Cruising on the lake of Biel
Cruising on the lake is a good option, unfortunately due to the flooding around the lakes no boats were allowed to run.
Normally the 9:50 breakfast boat reaches Erlach at 11:05 a.m., then turns around and returns to Biel at 12:15 p.m. The 7:10 evening boat stops briefly in Erlach at 8:25 p.m., then arrives back in Biel/Bienne at 10:15 p.m.
MAGGLINGEN/MACOLIN / Le Chasseral (1607m)
Take the funicular from Seevorstadt/Faubourg du Lac, west of the station, up through the forested slopes overlooking the town to the village of MAGGLINGEN/MACOLIN on the ridge. Normally you have a fantastic view over the whole area but we were not so lucky.
Magglingen is known across the country as home of the Federal Institute of Sport.
Le Chasseral (1607m), one of the highest summits in the Jura, where you’ll find a simple hotel and mountain restaurant, Chasseral (%032/751 24 51) along with spectacular views over the whole Swiss plateau towards the high Alps. Buses run between the hotel and St-Imier on the other side of the ridge.
Biel Walking Tour Part 2
From the Burgplatz/Place de Bourg continue uphill, and head right to the Ring, core of the Old Town. As the story goes, it was named for the circle of head shakers who would sit here to deliberate on the fate of criminals brought for trial. On the south side of the square is the Gothic Reformed Church of St Benedict dating from 1451-92. The church includes in the choir some stained glass of 1457 that depicts the life of St Benedict and Christýs passion. Also in the square is the Standard-bearer fountain (1557) and, opposite the church, a magnificent three-storey oriel window.
Leading north out of the square is the Obergasse street. Near the Fountain of Compassion is the Alte Krone, or Ancienne Couronne (1578 - 82) where famous German poet Goethe once stayed (on your left). If you turn left here walking the north again, up Brunngasse, youýll find the funicular station which can bring you up to Evilard/Leubringen, a suburb surrounded by woods. But we head east along arcaded Obergasse/Rue Haute, till we reach the Juraplatz with Altes Zollhous and then double back onto Untergasse/Rue Basse to stroll past the townýs oldest houses. Contunue walk down along Schmiedengasse which brings you to the Nidaugasse where we started our Old Town tour. It takes you 15 minutes to get back to the train station from here; it took 2 hours in our case but we bought a Tissot watch!
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Biel Walking Tour Part 1
The train station is between the Old Town and the lakeshore. Before you leave the station, pause to look at four amazing allegorical murals in the waiting room (painted by Philippe Robert, these strange but beautiful images depict different periods of the area?s history). Leaving the station turn right and you will find the tourist office (Mon?Fri 8am?12.30pm & 1.30?6pm; Sat 9am?noon & 2?5pm). From the TI, walk northeast along the main shopping street of Bahnhofstrasse/Rue de la Gare. Huge supermarket Migros is at Freistrasse 3; one block straight ahead from the station (Mo ? We, Fri 7:30 ? 18:30; Thu 7:30 ? 21, Sa 7:30 ? 16). The Coop supermarket is also nearby on Reichbergerstr 1; left from the station at Bahnhofpl, and right on Rechenbergstr. Open 6 ? 22; also on Nidangasse 35a Mon ? Wed, Fri 8 ? 20, Thu 8 ? 21, Sat 7:30 ? 16.
It?s a 500 m walk from the train station to the vast Zentralplatz/Place Central, heart of the modern shopping districts.
If you can resist the temptations, cross the square and continue walk northwards along Nidaugasse/Rue de Nidau (great place for shopping).
Another 500m and you arrive into the cobbled Old Town. The Burggasse street climbs past the old Zeughaus (arsenal dated from 1589-91, rejuvenated as the city?s theatre), and the impressive Rathaus (Town Hall, 1530-34, now the police headquarters), into the open Burgplatz/Place de Bourg. Quaint shuttered old houses line the square, which centers on the Fountain of Justice, dating from 1714.
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