Lausanne, (pronounced low-ZANNE) the capital of the Swiss canton of Vaud, is a medium sized city (around two thirds the size of Geneva) which sits at the northernmost point of Lake Geneva (Lac Léman). The city is the host to the International Olympic Committee and two major universities. It is also the public transport hub of Vaud, and a gateway to the alpine Canton of the Valais, home to some of the best known ski slopes in the world.
- I Best time to go to Lausanne
- II Getting Around
- III Major Attractions and Sights
- IV See
- V Do
- VI Shopping in Lausanne
- VII Eating Out in Lausanne
- VIII Nightlife in Lausanne
- IX Of local interest
- X Stay safe
- XI Stay healthy
- XII Telecommunications in Lausanne
- XIII Go next
As you might expect the large student population makes for a lively nightlife and arts community, revolving around the Flon district. You’ll also find a number of quality restaurants and two dozen museums of note, including the Olympic Museum and the offbeat Collection de l’Art Brut. Architecture buffs will find the best preserved Gothic cathedral in Switzerland at the top of the town.
Despite being a very international city (42% of its population being foreign nationals) Lausanne is a French speaking city. English is not as commonly spoken as in Geneva and you will probably have trouble communicating with an average person on the street. Most service-sector employees speak a little English however, and the level of English amongst young Swiss tends to be high (amongst the older generation it is German that tends to be far stronger). A visitor will have little trouble getting around with just English.
One of the largest cities in Switzerland and the second largest on Lake Geneva, Lausanne is situated on the northern shores of the scenic lake and near to the Jura mountain range. Lausanne’s long and eventful history goes back to the Stone Age and then much later, the Roman settlers made their settlement lower down the hill than the current site and called it Lausanna; an area now known as Vidy. Lausanne then became a diocesan town for well over a thousand years and the old town is still dominated by the cathedral which is regarded as the most impressive early Gothic architecture in Switzerland.
Thanks to the north-south trade routes between Italy and the North Sea as well as the positioning of the town, Lausanne quickly became increasingly wealthy and of great importance to the region. Today Lausanne has a dynamic commercial industry as well as being a holiday resort. This university town also has a popular convention centre and hosts a number of international business conventions throughout the year for global corporations. With Lausanne’s economic and business success, the town has become a much sought after place for locals, business and pleasure.
Besides Lausanne being a commercial centre the town has a very high regard for both culture and sports. It is here that the International Olympic Committee has had its headquarters since 1914.
The town is built over three hills with vineyards covering the slopes. With the Lake Geneva in front and the rising Swiss Alps behind the town, it is no wonder that Lausanne has become a favorite destination for its picturesque scene.
There has been a settlement on the hill of Lausanne since at least the stone age, but most histories of the city trace its origin to the Roman camp Lausanna which occupied a position just down the hill toward the lake in what is now the village of Vidy.
Relocated to a more defensible hilltop in the Middle Ages, Lausanne’s increasing wealth and importance were largely derived from its placement on the primary north-south routes between Italy and the north sea. It was the first major town north of the Saint Bernard pass, at least until the establishment of the bishopric of Valais.
In 1536 the Bernese took the city from the Dukes of Savoy as part of their drive to secure their southwestern frontier. The Bernese held the territory until Lausanne gained its independence from Bern after the invasion of a French army under Napoléon Bonaparte in 1798. The city was later, in 1803, admitted to Switzerland as the capital of Vaud.
Lavaux, the mini region of the northwestern shore of Lake Geneva from Lausanne to Montreux (sometimes called the Swiss Riviera) has been a second home to writers, artists and musicians for about 150 years starting with the Shelleys and Lord Byron, who partied and wrote in Lausanne (Frankenstein is rumoured to have been composed here). Other famous residents include Ernest Hemingway, who wintered here with his young family around the time related in A Movable Feast and Charlie Chaplin who lived in Vevey from the mid-1930s on.
The Lausanne Tourism Office (at the main station, and in Ouchy where it shares space with the M2 station). Daily 09:00-19:00. The staff at the tourism board offices or over the phone can almost always place you in a hotel in your price range even at the very last minute. In addition they have a fantastic free map of the city and a huge assortment of useful printed materials in English as well as French, German, and Italian.
Best time to go to Lausanne
The weather can be very unpredictable not only in Lausanne but in Switzerland as a whole however generally, the climate is very comfortable and does experience extremes of temperature. The best time to visit Lausanne is during summer because of the warmer temperatures where on average it is around 20°C (68°F) although in mid-summer it can get to a balmier 25°C (77°F). The winter temperatures tend to hover around 4°C (39°) but can get down to 0°C (32°F) in mid-winter. Snow can be expected at any time on the mountains and even on the lower slopes but at the beginning of the season the snow is not at all deep and if it is deep snow that is required then it is advisable to go to the higher elevations and much further into the Alps.
Lausanne is an exceptionally clean city and a pleasure to walk around. It is easy and a great way to see the city on foot especially as many of the main streets in the old town centre have become pedestrian zones such as Rue du Petit-Chêne which runs from opposite the railway station and leads up to Place St François in the old town. In some parts of Lausanne the streets can become quite steep the further up the hill you go, but no need to struggle – just hop on the Metro.
There are two Metro lines running through the town provided by the Transports Publics de la Région Lausannoise with the hub being at the Flon Metro station. The new M2 metro travels to the northern suburbs via the Flon station, while the M1metro travels to the western suburbs. Besides the metro trains there is also a local railway owned by private company LEB and their trains connect to the two metro trains at Flon and travels further north of the town.
Tickets can be bought at vending machines from any of the stops and the main station of Flon. There are various options you can buy depending on the number of zones you travel, whether a single or return ticket, or if weekly passes are required. The majority of these vending machines do not issue change.
Lausanne, as well as all Switzerland in general, has a great public transport system as passengers can go virtually anywhere in the country using a combination of the federal train system and their famous postbuses. General rail passes can be used for unlimited travel on the rail system, however for non-Swiss visitors, confirmation of a CCF pass should be sought beforehand to see whether the ticket covers the local train system as some do and some do not.
Buses are clean, fast and regular. They cover virtually every part of the town so passengers are rarely more than a few hundred feet from a bus stop.
To visit the various other towns around the lake on both the Swiss and French shores there are several regular ferries operating each day. Bear in mind that passports will be required if visiting the French side. Alternatively, private boat tours and transfers from Lausanne to any port on the lake are also available.
The districts of Lausanne which are of primary concern to a visitor are the Cité, the Ville Marché, and the port of Ouchy. In between you’ll find the Flon which is mainly a nightclub and shopping district these days, and the otherwise sleepy Sous Gare district just under the train station which boasts some of the best cafés in town. If you feel up for a hike it’s also probably worth while to spend a few hours climbing around in the woods of Sauvebelin which is above and north of the Hermitage. These districts can be described as follows:
- Cité — this hill is the part of Lausanne’s old town which goes back the furthest, and holds a lot of interest for travellers, being the site of the Cathedral, the Castle, MUDAC, several other museums, a children’s theatre and a really good toy store.
- Ville Marché — the medieval city of Lausanne grew up with outdoor markets arranged around several of the entrances to the old city, together with the old city these markets make up the balance of the Old Town, including Place de la Palud, Place St. François, and Place Riponne.
- Flon — the original rail line into Lausanne once came up the Flon river into this valley, but there was no way to go through town, so it was supplanted in the 19th century with a line one ridge further south which could serve destinations in the Valais and Italy. Today the former warehouses of the Flon Valley are mostly occupied with trendy restaurants and discos.
- Ouchy — once a fishing village, Ouchy was incorporated into the City of Lausanne in the mid-19th century to serve as a port on Lac Léman. The incredible views of the lake and the Alps, and the cooler air in summer make Ouchy a popular place in the summer months. There’s a major cluster of hotels and restaurants around the port. The district is also where the Olympic Museum is located.
- Sous Gare (literally “Under the Station”) — in the 19th century Lausanne expanded to fill all of the land between the current location of the train station and the port of Ouchy. This is mostly a district of apartment buildings and houses, but it’s worth a walk through, if only for the Café de Grancy and the park on the Crêt de Montriond.
The closest airport, Geneva airport is served by almost all European carriers, and by four daily trans-Atlantic flights, one from Washington-Dulles on Continental, one from New York, JFK on Swiss, one from Newark on Continental and one from Montreal on Air Canada; otherwise when flying from the US you will have to switch planes at your airline’s hub airport. Trains between Geneva Airport and the Lausanne CFF station take about 45 min and run at least twice each hour, except for the wee hours of the morning. A full fare from Geneva-Airport to Lausanne is Fr. 27. Zurich airport provides an alternative, with more frequent trans-Atlantic service mainly via Swiss.
Lausanne is served by one of the most efficient passenger rail services in the world, the Swiss Federal Rail system. Trains run daily roughly each half-hour between 04:45 and 01:30 to and from Geneva, Zurich, Berne, Lucerne, Neuchatel, St. Gallen, Brig, Biel, and points in between. All trains from elsewhere in Switzerland to Geneva passes through Lausanne and there are also frequent local trains, so on average there’s a train to or from Geneva each 15 minutes in the daytime. The fast direct IC trains take just over half an hour from Geneva while the local trains stopping at small stations can take up to almost an hour. There are four trains daily from Paris Gare de Lyon via the SNCF’s TGV “High Speed Train”, and one direct train per day to Venice, and three to Milan. The Italian rail service also provides night trains to and from Rome and Venice.
Train station (Gare CFF), Place de la Gare 9. 24 hours lockers, Fr. 6-9.
Boats ply both the Swiss and French shores of Western Switzerland with several daily ferries to Evian, Montreux, Geneva and many smaller lake shore towns. See the boat company website for timetables and prices. Lunch and dinner cruises are also popular with tourists. Most of the ferries are meant as scenic trips and not the quickest way to get around. If travelling from Geneva to Lausanne, a boat trip is worth the time on a clear day.
Walking is a great way to get around Lausanne. There are a number of sites within a short walk of the main railway station with the largely car-free streets beginning right across the street with Rue du Petit-Chêne, which leads up to Place St. François in the old town. Like many streets in Lausanne it is a bit steep though, so if that’s a problem consider taking the Metro M2.
Lausanne is the smallest city in the world to have a metro system. There are two Metro lines provided by Transports publics de la région lausannoise which have their hub at the Flon Metro station. The new M2 is a fully automated subway system connecting Ouchy to the northern suburb of Epalinges via the central station, Flon, and multiple stops in the old town. M2 can be a little surprising to new arrivals, as both the route and even some stations are really steep: for instance at the Gare, the platform is tilted about 30 degrees, so do please hold on tight. The Bessieres station near the cathedral is situated at a steep section of one of the old town’s hills and the elevator ride from the station up to the bridge (you can see the city below through the windows of the elevator) is not something you get to experience in most other subway systems. The M1 serves points west, including the University of Lausanne (UNIL) and the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL).
There is also a local railway operated by the private LEB company, with trains connecting with the other two metro lines at Flon which run out to the far northern suburbs of Echallens and Bercher, but with increasing frequencies it has started to function as a third Metro line.
A free metro and bus pass valid for two weeks is provided to all Lausanne hotel guests.
Metro (and bus) tickets are sold from vending machines at all stops, and at the main train station and the Flon. Normal tickets are sold by distance, as determined by a zone system. You can determine the number of zones your ticket needs to cover by inspecting the diagram on the ticket machines, or on the free map available at all ticket-sales points. Tickets are available for single rides, return, and in day and week passes. Most ticket machines at Metro and bus stops do not issue change. The CFF Abonnement General rail passes are good for unlimited travel throughout the TL and LEB system.
If you have a CFF pass for non-Swiss travellers you should ask at the main station if your pass covers the local transit system, since some passes do and others don’t.
As of Jul 2013 a “short ride” ticket costs (3 stops max, valid 30min) Fr. 1.90, a one-hour ticket, Fr. 3.50 and a day ticket Fr. 8.80. As in Geneva, there are ticket vending machines at the stations.
Clean and fast buses, also provided by TL, are very frequent and form a dense enough network that you will rarely find yourself more than a few hundred feet from one bus stop or the other. Some trolleybuses look like a train with two wagons where the actual bus is towing a “motorless” wagon.
Bicycles can be borrowed for Fr. 6/day with a Fr. 90 deposit at Lausanne Roule, who has one location in the city centre (just outside the Lausanne Flon Metro station—the address on their web site is wrong) and one in the west-side suburbs in Renens. They are adding additional locations, including one in Ouchy. It’s possible to take a bike in one location and give it back at the other one. A third location also exists in Vevey, but one-way rentals cost Fr. 10. The bike ride from Lausanne to Vevey is beautiful. On your left are endless vineyards and to your right is Lake Geneva and the Alps. Get a booklet on this ride from Lausanne Roule for free.
Beware that the city is pretty steep, but the lakefront is very nice.Throughout the city is an excellent network of paths, marked bicycle lanes, and bypass tunnels that will help get you through the most busy intersections. The routes by the lake are simply beautiful but can get quite busy with strollers, roller bladers, and cyclists at peak times during the summer.
