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Switzerland

Lugano Coronavirus Cases Covid-19 Outbreak

Lugano is a lakeside city in Ticino, the Italian-speaking part of southern Switzerland, and is the largest Italian-speaking city in Switzerland, or for that matter, outside Italy. Part of a temperate micro-climate, Lugano offers palm trees, picturesque boulevards, stunning views of the lake and the Alps, and plenty of opportunity for outdoor and indoor activities. Lugano also makes a good base for visiting other cities and sites in the area. The city is a pleasant place to relax in the summertime and is only half an hour away from Lake Como.

The settlement in and around Lugano goes back to at least Stone Age times.  Fossils and remains have been found that proves Lugano used to be below sea level and excavations sites have also shown remains from the Paleotic Era.  It was the glaciers from the sub alpine region that formed the picturesque lake on which Lugano sits today.  Eons later the region known as Ticino was taken over by Celtic tribes until the Romans seized it and became part of the Roman Empire.  Following the fall of the Empire it was then ruled by the Ostogothes, the Lombards and the Franks.  Then around 1100AD Lugano became the centre of a struggle between Como and the free communities of Milan until eventually during the 14thC the Visconti, Dukes of Milan acquired the city.

Swiss Coronavirus since Reopening
135,658
Confirmed
2,158
Deaths
11
Deaths (24h)
1.6%
Deaths (%)
65,100
Recovered
2,400
Recovered (24h)
48.0%
Recovered (%)
68,400
Active
50.4%
Active (%)

Lugano is situated in a bay on the northern side of  Lake Lugano in the south of Switzerland, bordering Italy and therefore Italian is the primary language spoken.  It is Switzerland’s third most important financial and commercial centre and is a major conference, business and banking centre. Being centrally situated in Ticini, Lugano is a convenient place as a base for visiting other nearby cities and venues in this region such as the famous and beautiful Lake Como which is only half an hour’s ride away across the Italian border.

The mild climate of Lugano is like a magnet drawing tourists the world over here. The beautiful town with it Mediterranean style squares and arcades town is surrounded by high mountains.  The two closest ones, Monte San Salvatore and Monte Brè, offer outstanding panoramic views of the town, Lake Lugano and the Swiss alpine scenery from the various points dotted along the route.  The town centre, free of traffic, brings to the town a relaxed atmosphere as the visitors and tourists stroll through its historic streets.  The architecture of the town is interesting as many are built in the Italianate Lombardy style.

Best time to go to

The best time of the year to visit Lugano is undoubtedly the mid-summer months of July and August when the average temperatures reach a comfortable level warm level between 20°C and 30°C (68-86°F).

Alternatively springtime from April to June or the autumn, September and October when the temperatures are still a pleasant average of 10°C to 20°C (50-68°F).  Winter temperatures vary between 0°C and 10°C (32-50°F).

Although summer has the best weather it is spring which is a favourite for visitors to Lugano as this is the time when the camellias throughout the city are in full bloom.

Getting Around in Lugano

There are lots of lovely walks around Lugano and it’s easy to get around the city on foot. Many of Lugano’s streets have become pedestrian zones. As the hills are very steep above the lake, going by bus or taking the funicular from the town centre to the train station is more sensible especially after a day’s shopping.  Also the views from the funicular are an added bonus.  Funiculars run from various points such the Funiculare Lugano Citta to Stazione which links the old town centre on the shores of the lake to the railway station on the hill.  These run regularly every 5-10 minutes.  Another one with spectacular views of Lugano Lake, the isthmus of Melide, Monte Generoso and as far as Campione d’Italia on the far side of the lake is the Funiculare Lugano Paradiso to the top of Monte San Salvatore .

By plane

  • Lugano Airportsmall international airport with flights arriving from Zurich and Geneva. Swiss International Air Lines and Etihad Regional offer discount web special prices to Lugano from many parts of Europe. 

Milan’s airports are 1.5 hours away by bus or train and are served by easyJet and Ryanair.

