Are you contemplating whether to include Bern in your Switzerland trip itinerary? We understand the dilemma. The enchanting city of Bern, the capital of Switzerland, often goes unnoticed by travelers.
However, we’re here to assure you that it’s an absolute gem that deserves your attention. With its medieval charm and captivating atmosphere, Bern offers a truly unique experience that will transport you back in time.
Whenever we have friends or families visit us in Switzerland, we always make it a point to spend one day in Bern with them. And let us tell you, it never disappoints! In this guide, we’ve compiled a list of the top things to see and do in Bern in one day, ensuring that you make the most of your time there.
Plus, we’ve gone the extra mile by including a handy city map to this Bern Itinerary with all the must-visit spots clearly marked. Bern is a very walkable city so you can do it all on foot.
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What sets Bern apart is its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This prestigious recognition speaks volumes about the city’s rich history and architectural significance. As you wander through the cobblestone streets, you’ll be surrounded by remarkably preserved medieval buildings that will leave you in awe.
Our guide also includes a special section for families. We’ve handpicked a variety of kid-friendly attractions and activities that will keep the little ones entertained. From exploring the Bear Park to exploring one of Bern’s many playgrounds, there’s no shortage of fun for the whole family.
So, grab your bags, put on your comfiest walking shoes, and get ready for an unforgettable day in Bern. We’re excited to share all the wonders this city has to offer. With your Bern itinerary in hand, get ready to fall in love with this magnificent city!
Making the Most of Your One Day in Bern: Arriving in the Charming Swiss Capital
One of the best ways to travel to Bern is by train, and let us tell you, the journey itself is part of the experience! Switzerland is renowned for its efficient and scenic train network, and a train ride to Bern is no exception.
If you’re coming from Interlaken, the journey takes approximately 1 hour, allowing you to soak in the beauty of the Swiss landscape along the way.
For those starting their journey from Zurich HB, the train ride to Bern is equally convenient and enjoyable. The direct train from Zurich HB to Bern offers a comfortable and seamless travel experience. The train ride from Zurich HB to Bern main station typically takes around 1 hour and 15 minutes.
The Bern train station itself is conveniently located in the city center, making it easy to start your day of exploration as soon as you step off the train. From there, you’ll be just a short walk away from the medieval wonders and cultural delights that await you in Bern’s Old Town.
Bern in One Day Itinerary: Discovering the Best Things to See and Do
Your Bern itinerary:
- Arrive in Bern at Bern Train Station
- Walk to the Bundehaus (Parliament Building)
- Stop to take a picture of the Aare
- View the many fountains in Bern’s Old City
- Check out the famous Clock Tower
- See Einstein’s House
- Marvel at the Arcades at Kramgasse
- Walk over the Nydeggbrücke to the Bear Pit
- Stop for Lunch at the Altes Tramdepot Brauerei Restaurant
- Take Pictures at the Bern Old Town View Point
Option 1 (if you’re looking to explore Bern’s history)
- Walk along the Aare to the Bern History Museum / Einstein museum (if you’re into history you can spend up to three hours there)
- Walk across the Aare to the Bern Marzili
Option 2: (if you want to relax and enjoy the beauty of the Rose Garden)
- Rose Gardens
Option 3: Explore Art
Zentrum Paul Klee
You can see our Bern city map by clicking here or the image above. Make sure to bookmark it!
Discovering the Parliament Buildings (Bundehaus)
As the capital of Switzerland, Bern has a rich history just waiting to be explored. You’ll make your first stop at the parliament buildings or Bundeshaus, which is conveniently just a seven minute walk from Bern train station.
The impressive edifice stands as a symbol of Switzerland’s long-standing tradition of democracy and reflects the country’s status as a neutral nation. Being in the heart of the city, it’s hard not to be drawn to the grandeur of the Bundeshaus, which dominates the skyline.
There’s nothing like capturing memories of amazing views from your travels. And when it comes to stunning vistas in Switzerland, the Bundeshausterrasse is definitely a must-visit spot. Whether you’re a photography enthusiast or simply someone who likes to snap photos with your phone, you’ll be in awe of the great views from this terrace just behind the Bundeshaus.