Major Attractions and Sights
There are many fine architectural buildings in and around Lausanne. The Gothic Cathédrale de Notre Dame is one of the finest in Switzerland. The church was consecrated by Pope Gregory X in 1275 and is situated in the Old Town (Vieille Ville).The beautiful Town Hall is another fine example, as is the Château St. Marie, an imposing 15th-century castle where the Canton of Vau’s Swiss government is based and is connected by a convenient passageway to the Lausanne Cathedral. The Vieille Ville area of the town is where the majority of the main historical landmarks stand. At the end of Rue de La Tour is the Tour de l’Ale which is the only surviving trace of the medieval defensive walls surrounding Lausanne. This tower was built in 1340 and an outcry was made in 1903 when the locals opposed plans to demolish it. Take advantage of the many guided walking tours on offer which take in this historic area of the town
As Lausanne is the headquarters of the Olympic Committee it would be well worth a visit to the Olympic Museum which gives a thorough history and memorabilia right from the first summer games in 1896 in Athens through the Olympic years of today. Most even – even non-sports fan – are surprised by how interesting this museum is.
Another museum of note and uniqueness is the Musee de l’Art, an establishment with a collection of artwork produced by people from prisons and psychiatric institutions from around the world.
One of the highlights of the lake is to take a cruise on one of the steamboats leaving from the lake side port of Ouchy. The boats provide spectacular views of the region from a different angle with the alpine mountain ranges on the one side, and the beautiful scenic vineyards of Lavaux on another side. A trip to Montreux, regarded as the jewel of the Swiss Riviera is a must, as is a trip to the lovely town of Vevey where a visit to the Nestle chocolate headquarters to watch the production of chocolate is of definite interest to anyone with a sweet tooth.
Off the main streets there are many small alleyways tucked away and filled to capacity with boutique shops and cafes.
Summer time is a great time of the year to go cycling or hiking. So for a bit of activity, hire a bike and choose from a map one of the numerous trails and paths in the region. Discover the countryside with its beautiful views around Lake Geneva and the vineyards with the clean crisp air whistling past your ears and get lost in your thoughts with the magnificence of this region.
- Collection de l’Art Brut, Av. des Bergières 11 (bus 2 toward Désert, stop at Jomini, bus 3 toward Bellevaux, stop Beaulieu). Tu-Su 11:00-18:00. This must-see collection of works by untrained artists will at turns delight, amaze, baffle, and irritate. Many of the artists whose works are shown here found life difficult or impossible outside (or inside) of institutions, finding solace and purpose in sometimes compulsive acts of creation. Fr. 10.
- Palais de Rumine, Place de la Riponne 6. Tu W 11:00-18:00, Th 11:00-20:00, F-Su 11:00-17:00. Based on an Italian renaissance design, this lovely building is not as old as it looks. There are five different museums inside with exhibitions covering subjects ranging from fine arts to natural history. Fr. 4.
- Musée d’archéologie et d’histoire, Place de la Riponne 6. Tu-Th 11:00-18:00, F-Su 11:00-17:00. Fr. 6.
- Musée des Beaux-Arts, Place de la Riponne 6. M-Th 11:00-20:00, F-Su 11:00-17:00.
- Musée Historique de Lausanne, Place de la Cathedral 4. Tu-Th 11:00-18:00, F-Su 11:00-17:00. A collection of maps, images and documents about the history of Lausanne, and the Lake Geneva region from the earliest times through the long Bernese occupation to liberation and the present day. A beautifully hand-crafted diorama of 16th-century Lausanne is worth a visit all by itself. Fr. 4, students Fr. 2.50.
- Mudac, Place de la Cathédral 6. Tu-Su 11:00-18:00, Jul-Aug M 11:00-18:00. The museum of design and contemporary applied arts. Fr. 10.
- Musée de l’Elysée, Av. de l’Elysée 18. Tu-Su 11:00-18:00. A world-class photography museum, located in a splendid park. Very close to the Olympic Museum. Fr. 8, students Fr. 4.
- Espace Arlaud, Place de la Riponne 2 bis. W-F 12:00-18:00, F-Su 11:00-17:00. Fr. 6.
- La Tour d’Ale. One of the few surviving parts of the medieval ramparts, the tower provides a good excuse to visit rue de l’Ale and rue de la Tour. While you can admire it from outside it’s closed to visitors.
- Fondation de l’Hermitage, Rte du Signal 2. Tu-Su 10:00-18:00, Th 10:00-21:00, Bank holidays 10:00-18:00. Built in 1841 as a residence for the banker Charles-Juste Bugnion, the Hermatage occupies its own wooded space on the hill above old-town, with marvellous views of the Cathedral and the Alps. The family donated the house and land to the City of Lausanne in 1976, which now uses the building to host first class travelling international art exhibitions. Adults Fr. 15, Seniors Fr. 12, Students and unemployed Fr. 7, Under 18 free..
- Musée Romain Lausanne-Vidy, Chemin du Bois-de-Vaux 24. Tu-Su 11:00-18:00. On display are architectural finds from the settlement site just across the road which still features the remains of walls and a forum from the time of Caesar. Fr. 8 , students Fr. 5.
- Notre Dame cathedral, Place de la Cathédrale. Monday to Friday 07:00-19:00, Sa Su 08:00-18:00. At the summit of the mountain that the old town is built on. The cathedral is architecturally quite interesting with a lot of small towers and windows. There is a fantastic look over the city and the surroundings from the tower, but as the cathedral is situated at the top of the city, already the view from the small square outside it worth taking a picture of. Free.
- Olympic Museum, Quai d’Ouchy 1 , fax: . 1 May to 30 Sep: daily 09:00-18:00, 1 Oct to 30 Apr: Tu-Su 09:00-18:00. The museum advertises itself as presenting “wealth of memories which will keep your passion for Olympism burning”. The sculpture garden, overlooking Lac Léman, is open to the public. Closed on Mondays from 1 Nov-31 Mar. Items on display include Jean-Claude Killy’s ski boots and Carl Lewis’ golden track shoes. Fr. 14 for the whole museum, Fr. 7 for just the temporary exhibitions. Children get in half price. Children under 10 admitted free.
- Aquatis, Route de Berne 144 (Metro M2, station Vennes, motorway A9, exit Vennes) , ✉ email@example.com. From 1 November to 31 March: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. From 1 April to 31 October: 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.. The largest freshwater aquarium-vivarium in Europe, opened in 2017. Over 10 000 fish, 100 reptiles and amphibians in 46 aquariums / vivariums / terrariums. Visit takes about 2 hours. CHF 29 for adults, CH 19 for children over 5 years old, free for younger children. Family prices and student discounts available..
Old town roofs and Lake Geneva as seen from Place de la Cathédral
- Explore The Old Town. From the railway station you can take the convenient metro up to either Flon, Riponne or Bessières (close to the cathedral). Alternatively, if you don’t mind climbing, the car-free section of old town really starts right across from the train station, with a steep walk up the hill. Shops keep strict hours of 10:00-19:00 Monday to Friday, and 10:00-18:00 on Saturdays. On Wednesdays and Saturdays year-round almost all of the huge car-free area becomes a vast farmers market. Thanks to the hills making it hard to pave over, Lausanne’s old town is larger than most found in Swiss cities, with the notable exception of Zurich. You can spend days wandering the old cobbled streets and still not know all of its nooks and crannies. After the shops close there are dozens of quaint, cozy, hip, or just warm restaurants, cafés and nightclubs, especially considering that at Place Central the old town joins with the Flon nightclub/gallery district. Wander as long as you like, there’s no charge of course.
- Explore the Sauvabelin Forest (north of the centre). Don’t miss the freely accessible Sauvabelin tower, from which you have a 360° view of the lake, the Alps and the Jura. Then go down to the city centre through the park of the Fondation de l’Hermitage (see above).
- Enjoy the lakefront of Ouchy. Take Metro 2 to Ouchy, et voila, as you leave the metro station you’ll find the lake (and on a clear day the Alps) stretched out in front of you. The lake front also offers restaurants, bars, and the Chateau d’Ouchy castle/hotel.
- Climb up the Cathedral Tower. The view from the top of the Cathedral tower is well worth the climb. Ask the nun at the souvenir shop in the Cathedral. From 22:00 until two in the morning, a watch man shouts the hours, perpetuating a tradition that dates back to 1405.
Concerts and theatre
- Métropole, Rue des Terreaux 25. M 09:00-19:00, Tu-F 08:30-19:00, Sa 08:00-18:00. A major concert hall for western Switzerland, the Métropole books dance, world music, pop, jazz, etc. If you are passing through town at the right time you might catch anything from the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra to the Cure here.
- Espace de Terreaux, Rue des Terreaux 14. The local council of Protestant churches has de-consecrated the chapel located across the street from the Metropole 2000 shopping centre and now uses it to present weekly concerts with a mix of sacred and profane acts ranging from American gospel singers through Eastern European Klezmer bands to puppet theatre for children.
- Arsenic, Rue de Genève 57 , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Specializing in more offbeat acts the Arsenic books a full schedule of avant-garde theatre, jazz and pop music, and installation/performance art throughout the fall, winter and spring.
- Théâtre de Vidy, Av. Jaques-Dalcroze 5.
- Théâtre Boulimie, Place Arlaud 1. The sanctuary of Swiss humour.
- Théâtre 2.21, Rue de l’Industrie 10.
- Les Docks, Av. Sévelin 34. Live music and bar.
- Le Romandie, Place de la Riponne 10. Rock club and live music. See their web site for the program.
- Théâtre Kléber-Méleau, 1020 Renens-Malley.
Shopping in Lausanne
Shopping in Switzerland is an experience, and Lausanne is no exception. Products ‘made in Switzerland’ always invoke a symbol of quality, especially from its famous clock and watch making industry, jewelry, and of course, their famous Swiss army knives, often bought as souvenirs.
The best shopping streets are the Rue de Bourg, Place de la Plaud and Place de La Riponnse. A range of high end shops and sophisticated styles make shopping such a pleasurable experience in Lausanne. Explore the streets and admire the frontages and displays in unique little boutiques tucked inside lanes and the large and elegant department stores – there will be no disappointment when it comes to retail therapy.
As an interlude to shopping there are plenty of cafes seducing visitors and tourists to a temptingly array of their finest cakes on display. Inside, enjoy the quiet and intimate ambience of these cafes while sipping excellent quality coffee or a hot chocolate specialty and munching through one of their exquisite gateau slices.
Every Wednesday and Friday morning markets are held where many of the central streets are filled with stalls offering fresh fruit and vegetables as well as many other products and souvenirs.
The usual Swiss trinkets are available in a couple of places around town, although they are not nearly as ubiquitous as in Geneva or Berne. The real draw here is a colourful farmers market on Saturdays and Wednesdays in the steep, winding streets of Old Town. There are plenty of boutiques and department stores as well. Pretty much everything is closed on Sunday, except in Ouchy, part of which is on federal land.
Mixed in with the expected and the posh are a couple of things which might surprise you:
- Maniak, Rue de Genève 7. M 12:00-18:30, Tu-F 10:30-18:30, Sa 10:00-18:00. A punk/goth/alt oriented fashion warehouse.
- Pompes Funèbres, Place de l’Europe 8. The name of this shoe-store, a spin-off from Maniak above, means “Funeral Services”, of course pompe can mean either a ceremony or a sort of shoe, so there you go. They carry all of the trendy lines; Dr Martens, Camper, and others.
- Coup de chapeau, Place Benjamin-Constant 1. M 13:30-18:30; Tu-F 09:30-12:00, 13:30-18:30; Sa 09:30-12:30, 13:30-17:00. A hat store is pretty much guaranteed to be a bit of an anachronism in the 21st century, and so that’s probably why there aren’t very many of these. That’s probably also the reason that this little shop in Lausanne has clients from all over the world.
- Bazar d’Ouchy, Av. d’Ouchy 76 (Botom of Ouchy Av.). 9:30-12:45, 14:15-18:45. Have we mentioned the usual Swiss trinkets? Well, if that’s what you’re in for you could do a lot worse than to stop at this friendly, and well stocked shop near the M2 in Ouchy. Everyone there speaks English perfectly, so don’t hesitate to ask.
Eating Out in Lausanne
Of course, one meal that is a must in Switzerland is the national dish of cheese fondue. One of the most charmingly simple venues to share this meal is the Café du Vieil Ouchy. It’s a good idea to order the moitie/moitie which is half Gruyere and half Vacherin cheeses for a nicely balanced cheese fondue. Another great restaurant is the Tour de Gourze although this is out of town but is very authentic and not a ‘touristy’ venue.
The Lausanne region has many regional specialties and one is their cabbage filled sausage with leek gratin called Papet Vaudois which is serviced at the Hotel de Ville. Another local specialty is the filet de perche – this fish is not from the sea but from the lake – and one good restaurant for this dish is the Café de la Poste in Lutry.
