Best Introduction Tour of Bern with a Local. The tour is well-suited for first-time visitors to Bern, as it introduces you to some of the city’s most popular attractions, but it also offers a unique perspective on many of the city’s more secluded areas.
You will meet your guide in Bern’s Old Town, and you’ll be on your way. Experience the city’s rich history while admiring highlights like the Bern Cathedral, which is located on the site of the former Swiss Federal Assembly, the site of the Swiss Federal Council (the site of the Swiss Federal Government), and Zytglogge, a medieval clock tower. Your guide will show you a few less well-known places too.
- On this tour, you will see the best of Bern’s Old Town, all in one place
- This small-group tour has a limited number of participants, so it is more personalized than the regular tour.
- Explore the important landmarks in Bern such as the Bern Cathedral, Zytglogge, and others.
- expand your knowledge of Switzerland’s capital by learning about it and visiting locations only locals know
Since 1983, the historic district of Bern has been recognized as a World Heritage site by UNESCO due to its unique beauty and the high quality of its sandstone architecture. The city’s six kilometers of arcades and tiny lanes are also quintessential.
On a peninsula at the Aare River’s bend in 1191, Berchtold V, duke of Zähringen, established the city of Bern. Beginning in the year 1200, the city grew steadily, with the addition of such landmarks as the Käfigturm (Prison Tower), Zytglogge (Clock Tower), Nydeggstalden (Nydegg Castle), and Mattenenge (Nydegg Gate). The Christoffelturm (Christoffel Tower) replaced the old city gate after the third expansion, and Bern’s Matte neighborhood has been a part of the city’s Old City since its final expansion in 1360.
Zentrum Paul Klee (Paul Klee Center)
On the outskirts of the federal city, Italian star architect Renzo Piano constructed the renowned Paul Klee Center in 2005. Along with the largest Klee collection in the world, you’ll find a variety of shopping and entertainment options, as well as a beautiful venue for special events and, most importantly, a thriving artistic community.
A new monument, the Zentrum Paul Klee, opened in 2005 in the federal city of Bern, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The wave-like structure, made of steel and glass, is a work of art in and of itself, designed by Italian superstar architect Renzo Piano.
The three gentle hills and smooth contours of the building complement the natural environment. Wonderful strolls await you in this area, which is bounded on all sides by open fields and a large park.
When taking a trip through the paths of the Zentrum Paul Klee, you will regularly come across street signs with cryptic names. There are 18 different walkways surrounding the structure, all of which are titled after works by Klee.
Cathedral at Munsterplatz / St. Vincent (Munster Kirche)
Bern Minster St. Vinzenz is the largest and most significant late medieval church in Switzerland, making it the most remarkable example of late Gothic architecture in the city. The highest Swiss church tower offers a breathtaking panorama over the city, the surrounding countryside, and the snowy peaks of the Bernese Oberland.
As the tallest religious structure in Switzerland, the three-aisled basilica (there is no transept) dominates the skyline of Bern’s historic district. Work on this masterpiece began in 1421, and it took generations of craftsmen to complete. Construction on the tower didn’t wrap up until 1893.
The sole image to survive the iconoclasm of the Protestant Reformation is the Last Judgment, which may be seen in the main portal. The cathedral tower, which is 100 meters in height, can be accessed by climbing 344 steps from the main entrance.
Bundesplatz (Parliament Square) was a depressing, automobile-filled parking area until 2003. The arrival of the vibrant vegetable, fruit, and flower market on Tuesdays and Saturdays, however, helped lift spirits (still held twice weekly). Between 2003 and 2004, the area underwent extensive renovations, clearing the way for a clear view of the Parliament Building unimpeded by trees, seats, or parked cars. The square is enhanced by a 180-square-meter rectangle whose dark slabs of Vals gneiss stone reflect the surrounding water and sky.
The weekly markets aren’t the only thing that happens in the area; it’s also used for political rallies, concerts, state receptions, and athletic events. Bundesplatz (Parliament Square) is home to the Swiss National Bank and the Bernese Cantonal Bank, and to the north, it borders Bärenplatz (Bear’s Square), which is lined with restaurants and other banks and office buildings. In front of the National Bank, an artificial skating rink and a café are set up during the winter months, and from spring through fall, the square’s western side features interactive water fountains that are great for kids and adults alike.
Clock Tower – Zytglogge
The Clock Tower in Bern is as old as the city itself, having been constructed in 1191 as the western gate to the much smaller Bern at the time.
The tower’s copper spire rises high above the city center, and its astronomical clock mechanism was installed in 1530, during the Reformation. This was the official timepiece of Bern from the 16th to the 19th centuries, by which all other clocks in the city were measured. Spectators congregate at the clock five minutes before the hour to see the mechanism, which dates back approximately 500 years.