On a clear day, you’ll be able to see the magnificent Swiss Alps in the distance. Imagine the photos you’ll be able to share with your family and friends once you get back home!
Explore Bern’s Many Fountains
Next on our Bern itinerary is a visit to one of the many fountains in Bern’s Old Town should definitely be on your list of things to do. Known as the city of fountains, Bern has a wide variety of fountains to admire, each with their own unique story.
One of the most interesting and bizarre fountains you’ll come across is the Child Eater (Kindlifresser), but if you’re traveling with small children, it might be best to skip this one and opt for one of the more child-friendly fountains instead. A great option would be the one in Kramgasse.
Unveiling the Charm of Bern’s Clock Tower on Your One Day Visit
One of the must-visit attractions here is the medieval clock tower, also known as Zytglogge. This historic gem was built in the 13th century , serving as a guard tower to protect the city. As you explore the heart of Bern, you can’t miss the iconic Zytglogge.
With its captivating design and fascinating mechanisms, it’s truly a sight to behold. Every hour, the clock comes to life, delighting visitors with its unique performance. Don’t forget to capture some Instagram-worthy photos and immerse yourself in the rich history of this magnificent structure.
Unveiling the Genius: A Visit to Einstein’s House in Bern
Just 200 meters from the Famous Clocktower, is a place that holds great historical significance – Einstein’s House. This is where the brilliant mind of Albert Einstein, the genius behind the theory of relativity, once called home.
From 1903 to 1905, Einstein rented a flat within this apartment, which is now open to the public. Stepping into this unique space, you’ll find yourself transported to a bygone era. As you explore the rooms and corridors, you can imagine the great physicist deep in thought, pondering the mysteries of the universe.
It’s a truly remarkable experience to stand where Einstein once lived and to learn more about the man behind the groundbreaking ideas. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Einstein’s House in Bern and immerse yourself in the world of this extraordinary scientist.
Immersing Yourself in History: Exploring the Charming Arcades of Kramgasse
Strolling through the charming arcades of Kramgasse along one of Bern’s main streets is a must for every visitor. These historic covered walkways, adorned with beautiful shops and cafes, gracefully line the streets of the Old Town.
As you meander along, you’ll appreciate their practicality too – the arcades offer much-needed shade during the warm summer months, making them the perfect spot to escape the heat while exploring the city.
Whether you’re window shopping, sipping a coffee, or simply soaking up the atmosphere, a leisurely walk through Kramgasse’s enchanting arcades is an unforgettable part of any Bern adventure.
Gazing at Grandeur: Exploring the Majestic Cathedral of Bern
A visit to the stunning Bern Cathedral is an absolute must when exploring the city’s main sights. This architectural marvel is just a short walk from Kramgasse, making it easy to include in your itinerary.
As you wander through the magnificent cathedral, you’ll be in awe of its exquisite details and rich history.
Don’t forget to bring your camera, as the Bern Cathedral provides the perfect place to take pictures that capture the essence of your trip. With its breathtaking beauty and captivating atmosphere, this remarkable landmark is sure to leave a lasting impression.
Getting Up Close with Nature at the Bear Park in Bern
The Bear Park in Bern is a popular spot for families and a must-see attraction when visiting the city.
To reach this charming destination, take a leisurely walk over the picturesque Nydeggbrücke. As you cross the bridge, pause to snap some stunning photos of the Aare River below, with its mesmerizing turquoise waters.
Once you arrive at the Bear Park, you’ll be greeted by the sight of Bern’s beloved bears happily playing and roaming in their spacious habitat.
This delightful park not only offers an entertaining experience for visitors of all ages but also provides a fascinating glimpse into the city’s rich history and connection with these majestic animals.
Enjoy lunch at the Altes Tramdepot Brauerei Restaurant
Located in a former tram depot, this unique eatery combines the charm of a brewery with the flavors of Swiss cuisine, making it the perfect spot to refuel and recharge during your day in Bern. After lunch you can walk along the turquoise waters of the Aare river to the Bern History Museum. This will take about 20 minutes.
