Bern City Breaks
A Bern (or Berne) city break offers spectacular views of the surrounding Alps and is the ideal base from which to discover the whole of Switzerland. The Swiss capital seems untouched from modern living, leaving this charming medieval city as if it had been pulled out of a fairytale book. The fact that it is surrounded by cobbled streets and stone arcades full of bustling shops and cafes just adds to this feeling.
This popular Swiss resort comes alive in the winter, with many Christmas stands selling a range of local delicacies and delights, second only to the Zurich Christmas Market. Bern's Old Town has been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site with some of Europe's finest medieval architecture.
Berne is a small city with just over 130,000 people, giving the city an easy living culture. The attraction is that of a warm, welcoming atmosphere allowing visitors to wander the six kilometres of arcades with numerous bars, restaurants and shops lining the streets of the Old Town, making shopping a pleasant experience throughout the year.
There are more than 27 museums and many international events that guarantee a vibrant cultural scene. A Bern city break is sure to impress, allowing you to experience the fairytale dream you have been looking for. Bern is a popular destination for those on Zurich City Breaks as Zurich's rail and bus routes make travel to and from the city easy.
Did you know?
For all intents and purposes, Bern is considered the capital of Switzerland. However, the country has no official capital and Bern is actually known as a Federal City due to it being the seat of the government.
- Flight time from London: 1 hour 35 min
- EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg: 105km from the city centre; transfer time about 1 hour 19 min
- Nearest railway station: Bern railway station
- Currency: Swiss Franc
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site with some of Europe's finest medieval architecture.
One of Switzerland's largest churches. A depiction of the Last Judgement can be admired in the portal. For great views over the city, climb the cathedral's tower.
Astronomical Clock Tower
Located at the first western town gate, the Astronomical clock is one of Bern's iconic landmarks.
Albert Einstein Museum
Visit the world's first Einstein Museum and the apartment he was living in when he discovered E=mc2.
The Kunstmuseum is an art gallery dedicated to fine art by such famous names as Picasso, Meret Oppenheim and Ferdinand Hodler. As well as paintings, there are drawings, prints, sculptures and videos.
The Paul Klee Centre
Paul Klee was a Swiss-German artist who's works were influenced by movements such as Cubism nd Surrealism. The museum features many pieces by Klee and also holds concerts and educational readings.
This relaxing park is home to over 200 different varieties of rose, as well as many other beautiful blooms. It's the perfect place for picnics, pictures and picturesque views over the river.
Emmental Show Dairy
Bern is the birthplace of Emmental cheese and this living museum will show you how it's made now and how it was made in the past. You can even make your own cheese with the help of the professionals.
The Bern Ticket entitles you to free transport on the city's network during your stay. It includes trams, buses, funiculars and the lift that takes you up to the viewing platform at the cathedral. You can claim yours from your hotel reception and use your accommodation confirmation to gain free train travel from the airport to the city centre when you first arrive.
Shopping in Bern is a pleasant experience throughout the year with more than six kilometres of arcades, housing numerous bars and restaurants along the streets of the medieval Old Town. the best starting point for this great shopping experience is the main train station.
Alternatively, you could visit Westside, Bern's brand new shopping mall spreading over 23,500sqm. There is a direct train connection from the main station.
Bern's six kilometres of covered shopping arcades are known as the Lauben. They feature boutiques, restaurants, souvenir shops and well-known brands.
This beautiful restaurant is located in the city's largest vaulted cellar serving traditional Swiss cuisine.
This brewery restaurant offers fantastic views over Bern's Old Town while enjoying home-brewed beer and tasty local delicacies in the restaurant or in the beer garden.
Classy Italian restaurant in the centre of Bern's Old Town.
This restaurant is housed in a vaulted cellar, one of the oldest in the city, and is perfect for hearty Swiss fare.
Located close to the Rive Aare, the building used to be a hydraulic power station.
This peaceful park is a great place to bring your own food or you can relax on the inviting terrace of the cafe.
One of the city's most elegant bars, with an extensive selection of wines, cocktails, single malt whiskies and cigars.
The ground floor houses a café with additional outdoor seating in summer months. The cellar bars with its large gallery lends itself to sophisticated lounging.
Located right on the banks of the River Aare, yet in the middle of the city, this venue includes two bars and a restaurant.
Hosts regular live music evenings in an old school building.
The name Löscher (meaning extinguisher) is perfect for this bar housed in an old fire station.
Beers brewed in the brewery out back are sold to the happy customers out the front.
Bern Grand Prix - 13th May 2017
Not a motor race but one completed on foot. The competitors run along a route that has been nicknamed 'the most beautiful 10 miles in the world'.
BernArtiner - 1st July - 30th September 2017
Like many cities in the UK have done (Bristol with Gromits and Ipswich with pigs), Bern will place a number of St Bernard statues around the city to form a route. Each will be designed by a different company/organisation and will be auctioned off after the event.
Buskers Bern Street Music Festival - 10th - 12th August 2017
Street theatre takes over the city as performers showcase music, comedy drama and much more.
Shnit - October 2017
This festival for short films takes place in five different cities on five different continents simultaneously.
Rendez-vous Parliament Square - 20th October - 3rd December 2017
During this period, a light and sound show is projected onto the facade of the parliament building is. The performance takes place twice every night (7.00 and 8.30 pm)
Onion Market (Zibelemärit) - 27th November 2017
This traditional festival sees farmers from all over Bern bring over 50 tons of onions to stalls in the city centre. Onion braids and onion foods are sold, gluhwein is drunk and people throw colourful confetti at each other.
Christmas Markets 1st - 29th December 2017
The Bern Christmas Market takes over the streets of the Old Town, offering unique souvenirs, delicious delicacies and plenty of festive cheer.