Lucerne (Luzern in German, Lozärn in Swiss-German) is a beautiful small city in the heartland of Switzerland, across the lake from Altdorf, where legend has it William Tell shot an apple off of his son’s head. Lucerne is a fine city to visit, and is a great base from which to explore famous Swiss sites such as the mountains Rigi, Pilatus, Titlis and the Rütli meadow.
- I The Best Time to Go
- II Getting Around in Lucerne
- III See
- IV Major Attractions and Sights
- V Shopping in Lucerne
- VI Eating Out in Lucerne
- VII Night Life in Lucerne
- VIII Local Interest
- IX Stay safe
- X Hotels Reopening after the Lockdown in Lucerne
- XI Flights from Lucerne after the Reopening of Airports
With panoramic views of the glorious rugged peaks of the snow-capped Alps the breathtaking central Swiss city of Lucerne is the picturesque gateway to the popular tourist destinations Mount Rigi and the Rütli Meadow. Located in a German speaking area of Switzerland, the city hugs the shores of gorgeous Lake Lucerne which adds further to the charms and delights of what is truly a glorious destination. Basking in a glory of a booming tourism industry, the city has a magical charm, whisking visitors right back to a fairy tale era, some thousands of years ago – to the 13th Century.
Starting out life as a humble yet integral trading point for travelers and merchants making their way across the Swiss Alps, Lucerne’s vast wealth has antique roots. With a charismatic and glamorous history, the city of Lucerne is steeped in myths and legend including being the epic site where Swiss folk hero William Tell was to have shot an apple off of his son’s head.
Diverse and spectacular, Lucerne is a city that offers something special for every visitor. And whether you have come for the mountains, the city, the lake, the history, the festivals or the culture – you will not be disappointed. This incredible medieval city centre is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Switzerland and has grown in leaps and bounds from its origins as a small lakeside fishing village. Breathtaking sights, historical attractions and the staging point for outdoor pursuits in wonderful countryside, Lucerne is fabulous any time of year.
The first city to join the Swiss Confederation, today Lucerne is a lovely small city with a thriving tourism industry, owing mainly to its status as a gateway to Central Switzerland. The city is a centre of Swiss history and legend.
Tourism in Lucerne has a distinguished history dating from the mid-19th century, with Mark Twain among them. In A Tramp Abroad he recalls the nascent souvenir business, and other budding examples of the tourism trade.
“The commerce of Lucerne consists mainly in gimcrackery of the souvenir sort; the shops are packed with Alpine crystals, photographs of scenery, and wooden and ivory carvings. I will not conceal the fact that miniature figures of the Lion of Lucerne are to be had in them. Millions of them.” — Mark Twain
The Best Time to Go
The best time to go and visit Lucerne depends only on your budget, your seasonal and climate preference and whether or not you like crowds. Summer runs from June through to September and is the most popular season for visitors as the weather isn’t so cold and you can expect daytime averages reaching about 23°C (73°F). However, being the high peak tourist season, everything from flights to accommodation to meals will be expensive and accommodation is virtually impossible to get if not booked well ahead of time.
In addition there are queues to get into all of the attractions and sites and the entire city will be heaving with holiday makers. So the best time to go if you want to visit when there are no crowds will be April or May and around the end of September and October. Spring and Fall, the crowds have dispersed, the high season prices have dropped – although the day time temperatures are not as high.
But if you are visiting the city with your skis and or snowboard, then the best time for you to visit would be any time during winter. The snow fields around Lucerne offer sporting facililites and good snow from November right through to April. December is a much favored month in Lucerne and the city is busy not only with winter sports enthusiasts but also visitors flock into the city for the Christmas markets and a super special Swiss white Christmas.
Lucerne has cold, dry winters and warm/hot summers.
Getting Around in Lucerne
With a major slice of tourist action going on all year round, there is a good visitor infrastructure and Lucerne is easily accessible to all travelers. Navigating the city on foot is one of the most sensible ways to get around. The most popular historic sights and the Old Town are all about 20 minutes or so away from each other on foot. With plenty to see on the way, a journey on foot is favored, especially when the weather is nice.
There is also a fantastic city bus system that will assist less mobile and disabled visitors getting around to see the city. If you plan to go out of the city and explore the rest of Central Switzerland then the Swiss Federal Railway has lines that will take you where you want to go.