Hardened meat eaters should look no further than the Brasserie Grand Chene which is a great place for steaks.
The usual tricks for budget travel dining work in Lausanne as well. There’s a grocery store (“Aperto”) inside the train station which is open every day until midnight (a bit expensive), Coop Pronto is in the station below the railways, near track 9, and it represents a good alternative. There are plenty of great places to take your picnic: for instance, you might try the Crêt de Montriond. To get there go below the railways, take the stairs and go to the main avenue, then turn to the left. After the turn you should see a green hill around the size of a five-storey building directly in front of you. If you are closer to the port of Ouchy, there are two groceries open every day: “Migros” which is near the Mövenpick Hotel and another “Coop Pronto”, which is just uphill from the Chateâu d’Ouchy.
If you have a valid student ID, many budget and even some mid-range restaurants offer a student menu for a reduced price.
- P’tit Bar, Rue Louis-Curtat 6. Daily until 19:00. Tiny, as the name would indicate this place can accommodate around 12 people at a time, and that’s with strangers seated together at the tiny table, (it works out to be a good place to meet people.) They only serve lunch: salads in the Summer and excellent soup in the winter.
- Crêperie de la Chandeleur, 9 Rue Mercerie (in the car-free section of the old town, between the Place de la Palud and the cathedral). Tu-Sa 10:00-23:00. This cute little crêperie offers the crêpes in a homey Breton atmosphere. If you are travelling with children this is a great place for lunch or dinner as you will be in good company with the owners and locals, and the kids can amuse themselves with the large collection of toys. Fr. 25-30.
- Holy Cow!, Rue Cheneau de Bourg 17. M-W 11:00-22:00, Tu-Sa 11:00-23:00. Possibly the best burgers in Lausanne. Their “Elvis Blue Cheese” burger is rated the best burger in Switzerland by gourmet blog theburgerblog.ch. The restaurant seats about 30 but it gets rather crowded in the evening. But it’s definitely a must try. Fr. 20.
- La Croquignole, Rue de l’Ale 3. A café in the old town on the street to the Ale tower with a variety of sandwiches and other freshly baked products.
- Léonardo, Esplanade du Flon. A health-focused Italian place with a diverse and lively young staff. The ample salad bar is a big draw, and a good value but the dishes à la carte are also very good. It offers several variations on hand-made spaghetti alla chitara, various bruschetta options, and a veggie burger.
- Brasserie Les Trois Rois, Rue du Simplon 7. Mostly steaks with pommes frites—but extremely good steaks. Vegetarians will find little to eat. The high end is mostly horse meat. It’s packed with locals, few of whom were students. The restaurant is non-smoking after 19:00, and the kitchen closes at 22:00. Fr. 30-40.
- Café de Grancy, Av. du Rond-Point 1 (one block south of the main train station, Métro: Grancy). The Grancy offers a full dinner menu of substantial quality, which always includes a few good vegetarian options. The reason many travellers will want to visit however is to linger – outside of dinner hours – over a coffee and a book or newspaper, or to really catch the spirit of the place your still-unfinished master’s thesis. It’s as though the front door is some kind of science-fiction transporter which links it directly to Berkeley. Fr. 3 for coffee, Fr. 3.50-4.20 for a glass of wine or a beer. Fr. 16 for the (amazing) risotto of the day.
- Café Saint Pierre, Galeries Benjamin Constant 1 (Métro: Bessières). Another good spot brought to you by the Café de Grancy team, the Saint Pierre offers a daily lunch menu and a range of small dishes in the evening, with a good selection of wines, etc. The place packs up on weekend evenings (including Thursday) so get there early. Fr. 30-40.
- Poco Loco, Place Chauderon 5 (also accessible from the Flon district off of Rue de Genève). M-W 11:30-14:00 & 18:00-23:59, Th 11:30-14:00 & 18:00-01:00, F 11:30-14:00 & 18:00-02:00, Sa 18:00-02:00. So you probably aren’t going to travel to Switzerland for the Mexican food, but if you get a hankering while you’re there you could hardly do better than this noisy, popular, and fairly authentic joint which is attached to a Spanish-language cinema and a hip bar. The dessert menu offers a selection of Mexican cigars, tequilas, and of course sweets. Moderately vegi-friendly, they do have vegetarian fajitas and a “spinach wrap”. 30-35 Frfor dinner.
- Java, Rue Marterey 36 (between Rue Enning and Place de l’Ours). There’s something very welcoming about this little bar/restaurant that makes it a fantastic place to linger for a few hours before staying on for a dinner of one of Java’s many gorgeously presented Mediterranean inspired dishes, or one of the large selection of savoury crêpes. Vegetarians will feel right at home. ~Fr. 20 for dinner.
- Mövenpick, Av. de Rhodanie 4. Daily 06:30-23:30.
- Pinte-Besson, Rue de l’Ale 4 , ✉ email@example.com. Monday to Friday 08:00-24:00. This, the oldest restaurant in Lausanne offers utterly classic Swiss cooking of very high quality. Also serves as the neighbourhood bar. Fr. 15-25 (lunch); Fr. 30-40 (dinner).
- Le Raccard, Rue du Simplon 14 (located in the Hotel a la Gare just below the train station, across the street from Brasserie Les Trois Rois). They offer typical Swiss entrées, not fancy but made with care, at a very reasonable price. The owners are great, but their English is lacking. Make sure you sit outside, unless you are getting fondue, where the quiet Rue de Simplon has been commandeered into a sidewalk café. Try the Ostrich and the carrot salad!
- Ristorante St-Paul, Av. d’Echallens 72. Evenings except Sunday and Monday. Mathilde and Nazzareno Raffa, veterans of the pan-Italian kitchen at the Hotel Angleterre in Ouchy have made a big impression in Lausanne culinary circles with this perfectly authentic southern Italian bistro. Naturally the focus is, as in Puglia is on seafood, but there’s plenty to keep vegetarians happy as well. Mathilde’s English is perfect and her knowledge of Italian wines is nearly encyclopaedic, so when presented with the wine card just ask her what she thinks.
- Le Club, Flon Valley (take Metro M2 to Flon, then walk to the esplanade). Upscale Italian cuisine in a large trendy all-glass restaurant. Try the truffle ravioli. In the summer the terrace, insulated from motor traffic, is a big draw for singles of all persuasions. Free Wi-Fi. Expect to pay around Fr. 50 per person for dinner..
- MYO, 1 allée Ernest-Ansermet (in the park of Montbennon). A high-quality sushi/fusion restaurant with a superb view of the lake and the alps. Vegetarians fear not! The creativity of the chef extends to non-seafood items as well. ~Fr. 60 per person.
- Eat Me, Rue Pépinet 3 (near the Place Saint-François). The restaurant, orchestrated by the Chef Stéphane Goubin, proposes a gastronomical voyage “around the world” between Rome, Paris, New York, Tokyo and Bangkok. From Fr. 60 per person.
- l’Accademia, 11 Place du Port (in the hotel Angleterre). Very high-end Italian cooking in a warmly decorated room. The service is impressive, as is the wine list. Of course you pay for what you get. From Fr. 60 per person.
- la Table d’Edgard, Rue du Grand-Chêne 7-9 (in the Lausanne Palais Hotel). Known for inventive and subtle cooking and super attentive service, the Table has won a Michelin star, one of two in central Lausanne. From Fr. 100 per person.
- Restaurant de l’Hôtel de Ville de Crissier, Rue d’Yverdon 1 (bus 18 Crissier-centre gets you fairly close, or take a cab). The top of the top in Suisse Romande or possibly in Switzerland. Reviewers use words like “incomparable”, “stellar”, and “spectacular” when writing about the culinary stylings of (sadly decesed) chef Benoît Violier. They have three Michelin stars which is as high as the scale goes (and quite rare), and 19 (out of 20) points in the Gault et Millau (also quite rare). Consider reserving several months in advance. The Menu will run you Fr. 295-360, without wine..
Nightlife in Lausanne
Although Lausanne remains a very conservative city it is still very cosmopolitan in its outlook, and night life is therefore very much alive with Gallic influence. It is one of the most popular cities in Switzerland for its night time entertainments as well as being a gay friendly city. For many the first part of the evening starts off at one of the numerous cafes or bars for intimate drinks and low music. One of the most appealing is the Le Grand Café inside the Lausanne Casino, full of American glitz and glamour and where a good cross-section of the local society often meet. Alternatively, try the Ouchy White Horse Pub for a traditional feel, especially in summer when views of the lake can be enjoyed sitting outside on the terrace and where a range of tapas and burgers are served.
Discos and night clubs are extremely popular. One in particular is Le Mad on Rue de Genève and attracts many of the under 30’s. Its five storey exterior is covered in arty street graffiti making it a draw card and instantly recognizable.
Away from the nightclubs, a cultural evening at the opera, ballet and theatre is extremely high on the agenda with the locals. World famous productions are staged at the Théâtre-Municipal Lausanne, Avenue du Theatre. The famous Bejart Ballet performs to its home city during June, November and December. Tickets for the various performances held throughout the city can be bought at the Ticket Corner which has locations dotted around as well as a site in the railway station.
The sheer number of nightlife spots makes it hard to choose which ones to list. As a general rule they tend to be clustered into nightlife districts, like the Flon, Place du Tunnel, Place de la Gare, and Rue Marterey. This list tries to present one or two individual establishments from each of those clusters, plus a few which are a bit more off the beaten path.
The city’s official website has surprisingly good music listings, so if you would like to see what’s going on during your visit give it a try.
- Le Bourg, Rue de Bourg 51. W 18:00-01:00, Th 18:00-03:00, F Sa 18:00-04:00. A great place to see up-and-coming jazz and performance oriented acts from all over the continent. The place is a real theater with a tiny bar in front, and the booking is simply amazing for a room which can hold maybe 30 people tops, with acts ranging from French accordion jazz or gypsy jazz to Coco-Rosie-like “new folk” to famed Chicago and NYC DJs. You would not be alone in asking how they could possibly pull that off. Fr. 4.
- La Bossette, Place du Nord 4. Restaurant and bar, relaxed atmosphere, reasonable prices and good beer.
- N²O, Place de l’Europe 7 (just at the top of the M2 Metro line). Tu-Sa until 02:00. A jet-set place, N²O specializes in atmosphere. The place is at its best during the week when DJs spin the best in period and contemporary Easy-Listening hip. Weekend evenings tend toward standing-room-only, but what do you expect? There is a fairly substantial food menu as well. Fr. 3.50-7.00 for a beer or a glass of wine..
- Bar Tabac, Rue Beau-Séjour 7. This friendly café has a huge selection of Belgian beers and French wines. The décor is understated hip, the climate is calm, and the clientèle is a very pleasant mix.
- Café Couronne d’Or, Rue des Deux-Marches 13. Su Tu 16:00-23:59, W 08:00-23:59, Th-Sa 08:00-01:00. Another fine place for a drink over your master’s thesis, or a conversation with friends, the Couronne packs them in on a Saturday afternoon or Sunday evening. Cosy old bar in a small alley between Riponne and Tunnel.
- Café du Château (Brasserie Artisanale), Place du Tunnel 1. Daily from 17:00. The Brasserie offers a number of beers made on the spot including a speciality, 100% natural ginger beer. They also have a kitchen offering a range of tasty pizzas at reasonable prices. Service au bar means you have to order at the bar or you’ll wait some time to be noticed and served. A pint of ginger (or other) beer will set you back Fr. 5, a pizza Fr. 15. Pizza and homemade beer until 04:00 on weekends.
- Bleu Lézard, Rue Enning 10. The Bleu Lézard is a popular student hangout with a restaurant-café-bar upstairs and a dance floor in the basement. There’s usually live music on Wednesdays and DJs on the weekends. Perfect place for a late Sunday brunch. Fr. 4 for a beer.
- Le Lounge (Chateau d’Ouchy), Place du Port 2 (near the end of Metro M. The Lounge is on the east side of the Chateau, facing the Vaudois Alps). Monday to Friday 10:00-01:00, Sa Su 10:00-02:00. The Lounge of the Chateau d’Ouchy hotel has comfy white sofas, and a pretty impressive collection of Scotch whiskeys, but the real draw is that feeling that you’ve wandered into a James Bond film.
- El Cavalo Blanco, Av. d’Ouchy 66 (just up the road from the Chateau). A faux-English pub no longer, the former White Horse is now a tapas bar, and a darn good one. Attention: the sangria blanco (white-wine sangria punch) is dangerously good.
- MGM, Rue du Lac 14 (50m east of Métro Ouchy). A red storefront facing the lake and the Alps, the MGM has two terraces: the usual sort on the sidewalk, and better yet a deck on the second floor which makes for a great place to relax and enjoy a drink while taking in the view of the Massif du Chablais in the lingering sunlight of a summer evening.