Local Tip: If you’re in the mood for something authentically Swiss, order one of their house special Rösti. It’s made by from potatoes, that are seasoned before being fried in a pan until golden and crispy. Rösti originates from the Canton of Bern so it’s a perfect meal to accompany your one day in Bern.
Parent tip: Most kids love rösti, so it’s perfect for sharing. It’s one of our two year olds favorite dishes! Find More Swiss Family Tips here.
Unveiling Centuries of Bern’s Captivating Past: Journey through Time at the Bern History Museum
Now, let’s talk about another one of the must-visit attractions in Bern – the Bernisches Historisches Museum, also known as the Bern Historical Museum. If you’re a history enthusiast or simply curious about the past, this is a place you won’t want to miss during your visit to the city.
Located in the heart of Bern’s Old Town, the Bernisches Historisches Museum offers a captivating journey through Bern’s rich history and cultural heritage. Housed in a beautiful Gothic-style building, the museum showcases an extensive collection of artifacts, artworks, and exhibitions that span centuries.
To truly appreciate the museum’s treasures, we recommend allocating a minimum of two to three hours for your visit. This will give you ample time to explore the various exhibitions at a leisurely pace, delve into the intriguing stories behind the artifacts, and immerse yourself in the fascinating history of Bern.
As you wander through the museum’s halls, you’ll encounter captivating displays that cover a wide range of topics, including medieval Bern, Swiss folklore, archeology, and fine arts. The museum’s expertly curated exhibits provide insight into the city’s evolution, its significant role in Swiss history, and the cultural influences that have shaped Bern into the vibrant city it is today.
Don’t miss the chance to marvel at the museum’s crown jewel – the Bernese Tapestry. This massive masterpiece, measuring an astounding 67 meters in length, depicts the historical events of the late Middle Ages and is a true testament to the craftsmanship of the time. It’s a sight that will leave you in awe!
When planning your visit to the Bernisches Historisches Museum, we recommend checking their website for any temporary exhibitions or special events that might be taking place during your visit. These additional offerings can enhance your experience and provide a deeper understanding of Bern’s history and culture.
Bern Marzili and The Universal Post Monument
After the Museum you can make your way back to the Aare River, to walk over to the Bern Marzili area. This lively district is known for its charming riverside promenade and the Marzili public swimming pool, where locals and visitors gather to cool off during the summer months.
As you continue walking along the promenade, keep an eye out for the funicular that will take you up to the Universal Post Monument. The funicular ride itself is a treat, offering panoramic views of Bern and its surrounding landscapes. You’ll be treated to a unique perspective of the city as you ascend towards the monument. Enjoy the walk and the breathtaking views!
Rose Garden: A Delightful Escape on Your One Day in Bern
The Rose Garden in Bern is undoubtedly one of the top places to visit Bern in one day. This enchanting haven boasts a stunning collection of vibrant roses and other flowers, creating a serene atmosphere that’s perfect for relaxing and unwinding.
In addition to its floral splendor, the Rose Garden also offers sweeping panoramic views of Bern’s historic Old Town, making it an ideal spot for capturing memorable photographs during your visit. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience this captivating oasis when you’re in town.
Tip for Families: While visiting the beautiful Rose Garden in Bern, don’t forget to check out the fantastic playground located within the garden grounds.
This well-designed play area offers a variety of fun and engaging equipment for kids of all ages, ensuring hours of entertainment and enjoyment for your little ones.
It’s the perfect spot for families to relax and have a wonderful time together, surrounded by the garden’s picturesque scenery. So, make sure to add this delightful playground to your list of must-visit places when exploring the Rose Garden with your family.
Zentrum Paul Klee: Unveiling the Artistic Marvels of a Creative Genius
Nestled amidst the rolling hills just outside Bern, the Zentrum Paul Klee is a true haven for art enthusiasts. This remarkable museum pays homage to the iconic Swiss painter, Paul Klee, showcasing a diverse collection of his works and celebrating his artistic legacy.
The architecture of the museum itself is a sight to behold, with its undulating waves and intriguing geometric patterns. Step inside, and you’ll be captivated by the carefully curated exhibitions that highlight Klee’s imaginative and expressive artistic style.
