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Free Things to do in Bern, Switzerland

Friday, January 21st, 2011

Switzerland is an expensive tourist destination but there are many free attractions and things to do in Bern. Bern is easy to get around by foot and most tourist attractions are in the city centre.

Bern attractions

Walk around the Old City

Bern’s medieval Old City is well preserved and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walk along the cobblestone streets and admire the historical buildings that include some of Bern’s most famous tourist attractions. The Münster cathedral is one of the highlights of the old city, and the Zytglolgge clock tower, built in 1530, is one of Bern’s most famous tourist attractions.

Visit the Münster Cathedral

The Gothic cathedral Münster (Münsterplatz 1) is one of the most famous buildings in Bern and one of the main tourist attractions in the city. Entrance to the cathedral is free (although you’ll have to pay if you want to climb up to the top of the cathedral tower). This late Gothic cathedral is a UNESCO Cultural World Heritage Site and is one of the main sights to see in Bern.

Concerts and events in the Münster usually come with an entrance fee but the Heiligeistkirche (Spitalgasse 44), next to the railway station, often offers free lunchtime concerts at 12.30 on Fridays.

Tour the Botanical Gardens

The Botanical Gardens (Altenbergrain 21) are an attractive green area by the River Aare and entrance is free. There are alpine plants in the Alpinum, tropical plant species in the Palm House and a selection of plants from Asia and North America. The small herb garden with its aromatic plants and medicinal herbs is lovely to explore and the gardens are a nice, peaceful space to walk around.

You can also walk from the gardens along the River Aare to the old city: exit the gardens to the riverside and from here the route is signposted. The Botanical Gardens are open daily from 8.00 to 17.00 or 17.30 in the summer, and can be reached by walking from the railway station along Bollwerk (the garden entrance is located on the right side after you have crossed the bridge over the river).

Visit the Rosengarten (Rose Garden)

The Rose Garden (Alter Aargauerstalden 31b) is a picturesque park with views over Bern’s old city and the riverside. 220 roses are grown here together with 28 species of rhododendrons and countless other flowers. The gardens are open during the day and are located a short walk up from the Bear Pit, or take bus number 10 to the Rosengarten stop.

Swim in the Aare River

The River Aare flows through Bern and in the summer you can sunbathe by the river or go swimming in the clear, cool water. On hot summer Sundays most of the city seems to be swimming, sunbathing and picnicking by the river. The Eichholz area is a popular place to spend a summer day and has a camping site by the river, a sunbathing lawn, a restaurant and riverside walking paths.

Hotels in Bern

Hotel Kreuz Bern roomHotel Kreuz Bern
Are you looking for the perfect mixture of a bustling city life mixed with charming small town tradition? If so, then you should book your stay at the 3 star Hotel Kreuz Bern in Switzerland.

Hotel Continental room, Bern Hotel Continental, Bern
The 3 star Continental Hotel is conveniently located in the heart of Bern, the Swiss capital.

Photo by twicepix

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About the author

Venere Travel Blog writer satu rommi

Satu was born in Finland, but moved to London in 1996 and lived there for 10 years working as a journalist. She has spent the last couple of years mostly in India, practicing yoga and travelling.

One response to “Free Things to do in Bern, Switzerland”

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  1. Rhonda Cashmore says via Facebook:
    January 22nd, 2011 at 1:38 am

    I am from Melbourne, Australia, so going to the Australian Open tennis to watch Roger Federer!


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