- XIIIème Siècle, Rue Cité-Devant (In the old city, behind the Cathedral). Daily 22:00-05:00. Claiming to be a bar for students this “13th century” basement bar really gets going after midnight, when the other bars start to close. The dancing (and massive pulling) goes on until 05:00. A big plus: the very clean bathrooms are 21st century. Drinks are a bit pricier here than elsewhere though. Fr. 5 beer.
- Le Lapin Vert, Ruelle du Lapin Vert (In the old city, behind the Cathedral). F Sa until 03:00. Rock Bar. Beer, sweat and loud music.
- The Great Escape, Rue de la Madeleine 18. It has several screens showing sporting events, and though seating inside is limited, it has a very nice outdoor terrace particularly in warmer months. On weekdays it tends to have a rather calm and relaxed atmosphere; however, on weekends it can get rather crowded and rowdy.
- Taco’s Bar, Rue de Genève 17 (in a basement in the Flon). Pool and live music, of reasonably large size.
To perhaps a surprising degree for visitors from outside of Swiss Romande gay nightlife is very well integrated into nightlife at large. Most Lausanne nightspots are definitely gay-friendly, and many have a mixed straight-gay bar staff. There are a couple of places though which either advertise themselves as gay, or just have a majority gay crowd rather than just being gay-friendly. If that’s what you are looking for there are a number of such bars along the avenue de Tivoli.
- Le Romandie – Rock club Lôzane, Place de l’Europe 1b. As a members-run cooperative the Romandie can offer just about the cheapest drinks imaginable in Switzerland, but the main point is the bands. The calendar leans pretty heavily toward hard rock and heavy metal they also book folk or other acts on a weekly basis as well as hosting friendly, late-night parties with DJs. Another draw is the room itself: the club stretches between 2 arches of the bridge of Place de l’Europe.
- Les Docks, Av. Sévelin 34. Located in an industrial zone, this room offers concerts once or twice a week, from French “chanson à texte” to metal (mostly world music, though).
- MAD, Rte de Genève 23. One of the largest Swiss dance club with international DJ appearances. Thursday RnB & student nights, Friday trance & techno, Saturday house clubbing, Sunday TRIXX & Jungle gay nights. Difficult to enter after midnight. Check local listings for details.
- D!, Place Centrale. Dance club with international DJ appearances, occasionally concerts. Doesn’t get started until after midnight. Check local listings for details.
- Amnesia Club, Av. Jaques-Dalcroze 9 (by the lake).
- La Ruche Club (The Hive), Rue de la tour 41. A very popular place to dance on minimal music, there’s sometimes psychedelic trance. A strange place, attended by a lot of very weird kinds of insects. “On s’retrouve à la ruche!” they say. Upstairs is the associated Café Hydromel (hydromel is a kind of mead).
Of local interest
Festivals and events are an important part of Lausanne’s social calendar. One example if the Prix de Lausanne held in January which is an international ballet competition for the world’s young talents to perform. Then during April and May the Tour de Romandie, a cycling race through western Switzerland prepares the riders for the Giro d’Italia. During July, the city really comes to life with the Festival de la Cité which sees well over a hundred free cultural events in and around the streets of Lausanne’s Old Town. Then in October, the popular Lausanne Jazz Festival takes place.
Art exhibitions are also of great cultural importance to the local people and the Fondation de l’Hermitage which is situated in beautiful surroundings holds art displays and exhibitions of the highest quality.
Lausanne by day is quite safe for a city of its size. By night, however, it does take on a bit of an edge. Due to the number of clubbers and migrants in the city there are a few bad apples amongst them.
Begging is becoming a problem in the old town. New organized groups have started to appear, as well as the occasional lone begging child. The most affected areas are Lausanne-Flon and Saint-François during daytime. Common sense in most cases: if the beggar is offensive or impolite, it’s organized begging. Legitimate beggars are generally passive and silent. Do not encourage organized begging and immediately report cases of begging children to the nearest policeman or security guard.
Places to avoid at night are Rue de Genève (a prostitution centre in the area) and the park by the Tribunal d’Arrondissement. La Borde and the forest of Sauvabelin also have a bad reputation at night. Brawls related to the high concentration of clubbers and drunk people on week-end nights, which used to rank Lausanne #1 for criminality in Swiss cities in the past, seem to have diminished these last years.
There are also several areas such as the train station and Chauderon where you may find yourself hassled by drug dealers. However their business is not usually mugging and these areas tend to be very busy and under police observation.
Place de la Riponne can be a fairly scary area as it is the city-assigned congregation area for drug addicts. However it tends to have constant foot traffic and regular police patrols. Locals vastly overstate how dangerous it actually is due to its previously far worse state.
Lone women should be particularly aware when walking about after dark, though attacks are rare.
Additionally be aware on the train between Lausanne and Geneva airport; it is a well known target for bag snatchers.
Dial 144 for emergency telephone assistance (in French).
- CHUV, Rue du Bugnon 46. 24 hour emergency medical care at this, the University Hospital of Canton Vaud.
- Permanence PMU-Flon, Voie du Chariot 4. Monday to Saturday 07:00-21:00, Sunday and public holiday 09:00-19:00. Emergency medical care.
- Centre Médical de Vidy, Route de Chavannes ll (just off Maladière roundabout). Monday to Friday 07:00-23:00, Sa Su 09:00-23:00. Open for Emergency medical care daily. You can just turn up!! Very quick service in this new, modern emergency treatment centre.
- Hôpital de l’Enfance, Rue Montétan 16. 24 hour emergency medical care for babies and children.
- Hôpital Ophtalmique Jules Gonin, Ave de France 15. For emergencies with eye problems.
- Pharmacie 24 SA. Daily 08:00-23:59. This service provides for pharmacy service at one or more Lausanne pharmacies between. Call for the pharmacy open nearest you. Be ready to state your current address in French, or have someone at reception do it.
- Pharmacie de la Gare (in the train station). If you are staying in the old town this will almost certainly be the pharmacy you are referred to by 24 SA at least until it closes at 23:00.
Telecommunications in Lausanne
The city-owned power company, SIL, offers high speed Internet by cable, and has been installing totally free Wi-Fi access points around town, notably in Place Palud, Place St. François, the Flon valley, and on the hill of Montbenon near the casino. It’s rare now to find a café in Lausanne which doesn’t have access to one of these. As an aside SIL also provides a range of wines to those same cafés including a nice little Chardonnay, and a fairly bold Gamay. Neat huh?
Java and Bleu Lézard, both listed above, offer time-limited but fully supported and thus very reliable Wi-Fi. Just ask your server for a ticket.
- Fragbox, Rue de la Tour 3 (in the centre of Lausanne, one street above rue de l’Ale. Bus: Place Bel-Air). An amazing cybercafé and permanent LAN party. They speak English, Italian, German and Portuguese. It’s a highly equipped centre, with 35 computers. You can install any software you need. Fr. 5/hour and goes down to Fr. 2/hour with coupons.
- Couronne d’Or, Rue des Deux-Marchés 13 (Métro Riponne, Maurice-Béjart). The Wi-Fi is pretty reliable, and if you arrive at an off-hour you can usually one of the tables with an outlet. .
One of the nicest ways to spend an afternoon anywhere is to take a boat from the port of Ouchy on the Lakefront of Lausanne to either Vevey or Montreux. The Steamboats of the CGN offer you an amazing view of one of the most gorgeous corners of our planet. On the left side of the boat you can take in the beautiful vineyards of Lavaux, and on the right side the Masif of Chablais, and the Franco-Swiss alpine giants, the Dents du Midi.
Here’s a partial list of selected daytrips, in order of distance:
- Lavaux – Terraced vineyards and one of the prettiest landscapes anywhere stretching between Lausanne and Vevey.
- Vevey – A lovely city in a cove, and the corporate home to the Nestlé chocolate and food empire.
- Montreux – The jewel of the Swiss Riviera
- Evian – The French bottled water capital. 35 minutes by boat.
- Geneva – The international capital by default, only 33 minutes by rail
- Leysin – A laid back ski resort in the Vaud alps above Montreux, about 45 minutes by train.
- Neuchatel – The picturesque city on Lake Neuchâtel, about 45 minutes by train.
- Verbier – A popular ski resort in western Valais, about an hour by train.
- Bern – The Swiss capital, just 70 minutes by rail.
Bern Coronavirus Cases Covid-19 Update
Although Berne (German: Bern) is the seat of most of the institutions of the Swiss confederation, this is only a small to medium sized city with a population of about 130,000 in the city proper and roughly 350,000 in the urban agglomeration. It sits on a peninsula formed by the meandering turns of the river Aare. The remarkable design coherence of Berne’s old town has earned it a place on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It has 6.4 km (4 miles) of arcaded walkways along streets decked out with fountains and clock-towers.
- I Best time to go
- II Getting Around in Bern
- III Get in
- IV Major Attractions and Sights
- V Learn
- VI Shopping in Bern
- VII Eating Out in Bern
- VIII Nightlife in Bern
- IX Of Local Interest
- X Stay safe in Bern
- XI Cope
- XII Go next
There are Tourist Information Centres outside the main railway station, and in the Old Tram Depot next to the Bear Pit.
Bern is the capital of Switzerland. It was founded by Duke Berthold V von Zähringen in 1191, and formed part of the Holy Roman Empire. It later became the largest independent city state north of the Alps. It joined the Swiss Confederation in 1353, and in 1848, it became the capital of Switzerland.
It has managed to successfully retain a lot of its historic features, and its Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Swiss government sits here, and the Houses of Parliament are open to visitors the majority of the time.
The town grew up around the Aare River on hilly ground, and so the city areas are on low ground along the river, and it spreads out onto higher ground. Bridges have been built across the river over the years to allow for expansion of the city.
The city center has a unique mediaeval atmosphere and contains old fountains, narrow streets, and sandstone facades. The ancient bastions and entrenchments drop steeply down to the river.
The central location of Bern offers easy access to trips throughout Switzerland; but Bern itself offers more than enough to keep a holidaymaker busy.
Bern was founded in 1191 by Duke Berthold V von Zähringen and was part of the Holy Roman Empire. It was made a free imperial city by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II in 1218 after Berthold died without an heir.
In 1353 Berne joined the Swiss confederation. After conquering several rivals, Berne became the largest independent city state north of the Alps. It was occupied by French troops in 1798 during the French Revolutionary Wars, and was stripped of a large part of its territory. The city became the Swiss capital in 1848.
Bern was one of the eight host cities in the 2008 European Football Championships.
Best time to go
The best weather in Bern is between April and September. Late spring brings long days and good weather. The summer temperatures in August are pleasing. The summer weather is unpredictable though, so take your warm clothes. As the temperature peaks, so does the rainfall, so be prepared. But the rain is short-lived, and you can go about your visit after a short period. From July to mid-August are their holiday periods, so some of the smaller restaurants may be closed.
Getting Around in Bern
Situated in the middle of Switzerland, Berne is easy to reach from all parts of the country.
Fly to Berne
- Bern-Belp Airport (10 km south of the city, off Hwy 8 west of river Aare). This airport is a small affair. Skywork used to be the main operator, with twin-prop flights to London City, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Berlin-Tegel, Munich and Vienna, plus summer holiday destinations around the Med; however, it declared bankruptcy in August 2018.
To reach the city take Bus 334 or 160 to Belp railway station (10 mins). Frequent S-bahn local trains connect Belp to Bern’s main station, 40 min altogether. The bus runs every 30 minutes between 05:10 and 23:10, with the first and last buses of the day running directly to Bern railway station. The transfer is free if you have booked accommodation in Bern, just show your confirmation letter; otherwise Fr. 7 each way.
A taxi to the city is about 40 Fr and takes 20 mins.
For better choice of flights, fly into Geneva , Zurich or Basel then take the train to Bern.
Travel by train to Bern
Berne is at the hub of the Swiss Federal Railway network. Express (InterCity) trains connect twice per hour to Geneva, Basel and Zurich as well as Zürich and Geneva airports. Hourly express trains connect to most other cities, including Interlaken, Brig, and Lucerne.
Bern Railway Station. In a mall surrounded by cafes and other shops. The info kiosk and main bank of ticket machines are at the back, beneath the big departures board.
For timetables and connections see Swiss Federal Railway. For best travel deals see the Swiss Travel Planner – walk-up full fare tickets are expensive.
Travel to Bern by car
Bern is easily reachable with the national motorway network from all directions and has several exits from motorways A1, A12 and A6.
Eurolines and Flixbus connect Bern to several European cities by bus.
Bern has a world-class public transportation system, with a choice of buses, trolleybuses, trams, and trains.
In the city center, on foot is the best way to see the sights close up, and for shopping and eating at the restaurants. Outside of the city center the tram is the best.
You can hire a bike for 4 hours for free, and thereafter pay a small fee per hour, from the main train station, or Zeughausgasse or Hirschengraben. You’ll need your passport or ID.
By train you can travel to the suburbs, and to other cities such as Fribourg or Biel, should you want to explore a little further.
If you have a car, be aware that free parking in the city centre is rare to find, and that the paid parking is quite expensive. If you’re visiting the city centre, it’s best to park at a ‘park and ride’ and take public transport into the centre, and walk to wherever you like from there.
