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Tourist Places To Visit In Bern
Bern, the so-called capital of Switzerland, is an enchanting place to visit. It is an eclectic mixture of arts, culture, tradition, politics and history. There are so many tourist places to visit in Bern as the city is filled with historic buildings, churches, museums and landscapes to die for. The picturesque turquoise Aare River, the glorious views of the Alps, the fountains, gardens and greenery will consume your soul in ways you cannot imagine.
The Einstein Museum and the Historical Museum
The museum is housed in a building that was modelled on a 15th-century castle. The Einstein Museum and the Historical Museum combined together is the 2nd largest museum in Switzerland. The latter has exhibits that are over half a million years old from the stone age to the 20th century while the Einstein museum showcases the life of the scientist and gives you an insight on how he lived through audiovisuals, letters and objects. Don't forget to check out his 1921 Nobel Prize certificate which is also on display. The museum is open from 10 am to 5 pm and is closed on Mondays.
One of the most iconic landmarks of Bern is the clock tower (Zytglogge) which is 800 years old. It is located in the Old Town part of the city. Tourists usually crowd up just before the hour strikes, to watch its unique performance that includes many mechanical figures while chiming. You can visit the interior of the clock tower as well, where you can see the medieval clockwork mechanisms and get transformed to the past. You should also climb to the top of the tower (130 steps, mind you!) to get an extraordinary view of the Old Town with its tiled roofs and labyrinth paths.
Berner Münster, also known as Bern Cathedral, is one of the most popular buildings in Bern. It is the largest church of Switzerland from the middle ages. When you visit, you must notice and admire the beautiful figurines, sculptures and paintings that adorn the walls and doorways of this magnificent cathedral. You can climb up the tower to the viewing deck (250 to 300 steps), to get a sweeping view of the city of Bern and also a glimpse of the Alps on a clear day.
Rose Garden Park is a beautiful public park in Bern. It sits on the hill slops across the Aare river and offers not only beautiful flora and fauna but stunning views of the city too. During spring, the Cherry Blossoms are definitely a sight to sore eyes. There are about 250 types of roses that bloom during the summers. In Autumn, the fall colours explode the scene, and in winters a cosy setting of fondue over the Restaurant Verdana paints a pretty picture. You would never believe that this beautiful piece of heaven was once a cemetery in the 18th century. You can easily spend a few hours here, strolling amongst the flowers, the beautiful pond and many picnic areas.
The Einstein Museum and Einstein Hause are different things. While the museum shares in-depth knowledge about the man and how he lived, Einstein Hause goes a step further where you can actually see how he lived by visiting his apartment. He lived here with his wife and son and did some of his most significant work here like the theory of relativity, photoelectric effect, E=mc2 etc. The apartment has been restored with period-appropriate furniture. There is also a small presentation of his works in layman's terms, on the 3rd floor of the same apartment building.
Kunstmuseum is the Museum of Art and is one of the oldest and largest in Switzerland. It was built in 1879. It houses a huge collection of paintings, drawings, sculptures, films and photographs, in fact, more than 50,000 pieces from the 15th century to the early 20th century. It is located in Bern’s Old Town and is open 6 days a week (closed on Mondays). Some important displays are Picasso’s Sleepy Drinker, Monet’s Ice Drift and Van Gogh’s Head Of A Peasant Woman.
Bern’s Old Town is a UNESCO heritage site for very good reason, it’s got some great architecture including the ancient fountains that were installed in the 16th century. These public fountains have statues that tell a story, like the Zähringerbrunnen, which symbolises the power of Bern or the status of Samson killing a lion, which is a biblical scene. The fountains were originally wooden, but at a time when Bern was gaining wealth, they were built in stone. There are almost 100 fountains overall, out of which 11 of them still have the original statues. Some of these still have potable water, so drink on!
Right at the centre of the city, Gurten rises at a heigh of 864 meters and offers a spectacular 360-degree view of Bern. The view is really an absolute delight with the Old Towns roofs, towers and domes, along with a backdrop of the Alps and lakes. There are many hiking trails on this mountain with thick forests and flowery meadows. During winter, the Gurten’s slopes are used for skiing and toboggan. During summer, the musical festival is held here. A must-do here is the funicular ride up into the mountain.
The Swiss Parliament is housed in a Renaissance-styled building which overlooks the Aare River. This very impressive and iconic symbol of Bern is open to the public to visit. The building was constructed in 1848 when Bern was declared as the capital (currently de-facto capital of Switzerland) and additions to the structure were constructed throughout the 19th and 20th century. A total of 38 artists have contributed to the decorations outside and inside the Parliament building. The Parliament Square outside, consists of many restaurants, other Renaissance-styled buildings, shops and is where some weekly markets are held and in winter, the square becomes an ice-skating rink!
The bear is the symbol of Bern and so it comes as no surprise that there is a special tribute to these massive, gorgeous animals. The Bear Park opened to the public since 2009 and is where Bern’s bears reside. It is located on the banks of the river Aare so that the bears can go down to the river to get a drink or fish. The landscape is that of a small forest, with caves, bushes and also a large pool made for the bears to cool off. It is a total of 5000 sq meters where the bears can run, climb and play.