The Swiss capital city is largely overlooked by tourists, and brims with old-world charm. Surrounded by the blue-green Aare river, Bern boasts plenty to see, like its UNESCO World Heritage site Old City, home to the medieval clock tower Zytglogge, Parliament Building, and enchanting cafes and bars hidden away in underground vaulted cellars.
You can also visit the Museum of Fine Arts, Bear Park, and rose garden. And thanks to Switzerland’s highly efficient public train system, getting here is a breeze.
Things to do in Bern
1. Stroll through the old town
Situated on a cliff surrounded on three sides by the stunning aquamarine waters of the Aare River, the old town has preserved much of its medieval character. The streets are cobbled and bordered by covered, arcade sidewalks that snake on for miles. On the lower levels of the buildings are shops, cafés, bookstores, and restaurants, while the upper floors are apartments.
2. Climb up the clock tower Zytglogge
A spectacular structure on the outside, the more fascinating features is actually hidden inside the clock tower Zytglogge. Climb up the tone staircase to explore the interior of the clock tower, and get a glimpse of the oldest mechanical clock in Switzerland and its marvelous mechanical operating system. You can also climb all the way to the top of the clock tower through the wooden stairs for one of the most beautiful panoramic views of Bern.
3. Discover the quirky fountains
Bern is famous for being home to some very peculiar fountains, attributed to 16th-century artist Hans Gieng. Scattered around the Old Town, you will find more than 100 extravagant creations, 11 of them topped with distinctive-looking allegorical sculptures. You will easily spot them in the streets and squares of the town centre. Don’t forget to have a refreshing, clean and potable drink too!
4. Join a cheese-making class
Emmenthal is a semihard Swiss cow’s milk cheese. It is distinguished by large walnut-sized holes or “eyes” formed during the fermentation process. It ranges from mild and buttery to fruity and full-flavored, depending on its maturity. It has good melting properties and is a traditional ingredient in cheese fondue.
If you want to learn how to make Swiss cheese, then don’t miss the rare experience of actually making cheese by signing up for a course at the Emmentaler factory outside of Bern. The largest blocks of cheese weigh 100-125kg! From a wholesale price of €1,500, which is then sold through various channels, and the final price can soar up to €5,000, which is equivalent to RM25,000!
Bringing a modern touch to traditional Italian cooking, Giardino serves fresh and authentic Italian flavous year-round with a touch of dolce vita, and a lot of it is homemade by the kitchen team. You can dine at the spacious summer terrace in the garden with a view of the scenic pond.
Originally constructed according to a design by Hans Jakob Dünz, the restaurant in this Baroque building attracts guests with its culinary offerings and an exceptional ambiance. The dimensions of the vaulted cellar are impressive. The nave and the two aisles remind you of church architecture and lend the Kornhauskeller a sacred air. The unique balance between lines, illumination, artistic frescoes and modern furnishings turns a visit to the Kornhauskeller into a memorable dining experience.
Hotel Ambassador & Spa
The hotel with a modern atmosphere at the foot of Mount Gurten is only 7 minutes by tram from the city centre, which make it an ideal accommodation for travellers. The hotel is equipped with an indoor swimming pool, fitness centre and underground parking.