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The city was founded at the end of the 12th century, so many sights of Bern are of historical value, and most of them are on the UNESCO list of sites. When deciding what to see in Bern, consider its non-standard two-level location. In the upper part there are the main iconic places, the lower part is ideal for relaxing walks by the river.
First things to see in Bern
Having a true German origin and, accordingly, cultural preferences, Bern still manages to maintain a visible touch of European culture. Considering the sights of Bern with a photo with names and descriptions, evaluate the influence of Europe on the Swiss capital.
1. Old Town
Aerial view of Bern's Old Town with the Aare River flowing through around the city on a sunny day
The heart of Bern is concentrated in its old part. There are interesting places here that you need to bypass without fail. Despite its small size, the Old Town has become a haven for many beautiful ancient buildings that surprise with their architecture. Walk at a leisurely pace, looking at the astronomical clock tower, fountains, arcades stretching for kilometers along the medieval streets. This part of the city is a UNESCO heritage site.
Official website: https://www.bern.com
2. Federal Palace
South side of the Federal Palace
Listing the main sights of Bern briefly, we will put this palace, famous for its architecture in the Florentine Baroque style, at the forefront. It houses the Swiss Parliament and the federal government of the country. The scale of the building is evidenced by the size of the dome – 62 m. Under the dome, in the lobby, there are statues of national historical figures; for informational purposes, you can see the emblems of the cantons of Switzerland. From special galleries, tourists can watch the sessions of the parliament.
Official website: https://www.parlament.
3. Bern City Hall
Sculptures of saints, mythological characters and animals on the facades of the Town Hall of Bern
The building was built at the end of the 14th century. was originally a trading post. The high tourist rating is ensured by the originality of the building (in particular, the design of the roof with four slopes), the astronomical clock built into the tower, and two dials under the roof, capturing the eyes of passing tourists. On the upper floors there are exhibition and concert halls, where you can listen to classical music in summer.
4. Bern Fountains
Banner Fountain on the Rathausplatz in Bern
Any tour in Bern includes a visit to at least a few of the more than 100 fountains. Many of them have drinking water, which saves people from thirst in the summer heat. The ingenuity of the creators, who rejected the traditional, hackneyed ideas about the classical construction of the fountain, is surprising. Most of them are designed in a thematic style, individual for each, but they are all united by a common element. The center of many fountains is crowned by a colorful large figure, towering on a column decorated with stucco. Initially, all fountains were built of wood, and only with time did stone replace it.
5. Zytglogge Tower
Astronomical clock on the Zytglogge medieval clock tower on the Kramgasse in the Old Town of Bern
“Time Bell” – this is how the name of the tower is translated. An elegant building, decorated with baroque elements, in the XIII century. was a fire tower, then a prison, and only the equipment with a large astronomical clock made it a landmark of Bern and the main determinant of time for five centuries. The bell tower, decorated with images of planets, figurines of angels and mythical characters, offers a magnificent view of the Old Town.
Official website: http://www.zeitglockenturm
Look at the beautiful places of Bern in this wonderful video!
6. Prison Tower
Spitalgasse street and the Kafigturm tower, decorated with the clock “Greatness of Bern”
Until the end of the 19th century. arrested people were kept here, then the tower was reformatted into a city archive, then into a library and a room for exhibitions. Going on a trip, be sure to take the time to inspect this ancient building. An observation platform was made today on the site of the firehouse, attached to the tower during its construction.
7. Bern Cathedral
Panoramic view of Bern Cathedral and the River Aare
If you have come for a short time and do not know what to see in Bern in 1 day, pay attention to this cathedral in the Old Town, built in the late Gothic style. It is the highest church in the country with a 100 m high bell tower and a huge bell with a diameter of about 2.5 m and a weight of 10 tons. The interior decoration is not rich, but still interesting with its stained-glass windows, antique furniture, and bas-relief composition. Tourists are allowed to climb the tower.
8. Church of St. Peter and Paul
Church of St. Peter and Paul – the first after the reformation of the Catholic church of the city of Andreas Praefcke
The current Catholic church has earned the best recommendations from tourists, primarily due to the originality of the building, made in the Gothic style and complemented by elements of the Romanesque style. The plan of the church was approved as a result of an international competition for the best design. At the end of the last century, the interior of the building was supplemented with modernist paintings. Today the church has an organ.
9. Church of the Holy Spirit
View of the Church of the Holy Spirit from the railway station in Bern WillYs Fotowerkstatt
In the XIII century. there was a small chapel in this place, from which only the bell survived after the destruction. The reviews note the impressiveness of the building, built in the Baroque style. The restraint, and at the same time, the elegance of the interior is emphasized by a circular gallery of arches and massive sandstone columns, elegantly decorated with stucco elements.
Niedegkirche Church in the Old Town of Wladyslaw Sojka
If during your trip to Bern you see an old temple with a green spire, then it will be the Niedegkirche church, built on the ruins of a fortress. Gracefully towering against the backdrop of the Aara River, it welcomes parishioners with a door decorated with beautiful bronze bas-reliefs. In front of the entrance there is a monument to the Duke of Zähringen, the founder of the capital.
