Hallo and welcome to Switzerland’s capital! I’m so excited to share my local approved list of “Things to Do in Bern Switzerland”. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bern will capture your heart immediately as you stroll through Old Town. From the sandstone cathedral to the turquoise river below, this medieval city is one you don’t want to miss during your travels.
1. Stroll around Old Town, Bern
Old Town is extremely easy to navigate whether you choose to window shop through the long arcades or hop on their local transportation to get from one end to another. Be sure to check out the Zytglogge (clock tower), Bundeshaus (Parliament Building with the fountains in front), and the Bern Cathedral.
2. Go swimming!
When the sun is out, locals will grab their suits (and sometimes rafts) and head to the Aare River or one of the city’s pools. Marzili offers free outdoor public pools for locals and visitors alike. Please note the river’s current is very strong so it’s always recommend to float down stream with friends. Flotation devices can be bought around town. When you’re ready to head out grab a scoop of gelato at the famous Gelateria di Berna!
3. Bern Switzerland Things To Do: History Fanatics Check out Albert Einstein’s former residence
Notice the statues of Einstein throughout Bern? While living in Bern Switzerland, Albert Einstein invented his famous formula E=mc2. You can see where he lived at the Einsteinhaus or learn more about his life in the world’s largest Einstein exhibition at Bernisches Historisches Museum / Einstein Museum.
4. Try some local Swiss foods
Raclette, Rösti (pictured above) and Fondue are some of the best foods to try while visiting in Bern. Most places offer gluten free alternatives so you can still try all the local favorites. If you are vegan or have food allergies then you’ll love Tibits. You can check out their menu here
5. Go to the Farmer’s Market
If you love farmer’s markets then go to the Bundesplatz (Parliament Square) Tuesday and Saturday mornings (year round) for their fruit, vegetable, meat, and flower market. While I was there, I grabbed a fresh green juice, some local honey (this is one of my favorite things to collect while traveling ) and dried pasta to take home with me!
6. Grab a drink on the Sky Terrace at Hotel Schweizerhof Bern & Spa
If you’re looking to take in more city views then head to the Sky Terrace for a drink (or occasional yoga class). You do not need to be a guest at the hotel to be able to head up to the Sky Terrace.
7. Best Things to Do in Bern Switzerland for Plant Lovers: Go to the University Botanical Garden
If you like plants then you should definitely head to the University Botanical Garden. You can relax at a table in one of the six greenhouses surrounded by exotic plants from around the world or stick to the paths outside (there are more than 5,500 types of plants on the property) .
8. Get your steps in and climb to the top of the Bern Cathedral
Pay for a ticket to climb to the top of the Bern Minster (Bern Cathedral) and be rewarded with beautiful 360 degree views.
9. Watch a matcha ceremony or catch up with a friend over a pot of tea at Langgass tea
If you LOVE tea like me say hello to my friends at Langgass tea and buy some loose leaf tea, sip some tea of your own, or watch one of their tea ceremonies. I should mention it is outside of Old Town but 100% worth it.
10. Attend one of the annual festivals in Bern
Bern offers many popular year round events such as the summer and winter jazz festivals, the Gurtenfestival (similar to the summer music festivals we have in the USA showcasing artists around the world but held on top of Mt. Gurten) and the Buskers Festival in early August. Foodies will enjoy the Bern Onion Market in November and historians will appreciate March’s Museumsnacht (Museum Night) with the reopening of all the museums as winter comes to a close.
11. Take a little hike on Gurten, Bern’s Local Mountain
Take the city bus to Mt. Gurten to take in some views of the Swiss alps. You can hike to the top or take the funicular from the bottom. Great if you are looking for a family friendly walk right outside of Bern’s center. You can grab food at one of the restaurants on the top or pack your own lunch for an outdoor picnic.
12. Best Things to Do in Bern Switzerland: Catch the perfect sunset at Rosengarten (Rose Garden)
Lastly if you love watching sunsets like me I would definitely recommend sitting at the top of Rosengarten to watch this magnificent city come to life. If you could only go to one spot while visiting Bern, this would be it. Walk through the gardens, find a spot on the ground, or grab a drink at the romantic Restaurant Rosengarten to end a magical day in Bern.
Bern Switzerland Things To Do Map
Interested in what a wedding in Bern looks like? Check out Susy and Sebastian’s Bern Switzerland Summer Wedding here
If you’d like to get in touch about a wedding or elopement in Switzerland feel free to fill out my contact form.
I hope you have an amazing time visiting Bern Switzerland. Let me know if you’ve found this guide helpful or tell me your favorite activity in the comments below!