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Overview to Bern: Travel Guide and Tourist Information


Squeezed into a kink on the River Aare, Bern is Switzerland’s wonderfully relaxing capital. A small city with hushed cobblestone streets, Bern is fundamentally the same today as it was centuries ago – a tranquil, romantic and eminently refreshing place.

The city’s UNESCO protected Old Town is its main attraction. Marvelously maintained, it features an extensive stretch of arcaded streets that host shops and cafés, along with the majority of Bern’s noteworthy architecture.

The main arcaded strip runs laterally through the center of the city. Beginning at Spitalgasse, it becomes Marktgasse, then Kramgasse and finally Gerechtigkeitsgasse. The street includes the famous animatronic Zytglogge clock tower, the Einsteinhaus and a host of attractive fountains.

The 15th Century Gothic Munster Cathedral sits two blocks to the south. Its tower is the tallest in Bern and visitors can climb the 254 steps to get a great view of the city. Sandwiched between the Munster and the river is a small (but perfectly formed) garden called Munsterplattform.

Heading east from here along the Amthaugasse leads to the Barenplatz. This popular square is the home to Switzerland’s parliamentary building, along with a market on Saturday and some excellent drinking establishments.

North from here lies the Kunstmuseum, an impressive gallery whose focus on 20th century art includes works by Kandinsky, Matisse and Picasso. For more traditional (if slightly archaic) culture, you can cross the river at Nydeggbrucke and visit the famed bear pits of Barengraben.

There’s plenty of great, continental beer on offer in the city, but the nightlife isn’t exactly as non-stop as that of Zurich. But travelers in this quaint neck of the woods, find themselves looking for a good slice of culture and a nicely relaxing time, rather than all-night clubbing… and that’s just what Bern delivers.

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