Cycling is another popular way to see the sights of the city and bike rentals, pick up and drop off is available at the central rail station and throughout the city. You can also rent electric bicycles and other bikes with baggage clamps that will take you zipping around the streets of Lucerne. The city is well planned, organized and easy to navigate and you can tour around at your own leisurely pace.
Thanks to its central location Lucerne railway station (Bahnhof Luzern) can be reached easily from nearly every other city in Switzerland using the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB CFF FFS)). There are hourly trains from Olten and Zürich Airport and half-hourly trains from Zurich, and a direct train every hour from Bern. There is an hourly service from Bellinzona in Ticino, and Pfäffikon and St. Gallen in the North East.
The “Zentralbahn” branch of the Swiss Federal Railways provides also hourly trains between Interlaken and Lucerne during daytime.
There are no intercity buses in Switzerland as the train system provides ample connections to many destinations in Switzerland. To make trips to the countryside in the mountains where there are no trains, refer to postauto.ch buses are available from some nearby places, such as Rotkreuz.
Lucerne sits at the northwest end of the Vierwaldstättersee, one of the most beautiful waterways in Switzerland, for travel information from Schwyz, Flüelen, Weggis, and outbound points see the schedule at the Schifffahrtsgesellschaft Vierwaldstättersee.
Able-bodied travellers will find Lucerne a complete joy to get around in on foot. The Old-Town is rather small, and most other interesting sites are within 20 minutes or so walk, there is also a city bus system, as well as assistance for disabled visitors on request from Mobility International Switzerland. The Lido beach and the Swiss Transport Museum are a bit further out and can be reached by bus or by one of several boats per hour from just in front of the central railway station.
Lucerne also makes a very good base for discovering the rest of Central Switzerland, using the Swiss Federal Railway, the Schifffahrtsgesellschaft Vierwaldstättersee, or any one of several private rail or boat companies.
Bicycles are available for rent at the central railway station, at ticket window 21 on the lower level. For Fr. 31 per day, you can rent a 24-speed, sturdily-built bike with a baggage clamp. Electric bikes are also available. Bike pick-up and drop-off are around the left side of the train station, at a kiosk across the street from the Swiss Post building. Bike lanes are present on most secondary streets, and Lucerne drivers are generally aware of and polite towards bicyclists.
Lucerne has an efficient bus network: Verkehrsbetriebe Luzern (VBL) (German only). It covers the city and its suburbs.
The Lion Monument of Lucerne is always busy with tourists – no matter the weather or time of year.
- The Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke). The Chapel Bridge, a landmark of Lucerne, is said to be the oldest wooden bridge of all Europe, built in 14th century as a protection for the city. It’s amusing walking over it as you can see about 100 pictures of 12th-century city life and Swiss history. Join one of the walking tours going around! Parts of the bridge burned down on 18 August 1993, but within a few months it was rebuilt. The tower used as oubliette is still in original condition.
- Lucerne Culture and Congress Centre (Kultur- und Kongresszentrum Luzern). The KKL is a spectacular building that contains several concert halls and the Lucerne Art Museum. It was designed by Jean Nouvel. Its major concert hall (“La salle blanche”) is famous for its acoustics, and world class orchestras can be heard regularly. It hosts the Lucerne Festival (classical music).
- The Lion Monument (Löwendenkmal), Denkmalstrasse 4. Also known as the Lion of Lucerne, it is a sculpture in Lucerne, Switzerland, designed by Bertel Thorvaldsen. It commemorates the Swiss Guards who were massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution, when revolutionaries stormed the Tuileries Palace in Paris, France. The American writer Mark Twain (1835–1910) praised the sculpture of a mortally-wounded lion as “the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world.”
- Alpineum. A museum and diorama dedicated to the Alps.
- Bourbaki Panorama, Löwenplatz 11. Nov-Mar 10:00–17:00; Apr-Oct 09:00–18:00. A circular panoramic painting. Fr. 12.
- The Glacier Garden (Gletschergarten).