If you prefer to take taxis, there are stands at the main train station, and some stands in the city centre.
Berne has an excellent public transportation system, with frequent local city services provided by trams, trolleybuses and buses, together with an S-Bahn rail system for longer journeys into the surrounding suburbs. Tickets are valid for all modes of transport within a given zone and time. The suburbs of Berne, Biel and Solothurn form a common public transport network named “Libero-Tarifverbund”. Tickets can be purchased as single ticket, saver ticket with six rides, day pass as well as weekly, monthly or yearly passes.
Tickets can be bought at vending machines at most stops, or with a smartphone using the SBB mobile app. They are valid for all modes of public transport within the zones they encompass. A ticket valid in the central urban zones (101, 102) for 60 minutes costs Fr. 4.60 (May 2016).
Since June 2014, all hotel accommodations in Bern include the “Bern-Ticket”, which allows the free use of public transport within the city (zones 100 and 101) for the duration of the stay, including the Gurten funicular and transfer from and to the airport.
The city centre of Berne is easily accessible by foot. The relatively small old town and the area around the main train station is best explored by walking.
By tram and bus
The bus and tram lines operated by Bernmobil are complemented with yellow Postauto bus lines connecting to the suburbs. Almost all lines are linked together at the main train station, and operate at intervals between 5 to 30 minutes.
- Bernmobil. Operator of the local tram and bus services, and provides timetables and other information on its web site or by telephone.
Berne’s S-Bahn rail system will take you to many places in the suburbs and to nearby cities like Biel, Thun, Fribourg or Solothurn.
- S-Bahn Bern. Web site in German only.
By car or motorbike
Like in most Swiss cities, parking space is rare and expensive. There are several paid parking stations, including at the main train station. As the city centre is quite small and all of the major attractions are within walking distance, it’s a good choice to park in a “park and ride” and take public transport to the centre of town. Using the car in the old town is very difficult and not recommended.
Motorbikers will find free dedicated parking spaces in several places around the perimeter of the old town, including near Waisenhausplatz and at the main train station.
Berne is a bike-friendly city, and most thoroughfares include dedicated bike lanes. There are a few challenging spots where bike traffic interweaves with motor traffic, but motorists are used to sharing the road with bikers and will normally pay attention. Because of the city’s topography, some stamina may be required, or an electric bike.
The local branch of the Swiss-wide bike sharing Publibike charges CHF 3 for the first 30 minutes. The formerly free local bike-share “Bern Rollt” has been terminated.
Several taxi companies operate in Berne, including Nova Taxi (+41 31 331 33 13), Bären Taxi (+41 31 371 11 11) and Taxi Bern (+41 31 333 88 88). Taxis can be booked by phone, or at the main train station.
Major Attractions and Sights
There are 114 Swiss heritage sites of national significance in Bern, so it’s hard to miss a couple of them. The Old Town in its entirety is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A few outside Old Town include: the Eidgenössisches Archiv für Denkmalpflege, the Kirchenfeld mansion district, the Swiss National Library, and the Historical Museum.
While strolling around, you’ll find eleven 16th century fountains. They are charming, and their colorful sculpted figures that adorn them are proof of the prosperity of the town in the Middle Ages. As recently as a hundred years ago, people gathered at them to gossip; today their crystal-clear water offers welcome refreshment to locals and visitors alike.
Be sure to visit the Zytglogge, or Clock Tower. Built around the turn of the 13th century, the animatronic technology is astounding for those times. Every hour on the hour, is displayed what the locals proudly tell you is the longest running act in show business. A few minutes before the hour, a song plays, accompanied by a jester drumming. On top of the hour, an old bearded king and some bears join in. The clock is so detailed that it also tells the day, the month, the phase of the moon, and the sign of the zodiac! You can take a free guided tour inside the tower to look at the mechanisms working from the inside. Book the tour at the tourist office.
In 2008, Old Town was given a new entrance, called the Baldachin. Reminiscent of the glass pyramid at the Louvre, the Baldachin is a steel and glass construction, featuring an undulating glass roof, through which the Holy Ghost Church and the Citizens’ Hospital can be viewed whilst keeping the aesthetics.
The Rosengarten (rose garden) is a park that offers a great view over Old Town, and is a popular place for locals to go at lunchtime.
The bear is Bern’s heraldic animal, and legend goes that von Zähringen named the town for the first bear caught there. They take pride in the bear pit (Bärengraben), which has been there since the 16th century. There are currently four bears in an open-air enclosure. The facilities have recently been upgraded, and the bears can even swim in a section of the river. In summer the opening hours are 8am to 5.30pm, and 9am to 4pm in winter.
The Gurten Hill is just outside the city. It has a park, from where you can view both the city, and the Bernese Alps. It’s popular with the locals who like to play football, do a spot of sun tanning, or barbeque. It has hiking paths, a playground, and a restaurant. Entrance is free.
Swimming in the River Aare on a hot summer day is great recreation. There are public pools along the river which are free, so you can ‘land’ at one of them to have a shower afterwards.
If you’re into gambling the Grand Casino Bern offers black jack, poker, roulette and over 300 slot machines.
- Berne Historical Museum, Helvetiaplatz 5. Tu-Su 10:00-17:00. Large historic museum, combining under one roof one of the country’s most important ethnographic collections together with the Bernese historical collections from prehistory to the present day. Adult Fr. 13; Fr. 18 including Einsteinhaus.
- Bundeshaus (Federal Palace of Switzerland; Curia Confoederationis Helveticae), Bundesplatz 3. Inaugurated in 1902, the Swiss Parliament building is a great dome separating the two chambers: the National Council and the Council of States. Free guided tour when Parliament is not in session (German Tu-Sa, English only Sa 14:00, book online). In session there are 25 spaces in the spectators’ gallery, no advance booking. For either, you need your passport. Free.
- Zytglogge. It has been a guard tower, and a prison for women convicted of having sex with priests, but since the 15th century, it’s been a clock tower with an elaborate astronomical clock. Hourly throughout the day, it puts on a great display of early animatronics. The show starts a few minutes before the hour with a little song and some drumming by a jester on top. On the hour, bears and an old bearded king get into the act. As well as the time, the clock shows the month, day, sign of the zodiac and phase of the moon. There are guided tours inside the tower that will let you have a look at the clockwork while the show is displayed outside. It can be booked at the tourist office and is definitely worth it if you love mechanics. Free.
- Einsteinhaus, Kramgasse 49 , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Feb-Dec 10:00–17:00, closed Jan. Suppose a Bern Tram passed you at the speed of light, with Einstein peering out the window. While your own watch ticked on, his would appear stationary, and the tram’s mass and dimensions would distort. Most of us would just shrug at this and await the next tram. But Einstein realised that the same occurred if you were aboard the tram looking back at the tourist standing at the tram-stop. There could be no absolute reference point: all was relative. He also inferred an equivalence of acceleration and gravity, and of mass and energy, that totally rewrote the laws of what till then was a Newtonian universe.
Einstein rented this flat 1903-05 with his first wife Mileva, during his years working at the Swiss patent office. (The day job helped, as many inventors were exploring telecomms, and the problem of synchronising processes many miles apart.) Their son Hans Albert was born here in 1904; their illegitimate daughter Lieserl (b. 1902) was given up for adoption and her fate is unknown. But above all Einstein’s special and general theories of relativity were born in this flat, which now displays photos and original documents from his life, work, and speeches. His writing desk overlooks the bustling street: trams rumble by, and the clock-tower tick-tocks, with a Swiss regularity that we now know to be deceptive. Adult Fr. 6, concessions Fr. 4.50.
- Invasion of Berne – successful!. As you explore, you may notice these small graffiti mosaics, in the style of Taito’s “Space Invaders”. There are some 29 in Bern, the work of an “Unidentified Free Artist”. They’ve appeared on the walls, bridges and roofs of many cities around the world, including Basel, Geneva and Lausanne. And still they come: “Game Not Over”. Consider buying a map and doing the space invader tour – though in midsummer 2018 the Invader’s online shop is closed.
- Kunstmuseum (Museum of Fine Arts), Hodlerstrasse 12. Tu 10:00-21:00, W-Su 10:00-17:00, closed M. Huge collection including Pablo Picasso, Ferdinand Hodler and Meret Oppenheim, and all the big names over eight centuries. Adult Fr. 10 permanent collection.
- Swiss Alpine Museum (Alpines Museum), Helvetiaplatz 4. Tu-Su 10:00-17:00. A museum describing all aspects of the Swiss mountains: geology & tectonics, glaciers, weather, wildlife, agriculture & settlement, and alpinism and winter sports. With a large collection of artwork, e.g. paintings by Ferdinand Hodler. Adult Fr. 16.
- Zentrum Paul Klee, Monument im Fruchtland 3 (Trolleybus 12 to the end of the line). Tu-Su 10:00–17:00. The Centre is a modern building formed of three waves. The ground floor is a rotating exhibition drawn from some of Klee’s 4000 works – to Oct 2018 this is “Cosmos Klee”. Downstairs are other artists – to Oct 2018 this is Etal Adnam. Klee was celebrated for his “child’s view” of the world and his work is so accessible and fun, eg his wacky glove-puppets. A short walk across the adjacent park brings you to his grave. The Centre is included on the “Berne card” so you’ll recoup the Fr. 20 straight away. Adult Fr. 20, students Fr. 10, children 6-16 Fr. 7, families (1 adult + children 6-16) Fr. 27, families (2 adults + children 6-16) Fr. 40.
The view from Gurten Hill
- Bear Pit (Bärengraben & BärenPark), Grosser Murisalder 6 (Foot of old town at Nydeggasse Bridge; trolleybus #12 towards Zentrum Paul Klee). Always open, but the bears hibernate Nov-Mar. Run as an outstation of the city’s Dählhölzli Zoo, the bear pit has a tunnel through to a bosky enclosure along the steep river bank, around which the bears can roam and swim. There are three: Finn (b 2020) is Daddy Bear, Björk (b 2020) is Mummy Bear, and Ursina (b 2020) is their daughter. Björk has been sterilised so there will be no more cubs: “More space for fewer animals” is the zoo’s motto. These are Eurasian brown bears, Ursus arctos arctos, with a round head and yellow-brown fur; they remain common in the wild in Central & East Europe.
A second smaller pit is bare of bears but describes the history of the pits. Next to this is the Old Tram Depot, see “Eat”. Free.
- Tierpark Dählhölzli (Zoo), Tierparkweg 1 (Bus 19 from main station to Tierpark). Mar-Oct 08:30–19:00, Nov-Feb 09:00–17:00. Berne’s zoo is along the Aare river, with many outdoor enclosures that incorporate the river. Adult Fr. 10, child 6-15 Fr. 6.
- Gurten. The Gurten is a lovely hill just outside the city. It features a park and great view over the city on one side and a nice panorama of the Bernese alps on the other. The park is visited heavily by locals to play ball, to barbecue or to just lie in the sun. Tourists are not an unusual sight, though this little attraction is missed by most of the many that visit the city. Hiking paths lead in all directions and you will almost certainly stumble across some cows when walking around. A wooden look-out tower allows an even better panorama than that you would already have. If you get hungry or thirsty, a good budget restaurant service and self-service provides you with all you need. Families with children should not miss the cool playground. The Gurten can be easily reached with tram number 9 from the railway station in Berne in direction Wabern. Exit the tram at station Gurtenbahn and walk a few steps up the hill. Then take the Gurtenbahn, a panorama train that will bring you on top in just 5 minutes, round-trip tickets are Fr. 9 for adults or Fr. 4.50 for children (BernCard is valid), departure usually every 20 minutes depending on daytime. A club called up-town features various cultural events on weekends and once a year in summer national, European and a few international music stars (among others Alanis Morissette, Skin, Moloko and Jimmy Cliff in 2020) visit it for the Gurtenfestival, an open-air music festival. Gurten is a must see for everybody visiting the city for longer than a day. Free.
- Rosengarten. Little park with a splendid view over the old town. Situated close to the bear pits (follow the path that goes up the hill opposite the bear-pit-roundabout. Quite popular (and populated) during lunchtime. The Rosengarten can be easily reached by bus number 12 from the railway station in Berne in direction Zentrum Paul Klee.
- Watch football soccer at BSC Young Boys, who play in the Swiss Super League, the top tier of Swiss football. They play at Stade de Suisse, capacity 32,000, 1 km north of city centre.
- SC Bern. The SCB is Berne’s ice-hockey team. The stadium is the second largest in Europe and is regularly sold out, producing an impressive atmosphere in the arena. It is also mentionable that the SC Bern boasts the highest average attendance outside the NHL. To get there, just take Tram Nr. 9 towards Guisanplatz and get off at the terminal stop.
