The capital of Switzerland is built on a sandstone ridge, encircled on three sides by the Aare flowing through a valley. Bern is offering a combination of palaces, museums, theaters, parks, gardens and high-level bridges linking the city with the high ground on the right bank and with the newer parts of the city. With its rich culture Bern offers something for everybody to see!
TOP 8 PLACES TO VISIT
1.PAUL KLEE CENTRUM
The German-Swizz painter, Paul Klee’s work is some of the most recognizable and famous of the first part of the 20th century. He regularly combined surrealism, cubism and abstraction medias into his paintings. His Writings on Form and Design Theory is considered one of the most important theoretical works on art ever written.More than 4 000 of his paintings are on exhibit, including the famous Dame mit Sonnenschirm, In den Häusern von St. Germain and Tod und Feuer. The building was designed by architect Renzo Piano and is a work of art itself.
2.NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM
As part of the University of Bern, the museum was born in 1832 with more than 200 dioramas, including a 200-year-old preserved St. Bernard rescue dog named Barry. The dioramas, preserved big game and skeletons of The Big Bone Show are impressive. At the Earth display you can see Alpine gold, meteorites and gigantic crystals. The beetle and evolution exhibits are educational for all ages.
3.MUSEUM OF ART
The museum is Switzerland’s oldest museum and was built in 1879. This massive and impressive art museum is home to more than 51,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, and films. The collection on display comprises of art from the Italian Trecento (Duccio, Fra Angelico); Swiss art since the 15th century (Niklaus Manuel, Albert Anker, Ferdinand Hodler, Cuno Amiet); and international painting from the 19th and early 20th centuries (Impressionism, Cubism, Expressionism, Blaue Reiter, Surrealism); with particular focus on Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, and Pablo Picasso. Also present are national art trends from (Meret Oppenheim, Franz Gertsch, Markus Raetz) and international ones from Jackson Pollock. Other exhibitions rotate in and out.
Albert Einstein lived between 1903 and 1905 in Kramgasse No. 49 in the center of Bern with his wife Mileva and son Hans. He wrote the Annus Mirabilis Papers, which were vital to the founding of physics as we know it today, during his stay in the particular house. His apartment can be toured, and it is furnished with decor and furniture suitable for the year 1905. On the second floor you can explore Einstein’s history and his connection to Bern and Switzerland as a whole.
The palace was built in the 19th century and its beautiful structure hold the honor of being the seat of one of the world’s very first modern democracies – making the building one of the most important in the city. Both the Swiss Federal Assembly and the Federal Council convene in the two wings of the palace. When parliament is in session, it is not possible to tour the buildings. Directly in front of the palace, look for the fountain located in the Bundesplatz Square, which is a favorite tourist attraction in Bern.
6.THE COMMUNICATION MUSEUM
The museum was founded in 1907 and the permanent exhibitions show the history of human communication through the centuries. It comprises everything from sign language and speaking to postal services, the telegraph, telephone, and Internet. Interactive displays, games and workshops are hosted to entertain and educate. It's a great place for kids.
As one of Bern’s most famous landmarks dating back to 1530, the 800-year-old Clock Tower, “ Zytglogge”, is well worth a visit. Just above the western gate tower in the old section of town, the 23-meter tower is decorated with an immense astronomical clock. A circus of mechanical creatures – The Fool, The Knight, The Rooster, The Piper and more come out just three minutes of every hour to put on a little show. The 130 worn stone steps leads up to the observation platform, which sports some impressive views.
Bern’s Old Town is one of the most charming in all of Switzerland and more than worthy of its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Situated on a cliff surrounded on three sides by the aquamarine waters of the Aare River, the Old Town with its cobbled lanes, lined with sandstone arcaded buildings, have changed little in five hundred years. The medieval neighborhood boasts fountains from the 16th century and arcades from the 15th century. Trams pass through the Altstadt for a quick view of the river, fountains and sculptures.
OTHER PLACES TO SEE
The best way to get around Bern is by train. Other transport available is trams, busses, car and by foot.
Any time is a good time to visit Bern - what's the best time depends on your plans for your visit.