Things to do in
Bern

With its medieval old town, oriental hammam, and proximity to the Alps, the Swiss capital caters to all.

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Our most recommended things to do in Bern

Bern: Hammam and Spa Admission

1. Bern: Hammam and Spa Admission

The Bernese Hammam has been installed in a former building which was home of one of the first Gas boiler in Switzerland, an octagonal building. The oriental spa represents the latest magnificent manifestation of a tradition spanning two millennia. Enjoy a unique bathing experience across four floors.  The bathing ritual is based on the gradual warming up and cleansing of the body and follows a fixed course. Begin with the so-called "pestemal", a cotton cloth that binds to the body. In the first herbal steam room , Sogukluk, feel your body being warmed to 38 degrees Celcius.  In the second room, Kese, your body is scrubbed with a rough glove to remove dead skin cells.  "Sicaklik" is the central room in the middle of the octagon with the warm relaxation bath.  After the bath, the next step is the steam room. In the "Bingül" your pores open to the hot herbal steam at 48° Celcius. In the fifth room, "Lif", the second exfoliation with soap takes place. On a big warmed umbilical stone let your body relax and dive into the comfort of the hammam.

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Swiss Travel Pass: Unlimited Travel on Train, Bus & Boat

2. Swiss Travel Pass: Unlimited Travel on Train, Bus & Boat

The Swiss Travel Pass is a must-have for any traveler to Switzerland. You can enjoy unlimited access by public train, bus, and boat to over 90 cities and towns and benefit from free entrance to 500+ museums, discounted city tours, and access to private and scenic trains with a pre-requisite seat reservation. There are two broad types of Swiss Travel Pass: Continuous and Flexi, with an option to choose from 3, 4, 8, and 15 days. Apart from it being an ‘all-in-one’ pass which allows a traveler to access all modes of public transportation within the country, it also offers numerous other benefits on the mountain excursions. So be it the adventurous, the avid or the leisure traveler, you will have the chance to make the most of your Switzerland Travel Pass.

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Bern: Tour with iPod Audio Guide

3. Bern: Tour with iPod Audio Guide

The iPod audio guide is a kind of personal tour guide. It will lead you through the city, to Bern's most beautiful spots and tell you everything you need to know about this UNESCO World Heritage Site through words and pictures. Enjoy this small multimedia experience and discover Bern in a unique way. Choose from two organized routes. Precise directions will lead you directly to the landmarks, while music by famous artists from Bern provide the soundtrack to your tour. This way of touring presents an all-encompassing experience of the Swiss capital; experience the real characteristics of Bern. Begin the tour at any time you choose and take breaks whenever you want. Follow the outlined routes or pick specific sights you want to see. The iPod Audio Guide is available from Bern Tourismus — the Tourist Information Center at Bahnhof Bern — and at Bärenpark. Leave a deposit, rent an audio guide and return it later.

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Bern: Zytglogge - Tour through the Clock Tower

4. Bern: Zytglogge - Tour through the Clock Tower

Conceived in the 1300s, the clock tower is one of the remainders of Bern's first city walls. For over 600 years, the clock has struck on the hour. Inside, time seems to stand still and cool solitude awaits. The reliable ticks of the Middle Age technology impart a steadiness to visitors. Approximately 130 steps to the top of the spiral staircase lead you to a lookout platform. From here, see the roofs of the old city and maybe even the Alps. Visit the clockwork with your guide and follow the puppet show step by step until the famous rooster crows.

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From Zürich: Round-Trip Private Guided Glacier Express Tour

5. From Zürich: Round-Trip Private Guided Glacier Express Tour

Meet your tour guide at a pre-arranged time in the lobby of your hotel. Your guide will transfer you to the train station in Zürich, where you will board an intercity train. This will take you along Lake Zürich to the south east of Switzerland. When you arrive in Chur, the oldest town in Switzerland, you will have the opportunity for a short walk around, schedule times depending. Back at the train station, you will take your seat in the panoramic train. The train departs at approximately 11:45 AM. Pass through the famous Rhine gorge heading to Disentis, listening to audio comments on a headset. Simply ask your guide about availability. In Disentis, the train will start to climb to 2033m above sea level into a rough alpine landscape. After passing a lighthouse, the train will begin its descent on a steep track down to Andermatt, a village 1400m above sea level. The train will stop in Andermatt for 15 minutes, which gives you the chance to stop, stretch your legs, and breathe in the fresh Swiss air. The journey will continue through the 15km long "Furka" base tunnel, constructed in 1982 to save travel time from Andermatt to Brig. Your train will continue through the “Goms” valley in direction of Brig. This valley is known as a destination for summer hiking and winter sports. The time to Brig is approximately two hours. Once there, you will again have the opportunity to exit the train for a walk through the pedestrian zone and the palace "Stockalper".   Your guide will lead you to the right train in Brig, where you will board an intercity train. When your guide leaves you in Brig, they will handover all necessary tickets and information to you so you can continue your journey back to your hotel.