- Swiss Museum of Transport (Verkehrshaus der Schweiz), Lidostrasse 5 (Lido beach, the first stop for boats leaving from the central train station, preferably reached by bus). Summer 10:00–18:00; Winter 10:00–17:00. With its large collection of trains, planes, automobiles, and motorcycles, this museum of means of transport is a great place to spend an afternoon. If you get tired of the real train engines you can check out the model railroad or the miniature working steam train. The air section also features several space travel exhibits, including an unused project Mercury capsule. Fr. 32 for adults, Fr. 21 for children 6-16, and free for younger kids.
- The old city wall (Museggmauer). A part of the rampart walls built in 1386; the wall is still almost entirely intact. Four towers are open to the public: Schirmer, Zyt, Wacht and Männli.
- Lucerne Art Museum (Kunstmuseum Luzern).
- The Rosengart Collection (Sammlung Rosengart), Pilatusstrasse 10 , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. April–October: daily 10:00–18:00; November–March: daily 11:00–17:00. Well over 200 works by 23 artists of early modernism, including 125 works of Paul Klee and about 50 by Pablo Picasso. Also works by Cézanne, Chagall, Miró, Pissarro, among others. The collection also houses 200 photographs — previously housed in the Am-Rhyn-Haus — by David Duncan Douglas, Life Magazine’s World War II photo correspondent who arrived with his camera uninvited at Picasso’s villa “California”, was welcomed by Picasso and his family, and over the years produced an intimate portrait of the artist’s day-to-day life. Picasso’s living room was his studio, and domestic scenes — a ballet lesson, Picasso drawing with his children, or wrapping himself in the cape and hat of his native Spain — play out within the backdrop of some of his most famous works. Admission Fr. 15 (Fr. 8 for students, children 7-16 years).
- The Richard Wagner Museum.
- Weekly Market. Every Thursday and Saturday from 06:00 to 13:00 along the Reuss river. The market has many local products and specialities.
Major Attractions and Sights
The Chapel Bridge
The oldest wooden bridge in all of Europe as well as an iconic Lucerne landmark has been standing for nearly 700 years. Made entirely of timber and built in 1333, the Chapel Bridge unfortunately was badly burnt in a fire in 1993 but was rebuilt a few months later.
The Lion Monument
Also known as the Lion of Lucerne, the Lion Monument is a sculpture commemorating the Swiss Guards who were massacred in the French Revolution in the 18th Century.
The Rosengart Collection
With more than 200 displayed artworks from more than 23 modern artists as well has some 200 photos from David Duncan Douglas who was a WWII photographic correspondent, this is one exhibit that should not be missed. Look out for works of art by Miro, Picasso, Klee and Cezanne. The Douglas collection showcases an intimate portrait of Picasso and his family throughout the years.
The Swiss Transport Museum
This is a fantastic place to spend the afternoon if you are into trains, planes and automobiles as well as motorcycles. There are also some exhibitions of space, a model railroad and a miniature steam train.
The Picasso Museum
With its famous location being in the Am-Rhyn Haus, this inspiring museum showcases a vivid collection of paintings, drawings, ceramics and sculptures all done by Pablo Picasso. The museum is entirely dedicated to this art legend and most of the work is from the last 20 years of his life.
The Glacier Garden
This garden has got to be one of the most unique sites in the city. The Gletshergaten is a massive piece of land with unusual pits which are actually holes of erosion created during the Iron Age when Lake Lucerne was entirely covered by ice. There is a museum here, maps and a delightful showcase of animals and prehistoric plants.
The Old Town
This is one of the most popular sections of the city. Every antique city and town in Europe worth its salt has a medieval old town and Lucerne’s is a fine example. Beautifully preserved, it sweeps you back in time as you meander through the winding cobbled streets and narrow passages exploring tucked away buildings and squares.
Vast and breathtaking, Lake Lucerne is a sensational Swiss panorama. Glittery breeze-ruffled waters lap the shores of the rugged Alpine forests, giving way to meadows and valleys. Enjoy a resplendent tour on the lake aboard a vintage paddle steamer or join in with a variety of water sports during the summer months on the water’s edge.
The Richard Wagner Museum
Find here a stunning showcase of historic musical instruments including portable and regal organs; a wonderful tribute to the legendary composer who had his home here in Lucerne.
- Explore the Old Town. One of the main reasons that Lucerne attracts so many travelers is its small but remarkably preserved old town. You can get lost (for a few minutes anyhow) in its maze of streets, passages, and squares, admiring the many and varied murals painted on what seems like every other building. A nice short walk on the Museggmauer starts at the Schirmer-Turm, walk up the road near Jazzkantine, open only at daytime.
