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Bern tours and excursions

Bern tours

Scenic helicopter tours

If you fancy flying over the rooftops of Bern's Old Town, book a helicopter flight. Alternatively, you can whizz over the Emmental region or the scenic Bernese Oberland. There are a number of recommended operators, including Mountainflyers and Swiss Helicopter AG.

Tel: +41 31 819 6030; +41 338 289 000.
Website: http://www.swisshelicopter.ch

Bike tours

If you want to explore Bern at your own pace, rent a bike from one of Bern's many bike stations. Rent A Bike provides information on all bike rental stations across Bern as well as available bike tours.

Tel: +41 925 1170
Website: http://www.rentabike.ch

Walking tours

The tourist office and its guides offer a variety of tours. Guided walking tours through the Old Town are available every Saturday from November to March and daily from April to October. They include all the tourist sights as well as lesser-known jewels throughout the city's UNESCO World Heritage site. There are also daily guided tours of Bern's famous clock tower throughout the summer season (April-October). They give a fascinating insight into 16th-century technology and are highly recommended. Group tours are available upon request and include a bus tour of the city. An iPod audio guide is also available. For more information, contact the Tourist Information Centre, Bahnhofplatz 10A, at the railway station.

Tel: + 41 31 328 1212
Website: http://www.bern.com/

Bern excursions

Emmentaler Show Dairy

The Emmentaler Show Dairy in Affoltern is a modern cheese-manufacturing plant, restaurant and cheese shop, with various events and exhibitions. You can also learn about old cheese-making techniques here. For instance, in the 18th-century cowherd's cottage, cheese is made in a cauldron over an open fire. It's around 45 minutes' drive from Bern via the A1.

Tel: +41 34 435 1611
Website: http://www.emmentaler-schaukaeserei.ch

Brienz-Rothorn Railway

Ride Switzerland's only steam cog railway up to the 2,350m (7,710ft) summit of Brienz Rothorn. The track winds through pretty meadows, gardens and forests on its alpine ascent. The service usually operates between mid-May and mid-October. There are six hiking trails at the summit suitable for keen walkers, as well as a restaurant with panoramic views.

Tel: +41 33 952 2222
Website: http://www.brienz-rothorn-bahn.ch

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Featured Hotels

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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.

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.

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.