Things to do in Bern
Get a look at the Kindlifresser
In the fountain at the Kornhausplatz you will notice one of Europe’s darker statues. Kindlifresser actually stands for ‘Child Eater’, and the monument depicts a man with multiple babes in arms as he chows down on the head of another. Stories abound of the significance of the statue, but seeing as it was built in 1546 we’re unlikely to ever really know what it’s about. Maybe for the best.
Go rafting on the River Aare
In the summer, adrenalin junkies can raft the river Aare with the catchily-named Aare Bootsvermietung (www.aarebootsvermietung.ch). The trip last two to three hours, is suitable for all skill levels and finishes within walking distance of the city, so no need for a taxi back.
Around the city there’s boundless hiking trails to suit walkers of all abilities and fitness levels. One of the most accessible is the Trans-Swiss trail (www.wanderland.ch). It kicks off from the historic little town of Laupen, along the river Sense, and takes in a plethora of life-affirming Alps views before finishing in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Bern Old Town.
Spend some time with the bears
Bern has played home to bears since 1513, and there are currently five brown bears living in the bear park (tel: +41 (0)31 357 15 25; www.tierpark-bern.ch). They’re mostly hibernating for three to four months in winter, but once they’re through that, you’ll find Bjork, Finn, Ursina, Berna and Pedro full of beans.
Zentrum Paul Klee
In 1997, Livia-Klee-Meyer, daughter-in-law of Swiss-German artist Paul Klee, donated 690 artistic works to the city of Bern: a large portion of which were those of her father-in-law. These reside in the Zentrum Paul Klee (tel: +41 (0)31 359 01 01; www.zpk.org) amongst approximately 4,000 other works that are spiritually or theoretically attached to his. The building is worth viewing for its Renzo Piano-designed, three-waved roof alone.