Switzerland does not lack natural wonders or beautiful cities. But its capital is certainly one of the most interesting swiss towns and, personally, one of my favorites.
Although not the biggest city in Switzerland (it’s actually only the fourth most populous), Bern is the de facto capital of the country as the house of the federal government and parliament.
Along with Zurich and Geneva, it’s also one of the top cities in the world for the best quality of life.
I visited the swiss Bundesstadt (or federal city) last spring for the first time and fell in love with this small medieval town.
Here is my pick of the top 6 things to do in Bern that will definitely amaze you:
1. Old town. Make sure to include a visit to the historical centre, classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1983, in your list of things to do in Bern.
Its most distinctive feature is the 6 kilometers of arcades that make it one of the longest covered shopping promenades in Europe. And really unique.
Stroll along the old medieval streets to find all kinds of 21st century shops, contemporary art galleries, and picturesque restaurants and cafes.
2. Zytglogge. Located in the old town, the Zytglogge is one of Bern’s top attractions. And another thing to do in Bern that you simply cannot miss:
This impressive clock tower with moving puppets is considered only one of the most beautiful clocks in the whole world!
3. Federal Palace. The Federal Palace of Switzerland houses both the federal parliament and the federal government.
The Bundeshaus was built from 1857 to 1902 using almost only swiss materials (95 per cent of all the materials used were sourced from within Switzerland).
Its rich interior can be visited when the parliament is not in session.
Free of charge, the guided tour of the parliament building is one of the most interesting things to do in Bern, even if you’re not that into politics. Make sure to register at least one day before though.
4. Cathedral. Bern’s 15th century Gothic Cathedral is Switzerland’s largest ecclesiastical building.
Its church tower is also the highest in the country, offering a magnificent view across the city.
Be prepared to lose your breath while climbing the hundreds of steps of this narrow tower, and especially before the spectacular sights.
5. Einstein Museum. Albert Einstein lived in Bern between 1903 and 1905, the year he published the Annus Mirabilis papers, which laid the foundation of modern physics.
The apartment on the first floor of the Kramgasse 49, where he wrote the important work that won him his Nobel Prize in 1921, remains unchanged and is now a museum where you can peek at some of his world.
And who knows, maybe even be struck with a brilliant idea.
6. Rose Garden. Last but certainly not least, the Rose Garden offers you the most beautiful panoramic view of Bern.
Converted into a park from a former cemetery in 1913, this Rosarium on a hill is the perfect place to end your visit to the capital of Switzerland.