- Watch football ie soccer at FC Luzen, who play in the Super League, the top tier of Swiss football. Their home ground is Swissporarena, capacity 17,000, at 91 Horwerstrasse, 1 km south of city centre next to the Trade Centre.
- Ascend Mount Pilatus. A famous mountain overlooking the city of Lucerne. Its peak can be reached by the world’s steepest cogwheel railway from Alpnachstad (not operating in wintertime) and all-year-round by cable-car in three sections from Kriens (10 minutes by trolley bus no. 1 from Lucerne as far as ‘Linde’). This trip is definitely a must and gives you a good impression of a wild and rocky peak with a marvelous view to the “real” Alps. Of course you can walk to the top on foot, which takes at least 4 hours from Kriens. A pleasant alternative is to walk down to Kriens from the bottom of the middle cable-car section. In addition to hiking, there are several other activities, including a suspension rope park and a 1,350 m long toboggan (both at the second stop of the cable-car from Kriens). Even if you don’t plan to hike, allow for at least three hours to spend on Pilatus.
- Ascend Mount Rigi. A famous mountain overlooking the city of Lucerne. Its peak can be reached by a cogwheel railway from Vitznau and Arth-Goldau and by cable-car from Weggis. Vitznau and Weggis can easily be reached by boat. The peak can be reached by foot from everywhere in around 4-5 hours.
- Mount Titlis. The mountain Engelberg has a glacier on the top and a splendid view.
- Take a boat tour. Take a boat tour on the lake Lucerne with the traditional steamboats
- Take a guided tour.
- Paraglide from Pilatus and Rigi. Paragliding down from the majestic mountains surrounding Lake Lucerne is a unique experience. Tandem paragliding is possible all year round with pilots certified by the Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) of Switzerland.
- Rent a bicycle. Lucerne has an excellent bicycle Network. Rent a bicycle at the train station in lucerne and explore the city and the suburbs or make a day trip on the national bicycle network.
- Go Trekking or Mountain Biking around Engelberg.
- Felsenweg Buergerstock. Get a beautiful view over the Mittelland and its lakes on this 2-hour walk. Go there by boat (Lucerne-Kehrsiten) and funiculaire or by train and bus (Lucerne-Stansstad-Bürgenstock). There are some luxury resorts at Buergerstock. It’s also possible to go by mountain bike to the top.
Shopping in Lucerne
The retail experience in Lucerne is typically Swiss – a good mixture of high street style brand names and exclusive boutiques and shops. Wander the small hops in the old town or head for the brighter lights of the main drag. Good buys are to be found in fashion and accessories and of course, prestigious watches and fine jewelry are a major player. Casagrande is a favorite among tourists as there are typical Swiss souvenirs and handicrafts to be found at reasonable prices. Markets are colorful and lively and are held in various locations in the city throughout the week.
The shopping in Lucerne has improved somewhat since Mark Twain’s visit. You’ll find several good department stores with acceptable prices for most items, as well as pricey speciality shops.
- Lucerne’s old town is full of shops – especially clothing
- Lucerne’s station hosts several stores which have longer opening hours than most other shops.
- Bucherer, Schwanenplatz 5, toll-free: , ✉ email@example.com. Monday – Saturday 09:00-18:30, Su 15:00-18:30. The flagship store of Switzerland’s best-known watch and high-end jewellery dealer.
Eating Out in Lucerne
Lucerne offers a true authentic Swiss cuisine experience and is renowned for having some of the best food in the country. Fish is a popular choice on any menu with the daily fresh catch straight from the lake made available all throughout the city. Two of the most delightful things that you must try while visiting the city are the Kaffee Fertig – coffee laced with schnapps; a true Swiss pick-meup in every sense of the word. And the Luzerner Kugelipastete, which is a delicious puff pastry dish filled with veal and mushrooms in a sauce. The markets, sidewalk cafes and finest restaurants offer up a feast of pastries, cheese, chocolates, fondue and rostii – practically one of the national dishes of Switzerland – a fried pancake of grated potato.
