Capital Charms: A Quick Itinerary for Exploring Bern in One Day

It was not on our itinerary to visit the capital of Switzerland, but the weather forced us to change it. That day we had arrived in Interlaken in the morning where we went paragliding, but when we were flying it started to snow and our idea of ​​going up the mountain fell apart in a matter of minutes.

When we hit the ground and while we were on our way to return the equipment, we decided to visit Bern on the way to Zurich, where we were staying.

Since we had the train pass, we only had to get off after an hour of travel from Interlaken and once we finished exploring, take another train to travel another hour to Zurich.

What places to visit in Bern

Although it is the capital of the country, Bern is a very small city like almost all cities in Switzerland. And best of all, the must-see places in Bern are all together within a few kilometers and along 2 main arteries.

If you arrive at the station, it is very easy to get around since you leave by taking a street called Spitalgasse and returning along the parallel street called Bundesgasse, walking about 3.5 km in total.

No less important fact is that Bern is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site for its historic center. The river that surrounds it in summer is used for sailing and all kinds of activities.

Places to see in Bern on Spitalgasse street

Leaving the station and taking this street, the first thing we are going to see is the so-called Prison Tower or Kafigturm. As its name indicates, it was used as a prison and was built as the second gate of the city.

Along this street we find the famous Bern fountains that represent symbolic characters in history.

These are original sources from the Middle Ages. There are more than 100 in the entire city, we only found about 10 on the way. The most emblematic are the fountain of justice, that of the ogre and that of the Zahringen, which demonstrate the importance of the bourgeoisie of that time.

At the time it also served as a meeting place, to obtain drinking water and for washing. The streets are a painting with their classic facades, basements where we find bars and all kinds of shops. In addition, the cobblestones and the tram passage give it that unique style that ancient European cities have.

The next point to see in Bern was the Clock Tower or zjtgloggeturm, symbolic points of the city that, unfortunately for us, were being restored as usually happens in many places in Europe and without anticipating we got this surprise. There are guided tours to tour the interior of the tower and otherwise witness the spectacle of its astronomical clock every hour.

From there we continued walking along the same avenue to reach what was Einstein’s house. Today it is a museum because he lived during 1903 and 1905 to develop his theory of relativity. It is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and costs 6 euros. We did not visit it due to a matter of time since we wanted to return to Zurich before it got dark.

The last point before reaching the river crossing is the Rathaus or cityhall, where the sessions of the state and municipal parliament take place. It is also the seat of the cantonal government. It is not precisely located on the aforementioned avenue, but rather you have to walk one block inward.

Returning to Berne Station

And after reaching the other end of the city or at least the end in terms of what we intended to walk, we prepared to cross the Nydeggbruke bridge. Bridge that is usually the location of photos representing the city of Bern. I think that rivers make cities even more picturesque and even more so if they have those colors.

We crossed the bridge again towards our point of origin, Berne station. It only remained to visit 2 more places on the way to take the train.

The first is the Gothic-style Bern Cathedral, you can go up to its observation deck for about 5 euros and have excellent views of the city. In itself it has the tallest spire in Switzerland and is also the largest construction in the country. On the door you can highlight the reproduction of the final judgment.

And finally we passed in front of the federal palace. It is not only a meeting place in the city and a place to celebrate various events. It is the Swiss parliament building and seat of the federal government. When there are no sessions, guided tours are offered. In its plaza and in front of it, several water jets are lit that obviously were not on at the time.

It was starting to get dark and we saw that the next train was leaving in 15 minutes so we started running so as not to miss it. Because if Switzerland tells you that it leaves at 7:03 p.m., it won’t leave a minute earlier or a minute later.

I cannot say that it is an essential city to visit, along with other cities in Switzerland. But if you have time, it is a nice city to visit in a day or even in a few hours to see the most important things about Bern. Even more so if they are staying nearby, knowing that in a matter of an hour they can be at their hotel.

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