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World Travel Guide > Guides > Europe > Switzerland > Bern

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Local time Bern

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Things to see in Bern

Tourist Offices

Tourist Information Centre

Address: , Bahnhofplatz 10A, Bern, 3011
Telephone: +41 31 328 1212
Opening times:

Mon-Sat 0900-1900, Sun 0900-1800.

Website: http://www.bern.com

Located at the main train station, offering everything from hotel reservations and tour bookings to audio guides and souvenirs.

Tourist passes

The Bern Ticket allows tourists free use of public transport (including funiculars) – you should receive it on check-in at your accommodation.

Attractions

Zytglogge (Clock Tower)

The 'Clock Tower' was built in the 13th century and was Bern's first city gate to the west. The famous astronomical calendar clock was created in 1530. Its mechanical figurines are set in motion on the clock's east side every hour. Join one of the tourist office's guided tours (at 1430 daily, none during winter months) to visit the interior. Booking in advance is recommended.

Address: , Bim Zytglogge 1, Bern, 3011
Telephone: +41 313 281 212
Opening times: Website: http://www.zeitglockenturm.ch/en/
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

Das Berner Münster (Cathedral of Bern)

Bern's cathedral is Switzerland's largest church building and a fantastic example of late gothic architecture. Entrance is free, but for a fee it’s possible to climb the rocket-shaped cathedral spire. It is the dominant structure in Bern's Old Town, which was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 1983.

Address: , Münsterplatz 1, Bern, 3000
Telephone: +41 31 312 0462
Opening times:

Apr – mid Oct: Mon-Sat 1000-1700, Sun 1130-1700.

Mid Oct – early Apr: Mon-Fri 1200-1600, Sat 1000-1700, Sun 1130-1600.

Website: http://www.bernermuenster.ch
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: Yes

Bernisches Historisches Museum (History Museum)

With half a million items dating from the Stone Age to the present day, this museum spans a colossal breadth of different eras and subjects. There are high-quality temporary exhibitions too, as well as a separate museum dedicated to the life and work of Einstein.

Address: , Helvetiaplatz 5, Bern, 3005
Telephone: +41 31 350 7711
Opening times:

Tues-Sun 1000-1700

Website: http://www.bhm.ch
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Kunstmuseum Bern (Museum of Fine Arts)

Bern's Museum of Fine Arts has one of the finest collections in Switzerland, spanning eight centuries. The collection of modern art from the 19th and 20th centuries (Impressionism, Cubism, Expressionism, Blauer Reiter, Surrealism) is particularly impressive, but works from the Italian Trecento and Swiss art from the 15th century onwards are also absorbing.

Address: , Hodlerstrasse 8-12, Bern, 3011
Telephone: +41 31 328 0944
Opening times:

Tues 1000-2100, Wed-Sun 1000-1700

Website: http://www.kunstmuseumbern.ch
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Einstein House

Albert Einstein rented this city flat from 1903 to 1905, living there with his wife and son while working at the local patent office (and developing the odd earth-shattering theory or two). It features furnishings from the period, as well as photos and texts. A film gives an overview of Einstein's life.

Address: , Kramgasse 49, Bern, 3011
Telephone: +41 31 312 0091
Opening times:

Daily 1000-1700 (01 Feb-21 Dec); closed on national holidays.

Website: http://www.einstein-bern.ch
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

Swiss Alpine Museum

With exhibits focusing on different aspects of mountain life, Bern’s Swiss Alpine Museum has stood on Helvetiaplatz for more than 80 years. Culture, art and science all feature, and there are temporary exhibitions too.

Address: , Helvetiaplatz 4, Bern, 3005
Telephone: +41 31 350 0440
Opening times:

Tues - Sun 1000-1700.

Website: https://www.alpinesmuseum.ch/en
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Zentrum Paul Klee

Set in an extraordinary, wave-like modern building, designed by Renzo Piano, this gallery contains the world's most important collection of works by Paul Klee, displayed through various temporary exhibitions. There are also art workshops for children and adults.

Address: , Monument im Fruchtland 3, Bern, 3000
Telephone: +41 31 359 0101
Opening times:

Tues-Sun 1000-1700.

Website: http://www.zpk.org
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Botanic Gardens

The Bern Botanical Garden contains the Alpinum, which features a big selection of alpine plants and Swiss flora and fauna. Six other show houses focus on tropical and subtropical vegetation; the Palm House focuses on plants usually cultivated in humid tropical areas; the Fern House contains plants from tropical mountain forests whilst the Steppe House is dedicated to vegetation found in semi-deserts.

Address: , Altenbergrain 21, Bern, 3013
Telephone: +41 31 631 4945
Opening times:

Showhouses

Mar–Sep daily 0800-1730; Oct–Feb daily 0800-1700.

Website: http://www.boga.unibe.ch/
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

Gurten

At 864m (2,835ft) above sea level, Gurten isn't really much of a mountain by Swiss standards. But it works a treat as Bern's own mountain playground. It offers a wide range of entertainment and cultural activities, concerts and games. The park is a great local recreation space with plenty of children's activities, a miniature railway and an observation tower.

Address: , , Bern, 3084
Telephone: +41 031 970 3333
Opening times:

Daily 24 hours

Website: http://www.gurtenpark.ch
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

The BearPark

The Bernese have long had a thing for bears – they gave rise to the city's name and coat of arms – and the animals themselves have been kept here since the 16th century. A new BearPark replaced the old bear pits in October 2009, enabling the city's three bears – Finn, Björk and their daughter Ursina – to lead a more normal existence. Guided tours are available.

Address: , Grosser Muristalden 6, Bern, 3006
Telephone: +41 31 357 1525
Opening times:

Daily 24hrs. Keepers are present daily between 0800-1700.

Website: http://www.tierpark-bern.ch
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

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Featured Hotels

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Unique Hotel Innere Enge Bern

Located in a park overlooking central Bern, this luxury hotel oozes personality and style. Home to one of the country's best jazz clubs, Marians Jazzroom, it also has two excellent restaurants. All 26 rooms are individually decorated (some with a jazz theme) and each has Wi-Fi access. The hotel also has conference rooms.

Hotel Schweizerhof

Boasting more than 150 years of history – not to mention a guest book that features the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Grace Kelly – the high-end Hotel Schweizerhof remains one of Bern's go-to luxury properties. It benefited from a two-year renovation in 2009. As well as some great restaurants and bars, it also has a spa, cigar lounge and conference rooms.

Nydeck

This friendly 2-star bed and breakfast hotel boasts a central yet quiet location at the heart of old Bern, near the BearPark, the river and the clock tower. The 12 simple rooms are basic but comfortable. There is also a popular café bar and summer pavement terrace.

Hotel National Bern

Hotel National Bern is a family-run hotel built in 1908 and continues to offer bags of character, from its exposed room beams to its original fin-de-siècle lift. The location’s good too, with the central train station just five minutes away. There’s a free welcome drink and 10% discount voucher for the restaurant for all weekday guests.

Hotel Continental

The Continental is an Oslo institution that has been run by the same family for four generations and is more than a century old. Situated in the heart of Oslo, next to the National Theatre, the hotel is known both for outstanding service and restaurants as well as its links with the Oslo arts scene.

Best Western Hotelbern

A solid bet for a mid-range stay, with an Old Town location five minutes' walk from the train station. Its impressive art nouveau exterior hides a more modern interior, and there's a good restaurant on site – the Volkshaus 1914. The property sits adjacent to the medieval Zytglogge Tower.