Bern's citizens discovered the advantage of adding arcades to their houses already in the late middle ages. The houses can be enlarged without buying more ground if the sidewalks are covered, and the shops are protected from the weather. Most streets have arcades on both sides with many little shops underneath. Pedestrians can walk and stroll underneath, being protected from rain, summer heat and winter snow.
This makes Bern a perfect "Plan B" for bad weather days when excursions into the mountains and on the lakes cannot be done. Thanks to Switzerland's gorgeous train system Bern can easily be reached for a day trip.
Bern's old town is situated on a steep ridge which is surrounded by the river Aare on three sides. Its status as UNESCO World Heritage is well justified: old Bern is a gem.
After the fire of 1405 the magistrate enforced the use of stone as building material. The olive-grey of the local sandstone has become the predominant colour. The uniform facades were mostly created in the 18th century.
Fondest memory: Stroll and explore. The general appearance of the houses may look quite uniform from afar but at a closer look they are all different. Walk the side lanes, too. You'll discover many details, sculptures and murals, fountains, back gardens, narrow passageways that connect the streets, views of the Aare valley...
We came for the day to stroll and shop. Our little homebase village, Kandersteg, has very few shops. Berne's lovely old town is the perfect place to spend a day.
After arriving at Berne's train station, lower level, we started on Spitalgasse. As you travel down the streets, notice that their names change!
The old town is surrounded by the river Aare. If you were to look at a map, the old town is very much in the shape of a thumb of a hand surrounded by water.
Favorite thing: Now we know what ch stands for, but what's this teddy to do with Bern? Well, surely it signifies the city of Bern, the city emblem (and it's not just Berlin alone then). At the eastern end of the city, there's a bear park that keeps a few of this not-too-cuddly bears.
First of all: for most information you can try this page:
One of the most beautiful place of Berne is the Rose Garden with a nice view to the roofs of the old town...
to reach it, take bus Nr. 15 direction Ostermundigen and leave it at 'Rosengarten', which will be about a 10 minutes ride.
If you are really in a hurry, but have half an hour left before your train leaves, take the elevators in the train station up to the top: sometimes it's possible to see the mountains even from the terrace upstairs the station... near the main building of the university
Fondest memory: it is said, that Bernese people don't like to hurry... and this creates an atmosphere of warmth and makes you feel comfortable...
walk around the old part of the city
Fondest memory: there are many quaint old buildings, clock towers, statues/fountains. The picture shows one of the many fountains that you will encounter on a tour of Old Bern - the fountains are from the 15th Century and represent mythological and historical figures. Also, there are many opportunities for shopping as well: boutiques, antique stores, cafes, and so on....
Favorite thing: The old city lies in a very sharp bend on the river Aare and is connected with several bridges to newer parts of the city. After a devastating fire in 1405 it was rebuilt and to this day preserves more of its medieval appearance than any other Swiss city. The old city is famous for its arcades (6 square km) with shops and restaurants everywhere.
walk from the train station all the way down to old town Bern. On your way you can make some shopping and you will pass several beatiful buildings. As Bern is the capital city of Switzerland there are many goverment buildings and also cathedrals and of course you will see many bank buildings and places.
Fondest memory: Summer in Bern is very beautiful. You can drink something on one of the beautiful places in the city or you can go for a swim in the river called 'Aare'. We also have many lakes arround Bern and of course the mountains are not that fare away.
Favorite thing: walk along Kramgasse. From my point of view, this is the finest street in Bern. The row of Baroque facades here is exceptionally harmonious, and the two beautiful fountains provide an attractive contrast...and Zytgloggeturm (Clock Tower), the city’s landmark.
The most famous building to see is the Watch-Tower called 'Zytglogge', which means 'the bell of time'.
If you want to go there from the station, it takes only five minutes:
Bus Nr. 12 direction Schosshalde //
Tramway Nr. 9 direction Guisanplatz //
Tramway Nr. 5 direction Ostring //
Tramway Nr. 3 direction Saali
Fondest memory: Plenty of cafes here to stop for a bite to eat, enjoy the old town architecture, and people watch--all at the same time.
Favorite thing: It's so easy to spot some classic cars roll by, or park beside the arcade shops in the main street. Here's one in striking yellow livery.
walk along the old town and see: the Town Hall (on the picture), unusual fountains, Erlacherhof, the Clock Tower and much more - look at my travelogue to see more. Welcome.
Fondest memory: the old town