Things to do in Bern

With its medieval old town, oriental hammam, and proximity to the Alps, the Swiss capital caters to all.

Our most recommended things to do in Bern

Bern: 90-Minute Stroll Through the Old Town

1. Bern: 90-Minute Stroll Through the Old Town

On this 90-minute stroll through Bern’s Old Town, your local guide will tell you about the city‘s 8 centuries of history. On rainy days, you can still enjoy this atmospheric area, as the arcades provide shelter. Admire the late Gothic Cathedral (Münster) with its stunning portal and rendering of the Last Judgment. See the 13th-century Clock Tower (Zytglogge), where you can watch the fascinating show that happens on the hour. Who knows, you might even meet up with a member of the Federal Council in front of the Parliament building! Come along and discover the charms of the Swiss capital and this UNESCO World Heritage Site on a pleasant and leisurely walk.

Bern: Zytglogge - Tour through the Clock Tower

2. Bern: Zytglogge - Tour through the Clock Tower

Conceived in the 1300s, the clock tower is one of the remainders of Bern's first city walls. For over 600 years, the clock has struck on the hour. Inside, time seems to stand still and cool solitude awaits. The reliable ticks of the Middle Age technology impart a steadiness to visitors. Approximately 130 steps to the top of the spiral staircase lead you to a lookout platform. From here, see the roofs of the old city and maybe even the Alps. Visit the clockwork with your guide and follow the puppet show step by step until the famous rooster crows.

Swiss Travel Pass: Unlimited Travel on Train, Bus & Boat

3. Swiss Travel Pass: Unlimited Travel on Train, Bus & Boat

The Swiss Travel Pass is a must-have for any traveler to Switzerland. You can enjoy unlimited access by public train, bus, and boat to over 90 cities and towns and benefit from free entrance to 500+ museums, discounted city tours, and access to private and scenic trains with a pre-requisite seat reservation. There are two broad types of Swiss Travel Pass: Continuous and Flexi, with an option to choose from 3, 4, 8, and 15 days. Apart from it being an ‘all-in-one’ pass which allows a traveler to access all modes of public transportation within the country, it also offers numerous other benefits on the mountain excursions. So be it the adventurous, the avid or the leisure traveler, you will have the chance to make the most of your Switzerland Travel Pass.

Bern: Hammam and Spa Admission

4. Bern: Hammam and Spa Admission

The Bernese Hammam has been installed in a former building which was home of one of the first Gas boiler in Switzerland, an octagonal building. The oriental spa represents the latest magnificent manifestation of a tradition spanning two millennia. Enjoy a unique bathing experience across four floors.  The bathing ritual is based on the gradual warming up and cleansing of the body and follows a fixed course. Begin with the so-called "pestemal", a cotton cloth that binds to the body. In the first herbal steam room , Sogukluk, feel your body being warmed to 38 degrees Celcius.  In the second room, Kese, your body is scrubbed with a rough glove to remove dead skin cells.  "Sicaklik" is the central room in the middle of the octagon with the warm relaxation bath.  After the bath, the next step is the steam room. In the "Bingül" your pores open to the hot herbal steam at 48° Celcius. In the fifth room, "Lif", the second exfoliation with soap takes place. On a big warmed umbilical stone let your body relax and dive into the comfort of the hammam.

Bern Highlights Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt and Audio Tour

5. Bern Highlights Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt and Audio Tour

Solve riddles and find clues on a self-guided scavenger hunt and walking tour through Bern. Using a tour app on your phone, explore the sights of Bern at your own pace, starting and stopping whenever and wherever you want. After downloading the app onto your phone (instructions received via email after booking), set out on an adventure that will take you to 10 attractions in Bern by using integrated maps. As you explore, solve a location-based riddle at each attraction and unlock the next location you need to visit. The app includes facts and information about each location you stop at, so you'll gain local know-how about the city. Put your skills to the text and work as a team and use logic, imagination, observation, and problem solving to make your way around the city. Along the way, you can stop for a coffee, lunch, or a break at any time. Start your tour at the Church of the Holy Spirit, Switzerland's largest Protestant church! Visit the Swiss Parliament House, the home of the Republic in Bern. Photograph the Käfigturm while learning about its history and admire the Stadttheater Bern with its excellent acoustics. Then the Old City of Berne looks like something out of a fairy tale, don't forget to take pictures. The Zähringerbrunnen will leave you speechless with its beauty. Admire the City Hall with its heavy symbolism! The Nydeggkirche is worth your time and phone memory for its beautiful architecture, while the Cathedral of Bern, the impressive Gothic church will be another addition to your indelible memory. The icing on the cake of this unique tour will be the Bernisches Historisches Museum / Einstein Museum with its endless exhibits.