By train

Trains leave for Zurich (3h), Basel (3:34) and Milan (40min-1h) as well as Geneva (via Zurich or Locarno-Domodossola: 5h30 with one or two transfers, 6h30 via Milan with one transfer). Getting to Geneva or points west it is faster to go via Zurich or Locarno as the trains are more frequent and faster.

  • Stazione di Lugano (Lugano railway station).

By bus

There are three shuttle services between Lugano and Milan Malpensa Airport:

  • Lugano Services(approx every 2 hours, 04:00–23:30; 1hr 10min; €25 one way; advance reservations on line or tickets directly on the bus)
  • JetBus (approx every 1-2 hours; 06:00–23:10; €27 or Fr. 35 one way; can be booked at airport)
  • Malpensa Express (every 2 hours; 8:35–23:35; €30 or Fr. 35 one way; can be booked at airport.)

There is also a daily bus service during summer to Tirano, Italy with train connection (Bernina Express) to St. Moritz (Switzerland).

Lugano is small enough to get around on foot, and many of the streets are pedestrian-only, but the hills above the lakefront are very steep so the bus or the funicular from the centre of town might be a better option on the way up to the train station if you have a lot of bags. Taxis can be found on the main roads. Ferries and funiculars are great options for seeing the views.

For more information:

  • TPL (Trasporti Pubblici Luganesi). for bus services in the city. A short-journey ticket (30 min.) costs Fr. 1.90, 1-day travelcard for 1 zone — Fr. 7.20, short-journey multi-journey travelcard (6 trips) — Fr. 9.50, the later can be used by multiple people.
  • Funicolare Lugano Citta – Stazione.  This funicular links the old centre of the town on the lake shore to the railway station higher up the hill. Starting 05.20 till 23.50, always, there is one every 5-10 minutes. TPL runs FuniBus, a bus shuttle service, between the train station and  via Pelli. Fr. 1.10.
  • Funicolare Lugano Paradiso – Monte San SalvatoreVia delle Scuole 7, Lugano Paradiso.  17Jul–15Aug daily 09.00–23.00; 8May–11Jul & 21 Aug–26 Sep F, Sa 09.00–23.00; the rest 09.00-17.00links Lugano with the top of the Monte San Salvatore, with spectacular views of the Lake of Lugano, the isthmus of Melide, the Monte Generoso and the Italian enclave of Campione d’Italia on the other side of the lake. Single: Fr. 23; Return: Fr. 30.
  • Funicolare Monte BrèVia Ceresio di Suvigliana 36, CH-6977 Ruvigliana (bus lines 2, 11, 12 to Cassarate-Monte Brè) ,   A funicular between Lugano and the top of the Monte Brè. Single: Fr. 16; Return: Fr. 25 See the end of the page linked for promotions..

By boat

  • Società Navigazione del Lago di Lugano (from Lugano Paradiso) ,   Runs ferry services across the Lake Lugano. They also offer a number of cruises. While much of Lake Lugano is in Switzerland, a large portion of it is in Italy, so take your passport when on a boat.

Major Attractions and Sights

There are free walking tours on offer throughout the town centre every Thursday from May to November which visitors should make use of and a way to get to know the city at grassroots level.  The tour starts at 10.00 and lasts for two hours.  Another free tour is a walk into Lugano’s green areas where you will get acquainted with the various species of plants and flowers in the city parks.  These walks place every Sunday from mid-April to mid-July and again from mid-August to end October.  There are many other free excursions for visitors on offer in and around Lugano that can be made use of.

There are many boat trips on offer around Lake of Lugano which is a great way of spending a day. For a day of guaranteed fun for the children then look no further than the large, innovative play  area on Monte Tamaro and which is just a short distance from the cableway and restaurant.

Lugano has many parks and one of the best is the Parco Civico on the shores of the lake. Stroll around amongst the sub-tropical plants and its centuries old trees and enjoy the atmosphere of this beautiful park.  Another lovely park is the Belvedere Gardens also with sub-tropical plants but also has magnificent magnolia trees and camellias which are shown off to its best in the spring time.  Also on display are modern works of art.  Or there’s Tassino Park, a few minutes’ walk from the train station where wide pathways twist and turn along the slopes to the summit of the hill.  With beautiful views it also home to a small herd of deer and mouflon sheep on the lower slopes of the hill.

