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Top 11 Places To Visit In Bern

Bern, Switzerland

Bern, the capital of Switzerland is built on a sandstone ridge, encircled on three sides by the Aare flowing through a valley. High-level bridges link the city with the high ground on the right bank and with the newer parts of the city.

Houses and shops, with their street-level arcades and projecting roofs, reflect the prosperity of the citizens of Bern in the 17th and 18th centuries. And this charming character of the well-preserved old town is integrated into the everyday life of the city, causing it to be recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Here are the Top 11 Places to Visit in Bern, which are worth visiting on your Bern Trip:

1. Old Town

One of the many things to love about Bern’s UNESCO-listed medieval center is its uniformity: Most of the city was claimed by a fire in 1405, and tall sandstone buildings took over from the old wooden houses. Many are woven with arcades on their ground floor, and these are a defining characteristic of the city. There are six kilometers of arcades in all, hiding shops, bars, cafes, and restaurants.

2. Einstein Museum and the Historical Museum of Bern

Housed in a 130-year-old Andre-Lambert-designed building based on 15th-century castles, the Historical Museum of Bern combines with the Einstein Museum to form the second largest museum in Switzerland. Displays encompass more than half a million objects dating from the Stone Age through the Celts, Romans, Middle Ages, Napoleonic era, and into the 19th and 20th centuries.

The Einstein Museum is focused on the life of the great scientist, demonstrating how he lived, through dozens of old films, original objects, and letters. Even his 1921 Nobel Prize certificate is on display. And for those of us who are not genius physicists, animated films help the layperson understand Einstein's pioneering theories.

3. Berner Münster

Perhaps the most famous building in Bern, the Berner Münster is also known as the Bern Cathedral or the Cathedral of St. Vincent. The cathedral is Switzerland's largest church since the late Middle Ages and played a vital role in the overall development of the city's architecture.

4. Clock Tower

The 800-year-old Clock Tower (Zytglogge) is one of Bern's most famous landmarks - and is well worth the visit (the clock dates to 1530). Just above the western gate tower in the old section of town, this 23-meter tower is decorated with an immense astronomical clock.

5. Zentrum Paul Klee

The undulating structure of the Zentrum Paul Klee is a staggering landmark all on its own. Inside, however, it continues to impress. The Zentrum is the world’s most impressive collection of art from Paul Klee. Klee’s works are Expressionist, Surrealist, and Cubist pieces, and they were largely influenced by Bauhaus design and architecture. In the Zentrum Paul Klee, you can explore two large exhibition halls holding iconic pieces like Park Near Lu, a colorful painting that contrasts the black lines of the tree with the colorful leaves that surround it.

6. Bear Pit

According to a local legend, the name Bern is derived from the word for Bear, and bears have long played an important role in the city’s history and culture. The bear pits, or Bärengraben, are no longer just pits where the bears are on display. Instead, the bear habitats have been drastically enlarged, and you might spot the bears swimming or cool down in the River Aare. The original bear pits were set up in the 16th century, and everyone from Einstein to Lenin peered at the animals over the years.

7. Rosengarten

If you’re planning to spend any time in the Old Town of Bern, then you’ll definitely want to stop in at the Rosengarten. The small urban park is located on top of a small hill, which means exceptional views over the city below. You’ll find more than 200 varieties of roses in the garden, not to mention nearly as many types of irises and even a collection of rhododendrons. There is a small children’s playground for the kids, and there is even a lovely restaurant.

8. Botanical Garden

The beautiful botanical garden is not to be missed. It will impress even those that might not think they are interested in plants and flowers. The garden contains several sections. The Alpinum focuses on montane ecosystems hosting mountain plants from Europe, Asia, and North America with a special focus on Swiss flora. There is also an interesting display of endangered species.

9. Trails on the Gurten

This is perhaps a favorite place in all of Bern. Just to the south of the center of the city, the Gurten is a high mountain (864 meters) with a 360-degree view. Below lies the gorgeous city with its towers and domes, while the spiky Alps jut from the countryside beyond. You can also see across the Three Lakes Region all the way to the Jura mountains.

10. French Church

French Church, the oldest church in the city, with frescoes by a group of painters known as the "Master of the Carnation." It was originally built on the foundations of an even older church that dates back to the 13th century. The final construction took several centuries, with new facades and frescoes added until its completion in 1754.

11. Weekly Markets

Bern is home to many markets–from flowers and food to flea markets and some magnificent Christmas marketplaces, the city has something for everyone. Just outside the Bundeshaus is the Bundesplatz, where an impressive vegetable and flower market takes place on Tuesday and Saturday mornings. Bern's largest flea market (perfect for finding a treasure or two) takes place on the Mühleplatz in the Matte every third Saturday during the warm months.

Bern has two Christmas markets that run the entire month of December: one at the Waisenhausplatz and one on the Münsterplatz. And for a unique market, you won't find it anywhere else.

Besides these, there is much more to explore in Bern!!!

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