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From Bern: Jungfraujoch Private Day Tour

6. From Bern: Jungfraujoch Private Day Tour

Meet your guide at your hotel and make your way to the train station in Bern. Board an intercity train for 1 hour to Interlaken, where you will change onto a local train. After 20 minutes, arrive at Lauterbrunnen, a small village at the end of the valley. Ride the cogwheel railway from Lauterbrunnen to Kleine Scheidegg, passing Wengen, a small alpine town known for winter sports and the annual FIS Worldcup downhill race. At Keine Scheidegg, change onto the Jungfrau railway, which will take you to the top of the mountain. During the ride, the train will make a scenic stop in the middle of the tunnel, where you will have the opportunity to get off the train for 5 minutes. Once you arrive at Jungfraujoch at 11333 ft above sea level, take a 1-hour walking tour through the tunnel system. If the weather conditions are good, you may be able to see the Black Forest in Germany from the terrace. Continue through the ice cave to the plateau, a lovely outdoor spot covered in snow. Finish the walking tour by passing through a small exhibition about chocolate making in Switzerland. Stop for lunch at 1 of the 3 restaurants in Jungfraujoch - your guide will be happy to assist you or join you for lunch. After lunch, take in the views and enjoy the mountain air, before you head back to the Jungfrau railway for the descent to Kleine Scheidegg. Make an optional stop in Grindelwald if desired, before returning back to Bern via the same route where you will be dropped at your hotel. 

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Bern: 90-Minute Stroll Through the Old Town

7. Bern: 90-Minute Stroll Through the Old Town

On this 90-minute stroll through Bern’s Old Town, your local guide will tell you about the city‘s 8 centuries of history. On rainy days, you can still enjoy this atmospheric area, as the arcades provide shelter. Admire the late Gothic Cathedral (Münster) with its stunning portal and rendering of the Last Judgment. See the 13th-century Clock Tower (Zytglogge), where you can watch the fascinating show that happens on the hour. Who knows, you might even meet up with a member of the Federal Council in front of the Parliament building! Come along and discover the charms of the Swiss capital and this UNESCO World Heritage Site on a pleasant and leisurely walk.

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From Bern: Zermatt, Matterhorn, and Gornergrat Private Tour

8. From Bern: Zermatt, Matterhorn, and Gornergrat Private Tour

Start the tour by meeting your tour guide at your hotel then make your way together to the train station in Bern. From there, board an intercity train for 2 hours to south-Switzerland and change onto the Matterhorn-Gotthard-Railway. After 50 minutes traveling through the valley, arrive in Zermatt and make your way to the historical part of the village. Stroll through the small streets and get information about the architecture of the wooden houses. Stop at the best photo point as your tour guide tells you the story of the climbers at Mount Matterhorn. See the cemetery for climbers and missing mountaineers. According to your preferences, stop for lunch in Zermatt or board the cogwheel train to Gornergrat. Ride the train up to 2800 m above sea level and admire the fantastical aerial views. Follow your guide to the scenic platform, where you will have a 360 degrees panoramas of Mount Matterhorn, the glacier Monte Rosa, and the surrounding summits. Enjoy time at the top to sit on the terraces and take in the views. According to your preferences, head back to Zermatt by train and discover the local museum. Gain an insight into life in Zermatt in the 19th-century. See exhibition objects from the first ascent to Mount Matterhorn, local houses, and stories about life in the mountain area. After the 45-minute visit, board the train back to Bern.