- Swimming in the river Aare. On hot summer days, let yourself drift for a few kilometres in the river Aare. Good (and safe) stretches are between the Kornhausbridge and the public pool of the Lorraine (old fashioned swimming pool just next to the river) and between the Eichholz and the public pool of the Marzili. Other stretches such as swimming the bend around the old town (starting at the “Englische Anlagen” to the Lorraine) or the “Bremgartenschlaufe” are only to be done by good swimmers accompanied by experienced locals. Entrance to public pools is free of charge. This makes it a good idea to choose a swim that ends at a public pool so you can have a shower afterwards.
- Gurtenfestival. In July the Gurten hill is host for an open air festival with many national and international music acts. During these four days you will find a party crowd of up to 25,000 people on the hill day and night. 1-day pass: Fr. 75, 2 days: Fr. 115, 3 days: Fr. 155, 4 days: Fr. 195.
- International Jazzfestival Bern. A jazz festival with international reputation is held in Berne every year since 1976.
- Buskers Bern. Since a few years the annual street musician festival is taking place in the picturesque old town streets. You don’t need to buy a ticket but are encouraged to buy a festival pin or give donations to the musicians which come from all around the world.
Berne is home to the prestigious University of Berne which enrolls 17,431 students (2020). In addition, the city has the University of Applied Science also known as Berner Fachhochschule. There are also many vocational schools and offices of the Goethe Institute and the Alliance-Francaise (German and French cultural institutes).
Shopping in Bern
Bern boasts six kilometres of arcades, which represent the longest weather-sheltered shopping promenade in Europe. Westside shopping centre has 55 shops, restaurants, a cinema and a spa. There are other malls too, for all the regular merchandise.
At Beck Glatz Confiseur you can buy the Mandelbärli, or almond bear, which is a great Bern souvenir, and a speciality of the confectioner.
Bucherer is a world renowned jeweller founded in 1888. This traditional company specialises in the finest watches, clocks and jewellery.
On the Bundesplatz you’ll find the vegetable, fruit and flower markets, on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and daily in summer. On the first Saturday of the month there is a craft market in front of the cathedral.
As with most other cities in Switzerland, store opening and closing hours in Berne are strictly regulated. All stores, including grocers, close by 18:30 or 19:00 from Monday to Friday, except on Thursdays when they remain open until 21:00. Aldi supermarkets are an exception, closing at 20:00 during the week. On Saturdays everything must close by 17:00. On Sundays, all stores are closed, except for those in the main railway station, which are open 7 days a week until about 22:00, and which include Migros and Coop supermarkets.
Rathausgasse and the streets parallel to it have any number of cute shops with an amazing range of handicraft and luxury goods. This is not the normal range of Swiss souvenir stuff, but really interesting things. There are a couple of worthy examples below, but the real pleasure is in spending a few hours (or days) exploring the arcades and vitrines.
- Yamatuti, Aarbergergasse 16-18. M-W F 10:00–18:30, Th 10:00–21:00, Sa 10:00–17:00. Unique toys and kitsch collectibles pack the walls of this cramped space.
- Krompholz Music, Effingerstrasse 51, 3008 Bern (Visit website for which tram lines to take and the stops.) , ✉ email@example.com. Monday – Saturday 10:00–17:00. The thing that makes this shop special is its huge collection of sheet music and English language music instruction materials. Pretty good CD section with lots of Swiss artists, both pop and folk.
There are several used book stores that carry cheap books in German, English and French:
- Bücherbergwerk Monbijou, Monbijoustrasse 16 (on the street through which tram line 9 descends from Hirschengraben near the main station, in the basement of the building marked SWICA). Tu-F 10:00–17:00 and Sa 11:00–15:00. The used bookstore of the Swiss Workers’ Aid Society.
- Bücher-Brockenhaus Bern, Rathausgasse 34 (in the old city between the Zytglogge and the Rathaus). Tu-F 14:00–18:30, Sa 09:00–12:00, 14:00–16:00.
Eating Out in Bern
If you’re on a budget, the Beaulieu on Erlachstrasse is recommended; it’s a traditional restaurant that offers classic Bernese and Swiss cuisine at great prices. Its proximity to the university means it’s popular with the students, and is also popular with the local working population. If you prefer local to a tourist trap, this is the place to go and rub shoulders with the Bernese.
Equally good value is to be found at Suan Long, underneath the main train station. With fast service and a big variety of Chinese dishes, together with a wide vegetarian selection, this is the ideal eatery; especially if you’re waiting for a train.
For middle-of-the-road costs, try the Kornhaus, on the Kornhausplatz. This beautiful restaurant, as you can probably deduce, is in an old granary. It serves mostly Italian food, and your eyes will be wandering all around the restaurant, as it is covered with frescos of traditional Swiss scenes and historical events.
Also in the medium range is the Restaurant Muesmatt, on Freiestrasse. It was built in 1891 to service the steel workers at the Von Roll steelworks in Bern. The Von Roll buildings were converted into university lecture halls, and the brownstone houses around it now house students. This eatery offers fresh local organic produce, and has an outside terrace you can sit on, with great old oak trees offering shade. They serve the local Burgdorfer beer, and wifi is available.
If you prefer a scenic meal, try the Casino Restaurant on Herrengasse. It’s on the Aare River, and offers great views of the river and the mountains. The recommended dish is the pasta with mushrooms, and there’s a range of meat and fish dishes too.
If you’re in the mood to splurge, the place to be seen at is the Bellevue Palace, on the Kochergasse. It’s pricey, but if you go whilst parliament is in session, you might just come across the Swiss president eating his lunch there.
Also in the high price range is the Restaurant Rosengarten, which offers great views of the city.
Eating in Berne (or almost anywhere in Switzerland for that matter) can be an expensive proposition for foreign tourists. Be sure to “shop around” before deciding on a restaurant as many of them cater to foreign tourists (especially those serving traditional Swiss food) and have inflated their prices accordingly. Most Bernese natives prefer Italian, Asian, or other non-local cuisine so finding a traditional Swiss restaurant with acceptable prices can often be a daunting experience. Be patient and you will persevere without breaking the bank.
- Suan Long, Rail City, underneath main station, Bern. Low-priced Chinese meals, wide variety of dishes, including good vegetarian selection. Quick service and ideal if you’re waiting for a train. Especially recommended if you enjoy spicy food! Fr. 17-25.
- Beaulieu, Erlachstrasse 3 , fax: . M-Th 08:00–11:30, F 08:00–00:30, Sa 10:00–22:00. Old-fashioned restaurant serving traditional Swiss and Bernese cuisine at very affordable prices. Popular among students due to its situation close to the university; equally popular among the local workers. Definitely not a tourist restaurant—go here if you want to meet the Bernese among themselves.
- Sous le Pont , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-F 11:30–14:30 and 18:00–00:00, Sa 19:00–00:00, Su 10:00–16:00. A nice restaurant in the Reitschule complex which serves excellent dishes.
- Wäbere, Gerechtigkeitsgasse 68 , fax: . Monday – Saturday 11:00–23:00. Excellent soups, a good rendering of Swiss standards, such as cheese fondue, and an decent number of veggie choices. Many items available in half portions. Fr. 14-24.
- Old Tram Depot (Altes Tramdepot), Grosser Muristalden (across bridge at east side of city centre, next to bear pit). 11:00-23:00. The trams used to terminate here: nowadays it’s a trolleybus route. Good, hearty Swiss food. Range of dishes from budget price rösti to higher-priced meat specialities. On-site brewery with traditional beers available. Bench seating with great atmosphere. Fr. 20-40.
- Café Fédéral, Bärenplatz 31. Stylish, modern atmosphere and international cuisine. Situated in front of the Bundeshaus, its popularity among politicians during the “Session” is legendary. Specializes in entrecôtes (a kind of steak), but has other dishes, including vegetarian ones.
- Casino Restaurant, Herrengasse 25 , ✉ email@example.com. At the shore of Aare river, with a view over the river and mountains on the South. Dishes include excellent pasta with mushrooms, fish, and meats, served throughout the day. . Fr. 25-45 a main dish.
- Kornhaus, Kornhausplatz 18 , fax: . The room alone is worth a stop at this fabulously appointed mostly Italian restaurant. As one might guess from the name, the building was built for grain storage, but now features fresco paintings of traditional Swiss scenes, events from local history, and related characters. Fr. 26-45 for the main dish. Fr. 9-14 for appetizers..
- Schmiedstube, Schmiedenplatz 5. Monday – Saturday 08:30–23:30. German, French, Italian, English and Spanish spoken. This traditional Swiss restaurant is well known for its typical dishes, such as Röschti, Cordon Bleu, Älplermakkaronen. It’s 90 m (300 ft) from the clock tower “Zytglogge”.
- Schwellenmätteli, Dalmaziquai 11 , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Terrace open M-Su 08:00–00:00. A very nice restaurant at the side of the river Aare with a nice view on the Cathedral. Fr. 20-40 for a main dish.
- Bellevue Palace, Kochergasse 3-5 , fax: . Stylish hotel and restaurant; has its price. Go there when the Parliament is in session, and you may very well see the president of Switzerland having lunch.
- Restaurant Rosengarten, Alter Aargauerstalden 31b. Upscale Swiss restaurant with amazing view over the city
- Kursaal-Bern (Meridiano), Kornhausstrasse 3. Tu-F 11:30–14:00, 18:00–00:00. Sa 18:00–24:00. Sunday & Monday closed. The Meridiano is famous far beyond the borders of Bern for its welcoming hospitality. And for its innovative cuisine – prepared to perfection by Chef de Cuisine Markus Arnold and his team. The restaurant has been awarded 16 Gault-millau points and one Michelin star. Guests are offered fine views extending over Bern and the surrounding scenic countryside. Fr. 20-76.
Nightlife in Bern
You absolutely have to try the Bern Pub Crawl! It happens on the first Friday of the month, and it’s free. Well, except for your drinks. Bern has a vibrant bar scene, and there’s no better way to get around to seeing the local bars, and making friends in fun places. Every hour, the group moves on to a new bar. You’ll meet both locals, and international travelers like yourself, and have a ball. Google them for details.
The Liquid Club is a high-tech venue. From where you’re sitting in the lounge, you look down through the glass floor onto the dance floor, which has a revolving stage in the centre of it. The club is used alternately as a disco, a reading room, a concert hall, and a theatre. Its clientele is trendy and chic.
Le ciel opened its doors in 2010, with Bob Sinclair as the DJ. DJs from the VIP ROOM Paris and Mansion Miami have also played there. The 250 square meter dance floor hosts mainly house and RnB, with a mix of party hits thrown in. A great place for partying.
Next to the clock tower you’ll find Du Théâtre, nicknamed the DüDü by the locals, is a trendy club that has both a bar and a lounge. The lounge has comfortable leather chairs and sofas, a fireplace and a glass roof. Famous DJs offer the latest in music; whether you’re sipping cocktails in the lounge or partying to the music, a good time can be had by all.
The Bern Theatre, known as Stadttheater Bern, is an opera house and theatre that has seen many great performances. If you would enjoy an evening of high European culture, check their itinerary to see what is on while you’re in the city.
Many Bernese will tell you that nightlife in Berne is not exactly what you might call stunning, but they’re probably comparing it to Zurich or Paris. There are quite a few good spots to hang out.
For a drink or two, there’s a wide choice of bars all over town. However, you might be disappointed with most central options as they tend to be annoyingly conventional, though there are an ample number of exceptions:
- Du Nord, Lorrainestrasse 2 (across Lorraine Bridge from the city centre).
- Café Kairo, Dammweg 43, 3013 Bern. Another nice choice in the same area as Du Nord.
- Cuba, Kornhausplatz 14. With Latin-influenced Cuba Bar next door.
Most of the towns cooler bars are around the main clubbing venues though. In the ancient Matte neighborhood, which is well worth a daytime visit too, you’ll find nightlife options for almost every taste.
- Dampfzentrale, Marzilistrasse 47. In this former electricity facility you’ll find an excellent restaurant and bar, along with lots of cultural pearls. They specialize in urban, jazzy, electronic music and dance performances. Definitely a gem!
- PROGR_centre for cultural production, Waisenhausplatz 30/ Speichergasse 4. Close to the Reithalle and even closer to the city centre, you will find the PROGR. More than 100 artists, dancers, actors and musician have their studios here. It’s large courtyard with the CaféBar Turnhalle is a real oasis. From September to June, they offer a cultural program with exhibitions of experimental and contemporary art, theatre, performance, lectures and regular concerts on Sunday nights (jazz- connected, world women voices).
- Reitschule, Neubrückstrasse 8. Next to the central train station is Berne’s most important centre for alternative culture. The huge brick building is visible from far, easy to recognize by its abundant graffiti art on the façade and roof. Reitschule has the status of an autonomous cultural centre, which means in firm language that it’s a no-police zone. This of course gives it a bit of an anarchist touch, a touch of “anything goes”. And indeed, anything does go: Reitschule features a theatre, a cinema, a women’s room and two concert/dancing venues, all dedicated entirely to alternative culture. Concerts included rjd2, Metalheadz and DJ Babu. The centre as a whole is a unique experience and a must-see for anyone who has an interest in contemporary urban culture.
