred steps to discover the incredible view from the Collegiate Church. You can also admire its beautiful stained glass windows, statues and vaults. A place not to be missed on your visit to Bern!

Collegiale Berne

Einstein’s House

Did you know that the famous Albert Einstein lived in Bern, Switzerland from 1902 to 1909? We didn’t know until we came to explore the city this autumn. You can visit his house on the main street opposite the Clock Tower. We didn’t visit it ourselves, but I hear it’s well worth the detour!

The Federal Palace or Bundesterrasse

The Parliament building is truly superb, enthroned on one of the city’s balconies, and you’ll have a lovely view of it from the lower town (where we were staying). Inaugurated in 1902, it represents Swiss politics. We didn’t visit it when we were there, but we loved admiring it! For the more inquisitive among you, there are guided tours that will take you inside the building and help you understand how Parliament works.


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Visit Bern by strolling along the Aare

Nature lovers and walkers, this is for you! Take the time to discover the si kilometers of strolls by the trees, along the water and let yourself be carried away. We loved the different viewpoints!

balade le long de l'aar balade le long de l'aar

See Bern from a bird’s eye view at the Rosengarten, or Rose Garden

Our favorite spot during our stay in Bern! The Rosengarten offers a breathtaking view of the city of Bern. Cross the bridge and discover this immense garden and its many varieties of roses and flowers of all kinds. We took the time to have lunch at the Rosengarten restaurant, which we’ll tell you about a little further down in the article!

Rosengarten Berne Restaurant Rosengarten Bern

The Zentrum Paul-Klee

Head for a totally atypical building just fifteen minutes by bus from the city of Berne: the Zentrum Paul-Klee! Its architecture, designed by an Italian architect, blends seamlessly into the landscape and makes you really want to go inside to discover the works on display. The Zentrum is dedicated to the life of Klee, and has renewed itself with numerous temporary exhibitions, an interactive children’s zone and numerous events. If you love art and architecture, this place is well worth a visit!

Paul Klee

Visiting Bern, where to eat?

Restaurant Rosengarten in Bern

Head for Bern’s Rose Garden for lunch at a brilliant address, the Restaurant Rosengarten, which offers refined cuisine in an idyllic location with a crazy view. We recommend the address with your eyes closed!


Restaurant Dampfzentrale

In Bern’s lower town, we discovered this restaurant with a very nice setting and elaborate dishes. We had a great time at this address, which we’d recommend, for a dinner party for example.


Take advantage of your time in Bern to discover the Bernese Jura

What if you took a few extra days to discover the Bernese Jura region, located just 1h30 from Bern? A breath of fresh air is guaranteed, with a program that includes hiking in the Swiss countryside, fondue in a farmhouse, and a visit to a local chocolate factory (and of course a tasting session for those with a sweet tooth!). Go to our article on the Bernese Jura to learn more about this charming region!

Jura Bernois

Visiting Bern, how to organize your trip well?

How to get to Bern

To find the best mode of transport to visit Bern, we recommend you always look on the OMIO comparator. This will give you an overview of all available modes of transport. You’ll be able to compare prices very easily.

How to rent a car at the best price?

If you’d like to rent a car during your trip to explore the surrounding area, we recommend looking on the RentalCars website. This will help you find the best prices and conditions for your rental.

How to find the best hotels in Bern ?

In order to find the best hotels and benefit from the best conditions (security, cancellation…) we go almost exclusively through for our travels. We recommend that you take a look at the available hotels before you leave. You can filter them according to their ratings. There are plenty of recent customer reviews, so there are no unpleasant surprises when you’re traveling!

Visiting Bern in Switzerland, our review

We really enjoyed discovering the city of Bern. The city is very charming, offering a wide range of stores, restaurants and activities. You can easily spend a whole weekend here, and you’ll fall under its spell just like we did. We’d love to discover it again in the spring, for example, in a nice light! The town must be just as charming at Christmas time. The locals are very pleasant and welcoming, we had a lovely stay in Bern.

What to do Bern
Article in commercial collaboration - Blog Voyage - Découvrir Ensemble
Article in commercial collaboration

This entire trip was co-constructed with the teams at the Bernese Jura Tourist Office. Our opinions are personal and sincere.

Thank you for reading

We hope the tips and good addresses on our travel blog will help you visit Bern, Switzerland!

You can also follow our daily adventures on Instagram 🙂
Clem & Alex

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