There are several interesting and diverse museums around Lugano.  One is the Museum of Swiss Customs which gives visitors an in depth look into how the Swiss customs officers deal with daily smugglings, drug raids, prevention of the endangered species trade, etc.  This unusual museum shows how the customs officials have progressed over the years to meet the cunning of today’s modern smugglers.

Another is the intimate Hesse Museum in Montagnola in memory of the famous writer Hermann Hesse.  The Alprose Chocolate Museum will undoubtedly entice any chocoholic visitor to this town to the world of chocolate starting from its origins to observing from above, the process of producing today’s most famous Swiss chocolates … and even free tasting is available.

San Lorenzo Cathedral is situated above the old town and is built in the Lombardy Renaissance architectural style.  It has numerous frescoes and many valuable Baroque artifacts can be viewed inside the cathedral.   The Church of Santa Maria degli Angioli situated at the end of the Via Nassa is a former Franciscan monastery built around 1500 and houses Switzerland’s most famous Renaissance fresco which covers the whole wall of the nave.  It’s well worth a visit to study this beautiful fresco in full detail.

The Museo Cantonale d’Arte houses paintings by Renoir, Degas, Klee, Jawlensky and many other famous artists.   Over the last 50 years, the Ticino area and especially Lugano have developed into an important region for architecture which is known as the ‘Ticini School’.  This ‘school’ has also produced its most famous students, Luigi Snozzi and Mario Botta.  The architectural work of Botta such as the Banca del Gottardo and the Palazzo Ransila can be seen as fine examples of his works.

  • Centro Storico (Old town).
  • Palazzo Civico (Palazzo Riva), Piazza Riforma, 1Lugano’s City Hall
  • Parco Civico (Ciani Park). A peaceful park with a wide variety of flowers and trees located near the heart of Lugano’s tourist area. Villa Ciani is located there.
  • Cattedrale di San Lorenzo (Cathedral of Saint Lawrence).

The church of S. Maria degli Angioli and a quaint old hotel

  • Chiesa di Santa Maria degli Angiolicontains an impressive full-wall 16th-century fresco by Bernardino Luini.
  • Museo Cantonale d’Arte (Cantonal Art Museum), Via Canova 10.
  • Museo d’Arte Moderna (Museum of Modern Art).
  • Hermann Hesse museum (The museum is in Montagnola and you can get there in fifteen minutes from the Lugano railway station by a bus number 36 (direction Agra). Check the timetables beforehand as the buses aren’t frequent. Get off at the bus stop Bellevue.).  Summer season (Mar-Oct) daily 10.00-18.30; otherwise F-Su 10.00-17.30The museum also offers an audio guide for a walk in the steps of Hesse, which is an extremely good choice on a beautiful day. Besides the exhibition there is also a film on Hesse shown, duration approximately 50 minutes. Friendly and helpful staff. English, German and Italian spoken. Fr. 7.50, Fr. 6.00 discounts for families and groups.

Do

Monte San Salvatore seen from Lugano

  • Gandria (Walk, boat or bus). Gandria is an unspoiled, picturesque lakeside village at the foot of Monte Brè. Perched on the steep mountainside it is a community of narrow streets, inaccessible to cars, with a delightful surprise round every corner.
  • Museo Doganale Svizzero (Swiss Customs Museum) (from Gandria by boat across the lake). There is also a grotto restaurant nearby.
  • Sentiero di Gandria (Gandria Trail). A path from the end of the Lugano promenade to Gandria. It is marked with panels which describe the history of olive trees in the region. That is why it is also known as Sentiero dell’olivo.

Hiking

  • Monte Brè (Mount Bre). There are numerous rustic trails that lead up from towns surrounding Mount Brè to its summit and the Funicolare Monte Brè. A trail map is available from the local tourist information. 
  • Monte San SalvatoreThe top of this mountain has a restaurant, hiking paths and a look-out tower offering an amazing panoramic view of Lugano, the lake and surrounding area. It is possible to hike up to the mountain (about 2 hours), or take the cable car.
  • Trekking Lugano and Malcantone region.