11. Paul Klee Center
General view of the building of the Paul Klee Center – museum and exhibition center
We will advise where to go in Bern, who are interested in landscape design. The museum dedicated to the famous artist of the last century Paul Klee is a vivid example of a non-standard approach to organizing exhibition displays, usually limited by walls. The alternative center was created in the form of a wave, the author of the project himself calls it a landscape sculpture. This is a landscaped island with glass and steel hills, which housed exhibition centers, venues for theater performances and concerts, a museum for children, conference and seminar rooms.
12. Albert Einstein House Museum
Facade of the Albert Einstein House Museum Dsmntl
Do you want to know what to see in Bern ordinary and memorable? Visit the Einstein Museum, even if you are a complete ignoramus in the theory of relativity. The exposition reproduces the era of the brilliant physicist, introduces his theory, and tells about his family. The exhibition of personal belongings of the scientist and a film about his biography, which are shown in one of the museum halls, are of great interest to visitors.
Official website: http://www.einstein-bern
13. Historical Museum of Bern
World Telegraph Monument and Bern Historical Museum at Helvetiaplatz Krol:k
Any overview of the sights of Bern contains information about this museum with exhibitions of artifacts from various eras. Here you can spend more than one hour looking at collections of ancient coins and works of Venetian masters, folk art and silver items, Burgundy tapestries. The expositions are equipped with modern multimedia tools that make them more interesting and easier to understand. In the museum building there is a place for the house-museum of A. Einstein.
Official website: https://www.bhm.
14. Museum of Fine Arts
Snow-white sculptures on the facade of the building of the Museum of Fine Arts Kunstmuseum Bern
Best of all, a tour of this place will be conducted by guides in Bern, supplementing what they saw with real facts and curious nuances. A huge exhibition of paintings by the greatest painters will be appreciated not only by people who know a lot about this. The gray building on two floors is devoid of chic and outrageous, but the colorful atmosphere inside attracts tourists like a magnet. Photo exhibitions and documentary film screenings are constantly held here.
Official website: https://www.kunstmuseumbern
15. Museum of Communication
Entrance to the Museum of Communication in Bern
The austere, unremarkable building has become a haven for an interesting exhibition on the topic of human communication and information transfer. In particular, separate expositions are devoted to transport, mail, philately, television, radio, and digital culture. Interesting (especially for children) are interactive exhibits that help you quickly understand and remember information.
Official site: http://www.mfk
Bern sights: what else to visit in Bern?
The article contains the best sights of Bern according to the tourist tabloids. Inspection of architectural monuments and temples of art is interspersed with the bright, lively atmosphere of Bernese restaurants, street cafes and authentic cellars. No wonder hotels in Bern are never short of customers.
16. Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum is Switzerland's most important natural history museum Piggy
A huge, impressive diorama is what the museum is primarily proud of. She introduces the life of animals in nature. Perhaps the most famous exhibit here is the stuffed St. Bernard Barry, who worked for 20 years on the pass of the north, rescuing frozen travelers. Also interesting is the collection of 50 minerals with smoky quartz, collected in a meter long line. Visitors watch the interactive process of diamond mining with interest.
Official website: https://www.nmbe.
17. Botanical Garden
View from the opposite bank of the Aare River at the University Botanical Garden Krol:k
The local Botanical Garden, spread out on a hillock, can confidently be called a landmark of Switzerland, and not just the city. Small, located in a cozy part of Bern, it is planted with plants brought from all over the world. It is interesting to see collections of medicinal plants, cacti, alpine zones. Tired of contemplating 6000 plants, you can relax on the shore of a reservoir or look at the panorama of the city from a hill.
18. Rose Garden
Rose bushes in the Rose Garden – the local Botanical Garden
What to visit in Bern to capture the magnificent Swiss nature forever? Go to the top of the hill on the banks of the Aara, look at the Rose Garden. Previously, there was an old cemetery, today the whole pink ocean is fragrant. Climbing to the top, you will enjoy the view of the city from above. At the peak you will find a huge garden with 220 types of rose bushes exuding a magical aroma. The beauty of roses is diluted with rhododendrons and irises growing nearby.
Official website: https://www.bern.com/
19. Bear Pit Park
Park “Bear Pit” with live bears and a slope descending to the river Aarev
The city authorities were generous in relation to their heraldic animal, allocating huge funds for the maintenance of bears in the form of a whole park. A real paradise is organized here for them: they play, climb trees, fish and swim in the backwaters, in general, they live for their own pleasure. The location of the park attracts: like wildlife, and at the same time – the center of the city. The transparent plastic fence allows you to take good pictures. Official website: https://www.tierpark-bern
20. Gurten Park
Gurten Children's Railway
Despite its location in the city, the park creates a feeling of a countryside holiday. The territory is equipped with a playground and a railway for children, from the top of the hill there is a good view of Bern on one side and the Alps on the other. In hot weather, you can swim in the fountain. In summer, you can ride a mini train around the territory.
Official website: https://www.gurtenpark.ch/
The medieval streets of the Swiss capital evoke thoughts about a romantic getaway. Find a chance to visit the country, which, according to UNESCO, contains the world's largest cultural heritage. Read also about the sights of Basel and be inspired to travel further in Switzerland.