- Wasserwerk Club. This is one of Berne’s traditional clubbing and concert venues for urban music. It actually features two parts: Sportwerk The very welcoming, smaller “Sportwerk”, which is open all week and free of charge, offers drinks, music, pool, snooker, darts, table soccer and flipper games as well as sport events on TV in a laid back, greenish atmosphere. The bigger part of the club, the actual “Wasserwerk” is open on weekends and features excellent djs and live concerts.
Of Local Interest
March sees Museums Night, which heralds the coming of spring. Bern’s museum’s doors stay open until the early hours of the morning and thousands stream through the doors. It’s a novel experience.
From March to May is the Bern Jazz Festival – drawing visitors from all over Switzerland as well as abroad, to the capital. It’s one of the most important traditional jazz events, and has been running since 1976.
May sees the Grand Prix – Switzerland’s largest racing event, and a top-notch spectacle with this historic town as a picturesque backdrop.
In June, you can enjoy the Bern Dance Festival; devoted to all types of dance. There are workshops, discussions, performances and exhibitions.
July hosts the Gurtenfestival, which is held on top of Gurten Hill. It goes on for four days, and features artists from the international music scene; tens of thousands attend, so it’s quite a party, both day and night.
In August is the Buskers Bern Street Festival. It is held on the streets of the Old Town at around 20 stops. The street musicians play mostly cabaret. It’s free, but you are encouraged to give donations to the musicians from all over the world; or at least to buy a festival pin.
In the second week of November the Queersicht is held, which is a gay and lesbian film festival.
The 4th Monday in November brings the Onion Market to the squares of the city centre. People start pouring in in the early morning hours, and by the end of it the squares are strewn with confetti. The stall holders display their wares, which include onion tarts, and onions plaited together. It’s a colorful celebration, and worth going to see.
Stay safe in Bern
Bern is a very safe place with nearly no violent crime. However, as it is the capital of Switzerland, it sees political demonstrations every few weeks on a variety of subjects, occasionally leading to police intervention.
The central railway station often hosts drunks and vagrants at night, which is a nuisance but in general not dangerous.
There has been a slight increase in violence from young people. Try to avoid groups of drunk teenagers that look suspicious and you should be fine.
While police officers in Bern will happily help you out if you are in trouble or need information, they are also known for approaching “suspicious” persons in order to check their papers. This procedure is annoying, but legal as you will probably have a hard time proving you were not acting suspicious. Carry a photocopy of your passport and your onward ticket with you, stay calm and polite and you won’t have much trouble.
Embassies & Consulates in Bern
- Finland, Weltpoststrasse 4, 3015 Bern , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Monday to Friday 09:00–12:00.
- The Netherlands, Seftigenstrasse 7 , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Mo-Fr 8.30AM-12.30AM/1.30PM-5PM.
Berne is an ideal gateway to the Bernese Highlands. You can make day trips to beautiful locations like Spiez, Thun, Interlaken, Grindelwald and all the way up the Jungfrau to Jungfraujoch. Other pleasant day trips are to Biel, Fribourg and Gstaad.
Geneva, Basel and Zurich can easily be done as day-trips but deserve a longer stay.
Biel Coronavirus Covid-19 Update – Cases Quarantine Deaths Stats to Switzerland
Biel/Bienne (Biel in German, Bienne in French) is the 10th largest city of Switzerland and is located on the northern edge of the canton of Bern. Famous for watchmaking, and home to Rolex, Omega and Swatch among other famous makers.
- I History and Geography
- II Best time to go
- III Getting Around in Biel
- IV Major Attractions and Sights
- V What to do in Biel
- VI Shopping in Biel
- VII Eating Out in Biel
- VIII Nightlife in Biel
- IX Anything of local interest
The city lies at the foot of the first mountain range of the Jura Mountains area, guarding the only practical connection to Jura in the area, and on the northeastern shores of Lake Biel (Bielersee, Lac de Bienne), sharing the eastern tip of the lake with its sister city, Nidau.
The city has more than 50,000 inhabitants and the agglomeration more than 100,000.
Biel or Bienne is a rather unusual place since its name is different depending on which side of Switzerland the people come from. Biel is the German name for this town, Bienne is for the French speaking residents. Being on a language boundary such as this means that there are several languages spoken in the area so most people can get by with a smattering of one or the other.
History and Geography
The city itself sits snugly at the base of the Jura Mountain range which is really the only safe route in this area of tall peaks and deep valleys. It also sits on the north eastern shore of Lake Biel (also known as Bielersee or Lac de Bienne). There is also another city sitting here, Nidau, with several other administrative centers about half an hour away by car or train.
This area has been inhabited for literally centuries with Neolithic settlements being discovered all the time. Some have been entered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and there are examples of Roman roads from four hundred years BC that pass right through Biel.
It was the French Revolution that had the most impact on Biel since the French landed literally on the doorstep in the late eighteenth century. The townsfolk were all for this invasion and cheered the incoming army. There was some disruption to the area right up until the early part of the twentieth century when the labor movement provoked strikes brought on by the lowering of wages and rampant inflation. Since then things have cooled down quite substantially making it a beautiful place, with bi-lingual road signs no less, for visitors to have a great holiday.
Best time to go
June to September see the warmest months for those who like the sun. However, since this is Switzerland, many people will come for the winter sports that are within easy reach of this center. December and January are the favored months for these pastimes and there is a good likelihood of snow at this time. Rain is much like all European countries so people generally take umbrellas and light coats for those unannounced summer showers.
Getting Around in Biel
Biel has a great train system that connects to Swiss cities further afield. There are also three good highways so getting round by car is not that difficult but tourists may want to hire a taxi instead; expensive but it does save the bother of finding car parking spaces.
All the public transport facilities are clean and efficient as one would expect from the Swiss. There are trams, buses, local trains and boats that take people to picturesque points along the lake and river. Tickets are bought from machines before traveling or they can be bought from one of the many kiosks dotted around.
Biel is a lovely place to explore by foot too since it is extremely safe and clean. It is not that big either and gives tourists a chance to interact with the locals. Of course, bicycles are also on hire just about everywhere.
- Biel/Bienne station. The current railway station was built in 1923 in a neoclassical style. A special highlight is the 1st class waiting room with frescoes by Philippe Robert.
Biel/Bienne has connections to many Swiss cities. All the fast trains stopping here are called ICN as instead of the normal inter city trains, special tilting trains are used on this stretch. The most important connections are:
- One hourly ICN from Geneva airport (1h 40min) and main station (1h 30min) via Yverdon (35 min) and Neuchatel (15 min)
- One hourly ICN from Lausanne (1h) via Yverdon and Neuchatel
- One hourly ICN from Basel (55 min) via Delémont (30 min)
- Two hourly ICN from Zurich (1h 10min) via Olten (50 min) and Solothurn (15 min). One of these comes from St. Gallen (2h 30min), Winterthur (1h 50min) and Zurich airport (1h 30min) while the other one passes by Aarau (45 min)
- From Berne two RE (25 min) and two S3 (35 min) hourly
- One hourly RE (40 min) and R (55 min) from La Chaux-de-Fonds
- One hourly R from Delémont (30 min) and Saint-Ursanne (45 min)
Some more regional lines connect to surrounding villages.
Travel to Biel by car
Biel/Bienne is well connected with highways in each direction: To the east A5 starts just outside the city and connects to A1 near Solothurn, which comes from Zurich. The west A5 only continues at the end of the lake. It comes from Neuchatel and goes along the northern shore of lake Neuchatel from Yverdon where it joins A1 in direction of Lausanne. To the south A6 comes from Berne and the Bernese Highlands, while to the north A16 goes to Delémont and France.
Travel by boat to Biel
As Biel/Bienne is located at the end of Lake Biel, it can be reached by boat from other villages along the lake with a handful of trips every day. There are also special trips which come from the Lake of Neuchatel and the Lake of Murten. A third option is to take the ship along the Aare river from Solothurn. The time tables for all boat trips change by season, with no boats running along the Aare during winter. Boats still run on the lake, but with very limited trips available.
The City has a highly efficient, clean and safe public transport system. It includes trams, buses, S-Bahn (local trains) and even boats for the lake and river. Tickets must be purchased from a ticket machine before boarding or from one of the ticket selling kiosks.
It is possible to visit the main touristic sights of Biel/Bienne on foot. It’s safe and not far.
Major Attractions and Sights
Biel has three lakes within easy reach – Lake Biel, Murten and Neuchâtel. It is obvious then that there are a lot of water based pursuits on offer. There are lots of vineyards to be spotted tumbling down the hillsides and tracts of land set aside for vegetable production. This means that the place is extremely green for most of the year.
For those who like a touch of boating, try the day excursions along the three lakes or get involved with any of the watery pursuits that can be found here. Sailing, fishing or hiking up the mountains are just some of the things that the energetic can get involved in. One particularly good hiking route is the one up to the foothills of the Jura to get a panoramic view back towards the city.
People usually love to see ancient buildings and Biel has an old town with a lovely gothic church etc. It dates from the 1400s and features many fountains and antiquated signposts.
Center PasquArt is for the art lovers who visit and features graphic art, contemporary sculptures and photographs among its exhibits. It was extended a decade or so ago, making it quite lovely place to spend a few hours.
Again, for the energetic and adventurous, why not try hiring a tandem for the day and setting off to explore. Cycle paths weave their way around the three lakes region and there are plenty of small towns to stop and take a rest in. In fact, some people explore the whole region on a tandem stopping off at a different guest house each night.
If it is a winter holiday, visitors can take a bus ride up to the Les Près d’Orvin to try some snowboarding or skiing. It is only twenty minutes away so this can be done on a daily basis if required.
One unusual place to visit is the Aarberg Bridge near Biel. It spans a full 60 meters and was built almost five hundred years ago. It has been classed as one of the best and most beautiful bridges in Switzerland so be sure to take plenty of photos here.
The Museum Neuhaus is a tiny art museum that also has some historical artifacts on display. Visitors can see how people in the nineteenth century used to live and this is a great place to take kids on a wet afternoon.
For beer lovers, a walk along the river to the lake to the Lago Lodge is a charm. Not expensive, considering where this is, and people can hire bikes or rent accommodation here too.
There is also a great walking tour to go on that takes visitors out of Burgplatz/Place de Bourg and up the hill. This has some interesting history to it since it was named after the men who would sit here shaking their heads when talking about the criminals who were brought here for trial. Take a look in the Gothic Reform Church of St. Benedict which is more than five hundred years old. It is the stained glass windows which are outstanding. Walking to the north, visitors will find the funicular railway station. This takes passengers up to the Evilard/Leubringen, a group of houses surrounded by a wooded area.
Walking back down the Schmiedengasse, visitors can join the road back to the railway station near the old town once again. It doesn’t take long for this kind of walk but visitors normally take their time when they are strolling around like this and they tend to do some shopping while they are meandering.
The railway station itself is also a great place to explore. There are four wonderful allegorical murals in the waiting area said to have been painted by Phillipe Robert. They show different ages in the life of Biel and are great for photo opportunities.
Biel may feel a little small after some time so a visit to Bern is a great idea. It is only about thirty kms away and there is a wonderful Museum of Fine Arts there. Expect to see works by people as famous as Picasso, Oppenheim and others. The collection within is always being added to so even if visitors come regularly, they are likely to see something new each time. With more than 3,000 pieces on display here, along with a staggering 48,000 drawings, photos and other prints, it is obvious that this is a serious collection of art from the 18th century onwards.
This is the oldest museum in Switzerland and the museum boasts of some pieces that span the last eight centuries no less. It is obviously famous throughout the country and beyond and will add something a little extra to any holiday visit to this part of the world.
Biel offers quite a collection of architectural styles. The oldest buildings can be found in the historic medieval town centre (Bieler Altstadt / Vieille ville de Bienne). The newer town centre (Bieler Neustadt / Nouvelle ville de Bienne) offers international and Bauhaus styles, as well as the neoclassic style rail station. For a more modern Biel, you can head to the urban and busy squares of Zentralplatz and Guisanplatz.
- Église du Pasquart à Bienne (located at Seevorstadt). main French-speaking church
- Stadtkirche Biel (located at the historic medieval town). main German-speaking church
- Volkshaus, Aarbergstrasse 112. The ‘house of the people’ was built in 1929-1932 as a headquarters to the labour union. It is also a good example of the New Objectivity (Neues Bauen) architectural style. It now houses a restaurant and a congress centre.
- Hotel Elite, 14 Bahnhofstrasse/rue de la Gare. The hotel was also built in the Neues Bauen style and as a symbol of the bourgeoisie it gives an interesting contrast to the Volkshaus opposite. Is still operated as a hotel today (see Sleep section).
- Lido at Lake Biel (Strandbad Biel). Bauhaus / International Style
- Pasquart, Seevorstadt 71-73. W, F 12:00-18:00, Th 12:00-20:00, Sa 11:00-18:00. Museum of contemporary arts, photography and cinema. Fr. 11/9.