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From Zurich/Lucerne: Berne Capital and Countryside Day-Trip

9. From Zurich/Lucerne: Berne Capital and Countryside Day-Trip

Enjoy a small group tour of the Swiss capital of Berne, with round-trip transfers by air-conditioned minibus from either Zurich or Lucerne. Drive along scenic roads through stunning landscapes, and get a flavor of the rural highlights of the Entlebuch Valley (Switzerland's first UNESCO Biosphere) and Emmental Valley. See some of the many farms scattered across the pristine moors and Alpine pastures. Cross the border to the idyllic Emmental Valley to reach Trubschachen. Here, enjoy a biscuit tasting at the Kambly Experience and discover the origins of Switzerland's best-known premium biscuit brand. Learn the fine art of biscuit making and watch master confectioners at work. Indulge in the unique flavors of Kambly's biscuits, tasting as many of the tantalizing varieties as you like. Continue through typical Bernese back country en route to the capital. Upon arrival in Berne, burn off some calories on an informative walking tour of the charming Old Town. Marvel at the late Gothic architecture of the cathedral (Münster). Stroll under characteristic arcades to the Zytglogge (Clock Tower). Pay a visit to the Parliament building overlooking the beautiful River Aare. Then, enjoy some time at leisure for lunch (not included) and some souvenir shopping. Continue in the afternoon through the fascinating rural landscapes of the Emmental Valley. Admire the vast roofs that shelter prosperous Emmental farmhouses. Glory in the red of the geraniums in their windows. See grazing cows on green hills producing the best milk; the principal ingredient for Emmental cheese. Stop at the Emmentaler show dairy for the highlight of the day. Tour the show dairy on the audio-visual "King's Way" and learn more about the history of the world's most famous cheese. Marvel at the gigantic wheels of cheese in the impressive cellar before indulging your senses during a cheese tasting only an arm's length away from the master cheesemaker's workplace. Take a picture stop with amazing views over the gentle green hills of the Emmental to the triple peaks of Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. After, drive back with a goodie bag full of Swiss delicacies collected at the visited attractions throughout the day.

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Bern Old City Walking Tour

10. Bern Old City Walking Tour

Learn the story of the capital of Switzerland and its most famous monuments on a 2-hour walking tour of the historic city center. See the large Heiliggeistkirche (Church of the Holy Ghost) in the Old City (Altstadt), where the layout has remained unchanged for centuries. Walk along the Spitalgasse to arrive at the Baerenplatz, built during the 13th century expansion. Admire the government buildings of the Bundesplatz, where many Swiss banks are located, and see the oldest clock in Switzerland at the Zyttglogge. Get the chance to visit the Einstein House Museum, or climb the 344 stairs up the tower of Bern Cathedral. Look over the rooftops of the Old City on the banks of the Aare River with the snow-capped mountains of the Berner Oberland in the background. Discover the old Tramdepot brewery restaurant before ending in the Rosengarten, where the scent of more than 220 different species of roses is coupled with magnificent views of the city.

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Frequently asked questions about Bern

What top attractions are a must-see in Bern?

Planning Your Visit

  • Safety

    Bern is generally a safe place, but normal caution is to be exercised - keep your valuables hidden away and don't leave your belongings unattended!

  • Souvenirs

    Make sure you don't miss out on any of that tasty Swiss chocolate - just wander the central streets of Bern and you'll find more varieties than you ever thought possible!

  • Getting around

    Bern has a steady network of buses and trams - maps are available from any local tourist office.

  • Local lingo

    The country of Switzerland counts no less than four official languages - German is the language of Bern, but just a drive away and you could be speaking French, Italian, or even Romanch!

Good to know

  • Language
    German
  • Currency
    Franc (CHF)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (+02:00)
  • Country Code
    +41
  • Best time to visit
    The spring and fall are best for cool weather temperatures, although summer is when locals and tourists take advantage of many of the water activities and winter is a magical time to see the Alps covered in snow.

Other Sightseeing Options in Bern

Want to discover all there is to do in Bern? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Bern

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 453 reviews

Indispensable to be able to quickly understand the ins and outs of the city. Allows you to discover points and places that you would have ignored and be able to ask all the questions that interests you.

Very rhythmic activity with a passionate and fascinating guide! Really to do, because you will never be able to discover so many tiny but very interesting details.

The narrative is excellent. The iPod is old and hard to see the pictures. But overall a much better experience than walking with a group on a fixed schedule.

A very nice lady was our guide. She was friendly and told us fascinating stories about Bern. Quality time.

Super tour Fact filled Great views and plenty of time to enjoy them