When I was little my mom and I used to visit my aunt in Bern every year. After she passed away it took me twenty years, but this summer I decided to visit the beautiful capital of Switzerland one more time. Bern is built around a crook in the Aare River (in which not only the swiss love to float and swim). It traces its origins back to the 12th century, with medieval architecture preserved in the Altstadt (Old Town). So, here you go with things to do in Bern!
View from Rosengarten
Bern's rose garden is referred to as the Rosengarten in dialect, the site is home to more than 200 species of roses. The rose garden itself is lovely but the real reason to visit is for the amazing views of the city. Steep climb, but worth it. Next to the garden you will also find a restaurant, reserve a table on their terrace or bring some food to enjoy the sundowning over Bern.
Sidenote: The sprawling stretch of land which bursts into life every year was once the home for the dead – a cemetery. Called the Schosshaldenfriedhof, this cemetery is where the great painter and graphic artist Paul Klee was buried.
Alter Aargauerstalden 31B, 3006 Bern; Restaurant Rosengarten: www.rosengarten.be
Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern
This museum is dedicated to the artist Paul Klee and designed by the Italian architectural practice of Renzo Piano. It features about 40 per cent of Paul Klee’s entire pictorial oeuvre. Paul Klee was born 1879 in Münchenbuchsee near Bern. Under Swiss law, citizenship was defined by the father's nationality and Klee thus inherited his father's German citizenship. Klee was a natural draftsman who experimented with and eventually deeply explored colour theory. In 1911 he joined the almanac Der Blaue Reiter, founded by Franz Marc and Kandinsky. Klee also taught at the Bauhaus from January 1921 to April 1931. Klee also taught at the Düsseldorf Academy from 1931 to 1933 and was singled out by a Nazi newspaper. 1933 he moved back to Switzerland. For a total of 33 years, a good half of his life, he lived in Bern.
Monument im Fruchtland 3, 3000 Bern, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.zpk.org, Tue–Sun 10:00—17:00
Lunch above the Aare
With its unique architecture, the pavilion of the Restaurant Terrasse hovers over the rushing waters of the Aare. The interplay of architecture and nature makes spending time in the sunny outdoor seating area of the pavilion a real experience. You can even watch the movements of the water through an opening in the wooden floor. They serve Mediterranean specialities and traditional fish dishes, as well as coffee, cakes, and hot and cold snacks. Treat yourself by watching the water and enjoy delicious food and drinks (business lunch includes: salad, soup and a main dish).
Restaurant Terrasse (Schwellenmätteli), Dalmaziquai 11, 3005 Bern, www.schwellenmaetteli.ch, Mon–Sat 9:00–23:30, Sun 10:00–23:30
Rooftop Bar Attika
This rooftop bar in Bern enchants with a breathtaking view of the roofs of the old town of Bern and the Alps. The Attika Bar with its terrace offers a wonderful view of the old town of Bern and the Bernese Alps. The bar is located exactly 566 meters above sea level, making it the highest bar in the old town of Bern! You can enjoy drinks in a relaxed atmosphere and order a cheese platter or sandwiches.
Attika Bar, Zeughausgasse 9, 3011 Bern (on the rooftop of Best Western Hotel Bern), www.hotelbern.ch, Mon–Sat 15:00–0:00
Swimming in the Aare river
Below the Parliament Building and on the banks of the Aare river lies the famous Marzili, an outdoor swimming facility with several pools. The pools, lawns and direct access to the river make it one of Bern’s most popular summer hotspots. And the best thing about it: it’s free!
If you’d rather swim in the river, you can follow the path along the Aare from Marzili towards Eichholz, then jump in and let the current take you back. There are marked exits with red handrails. Please note: swimming in the Aare river is only suited for experienced swimmers and should not be underestimated. I just swam in the sideway of the river (which was cold enough for me, even in August). Next to large sunbathing lawns, you can also find a restaurant which offers snacks, warm meals and refreshing drinks to hungry and thirsty visitors. Absolutely worth a visit!
Marzli Freibad, Marzilistraße 29, 3005 Bern, www.bern.com/en/detail/marzili, June–September Mon–Fr 7:00–21:00, Sat–Sun 8:30–21:00
More things to do in Bern:
- Have a coffee at Kaffee Montag
- Have the express breakfast at café Moi et Toi
- Visit Kunstmuseum Bern
- Enjoy the Botanical Garden of Bern
- Visit the Einstein house (he lived in Bern for quite some time)
- Have dinner in Casino Bern (lovely view over the Aare)
- Try to get tickets for theatre Bern
- Plan a day trip to Basel (we visited Fondation Beyeler and Vitra Design Museum)
- I also recommend a day trip to Thun, where you can hike along the beautiful lake Thun
If you want to find more hidden gems of Berlin, check out my folding maps BertaBerlin and QueerBerlin. They are available in well-chosen locations all over Charlottenburg, Neukölln, Kreuzberg, Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg in Berlin and online. But for those of you, who want to stay up to date, feel free to follow me on INSTAGRAM, FACEBOOK or register for my NEWSLETTER BertaNews.