From Zürich: Glacier Express Train Round-Trip Private Tour

6. From Zürich: Glacier Express Train Round-Trip Private Tour

Travel on the worldwide known Glacier-Express-Train with a private guide. Enjoy a round trip by train and spend four hours on the panoramic coach from Chur to Brig, crossing 291 bridges, passing 91 tunnels, and climbing up to approximately 7000 feet (2033m) above sea level by train. Experience travel on the Glacier-Express while passing spectacular valleys and mountains. According to your preferences, a short walk around in Chur or Brig can take place (while transfer times to/from Glacier Express). Your guide will show you the changing landscape, answer your questions about the country and its people, and show you a few places away from the tourist flow.

Bern: City Sightseeing Self-Guided Walking Tour Game

7. Bern: City Sightseeing Self-Guided Walking Tour Game

Get to know the beautiful old town of Bern at your own pace on this interactive scavenger hunt walking tour. You'll explore the city on foot and get points for solving different types of tasks: Find sights: You will use hints to find the best sights and hidden gems throughout the city. The map function in the app will help you get there. Solve questions: Once you’ve arrived at the place you’re looking for, you’ll be asked questions about the sight. Most of the time, the answers are hidden in signs, pictures, etc. A great and fun way to learn new things about the city. Have fun: During the adventure you can also expect exciting photo tasks that require a lot of creativity. If you master the snapshots, you will be rewarded with points. Along the way, you’ll reach amazing places like the "Bundeshaus", "Zytglogge", "Rathaus" and many more! After you book the game, you’ll get a game code via email with instructions on how to play. Head to the “ Käfigturm” and use the code to unlock the game in the app. The tour ends at the “Bärenpark”. The experience is not limited in time. You can explore the city at your own pace and take breaks. Just download the Explorial-App, go to the starting point, and you’re ready to start with the game. The tour lasts on average about 1-2 hours.

Bern Old City Walking Tour

8. Bern Old City Walking Tour

Learn the story of the capital of Switzerland and its most famous monuments on a 2-hour walking tour of the historic city center. See the large Heiliggeistkirche (Church of the Holy Ghost) in the Old City (Altstadt), where the layout has remained unchanged for centuries. Walk along the Spitalgasse to arrive at the Baerenplatz, built during the 13th century expansion. Admire the government buildings of the Bundesplatz, where many Swiss banks are located, and see the oldest clock in Switzerland at the Zyttglogge. Get the chance to visit the Einstein House Museum, or climb the 344 stairs up the tower of Bern Cathedral. Look over the rooftops of the Old City on the banks of the Aare River with the snow-capped mountains of the Berner Oberland in the background. Discover the old Tramdepot brewery restaurant before ending in the Rosengarten, where the scent of more than 220 different species of roses is coupled with magnificent views of the city.

Bern: 1-Hour Must-See Express Tour

9. Bern: 1-Hour Must-See Express Tour

Discover Bern in a nutshell and learn about the history, local lifestyle and modern transformation of the city of Bern during this 1-hour walking experience. This experience is offered by a private local guide. During your walk through Switzerland’s capital, you will learn all about the local lifestyle and politics. You will be able to attain insider tips about cafes, restaurants and bars to visit, plus how to make the most of the city’s nightlife. Walking through the wide, well-organised cobblestone streets, you will discover the city’s many well-known fountains. Discover the famous clock tower and parliament house and stroll on the beautiful paths next to Aare River. Learn about the history and culture of the city from a local who loves the city and wants you to love it too!

Bern: Private 42-Minute Swiss Alps Helicopter Flight

10. Bern: Private 42-Minute Swiss Alps Helicopter Flight

Meet the friendly staff at Bern-Belp airport. After a short safety briefing, you will take a seat in the helicopter. The next 42 minutes will go by quickly as you experience a thrilling helicopter flight over the Bernese Alps and the Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau mountains. The helicopter will fly you close to the Eiger North Face and past the Jungfraujoch with its impressive Sphinx. After a safe landing back at Bern airport, you will receive a souvenir. You will also be able to download pictures from your flight without any extra costs.

Other Sightseeing Options in Bern

Want to discover all there is to do in Bern? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Bern

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 499 reviews

It was just our luck that it was raining during the trip, hence, we did not get to see as much as we wanted at Bern (my fault as I forgot my raincoat). However, the visit to Kambly and Emmentaler and the countryside scenery despite the rain made up for that. And Peter was such an amazing guide that he made sure that we get the most out of the tour despite the weather. He was very warm and helpful with all the guests and accommodated special requests as much as he could. He assisted my friends and I in our request to be dropped off at the nearest train station on the way to Zurich and he even found us the train timings to book for a shorter journey to Interlaken. Would recommend this tour especially if it was Peter who will be the guide.

The travel pass made our trip so much easier. I would recommend it for anyone traveling in Switzerland for a while

This was really good to do our trips by trains around Switzerland.

Great way to see the highlights of Bern at your own pace.

Excellent guide and subject was of great fascination