Bike rentals

  • SFR Railway Station Lugano.
  • Balmelli SportVia Pioda 12.

Gambling

  • Casinò LuganoVia Stauffacher 1 ,  fax+41 91 973-7149 Daily 12:00-04:00, extended to 05:00 Fridays and Saturdays. Tables open at 02:00.

Events

  • Blues to Bop Festival21:00-01:00/02:30 depending on the evening.Free open air music festival with multiple stages throughout the heart of Lugano in late August.

More

  • SwimmingThe Lido di Lugano right in the city centre is a great place to swim with a beach, 3 swimming pools and a bar.
  • BoatingBoat rental options include paddle boats and speed boats.

Learn

  • University of Italian Switzerland (USI)13 Giuseppe Buffi St ,  fax+41 58 666 46 47 Switzerland’s most international university. It is distinctive in the Swiss university system because of the originality of its degree curricula and areas of research.
  • University of Applied Sciences of Italian Switzerland (SUPSI)Le Gerre, Via Pobiette 11 ,  fax+41 58 666 6001 One of the nine universities of applied sciences recognized by the Swiss Confederation.
  • Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence (IDSIA), Via Cantonale 6 (Galleria 1 Building), 6928 Manno.
  • Franklin University Switzerland29 Ponte Tresa St (Sorengo) ,   An American liberal arts institution in an international environment, Franklin is accredited in the United States by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and in Switzerland by the Swiss University Conference.
  • The American School in Switzerland (TASIS)Via Collina d’Oro 15, 6926 Montagnola, Switzerland.  An international secondary school in the outskirts of Lugano.

Shopping in Lugano

Shopping in Lugano is a pleasant experience with its extensive range of department stores and shops of the high end brand names in fashion, watches and jewelry, etc such as Hermes, Versace, Gucci, Issey Miyake, Armani, Rolex and Cartier.  Two of the most popular streets or boulevards for shopping are Via Nassa and Via Pessina in the town centre.  There are also many delicatessens and exquisite bakeries to delight the taste buds and then every Friday, there is a market selling fresh produce and flowers near the Piazza Riforma which is well worth a visit.

Many major labels and designer boutiques (Versace, Hermes, Paul & Shark, Louis Vuitton, and Cartier) can be found here, as well as the usual Swiss and Italian knick-knacks. Via Nassa in the city centre is the main place for shopping high street brands.

  • FoxtownMendrisio, Via A. Maspoli 18 (Can be reached by train from the Central Station (direction Mendrisio-Chiasso)). 11-19Huge designer outlet in just 20 km from Lugano.
  • ManorSalita M. e A. Chiattone 10, 6900 Lugano, Switzerland.  Department store with everything from clothing to home goods as well as some Swiss souvenirs. Grocery store in basement.

Eating Out in Lugano

There is a wide range of European cuisine on offer throughout Lugano offering a mix of German, Mediterranean, Austrian, Swiss, Italian as well as other international food such as Indian, Chinese, Mexican and Japanese.

There’s a good selection of fine restaurants producing gourmet meals, and one specializing in traditional Swiss and Tuscan dishes is the L’Antica Osteria del Porto near Lugano’s sailing club.  This is a pleasant venue overlooking the Cassarate stream and with views of the lake.  And for a venue of historical interest and fine dining then the Grand Café al Porto has a history dating back to the very early 1800s and houses the Cenacolo Fiorentino fresco upstairs in the building as this was once a monastery dining hall.

There are also plenty of less formal eateries and restaurants such as the local bars and cafes but whatever venue is chosen, the mouth-watering continental meals coming out from the Swiss kitchens will be a thoroughly satisfying and enjoyable experience even though tourists may struggle with many of the long tongue twisting dish names on the menu.

  • ManoraPiazza Dante 2The cafeteria in the Manor Department store offers a wide variety of tempting International dishes, ranging from sushi to pasta. Fresh fruits and vegetables arrayed in stylish displays are almost a painting themselves. Wine and beer are available as are a wide range of other beverages. Meals starting from CHF12.

