This is the funicular which goes up to Gurten park, Bern's local mountain where the best panoramic views of Bern, the surrounding countryside and the Alps can be had.
This is a very old tram, from 1899, but was reconstructed in 1966. It is a nice red tram, and is said to be Switzerland's fastest funicular, running at 5.7 meters per second.
To get to the Gurtenbahn, from Bern's main street in front of the central station, take tram No. 9 in the direction of Wabern, and get off the stop called Gurtenbahn.
- Hiking and Walking
- Mountain Climbing
Like most self-respecting cities, Bern also offers the possibility to travel around town by Velo-Taxi.
So far I've never tried this, since I prefer to do the pedaling myself, but in principle I'm all in favor of it.
Up and Down:"Marzilibähnli"
The shortest Funicular railway in Europe is in Berne! The Marzilibahn. The bernese call it the "Marzilibähnli".
Its only hundred and something meters long but saves you the steep walk up to the town from the Aare level.
The Marzilibahn is the best way to get down (or more important up from) to the Marzili swiming pool and the Aare
Buy a Swiss Pass
The best investment I made in Switzerland was buying a Swiss Pass for the integrated Swiss Travel System. Pass holders can use the public transport network unlimited times for the duration of the validity of the pass. This includes use of the country's extensive rail network and reduced fares on some of the country's scenic routes. Trams and buses can also be used to get around many Swiss cities such as the capital, Bern.
I purchased a standard second class Swiss Pass that was valid for 4 days. I bought my pass at the Travel Centre at Zurich Airport's train station. It was very convenient to buy and only took 5 minutes or so. Remember to present your passport to prove you are eligible as a tourist. Nationals of Switzerland and Liechtenstein are not eligible to buy the Swiss Pass.
My four-day pass cost 272 CHF and was a sound investment, especially considering I made five or six intercity trips during my stay.
An added bonus is that the Swiss Pass also acts as a museum pass allowing free entry to many of the country's best museums and castles. As the Swiss Pass is quite an investment financially, make sure you look after it. They don't replace lost or stolen passes.
- Historical Travel
If you would like to travel around Bern on the local transport, you can purchase a special ticket at the Tourist Information Centre for about CHF10. This would allow you to travel on any type of transport which also include special discounts to certain tourist attractions.
However, if you only intend to walk within the Town itself, then you will not need this ticket. Just purchase a map from the office for CHF1 and you will be able to explore the town on foot, which I think is more enjoyable and allow yourself time to enjoy the scenery as you go along.
Driving to Bern
We drove to Bern from our hotel and parked before we crossed the Nydeggbrucke (Nydegg Bridge). There are pay box style meters but since it was Sunday parking was free.
We did drive through most of the town before parking, maybe it's just open on Sunday to car traffic because I imagine it's horrendous trying to dodge tourists when the city is at its peak. The whole city is walkable and rather compact.
Public transportation takes you everywhere
If you want to travel around Bern, best is you use buses and tramways. They run often and take you to almost every corner of the town and beyond. If you stay in Bern just one day, and travel a lot, you'd best take a day card. It will cost you 12 francs for the entire town, 32 francs if you want to go further. Otherwise you might take a multiple trip card. It can be used by several persons and you'll pay only 5 trips for travelling 6 times. Hot tip : tickets can also be bought at the train station ticket machines and can be used in the local trains as well (provided you don't go further than your ticket allows...)
- Budget Travel
It's summer! Well, not quite, but summer is coming I have been told....do your bit and keep the air in Bern from getting too mucky this summer - rent a bike.
In Bern and in Thun from the first week of May until the end of October, the BernRollt! team is again at work, making us as mobile as we want to be, with city bikes, electro bikes (great for the not so fit at heart), skate boards, kick boards, trottinets and the rather deadly mini scooters. All you have to do to get transport is:
In Bern, you will find the Bern Rollt team by the railway station on Bahnhofplatz or on the Kornhausplatz. In Thun, on the Aarefeldstrasse by the railway station. This service is now also available in Zürich (Velogate Hauptbahnhof (Gleis 18), Opernhaus, Globus, Bahnhof Enge,
Bahnhof Hardbrücke, Bahnhof Altstetten) and in Geneva (17 Place Montbrillant (derrière la gare Bains des Pâquis
Plaine de plainpalais, à côté du skatepark
Place du Rhône).
How it works:
Bring an ID/Passport, pay a Sfr.20.- deposit - there is no additional hire charge - and away you go from 07.30 in the morning until 21.30 at night. The electric bikes can only be hired for 4 hours. You have to return the bike/board on the same day as you have hired it but you can always go back the next day and perhaps try something else.
Help give Bern back some clean air!
Trains to Bern
The best way to get to Bern is by train. The railway station (Bahnhof) has excellent connections to and from all major cities in Switzerland and is the gateway to Berner Oberland and Wallis. Parking space in Bern is scarce and expensive so it's best to leave the car behind.
Bern is a walking city. Get a map from the tourist office (located in the railway station)(ask for a walking guide map) and go for a walk. If you are not much of a walker, the trams and buses will take you everywhere - all of them start around the railway station and the tourist office can provide you with the necessary information. Renting a bicycle is a fun way to see the city but only recommendable at summertime.
Most sights can be seen by foot, or if you don't want to walk Bicycles can be rented (some free of charge).
There is a good Tram and Bus network, Trams an Busses run every 5 to 14 Minutes. Watch out: the last trams and busses leave the main station at 00.00 (at last! up to the 14.12.02 it was 23.45)! Only in the nights Thursday/Friday, Friday/Saturday and Saturday/Sunday there are a few night-busses
Getting to Berne by train:
Probably the best way to get here!
Trains run every hour or half hour to all major swiss towns and the international airports Zürich and Geneva.
Bern station is located in the town centre, from here you can get everywhere in town by foot or using a Tram or Bus.
By air you fly to Zurich and...
By air you fly to Zurich and then take the train to Bern. There is a direct train to Bern. 1h 15min. Pretty expenxive but comfortable and fast. The same from Geneva or Basle. Bern is almost in the middle of Switzerland.
In Bern you can take the bus or the street train. Is kina like the cable car in san fran but of course not so beautiful and interesting but the target is the same...
There are also bikes at the train station which can be taken for free. Ask the tourist info.
Airport: The Airport is called Bern-Belp. Its only a small airport. International Flights go to Vienna, Berlin (Intersky), Paris (Swiss), Munich (Lufthansa) and Rome (Air Alps). Other places can be reached via Basle (Swiss) or Munich (Lufthansa). As the runway is only short, only small planes can land in Bern-Belp.
From the Airport there is a bus to the train station of Belp where you can catch the train to Bern. (Bus runs after most flights, the train every half hour. There is another Bus which brings you directly to town but it is more expensive.
Bern is best reached by train...
Bern is best reached by train or car. But you can also get there by plane.
The timetable of the train you can find online at www.sbb.ch
Most of the interesting parts of the city can be reached by feed. But there is also local public transportation you can use. Information about the public transportation can be found at www.bernmobil.ch.
During the summer you can borrow bikes to get around and that for free!
there is Bern Belp...
there is Bern Belp Airport.
Domestic flights to Bern, Lugano and Geneva are available. There are also a Train from/to Zurich with Swissair Flight Numbers.
International Flights are available with KLM Alps (former Air Engadina to many destinations as: Amsterdam, Munich, Brussel and others.
Crossair flies also to Paris, London and other destinations as Frankfurt. But to go sure please contact your Travel Agent or go to: www.crossair.ch or www.airengiadina.ch
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