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Feel The Bern

One of the planet's most underrated capitals, Bern is fabulous. With the genteel, old soul of a Renaissance man and the heart of a high-flying 21st-century gal, this riverside city is both medieval and modern. The 15th-century old town is gorgeous enough to sweep you off your feet and make you forget the century (it's definitely worthy of its Unesco World Heritage site protection order). But edgy vintage boutiques, artsy-intellectual bars and Renzo Piano's futuristic art museum crammed with Paul Klee pieces slams you firmly back into the present.

Things you may not know!

  • Bern is the capital of Switzerland and has a population of over 133,000 people 
  • That yummy triangular chocolate known as Toblerone was invented by Theodor Tobler and every piece is still made in Bern 
  • In the Old Town the street signs are different colours - green, white, yellow and burgundy.The reason being when Napoleon conquered the city in 1798 his troops were largely illiterate so the coloured signs were used to help them find their quarters

1. Bern's Bear Park / Bärenpark

When the town was founded by Duke Berthold V in the 12th century, he swore that he would name the town after a bear he encountered whilst hunting in a nearby forest. Nowadays the image of the bear can be found on a lot of signs, flags and shop-fronts. The Bear Park in town opened late 19th century as a part of cultural significance. Inside you can spot a few brown bears - who will be playing, bathing or just laying around wondering what all the fuss is about.

2. Public Fountains

In Old Town there are a few fountains found in the middle of the street from the 16th century, with statues representing different biblical scenes or concepts of justice. The most well-known of these is the Ogre fountain where you can find a scary ogre eating a baby!

3. Clock tower / Zytglogge

The Clock Tower found just near the Old Town’s gate tower has a beautiful old astronomical clock that on the hour every hour goes off with moving figures and sounds.

4. Parliament Square

The Square is the Home of the Parliament Building that was built in 1902. The Bundeshäuser, home of the Swiss Federal Assembly, is impressively ornate. When the parliament is in recess you can tour the place; otherwise watch from the public gallery. Make sure you bring your passport so you can do a 45min tour for free!

5. Einstein Museum

The museum is houses in Einstein’s old apartment where he lived in the city in the early 20th century and developed his theory of relativity.



Eats

1. Le Mazot Restaurant

Quite a buzzing place, Le Mazot serves up typical Swiss food to locals and tourists craving a fondue or potato rosti

2. Restaurant Rosengarten

Next door to the beautiful rose gardens, this restaurant has a long terrace that is perfect for enjoying the flowers and soaking up the summer sun. The menu is excellent value and serves up mostly Mediterranean but a selection of traditional Swiss dishes as well.

3. Papa Joes

An American restaurant and a Caribbean cocktail bar all in one, Papa Joes boasts a great atmosphere and lively interiors.

4. Altes Tramdepot

A microbrewery that even locals love. Inside you’ll find a huge range of food such as Swiss specialties, stir-fries, pasta and international dishes.

5. Markthalle

The market hall in Bern is just buzzing with action and is a great place to pick up some snacks or lunch. The covered market arcade is jam-packed with eateries from around the world.

Drinks

1. Kapitel

Kapitel is a hip club that draws a huge young crowd in with its tasty cocktails and international DJs pumping till the early mornings.

2. Sky Terrace

As the name suggests, this bar is up high at the top of Hotel Schweizerhof and is a fabulous place to get views of the city. The very stylish place has a huge list of drinks and beautiful cocktails that you can sample whilst enjoying the view.

3. Barbière

This brewery and bar is a great place to sample some of the local brews from beers to ales and stouts.

4. Silo Bar

By the water, Bern’s 19th century corn house throbs with mainstream hits and a lively student set – the place to drink, dance and party.

5. Dampfzentrale

This industrial red-brick riverside building hosts concerts, festivals, gigs, contemporary dance and a lovely riverside restaurant terrace.

Click the coloured pins to find out how to get here

Recommendations

hideout festival

Our guide took us to some cool bars. Loved this place, totally worth stopping off at for a couple of days."

Jay, CANADA