Mid-range

  • Argentino.  Piazza Riforma. Excellent pizza, great service. They offer 2 sizes of pizza, price ranges around Fr. 15-20.
  • TangoPiazza RiformaReally great tasty pizza, quick service (6-7 min per pizza). Fr. 15-20.
  • Ristorante AnticoCH-6978 Gandria – Lugano.  Italian cuisine in the village of Gandria with dining on a terrace with views of Lago di Lugano

Nightlife in Lugano

As the sun begins to set on Lugano the entertainment scene comes alive.

Lugano’s Casino Municipale has changed the way of life for its locals and visitors to this city as it is becoming one of the best casinos in operation in Europe. Although situated just over the Italian border and a 20 minute ferry ride away, the currency of the casino is Swiss francs. Visitors flock here for the unlimited number of tables and slot machines available.  To keep the sophistication of the casino, the men must be dressed in jackets and ties.  The casino boasts a restaurant with panoramic views of the lake.  It also has five bars and therefore the casino is not just for gambling but for visitors to enjoy a pleasant and relaxing evening of entertainment. It is therefore no wonder this casino has achieved a change of entertainment lifestyle for the townspeople and a valuable addition to their economy.

For a more informal evening there are plenty of quiet places to drink including cocktail bars.  These intimate venues suddenly come to life after 10.00; the music intensifies and dancing begins.  After the cocktail bars, patrons then move onto one or more of the several night clubs in the city.  Most of them do charge a cover fee.  Perhaps the Morandi night club is the best known as its dance floors cover several rooms and people of all ages are attracted to this lively venue.

 the summer your best bet is just to wander along the lakeside promenade and open air bar/cafes. Check local listings for clubs and shows as venues come and go with the seasons. Spring-Autumn, Bar Mojito (p.za Manzoni, directly at the lakeside)

There are clubs in the city (discos). Nix (under the Casinò), Privilege (near Manor, a department store), Tito’s Place (quartiere Maghetti), Club One and The Cube are all located in the downtown.

Oops (via Maderno 24) and Bibliocafè Tra (Salita dei Frati, Piazza Molino Nuovo) are a great place to have beer in the evening. Near University. Another hint:

  • ArteLungolagoAmazing decor, (also an art gallery), great food and views of the Lake!

Of local interest

Switzerland is famous for its many festivals ranging from folk and artisanal to classical music, and Lugano is no exception.  With activities all year round there is bound to be something on offer whatever time of the year is visited.

During March and April it is Pasqua in città when many entertaining activities celebrating Easter both for its religious and holiday significance are held throughout this period suitable for both the young and old.

April to June is the time of the Lugano Festival.  This cultural attraction is mainly dedicated to classical music and artworks and is an important part of Lugano’s heritage.

The LongLake Festival is another summer event held at the end of June to end of July.  This festival has over 200 events and guest artists who bring life into the streets, squares and parks every day for the month.

The Lugano Festival Jazz is also one of the major attractions in Southern Switzerland taking place in July and July, and is promoted by the local music loving citizens of Lugano.  This festival which is funded mainly by private and a little public money is totally free and has had many of the world’s top jazz icons such as Dizzy Gillespie, BB King and Van Morrison playing at this festival over the years.

Then during August and September is the popular ‘Blues to Bop’ festival playing throughout the town on stages and squares bringing all styles of music including gospel to the streets of Lugano.  However there are many, many more festivals held in and around Lugano creating one seemingly long party throughout the year.

One important day in the city’s calendar is 1 August.  This is Switzerland’s National Holiday celebrating and commemorating the country’s confederation.  After a programme of civic events throughout the day starting at 6.00am with the drum Reveille playing, it culminates in a grand firework display.

Telecommunications in Lugano

There are a few internet cafes in town. As usual, try near the train station. Free Wi-Fi connection can be found along the lakeside and in the University campus (Via Buffi, 13).