Whether you’re already a fan or new to Klee’s art, a visit to the Zentrum Paul Klee is an opportunity to immerse yourself in the fascinating world of this visionary artist and appreciate the depth of his contributions to the art world.
A Gastronomic Adventure: Indulging in Irresistible Dinner Options in Bern
When it comes to dinner options in Bern, you’re in for a treat! The city offers a delightful array of culinary experiences that will satisfy every palate.
If you’re a cheese lover, Restaurant Chäsbueb is a must-visit. Indulge in a scrumptious Swiss cheese fondue or savor a hearty raclette, accompanied by a glass of local wine.
For a more casual yet vibrant atmosphere, Turnhalle is the place to be. This trendy spot, housed in a former gymnasium, offers a diverse menu featuring international cuisine with a twist. From juicy burgers to flavorful stir-fries, there’s something to please everyone.
And for those seeking a vegetarian or vegan option, Tibits is a fantastic choice. This popular eatery serves up a mouthwatering buffet of fresh and seasonal plant-based dishes that will satisfy even the most discerning foodies.
With such a variety of dining options, you’re sure to find the perfect place to enjoy a delicious dinner and create lasting memories in the culinary capital of Bern. Bon appétit!
Unveiling the Charms of Bern’s Old Town: A 90-Minute Stroll through History
If you’re the type that likes in-depth information on each landmark, then we suggest you try a walking tour. This one takes you on a captivating journey through the Old Town of Bern. Discover the rich history and medieval charm of Switzerland’s capital as you wander through its narrow streets and charming squares.
Led by an expert guide, this tour takes you on a remarkable exploration of Bern’s iconic landmarks, including the Clock Tower, Parliament Buildings, and Cathedral of Bern. Immerse yourself in the fascinating stories and legends that make this city truly unique.
Don’t miss the opportunity to uncover the secrets of Bern’s Old Town with this unforgettable experience. Book your tour today and get ready to be enchanted by the beauty of Bern.
Bern is a truly enchanting city that deserves to be on every traveler’s itinerary when visiting Switzerland. Its medieval charm and captivating atmosphere create an unforgettable experience that will transport you back in time.
We hope our guide has provided you with valuable insights into the top sights and activities to enjoy during your one-day visit to Bern. Remember, the city is easily walkable, allowing you to explore its many treasures at a leisurely pace.
So, grab your handy city map, lace up your walking shoes, and get ready to embark on an extraordinary adventure as you uncover the magic of Bern with your friends and family. Happy exploring!
Answering your Frequently Asked Questions
It one day in Bern enough time to see the city?
Absolutely! While Bern is a city brimming with history, culture, and captivating attractions, it's possible to experience the charming Swiss capital in just one day. With proper planning and a well-crafted itinerary, you can make the most of your time in Bern.
From exploring the medieval Old Town to visiting iconic landmarks like the Parliament Buildings and the Cathedral of Bern, you'll have the opportunity to soak in the city's unique ambiance and architectural wonders. So, while one day may not be enough to uncover every hidden corner, it is certainly sufficient to get a taste of the city's beauty and leave you with lasting memories.
What can I do in Bern on a Sunday?
Sundays in Bern offer a delightful blend of relaxation and exploration. Most shops will be closes, some attractions may have limited hours. But there are still plenty of things to do to make your Sunday in Bern memorable.
Take a stroll through the picturesque Old Town, admiring the beautiful architecture and charming streets.
Visit the Bern Historical Museum, which is open on Sundays, and delve into the rich history of the city. Explore the Rose Garden and enjoy panoramic views of Bern's skyline. Take a relaxing walk along the Aare River or enjoy a picnic in one of the city's many parks.
Is it possible to manage in Bern only speaking English?
Yes! While the official language of Bern is Swiss German, English is widely understood and spoken in the city, especially in tourist areas, hotels, restaurants, and shops.
You'll find that most people, particularly those working in the tourism industry, have a good command of English. Signs and public transportation announcements are often displayed in both Swiss German and English as well.