The Swiss capital has largely preserved its historic features and welcomes visitors with its medieval charm. The numerous fountains, sandstone facades, alleyways and historic towers in particular characterise the cityscape and create a historical atmosphere. Bern's origins date back to the 12th century. Since time immemorial, the city has been regarded as an outstanding example of progressive and clear city planning. Not only the façades of the famous old town houses are impressive, but also the valuable interiors, such as historic staircases or magnificent salons, take you back to a bygone era. In and around Bern, visitors are offered one thing above all: Variety! In addition to the city's cultural attractions, nature and many shopping opportunities await visitors. Moreover, thanks to its central location in Switzerland, Bern is ideal for further exploration.
Art and culture in Bern
Art and culture enthusiasts in particular will find numerous highlights to discover in Bern. No one can miss these important hotspots in Bern.
The city's most famous landmark is probably the Zytglogge, the time bell tower. It once served as the city gate and is located in Bern's lower Old Town. Visitors are attracted by a small spectacle every hour on the hour: the puppet show with a bear procession, jesters, a golden cock and Chronos, the god of time, traditionally welcomes spectators to the city. In addition, the Zytglogge offers a fantastic view of Bern's old town and - if visibility is good - even of the peaks of the Bernese Oberland.
The Bern Minster
The construction of Bern Minster took a century. Construction of Switzerland's largest sacred building began as early as 1421, but the tower was not finally completed until 1893. Visitors reach the highest church tower in Switzerland via 344 steps and enjoy a panoramic view of the city as well as the Bernese Mittelland.
The Federal Palace
Switzerland's seat of government is located in the Bundeshaus, which was completed in 1902. In the impressive domed hall between the council chambers, many displays depict Swiss history. Bern has been the federal capital and thus the seat of the Swiss government since 1848. Regular group tours provide a detailed insight and the cosy Federal Terrace invites you to linger.
The Paul Klee Centre on the outskirts of Bern has been impressing visitors from the outside since 2005 thanks to the unique architecture by star architect Renzo Piano. Inside the museum, visitors will find the world's most important Klee collection as well as other diverse offerings from the lively cultural scene. The Bern History Museum, on the other hand, has ten permanent exhibitions on history, archaeology and ethnography. The museum also houses the Einstein Museum, which portrays the life of the physicist.
Nature and animal diversity
Bern already has a lot of nature to offer thanks to its location on the river, allowing visitors to enjoy the perfect mix of city and countryside.
The three brown bears Finn, Björk and Ursina are at home in the heart of the city. From the former bear pit to the banks of the Aare, the bears live on more than 5000 square metres and can be admired by visitors. In Bern's zoo, the Dählhölzli, visitors will also find a great variety of animals all year round. Learn more about the BärenPark.
Bern's Rose Garden offers visitors a dreamlike view of the historic Old Town, the cathedral and the river. The cherry blossom and above all the 250 flowering rose species are the highlight of the park in spring. But in autumn, too, there is a profusion of blossoms that invites you to relax and linger.
Shopping in Bern
Bern is ideal for a shopping trip in any weather: thanks to the six kilometres of arcades, shopping trips here are not interrupted by bad weather. The canopies give Bern its special charm and house numerous shops. A visit to the colourful weekly markets is also worthwhile. Visitors will find regional and fresh produce from Bern and the surrounding area and experience the real Bernese attitude to life.
Hotel Tip around Bern
Not far from Bern's old town, the Romantik Hotel Landhaus Liebefeld welcomes guests in a quiet location in a cosy patrician house. Here, enjoyment and hospitality are the top priorities. Guests are treated to regional specialities in the gourmet restaurant Rôtisserie and in the Gaststube.
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