Stay safe in Lugano

Lugano is as safe as most cities in Switzerland, but the density of expensive purses, watches, and sunglasses may make pickpockets more of a problem. The usual cautions apply to walking alone late at night, especially after bars and clubs close before dawn.

Important telephone numbers

  • Police (Polizia) – Emergency only: 117
  • Fire Department (Pompieri): 118
  • City of Lugano Police: +41 58 866 82 50 (piazza Riforma), +41 58-8668111 (Via Beltramina 20B)
  • Civic Hospital (Ospedale Civico): +41 91-8116111 (via Tesserete 46 )
  • Emergency Ward (Pronto Soccorso), Civic Hospital: +41 91-8116006
  • Ambulances (Ambulanze): 144
  • Poisonings (Intossicazioni): 145
  • Doctor and dentist on call: 1811
  • Emergency Service – Street aid: 140
  • Lost Property Office (Ufficio oggetti smarriti), City of Lugano Police, Via Beltramina 20b; Mon-Fri: 7:30AM – 12AM, 1:30PM-5PM; Phone: +41 58-8668250

Nearby

In nearby Melide is an attraction which is very popular among the Swiss:

  • Swissminiatur (Swiss Miniature Village), Via Cantonale, Melide ,   Open from mid-March to late October, 9:00 to 18:00Switzerland in miniature as a theme park Adults Fr. 17, Children below 6 years free, 6-15y Fr. 12, and Senior Citizen (over 65) Fr. 15. (Prices in 2020).

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Reporting mainly on the Asia Pacific region and the global Coronavirus crises in countries such as the United States, China, Brazil, Mexico, Italy and Germany. Love to Travel and report daily on destinations reopening with a focus on Domestic travel within Europe, North America and the Caribbean. A great fan of Bali, Rhodes & Corfu. Love to follow the English Premier League , the German Bundesliga and the Spanish La Liga.

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Coronavirus

Already eleven Corona Infections at the Pope’s Swiss Guard

In the Vatican, seven other members of the pope’s Swiss Guard tested positive for the corona virus . This increased the number of demonstrably infected guardsmen to eleven, as the Swiss Guard announced on Thursday. All infected people had been isolated, the message said. The brightly uniformed guards protect Pope Francis and his residence.

A major corona outbreak among the guards could therefore also be dangerous for the Pope, 83 years of age belongs to the risk group. The Argentinean pope had part of his right lung removed at the age of 21 due to severe pneumonia but he is considered relatively healthy for his age.

The Catholic media platform “Vatican News” reported in early October that the guardsmen had been asked to “be careful when dealing with the Pope” because of Corona. Face mask and social distancing are required, however a young man who was interviewed about his recruit swearing in (October 4th) said that Francis had already shaken his hand.

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News

More than 1000 new corona infections in Switzerland

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The number of corona infections has skyrocketed in Switzerland. After an average of 500 new infections in the past week, the Federal Office of Public Health reported 1077 infections within 24 hours for Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

The day before there were 700 new cases.

The number was last in April at more than 1000 cases.

Switzerland counts the infections in the small Principality of Liechtenstein. However, only three new infections were reported there. Only ten of the 26 cantons and half cantons require a mask to be worn when shopping. In the past two weeks, 5.3 percent of all tests had a positive result.

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Switzerland

Bern Coronavirus Cases Covid-19 Outbreak

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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.

Swiss Coronavirus since Reopening
135,658
Confirmed
2,158
Deaths
11
Deaths (24h)
1.6%
Deaths (%)
65,100
Recovered
2,400
Recovered (24h)
48.0%
Recovered (%)
68,400
Active
50.4%
Active (%)

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.

[coronavirus-region-dashboard height_px=”540px” region=”switzerland”]

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

Get in

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 StationIn 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.

By foot

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.

By rail

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.

By bike

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.

By taxi

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.

Still in Old Town, the cathedral was begun in 1421 and is the tallest in Switzerland. The Holy Ghost Church is one of the largest Swiss Reformed churches in Switzerland.