GartenHaus 1313 is a relaxed and friendly restaurant offering the best Swiss comfort food in a laid back atmosphere. Longing for a mouth-watering home cooked meal? Then this is the place to go, where there’s good value for money by Swiss standards and unpretentious, with a new menu prepared every day.
The Old Swiss House is an elegant and super popular traditional Swiss Restaurant. A bit on the pricey side but worth every cent for its excellent service and mouth-watering menu – come hungry book ahead and leave your diet at home.
- Treibhaus Luzern. They have fine food. 2 menus each day (menu Fr. 13, students Fr. 7), snacks, donuts and very fine coffee. There are concerts at night.
- Erdem Kebap. Said to serve the best kepabs in town. Cheap.
- Parterre. Good, friendly atmosphere. They have different menus every day.
- Migros or Coop. Huge supermarket chains with a lot of budget products. There is a small Migros and a bigger Coop at the train station, near the tourist office. There are other Migros around, ask the people. Farther there are Migros and Coop Restaurants self-service restaurants.
- Mövenpick Restaurant, Grendelstr. 19 , fax: . International dishes and English menu on request.
- Restaurant Schwan.
- Brasserie Bodu, Kornmarkt 5. Exquisite French cuisine.
- Restaurant Old Swiss House. Famous for their Schnitzel which they prepare directly next to the table.
Night Life in Lucerne
The night life in Lucerne is buzzing, and there is something to keep you up until the wee hours, every night of the week. There is a huge cultural sector in the city and the Congress Centre is the place to be if you are after opera, ballet, theatre, arts and music. The Kultur Kalender will provide a comprehensive listing of what is on while you are visiting Lucerne.
There are many music festivals held throughout every season, bringing in big name artists from around the world. Chances are that no matter what time of the year you are here, you are bound to be able to get tickets for some of the best live performances held in all of Switzerland.
As far as the ultimate party is concerned you have definitely come to the right place – everyone is satisfied with the range of dance clubs, bars, pubs, discos and nightclubs. Schuur is one of the biggest nightclubs in Lucerne, with a fantastic outdoor area, a party room with international live bands and music themed nights perfect for rocking the night away.
The Loft is one of the trendiest nightlife hangouts in the city, and attracts a younger, hip crowd who sip on expensive cocktails and boogie the night away. The atmosphere is classy, yet laid back and they have a great selection of music.
- Jazzkantine. Quite small but comfortable bar. They have a stage in the basement. Sometimes there are jazzists playing (4 to 8 times a month). In the same building is the local jazz school, so it’s a kind of student bar.
- Metzgerhalle, Baselstrasse 1. Old Swiss restaurant made into a cool bar, usually full on weekends.
- Mr. Pickwick’s Pub. Usual Irish pub.
- Shamrock Irish Pub (formerly Gracie Kelly’s) (in the old-town, 5 minutes walk from the train station). A great selection of Irish and Swiss drinks, home-made food, sports on display.
- Treibhaus Luzern. Small but cool alternative club, sometimes concerts, cheap food with 2 menus each day.
- Schüür. Popular concert place with an outdoor bar in summer.
- Sedel. The place where punk rock goes on. In the 1980s it was the place for the youth rebellion. Unfortunately it has lost a bit of its idealism, nevertheless it’s still the club mothers don’t want to let their kids go to. Today there are a lot of concerts from Ska to Britpop to Postrock to Gothic. The building was a jail for women and was converted to music practice rooms for bands in the 1980s. There are about 60 bands rocking and practising their sets. So, if you hear some noise somewhere in the building, just knock at the door and come for a jam session. There’s a shuttle running from central Lucerne up to the club. Look it up on their website.
- Rathaus. Beer brewed in this small restaurant/brewery. Get the speciality beer.
- Bar 58. Nice neighbourhood bar on Klosterstrasse.
- Bar 59. Opened by the former owners of Bar 58, larger and has live music venues as well but still has a neighborhood bar feel – on Industriestrasse, hidden in the basement of a warehouse looking building.
- Bar Berlin, Lädelistrasse 6 (on a small sidestreet from Baselstrasse), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. F Sa 18:00–03:30. Small bar with good sound and good drinks, nice and cozy.
Lucerne has lots of clubs for lots of different tastes. Baselstrasse is a nightlife strip emerging out of a redlight district. There are also raves in industrial buildings that require you to join their “club” as they’re not legally allowed to sell alcohol to the public.
