Bern city guide

Bern doesn’t have that big city, capital vibe, especially compared to a bustling city like Zürich. On the contrary: for a capital it’s remarkable quiet and nightlife is practically non-existent. People are calm, happy, and live in true bliss. Bern is a fairy-tale town: charming and stuck in time with its cobblestone alleys, medieval squares and stone bridges. I like the on-going bear (Bär in German) theme in Bern. There is a bear park (https://www.tierpark-bern.ch/) on the right bank of the Aare River, where the old bear pits used to be. Bears are actually everywhere: on statutes, walls of buildings, fountains and even on the Zytglogge, Bern’s famous Clock Tower. Situated on a gateway to The Old Town, which by itself is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the 15th-century astronomical clock is a masterpiece of Swiss watchmaking.

The medieval Zytglogge tower with the astronomical clock in the Old Town of Bern

Zytglogge: the medieval tower with its world-famous astronomical clock was built in the early 13th century and is Bern's oldest monument and most famous symbol

That precision is one of many things that Switzerland can be proud of and crystal clear water is another one. Streams of Alpine water reach Aare: the river that flows through Bern. People jump straight into it from bridges and let the river carry them for a while and climb up via one of many exits. I guess it is pretty handy when the traffic is slow. People walking around in Speedos, carrying a raft around the Old Town is not an uncommon sight in Bern. Bern Historical Museum (http://www.bhm.ch/) at Helvetiaplatz 5 is a staple for many tourists. Being the second largest in whole Switzerland, the museum houses historical exhibitions, art and a whole section about Albert Einstein. The famous physicist is an important figure in Bern. He discovered his E = mc2 formula in a small flat on Kramgasse street.

When your travel schedule would allow I would certainly recommend you to plan some day trips from Bern. Use the Swiss Federal Railways because travelling by train through Switzerland is truly magic. And best of all, thanks to Swiss precision: they depart and arrive in time Even if you’re not the most active type of a tourist, you can still enjoy a train ride through woodlands and mountain tunnels. It’s by far the best way to travel around Switzerland. A 4-day travel pass will cost you around €240 and will cover all the means of transportation around the country. Four days is enough to travel and experience the most iconic Swiss destinations, such as Geneva, Lucerne, Montreux and of course Zürich, the most vibrant and cosmopolitan city of Switzerland. If you would have enough time, you could even travel to the warm southern regions of Switzerland. Also close to the Italian border you will find nice cities such as Lugano and Locarno. Everywhere fantastic lakes and breath-taking mountain landscapes will amaze you. Switzerland is a beautiful country and one of the first regions in the world to benefit from winter tourism. Imagine the times when people with real passion and very limited equipment conquered the Alpine mountains for the first time in history.

Wooden church to the backdrop of the Swiss Alps in Bern's countryside

Switzerland is renowned for its traditions and magnificant landscapes and also Bern's environment is great for exploring the beautiful nature and historical landmarks

You might not always guess it from the face of the average Swiss person but people in Bern and other Swiss cities belong to the happiest people in the world. Switzerland, according to statistics, is the best place on earth to live in. Even the average life expectancy is much higher than in other countries. When people think about Switzerland it’s usually all about skiing, chocolate and Swiss knives. But what really makes it so great? Honesty and attention to detail: it makes sense when you realize that only 30% of the entire countries’ area is inhabited. Switzerland is one of the smallest pieces of land in Europe. When you take the Alps into account 8 million people are living on the Swiss Plateau. Every little thing is precious, not to mention that such a small number of citizens is much easier to govern and care for. This curious, petite country is the only direct democracy left in the world, just like it was in ancient Greece. That means that the population votes on everything directly, while most of us have our “representatives” that do whatever they want after they get elected. I even start to think that representative democracy is the reason why everyone hates politicians nowadays.

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