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Things To Do In Bern
Bern, the de-facto capital of Switzerland for more than 150 years, is a very popular town with tourists. From the UNESCO listed Old Town to the turquoise waters of the river Aare. From the culturally rich museums to the glimpses of the white peaks of the Alps. Bern, the 5th largest city in Switzerland was also home to Albert Einstein for some years. With so many interesting stories to tell, it is no wonder that there are plenty of things to do in Bern. Let’s explore some of the best ones.
Explore The Old Town
Exploring the Old Town is probably the best thing to do in Bern and that’s why it’s on top of our list. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walking around the narrow cobbled streets, visiting historical buildings, drinking water from the 11 ancient fountains, shopping and eating along the way, definitely a good way to spend your day! Many of the top tourist sights can be found within the Old Town area, including the Cathedral, many Museums, the clock tower, the prison tower and more. The city came crashing down in flames in 1405 and the once-wooden city was re-built with sandstone architecture.
There are so many museums to visit in Bern that you could spend an entire day just doing this. You can choose and pick what excites you the most from Fine Arts, History, Science and others. Some of the popular museums are the Swiss Alpine Museum, the Natural History Museum, Museum of communication, Einstein House, Historical Museum of Bern, Zentrum Paul Klee, Museum of Fine Arts, the Swiss Shooting Museum, the Contemporary Art Gallery, Galerie SOON and Klingende Sammlung. All of these museums have a different story to tell and offer some wonderful insights on the cultural, artistic and historical side of Bern.
Stroll Around The Botanical Garden
There are many public parks and gardens in Bern – one of them is the Botanical Garden which is well worth the visit and a fun thing to do while in Bern. From mountain plants to endangered species, there are many themed exhibits for one to walk through and explore. There are multiple sections & buildings in the gardens that cover tropical, subtropical and desert landscapes. A special exhibit called the Palm House is not to be missed which houses plants such as bananas, coffee and coconuts.
Shop At The Weekly Markets
The weekly markets are a fun-filled activity enjoyed by locals and tourists. There is an impressive fruit and flower market every Tuesdays and Saturdays that happen outside the Bundeshaus. A flea market is held every third Saturday during the summer. The Onion Market event takes place on the 4th Monday in November and is very unique and special to Bern. All through December, 2 Christmas markets liven up the city – one is at Waisenhausplatz and the other at Münsterplatz.
Join A Spooky Tour
We bet you haven’t been on a Spooky Tour before, have you? Bern has this very interesting guided walking tour which takes place at night, through the winding, narrow lanes of its Old Town. It is the perfect breeding ground for ghost stories and mysterious legends. The tour takes you to some haunted spots and locations where terrible crimes have taken place. It is a blend of fact and fiction and an unforgettable 90 minutes.
Watch A SC Bern Match
SC Bern is a popular Ice Hockey Team and Bern’s pride and joy. Watching a match at the PostFinance Arena is a very exhilarating and local experience. The season for ice hockey is from September to March and you will witness madness as 17000 fans cheer for their favourite team. The matches are frequently sold out so don’t forget to book well in advance if you plan on going for one!
Visit The Paul Klee Center
There are many museums that Bern has to offer. But one thing that makes the Paul Klee Centre quite unique is that it is ever-changing and no two visits here will ever be the same. The museum is about Paul Klee, one of the most popular artists of the 20th century who was born just outside of Bern. The museum has almost 40% of all of Klee’s works that were donated by his daughter in 1997, from childhood sketches to his adult-life work. The museum building is also quite iconic and was designed by Renzo Piano, an Italian architect.
Relax At A Hammam and Spa
Not traditional to Bern, but the oriental style Hammam and Spa is the ultimate relaxation ritual. The spa has 4 floors. You can begin in the first room where your body is warmed in a steam room set at 38 degrees. Then move on to the next room where your body is scrubbed to remove dead skin cells. Next up is a warm relaxing Bath and steam. The 4th step is another herbal steam at 48 degrees, which help open your pores. In the next room, you will go through an exfoliation, this time with soap. And lastly, you can relax in the warm hammam as the last stage of your cleansing ritual. This activity is not suitable for kids under 16 years of age.
Swim In The Aare river
The beautiful turquoise waters of the Aare River are ever so inviting but it can also be quite choppy in places. However, don’t let that put you off. During the summer months when the water is warm enough to get into, you will find a lot of locals and tourists, either getting their boats out and paddling away or cooling off by bathing in the river. The area just south of the Altstadt is one of the safest areas for swimming. You can enter the river from the recreation area at Eichholz. There are also outdoor pools here suitable for kids.
Sightseeing by Scooter
Using public transport or walking around is a good way to explore the city, but why not try something unusual? You can hire electric scooters and go on a scooter tour of the city which is quite fun! There are guided tours that take you along the Aare River to Matte District into the Old Town where you will ride past historical sites and the Parliament Square. Another interesting way to tour the city is on a segway.