- Casineum (Grand Casino Luzern), Haldenstrasse 6. Fancy club in a casino, mainstream music
- Roadhouse, Pilatusstrasse 1 , fax: . Bar and disco that is always packed, lots of people go there for their afterwork beers because it’s beside the train station next to McDonald’s.
- Das Schwarze Schaf, Frankenstrasse 2 (behind McDonalds at the train station). Mainstream bar/club.
- Das Weisse Schaf, Frankenstrasse 2 (behind McDonald’s at the train station).
- The Loft, Haldenstrasse 21 (at the Casino) , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. price=. From RnB to Reggaeton to Urban, gay-friendly, and hosts monthly Frigay nights.
- Penthouse, Pilatusstrasse 29 , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 17:00 to late night. Fancy rooftop bar.
- ROK, Seidenhofstrasse 5 , ✉ email@example.com. House, electro, minimal, mash-up, tech-house, dub.
- Madeleine, Baselstrasse 15 (at the beginning of Baselstrasse). Concerts, open mics, chillout, soul, funk, disco, alternative crowd.
- Gewerbehalle, Baselstrasse 46. Cool bar to hang out with a nice downstairs club.
- Klub Kegelbahn, Baselstrasse 24, ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. F Sa from 23:00. A small basement club with good electronic music, from techno to more experimental stuff, check their website.
The three bakery chains, Hug, Heini and Bachmann, have several good cafés spread all over the city.
Lucerne is famous for having an exciting line up of events all throughout the year, and there are many cultural, musical and traditional folklore festivals and events held in the medieval city. Christmas is a special time and people come from all over the world to brave the cold and snow and head out to the Christmas markets sampling local fare, delicious pastries and hot mulled wine. Being such a popular tourist town, you can be sure that if you are here to be entertained you won’t go home disappointed.
Internationale Musikfestwochen Luzern
Lucerne was the home of the famous composer Richard Wagner who wrote some of his finest pieces of music here. The International Music Festival of Lucerne is considered to be the finest in Europe and is a tribute to this music legend. It is held over a month from the middle of August ending in the middle of September every year.
Held every year at the end of winter on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday, Lucerne Carnival kicks off the spring season with a blast of parties and outdoor entertainment. Chaos, revelry and lively people, music and characters hit the streets and thousands of people head to Lucerne to join in on the fun. Lots of very strange looking people, all dressed up dancing the day and night away carry on wildly until the festival ends with Fat Tuesday complete with bands, candles, lanterns and a parade of lights.
There are so many music festivals held here throughout the year, but the biggest classical music festival takes place during summer. The Lucerne Festival Orchestra is made up from some of the most talented and distinguished musicians from around the world, and this is without a doubt one of the single biggest cultural events on the Lucerne calendar every year.
A Swiss Folklore Show
A very touristy thing to do, but it is absolutely magical to experience. Unique to this glorious Alpine region, you start off the evening by feasting on a traditional menu consisting of rostii and fondue, accompanied by the best Swiss wines before the show begins. The Stadtkeller, located in the Old Town is one of the best places to experience these shows. Sit back and relax and enjoy an evening of flag throwing, yodelling and alpine horn blowing.
Lucerne is a heavily touristed destination, and where there are tourists there are pickpockets, con artists, and other sorts of folks up to no good. As with everyplace else keep your passport and other valuables where people can’t get to them. However, Lucerne is a friendly and safe city. Women can move safely almost anywhere also at night. There are few areas that should be avoided, including the area around the Basel street, where you will find a colourful and exciting cultural mix is relatively harmless. According to the police it can be dangerous at night in the neighbourhood “Tribschen” (Inseli-Ufschötti-Weinbergli-Tribschenstrasse). Most violent crimes and robberies happen in this neighborhood. But compared with other cities in Europe it’s a safe area.
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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 , ✉ email@example.com. 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.) , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 , ✉ email@example.com. 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 , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 , ✉ email@example.com. 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: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Monday to Friday 09:00–12:00.
- The Netherlands, Seftigenstrasse 7 , ✉ email@example.com. 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 , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.) , ✉ email@example.com.
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 , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 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: , ✉ email@example.com. 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: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 , ✉ email@example.com. 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: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 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: , ✉ email@example.com. 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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