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 MuseumHelvetiaplatz 5.  Tu-Su 10:00-17:00Large 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 3Inaugurated 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.
  • ZytgloggeIt 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.
  • EinsteinhausKramgasse 49 ,   Feb-Dec 10:00–17:00, closed JanSuppose 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 MHuge 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 10:00-17:00A 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 KleeMonument im Fruchtland 3 (Trolleybus 12 to the end of the line).  Tu-Su 10:00–17:00The 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-MarRun 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 09:00–17:00Berne’s zoo is along the Aare river, with many outdoor enclosures that incorporate the river. Adult Fr. 10, child 6-15 Fr. 6.
  • GurtenThe 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.
  • RosengartenLittle 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 BernThe 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 AareOn 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.

Events

  • GurtenfestivalIn 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 BernA jazz festival with international reputation is held in Berne every year since 1976.
  • Buskers BernSince 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.

Learn

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.

  • YamatutiAarbergergasse 16-18.  M-W F 10:00–18:30, Th 10:00–21:00, Sa 10:00–17:00Unique toys and kitsch collectibles pack the walls of this cramped space.
  • Krompholz MusicEffingerstrasse 51, 3008 Bern (Visit website for which tram lines to take and the stops.) ,    Monday – Saturday 10:00–17:00The 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 MonbijouMonbijoustrasse 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 11:00–15:00The used bookstore of the Swiss Workers’ Aid Society.
  • Bücher-Brockenhaus BernRathausgasse 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.

Budget

  • Suan LongRail 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.
  • BeaulieuErlachstrasse 3 ,  fax+41 31 305 86 55M-Th 08:00–11:30, F 08:00–00:30, Sa 10:00–22:00Old-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 ,   Tu-F 11:30–14:30 and 18:00–00:00, Sa 19:00–00:00, Su 10:00–16:00A nice restaurant in the Reitschule complex which serves excellent dishes.
  • WäbereGerechtigkeitsgasse 68 ,  fax+41 31 312 20 67 Monday – Saturday 11:00–23:00Excellent 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.

Mid-range

  • Old Tram Depot (Altes Tramdepot), Grosser Muristalden (across bridge at east side of city centre, next to bear pit).  11:00-23:00The 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 FédéralBärenplatz 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 RestaurantHerrengasse 25 ,   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.
  • KornhausKornhausplatz 18 ,  fax+41 31 327 72 71The 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..
  • SchmiedstubeSchmiedenplatz 5.   Monday – Saturday 08:30–23:30German, 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”.
  • SchwellenmätteliDalmaziquai 11 ,   Terrace open M-Su 08:00–00:00A very nice restaurant at the side of the river Aare with a nice view on the Cathedral. Fr. 20-40 for a main dish.

Splurge

  • Bellevue PalaceKochergasse 3-5 ,  fax+41 31 47 43Stylish 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 RosengartenAlter 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 closedThe 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 NordLorrainestrasse 2 (across Lorraine Bridge from the city centre).
  • Café KairoDammweg 43, 3013 BernAnother nice choice in the same area as Du Nord.
  • CubaKornhausplatz 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.

  • DampfzentraleMarzilistrasse 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 productionWaisenhausplatz 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).
  • ReitschuleNeubrückstrasse 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 ClubThis 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.

Cope

Embassies & Consulates in Bern

  • FinlandWeltpoststrasse 4, 3015 Bern ,  fax+41 31 350 41 07 Monday to Friday 09:00–12:00.
  • The NetherlandsSeftigenstrasse 7 ,   Mo-Fr 8.30AM-12.30AM/1.30PM-5PM.

Go next

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.

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Swiss Covid19

Covid-19 Swiss
135,658
Confirmed
8,616
Confirmed (24h)
11
Deaths (24h)
2,400
Recovered (24h)

According to the Government in Switzerland, Switzerland has confirmed 8,616 new Covid-19 infections within Switzerland in the last 24 hours and furthermore 11 deaths have been reported throughout Switzerland. With the new deaths of 11, Switzerland now has a total of 135,658 Coronavirus/Covid-19 infections and the official death rate reported by the government of Switzerland is 1.6%. 2,158 died in Switzerland.

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