WHY VISIT BERN
Bern is the capital of the Swiss Helvetic Confederation of Switzerland, a very old city with a medieval character that has preserved a priceless historical character over time.
The first traces of a settlement in the territory date back to the Celtic era around the I – II century BC which was fortified by the Romans in 58 BC. The city itself, however, was born in medieval times, under the pressure of Duke Berthold V von Zahringen when he authorized the urban settlement along a spur of rock above the bend of the river Aare.
According to the legend, the name of the city derives from a bear, Bar, killed by the duke during the foundation works.
In the following centuries, Bern experienced a period of great expansion, especially during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, when its territory came to include almost all of French Switzerland and much of the Savoie region.
Today Bern is a modern and functional city, with quiet tranquility that derives from the fact that it is only partly invested by mass tourism, its historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage site and boasts one of the longest covered commercial walks of Europe.
In the city, there are numerous events, especially musical ones of great interest also at international level and more developed during the summer, such as the jazz festival, the Gurten festival where every summer thousands of people meet on the mountain of Bern with many international artists and the Buskers music festival with street musicians.
Not to be missed is also the evocative “onion festival” which takes place every year on the fourth Monday of November and covers the streets of Bern with confetti and during which you can buy onions and onion pies.
WHAT TO SEE IN BERN
Top attractions not to be missed are:
- Old Town
- Aare River
- Cathedral at Munsterplatz / St. Vincent (Munster Kirche)
- Federal Building (Bundeshaus)
- Clock Tower – Zytglogge
- Prison Tower (Kafigturm)
- Child Eater Fountain (Kindlifresserbrunnen)
- Church of the Holy Ghost
Following instead some hidden spots of the city that only locals know!
- don’t miss the view from the Rose Garden (Rosengarten)
- take a picture of the city from the Kornhausbrucke
WHEN TO GO TO BERN
The best period to visit Bern is from May to September.
Following a list of main events and typical festivals and celebrations of Bern.
- Bern International Jazz Festival
- Bern Buskers’ Street Music Festival
- Onion Market (Zibelemärit) (November)
HOW TO REACH AND MOVE IN BERN
The main airport is the Bern Airport
Tickets for Bern public transport can be bought at machines and in the LIBERO shop at Bern main station. No tickets are sold on buses and trams. In addition to the normal tickets, and the multiple journey tickets, Bernmobil also sells short journey tickets at a more affordable price. The ticket machines at the tram and bus stops show which routes the short journey ticket is valid for.
download the transportation map
WHAT TO DO IN BERN
typical dishes of Bern are:
- Fondue; cheese melted (usually a combination of Gruyere and Vacherin) in a pot;
- Raclette, gilled Raclette cheese served with potatoes, vegetables, and pickles;
- Tartiflette, a combination of potatoes, bacon, caramelized onions, and lashings of sauce made with that tasty local cheese;
- Rosti, grated potatoes fried until they are golden brown and super crispy;
- Bündnerfleisch meat, air-dried meat;
- not forgetting of course the famous chocolates.
typical souvenirs of Bern are:
- Style watches
- Wood carved figures
- Swiss army knife.
The main theatre in Bern is the Konzert Theater Bern.