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Biel (Bienne) Tourism And Travel Guide
6.9° C / 44.3° F
April to September
1 to 2 Days
Bern Airport (53 kms)
Bahnhof Biel (0.8 kms)
Biel is the German name while Bienne is the french name of this picturesque bilingual town. It is the 10th largest city in Switzerland and has an advantageous location at the foot of the Jura Mountain range and is surrounded by 3 large lakes. Tourism in Biel/Bienne has been growing, especially since the town is famous for its watchmaking and is home to big brands like Omega, Swatch, Rolex and others. With a population of just about 50,000 people, Biel/Bienne makes for a charming little town, rich in culture, nature & architecture. Here's our travel guide to Biel/Bienne giving you all the basic information required and the best tips!
How To Reach
The closest airport to Biel/Bienne is Bern which is roughly 53km away. While travelling from India by flight, the best route would be to fly to Zurich (there are daily flights) and then take a train to Biel/Bienne. If you are already in Switzerland, then you can take a public bus, train or drive to Biel/Bienne.
The Swiss Rail Network is extensive and very convenient for travellers. Biel/Bienne railway station is a major junction within the Rail Network, so there are plenty of trains that stop here from all over Switzerland, including Geneva, Zurich, Lausanne, Basel, Bern etc. Bern to Biel/Bienne is only 30 minutes, while from Zurich it is 75 minutes. You can also travel to Biel/Bienne from international destinations like France, Italy, UK, Netherlands and Germany.
The roads that lead to Biel/Bienne are beautiful, wide and easy to navigate - as are the roads throughout the country. Popular driving routes are Zurich to Biel/Bienne - 75 minutes, Bern to Biel/Bienne - 35 minutes, Geneva to Biel/Bienne - 2 hours. You can choose to hire a private vehicle or use public transportation like the Bus.
Biel/Bienne is not a very big city and most of the tourist sites can be explored on foot. For the places that are located outside the city centre, you can use public transportation like the Tram, Train or Bus. Most hotels in Switzerland, provide you with a public transportation pass so that you can conveniently roam around the city - if you're staying at a hotel, don't forget to check on this with them.
Weather & Best Time To Visit
Spring (March to May):
The average temperature during the spring season is 16°C with lows of 5°C. Tourism is a bit slow but it picks up in May, thus making it a good time to visit - for those people who don't like crowded holidays. The countryside is ripe with colourful blooms and the city looks quite pretty during this time. It can rain for 7 to 12 days in a month. A farmers market with food stalls and live performances is the highlighting even for the season.
Summer (June to September):
The average temperature during the summer months is 26°C with lows of 14°C. It is the most crowded time of the year as tourists love to flock to Switzerland for the warm climate. Being peak tourist season, there are more events and activities during this time - but that also mean higher fares on flights and hotels. It can rain about 10 days in the month. Some of the popular festivals held in Summer are the plusQ’île festival, the Bieler Braderie street fair, Pod'Ring, Kaléidoscope, Lakelive festival and more.
Autumn (October to November):
The summer vibes continue to spread cheer in September with warm days, but by mid-October, you can start to feel a nip in the air. The average temperature for the season is 15°C with lows of 7°C. It is a beautiful time of the year to visit the city. It can rain about 8 days a month during this time. Events that take place are the Alpine descent festival and the Trüelete wine festival.
Winter (December to February):
While winter may be romantic as you cosy up in front of a fire, it is not the best time to visit Biel/Bienne, because it can get really cold outside and you will have fewer daylight hours for sightseeing. However, if you want to enjoy some ice skating, celebrate Christmas in a traditional and festive way and just take have a relaxed holiday, then you could still enjoy it. The average temperature is 4°C with lows of -1°C. There aren't many events that take place during this season except for The Cantonale Berne Jura and the celebration of Christmas & New Year.
Things To Do
The Old Town of Biel/Bienne is still very well preserved and makes for a charming visit. It has plenty of things to see and do within it and you can wander around aimlessly for a few hours. There are some quality restaurants & bars so that you can have a gala evening and many beautiful sculptures and architecture for you to photograph. Also, there is a weekly farmers market at Place du Bourg that is an interesting local experience.
There are 3 major lakes surrounding Biel - Lake Neuchâtel, Lake Murten and Lake Biel. To explore this area, there is a tour by the name of 3 Lakes Cruise, which is popular with tourists. It's a fun activity that can take up to 4 hours. It is usually open only tourist season between April and October.
There are many vineyards all over Switzerland and each region has a unique flavour of its own. If you visit Biel/Bienne, a trip to Twann is a must, where you can take a vineyard tour, do a spot of wine-tasting and see stunning sunsets. Pfropfhüsli house is the perfect place for this experience - it is a recently restored, 100-year-old building and has a fantastic collection of locally made wines.
Hiking is a wonderful activity to do in Switzerland. The fresh outdoor air mixed with beautiful landscapes is definitely worth the elevated heart rates. Some popular hiking trails in the region are - offbeat trails from Lake Biel, Grenchen, Fallernweg and of course the majestic Jura mountains.
Biel/Bienne is the watchmaking Swiss capital - so if you are looking for a gift for yourself of your loved one, perhaps a Swiss Watch would be your best choice. Apart from that, you can buy other locally produced items such as Swiss Knives, Clocks, Wine, Cheese, Chocolates, Clothing & Accessories, Jewellery etc. You can also pick up a ton of unique and quirky souvenirs.
Centre Boujean and Centre Bahnhof are popular shopping centres in Biel/Bienne. Centre Brügg is also very popular and is located just outside the city. Also, check out Marilyn & Him Premium Secondhand and Heilsarmee Brocki Biel for some cool vintage items. An alternative is to just drive down to Bern and shop there - as its a larger city and is only 35 minutes away.
Ready for some mouth-watering dishes? Try out the local cuisine which has a beautiful blend of French, German & Swiss cooking. Some of the best restaurants for local cuisine are - La Péniche, Restaurant Du Lac, Lifestyle Restaurant Palace, Cafe Restaurant de l'Ecluse, Caves.
For Continental & European cuisine you should consider - Restaurant Autrement, Villa Lindenegg, Restaurant Perroquet Vert, Gasthof Zum Goldenen Sternen.
For Asian & Indian flavours visit - Lucky Take Away, Cafe & Bistro Samawat, Maharaja Palace, Zum Thailander, Le Basilic, Baan Thai, Senk Hok Buffet.
Vegetarians & Vegans should visit - St Gervais, Farel Bistro, Caffe Spettacolo, Casa Miracoli, La Bohème