- Neues Museum, Seevorstadt 52. Tu-Su 11:00-17:00. Over two buildings (Schwab and Neuhaus) this museum offers a variety of collections on art, watches, history, film and archaeology. Fr. 10/6.
- Museum Omega, Stämpflistrasse 96. Tu-F 10:00-18:00, Sa 11:00-17:00. This company museum on the famous Swiss watch brand is located opposite the factory. Free.
- Centre Müller, Wydenauweg 34. Opens on appointment only. An engineering museum. Fr. 8/3.
- Castle museum Nidau, Hauptstrasse 6, 2560 Nidau (While this is in the town of Nidau, it is still just a 10 minutes walk from the station in Biel). Monday to Friday 08:00-18:00, Sa 10:00-16:00. The museum explains the water corrections which took place in the Jura region. Free.
What to do in Biel
- Go swim in the Lake Biel (Bielersee)
- Take a look an stroll to the historic medieval town (Altstadt).
- Lake Promenade at the Strandboden.
- Do a cruise on Lake Biel.
- Go to the Taubenloch Canyon (Taubenlochschlucht) and explore the cascade.
- Pick up a bike and take a ride around the lake or the Jura mountains. If you can, take a look at the vineyards: you´re going to find many medieval constructions and some good restaurants serving fish from the lake and local wine.
- During ice-hockey season visit a game of the EHC Biel.
- August 1st is the national day of Switzerland, and watching the fireworks on a boat is a good experience.
- In the summer, there is a music festival at the old town.
Shopping in Biel
Since the Swiss are renowned for their watch making abilities, it seems common sense that Swatch, Rolex and Omega all have outlets here. Biel is also known for other industries too but it is the tourists that really bring in a lot of dollars.
Buying used watches is a great idea for saving money and gives the average tourist the chance to wear something expensive for a fraction of the cost.
The main shopping street is the Bahnhofsstrasse or the Nidaugasse and is totally pedestrian only. People often want to take home the legendary Swiss chocolate or the ubiquitous cuckoo clock that everyone connects to Switzerland.
Another good idea too is to take home a bottle or two of the local wine produced on the nearby mountainsides. People also stock up their wine cellars in this way and it is a cool way to remember a great holiday. Add some locally produced cheese and a bunch of local grapes and this seems a good start to eating al fresco.
The main shopping district is in the middle of the city. The main shopping streets are the Bahnhofsstrasse and the Nidaugasse. Both car-free! For example: Buy a watch made in Biel/Bienne (ex: Omega, Swatch, Rolex, Candino and a lot more)
Eating Out in Biel
Although Switzerland is usually expensive, visitors will find inexpensive places throughout the town. There are self service meals at reasonable prices or perhaps pay a visit to the Caffe Spettacolo opposite the main station is ideal for snacks and coffees and the like.
The Cafè Hasard near the railway station is also a good place for lovers of snacks etc. For all things organic, Kreuz in the Haupstrasse/Rue Principale 23 in the town of Nidau is the place to be. The place is run by a co-operative and visitors will find old wood floors, a terrace overlooking the garden and great food.
For those who really like the up market feel of a superb restaurant, L’Amphytryon in the Hotel Elite has been named as the best in all of Switzerland. It is closed on Sundays and visitors are advised to book if they don’t want to be disappointed.
ou should definitely try some of the food sourced regionally, such as the freshwater fish (especially perch and luce) from the lake Biel, the cheese from the nearby Jura mountains and the vegetables from the Seeland region, which Biel is part of.
- Restaurant du lac, Neuenburgstrasse 58. Tu-F 08:45-23:00, Sa 10:00-23:00. The speciality of the house are the fish dishes, many of which are from the nearby lake. Fr. 40 for mains.
Nightlife in Biel
Because Biel is full of students, there is a thriving bar scene going on. Unexpected events occur regularly at the Gaskessel/Coupole but it is the La Totonde brasserie which sees all the trendy people gathering both local and visitor.
There seems to be a distinct lack of nightlife in general in Biel so most people go off to Mad Ndau, as they call it, for an evening of old music and a dance. The place is not very bright or beautiful but it does see a regular crowd gathering there. On some nights there is just one price for admission and drinks and this is why the place is so popular.
Famous white, red and rose wine from the vineyards at lake Biel. Or taste one of the beers from the region.
Anything of local interest
In the old town, Biel holds a cultural week every year. Called the Pod’Ring, old folks and young folks gather in the square to dance away the hours every afternoon. During the night time hours, theatre and literature performances abound. Some celebrities are invited to entertain and those who come can expect to find food and drink being sold just about everywhere.
The first of August is the Swiss National Day so there are usually fireworks displays all over the cities. Try to get a ride on a boat and watch this from the lake. A great experience indeed.
Biel has its own carnival, called the Charivari, which occurs in the second week of February. Brass bands try to outdo each other and there is a competition to crown the Prince of the Carnival. He will be handed the keys to the city by no less than the mayor himself and then a huge concert takes place to mark the end of the five days of celebration. All the different restaurants and other public venues vie for attention by decorating their establishments to get people in the right mood to enjoy this lovely festival.
In 2013, Biel will be home to the Swiss Federal Gymnastics Festival. There are more than one hundred events taking place in June and the city is expect a minimum of sixty thousand competitors and a hundred and twenty thousand visitors just for this one event. It is the largest event since the Expo 02 gathering in the region so the locals are quite excited to be hosting it next year.This is a test
St. Moritz Coronavirus Cases Covid-19 Update
St. Moritz is located in the Upper Engadin in the canton of Graubünden in Switzerland. It is one of the best-known vacation spots in Europe. It is chic and famous for its ambiance, and is situated next to Engadine’s lakescape at 1,856 metres above sea level. The bubbly “champagne atmosphere” is as legendary as the St. Moritz sun, which shines on an average 322 days a year!
You can get to St.Moritz by train, bus, car, or air.
If you arrive at the International Airport Zurich take the SBB train to Chur and from there the Rhb train over the famous Albulapass to St. Moritz train station. Trains from Chur to St. Moritz run hourly. The last train from St. Moritz to Chur departs at 21:00.
Furthermore, St. Moritz is the starting point for the famous Glacier Express and the Palm Express.
If you are coming by car from Switzerland the only pass which is open in winter is the Julierpass. If you come from Davos or Klosters you can take the cartrain from Klosters through the Fluelapass. From Italy you drive over the Bernina or the Maloja.
There is a small airport in Samedan (www.engadin-airport.ch), which is around 5 kilometres/20 minutes away from St. Moritz. It provides flights to the international airports of Zurich, Geneva, Basel, Milan, and Munich.
St. Moritz is served by the Post Bus, departing from right next to the train station. Buses depart towards Chur and Lugano (and back). Reservations may be necessary. The last Post Bus from St. Moritz to Chur leaves at 23:00. Later there are not any bus or train connections from St. Moritz to Chur. On the way, you can admire a lot of Swiss villages and spectacular mountain views.
St.Moritz has a good public transport network. Biking is also very good around St.Moritz, however it is sometimes a bit steep. There are very few parking places in wintertime.
- Berry Museum, Via Arona 32, 7500 St. Moritz , ✉ email@example.com. 10:00–13:00/16:00–19:00. The Berry Museum, which is housed in the 100-year old Villa Arona in the heart of St. Moritz, is dedicated to the spa physician and painter, Peter Robert Berry (1864–1942). The majority of his oil paintings, pastels and drawings produced over a period of forty years are still in family ownership. Fr. 15/10.
- Chesa Futura. Designed by the English star architect, Lord Norman Foster, Chesa Futura houses ten private apartments with a beautiful view of the St. Moritz lake. Its façade is made of local larch clapboards.
- Chesa Veglia. Dating from 1658, it is one of the oldest farmhouses in St. Moritz. Now it houses three restaurants and two bars. The grill Chadafö provides the perfect setting for elegant dining with classic French cuisine. The two bars – the Polo Bar and Carigiet – are the perfect places to enjoy pre- and after-dinner drinks and are ideally suited for a get-together.
- Cresta Run. Cresta run is the only natural skeleton downhill course. The first race was held in 1884/85. Spectacular races or training runs take place every day from the end of December to the beginning of March.
- Heidi hut. The well-known story of the Swiss Heidi was filmed in the Engadin. The Heidi hut is located above St. Moritz and is among the most famous sightseeing attractions.
- Leaning tower. It is the symbol of St. Moritz. It dates back to the 12th century. It is opposite the Kulm Hotel.
- St. Moritz 5-star hotels. St. Moritz is very well-known also because of its “Big 5”. The “Big 5” are the 5-star hotels including Badrutt’s Palace, Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains, Carlton, Kulm and Suvretta House.
- Segantini Museum. Built in 1908 by the architect Nicolaus Hartmann, the museum displays works by the painter Giovanni Segantini.
- The St. Moritz “Trambänkli”. The St. Moritz tram was one of the first electric trams in Switzerland. The “Trambänkli” is a waiting station for passengers. In the 19th century, it was a tram station. Now, it is a bus station.
There are a lot of events in St. Moritz such as operas in all seasons, the British Classic Car Meeting, the surf marathon, the city race, the gourmet festival, etc. For an overview of the upcoming events, take a look at the event calendar of the Engadin .
- Mountain biking. A true bikers’ paradise exists between the highest peaks of the eastern Alps. There are 400 km of pure riding pleasure with routes for all levels of difficulty.
- Skiing and snowboarding. There are four ski regions in and around St. Moritz. They offer 350 kilometres of prepared slopes and 34 cosy restaurants. Moreover, there are a number of snowsports schools in St. Moritz.
- Ice-skating in summer. There is an artificial ice-rink that is open from mid-July to mid-April. The following activities and services are available: ice skating for everyone, curling, ice rental, and special events on request.
- Walking and hiking. In St. Moritz walking/hiking is always a spectacular experience. There are over 580 km of hiking trails. Visitors in a wheelchair do not fall short since there are 9 wheelchair-accessible hikes. The best about hiking in St. Moritz is that the cable cars are included if staying at a hotel for two nights or longer. Good starting points is e.g. Corviglia or one of the following:
- Muottas Muragl.
- Schellen-Ursli weg. 1.5 km long trail named after a children’s character, suitable for pushchairs too.
- Windsurfing at Silvanplana. The lake is well known for its predictable winds and is therefore a popular venue for water-sailsports including particularly windsurfing, kitesurfing and dinghy-sailing. There is a major watersports centre on the SW shore.
- 1 Via Serlas. It is one of the most exclusive shopping streets in the world. Glamour, luxury, and large retail chains door to door.
- Restaurant Engiadina, Via Dimlej 1 (50 metres behind the railway station.) , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where to stay in St. Moritz
People in St. Moritz are very hospitable and its hotels brought St. Moritz to the top of the world. Here, you can find all types of accommodation from luxurious hotels over holiday apartments, mountain lodges, a youth hostel, to a camping place. The best-known hotels are the Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains, Badrutt’s Palace, and the Kulm Hotel.
- Youth Hostel St. Moritz, Via Surpunt 60.
- Casa Franco, Via Sela 11 , ✉ email@example.com. Cheap hotel (for Saint Moritz standards). Simple and clean rooms with a good breakfast included. This hotel is quite far from the city centre, around 10 minutes by bus and 30 minutes by foot. Double room Fr. 120, triple room Fr. 165.
- Chesa Rosatsch, Celerina, fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Member of Swiss Quality Hotels International. Located 3.4km from the centre of Saint Moritz and 1km from the train station Celerina. Single room from Fr. 122, double room from Fr. 193 (low season 2020).
- Hauser, Via Traunter plazzas 7, fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Member of Swiss Quality Hotels International. Located 500m from the train station directly in the city centre. Single room from Fr. 143, double room from Fr. 285 (May 2020).
- Maloja Palace, Maloja , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Located 15 km from the centre of Saint Moritz. Opened in 1884, it was the biggest and most modern hotel in the Alps and the first hotel to bear the name “Palace”. Every winter, on the second Sunday of March, the Engadin Skimarathon competition, the biggest skiing event in the Alps, attracts between 11,000 and 13,000 cross-country skier participants. The competition starts at the entrance of the hotel, which offers direct access to the cross-country skiing tracks starting from its doorstop. Ski slopes of Piz Aela are within walking distance. €110-150/night.
- La Margna, Via Serlas 5, fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Member of Swiss Quality Hotels International. Located 200 m from the train station and the city centre. Parking available. Single room from Fr. 230, double room from Fr. 420 (May 2020)
- Quadratscha, Samedan, fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Member of Swiss Quality Hotels International. Located 7km from the centre of Saint Moritz and 250 m from the train station Samedan. Single room from Fr. 175, double room from Fr. 218 (low season 2020).
- Badrutt’s Palace, Via Serlas 27.
- Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains, Via Mezdi 27.
- Kulm Hotel, Via Veglia 18.
- Camping Silvaplana. A huge camping with all needed facilities, used as base for the watersport activities on the lake.
Livigno is just behind the borders, accessible via Bernina Pass.
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