Bern (or Berne) is the capital city of Switzerland and is the 5th most populated. Bern’s historic old town is a registered UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is home to the notable cathedral, which is considered to be the largest in the country. The city’s architecture is very medieval, and is also a great spot for shopping, with the promenade stretching 4 miles and being one of the largest in Europe.
Before visiting any town or city make sure you know the basics. General details and important information.
- Emergency Services: 117 (police), 144 (ambulance) and 118 (fire brigade)
- Language: German and French
- Currency: Swiss Franc
- Country Code: CH
- Travel Visa: None required
- Population: 433,501
Researching various official sources, we perceive the risk to holiday makers and travellers are as follows;
Top travel advice and interesting tip bits of information from experienced travellers.
- Take extra caution if you're visiting City West or Kocher Park after dark.
- There are lots of great swimming spots on the river Aare, which runs through the city. However, there are signs in some parts warning you not to swim there - look out for them before you go jumping in.
- For the best view of Bern's stunning old town, climb up the Rosengarten for one of the best views in the city! It's completely free, but also has a restaurant at the top if the walk makes you hungry!
Where can I keep up with local news?
What are some top safety tips?
If you’re travelling by train, try to do your travelling during the day. Bern’s train station can be dangerous at night when lots of drunk people congregate. Drunk people can pose a threat depending on the situation, so it’s best to avoid.
Always carry some form of identification on you. Police officers will sometimes do random checks on tourists, so having a document to prove you are who you say you are is always handy.
Even when you’re travelling in unfamiliar areas, always look confident and like you know where you are going (even if you don’t!) Thieves will be on the look out for people that might show any signs of weakness, so don’t give them an opportunity.
What are some common crimes to look out for?
Speeding fines can be extra costly in Bern depending on where the offence took place and how far over the speed limit the driver was. The fines are considerably higher in cities rather then on highways or the Autobahn, but you should still be careful when driving around!
The possession of drugs can incur heavy fines and prison sentences in Switzerland. The charge depends on the amount of drugs in your possession, but you should know that Switzerland take drug crime very seriously.
In busy areas, take the usual precautions and watch for pickpockets and petty thieves. Keep your belongings safe, secure and with your person at all times.
Improve Your Personal Safety
Knowledge – the more you have the better equipped you are.
Awareness – the more you see the safer you become.
Response – the right reaction can change a situation.
Every culture has its customs and traditions, they have been handed down the generations and are always held in high regards by the local residents.
A clean country
Switzerland is very advanced in terms of recycling and waste-management. When disposing of waste, make sure to do so correctly and also not litter, the Swiss are very proud of their stunning country.
Bern hosts a stunning Christmas market in the middle of the old town. This is the perfect place to try local cuisine and pick up some truly special gifts for your loved ones.
Annual events allow a city come together for some amazing experiences. If visiting at this time, make sure you have your accommodation booked and are always aware of your surroundings when travelling around.
The Bern Grand Prix is held every May and is the biggest racing event in Switzerland. It is held in the historic old town and is a must-see for racing fans or simply those wishing to experience another side of the city.
This event is held in August and features a wide-range of comedy, music, dance and entertainment acts. It is held throughout the streets of the old town and is completely free of charge to enter. Simply if you enjoy any of the acts, leave them a few coins as appreciation!
This unique market is held on the fourth Monday of November and, you guessed it, is a market dedicated solely to onions! (And garlic…) This festival is incredibly popular with locals, and also many people will travel to it from all over the country.
Are there any other good places to visit?
What are some highlights in Bern?
We’ve already mentioned it a few times, but Bern’s Old Town is truly the highlight of the city. It boasts some stunning architecture and is an official UNESCO World Heritage site, making a visit well-worth your time.
Zytglogge (Clock Tower)
The Zytglogge is a 13th century clock tower located in the centre of Bern. It boasts a stunning astronomical clock, which was built in 1530. During the summer months, you can book tickets to visit inside the clock tower and see the inner workings of the clock itself – a must-see.
Bern’s Bear Park is situated along the River Aare. It is home to the latest generation of brown bears, who have lived in Bern since the 16th century. The park is open every day and is a great way to learn more about the bears and the city itself.