Bern Travel Guide

The city of Bern is the capital of Switzerland, and fourth-most populous city in Switzerland. The city has a population of about 125,000, but because it stretches over 100 square miles, that number doesn't reflect the true size of this beautiful city. Although there are many tourists who come to visit Bern for its historical significance during World War II and for its beauty during peacetime, there are plenty more reasons why you should consider visiting this city-state—and We'are going to tell you about them in this guide! Bern Switzerland

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Major Area

Aerial View of Bern

Bern is located in the German-speaking part of Switzerland (called Schwyz), on the central Swiss Plateau. It's also one of several towns that make up Berner Oberland (which means "Bernese Highlands").

Demographics & Population

Shopping alley with the famous clocktower of Bern in Switzerland
  • The city of Bern has a population of around 135,000 people.
  • The median age in the city is 36.9 years old.
  • The gender distribution is 49% male and 51% female, with 0% identifying as other or non-binary.
  • White people make up 85% of the population, with 0.5% being Asian or Pacific Islander, 8.6% identifying as black or African American and 5% as Hispanic or Latino American.


German is the main language of Bern. Italian is spoken in the city of Bern (not cantonal).

French is spoken in the canton of Bern.

History of Bern

The Old City of Berne on Bridge in Switzerland
The origins of the city date back to 1191. Bern was founded as an independent city-state around 1308 by Duke Berchtold V von Zähringen after he won a battle against the neighboring French city of Fribourg. The founding of the city is closely tied to that of the canton and the Swiss Confederation. While Berchtold was on a pilgrimage in Rome, he bought from Pope Celestine III an area which had been erected into a papal territory (in modern terms roughly equivalent to today's Canton Bern).

The bishop of Lausanne consecrated the church in 1200 and was granted several rights over the town by Emperor Frederick II, who at that time also ruled Germany and Italy. In 1218/19 Heiligkreuz Abbey was founded under his bailiwick with help from Stefan Fresen; this became one of Switzerland's most important Cistercian monasteries within just two years. The city grew significantly during this period as well: it gained new districts such as Bucheggberg Castle (1235) and Längenberg Castle (1254) near Murten as well as Rütihof Castle (1268), all within walking distance from each other

Geography & Where is Located Bern in Switzerland

Rhine River in Bern

Bern is located in the north-west of Switzerland, in the Bernese Highlands. The city is surrounded by mountains on all sides and the city itself sits at a height of approximately 1,000 meters (3,281 feet). The climate is extremely temperate and it rarely gets too hot or too cold.

What is like Climate in Bern

Trekking over Bern Lakes
The climate in Bern is generally continental. Summers are warm with temperatures ranging from 22 C to 30 C (72 F to 86 F), while winters can be cold, with temperatures as low as -15 C (5 F) on average.

The average annual precipitation is around 600 mm (24 inches).

About Bern Economy

Bern City Center and Rhine River
Bern is a wealthy city and the capital of Switzerland. It's also one of the country's major financial centers, with banks and companies like UBS, Credit Suisse, Bank J. Safra Sarasin and Clariden Leu headquartered there.

The city attracts thousands upon thousands of tourists each year, thanks to its many museums including Swiss National Museum, Bern Historical Museum and Kulturhaus Löwenbräukunst Theater.

Education, Universities and Colleges

Wooden Church with alpine lake landscape in background Bern
The University of Bern, the Hochschule der Künste Bern and The University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Western Switzerland are just some of the higher education institutions in the city. They offer a range of courses including those related to art and design, media, engineering, business management and law.

The University of Teacher Education Fribourg was founded in 1852 under presidential decree. Today it employs over 850 professors who teach at undergraduate level as well as postgraduate level.

The University of Teacher Education Lucerne is a foundation that provides teaching programmes for students from all over Switzerland who want to become teachers or work within education-related professions such as psychology or social work. The school was established in 2004 following an initiative by Lucerne's cantonal parliament (Kantonsrat).

Hochschule Luzern is one of Switzerland's leading universities for art history studies with a focus on Old Masters painting where you can also find Ancient History & Archaeology as well as Medieval & Modern History specialisations among others

University of Bern

The University of Bern is one of the oldest universities in Switzerland and was founded in 1834. It offers a wide range of courses at all levels, from undergraduate study to advanced research. The university has five faculties: education science and arts; sciences; law; economics and social sciences; medicine.

University of Teacher Education

The University of Teacher Education (UZH) is located on two campuses in Bern - one on Rämistrasse 83 and another at Bubenbergplatz 8-10. The UZH offers bachelor's degrees as well as master's degree programs that prepare students to become teachers in primary schools or secondary schools (high school).

University of Applied Sciences and Arts

Bern is a beautiful city, with a lot of history and culture. The Fachhochschule Bern offers bachelor's degrees as well as master's degree programs in various fields such as business administration, international relations, chemistry or biology

Bern is a beautiful city, with a lot of history and culture. You can easily spend days sightseeing and exploring the city on foot. There are many things to do in Bern, so it's best to plan your time accordingly.


Swiss Parliament Building in Bern
As capital of Switzerland, Bern also home to the Swiss Federal Government, which makes it an important political center.

The city was founded in 1191 by Berchtold V von Zähringen and received its official status as a city in 1218. In 1848, Bern became a federal state within the Swiss Confederation.

Religion in Bern

Panoramic view of Bern and Berner Munster cathedral in Switzerland
Bern is a city of churches. The Old City and the surrounding region have almost one church per 100 residents, making it by far the most religious region in Switzerland. The majority of these churches have been open to visitors since the Middle Ages. They are beautiful and old!

The majority of Bernese citizens are Catholic (about 65%), but many other religions exist in this diverse city as well. The largest group after Catholics is Evangelical Protestants, who make up about 20% of Bern's population and can be found mostly outside downtown areas like Aarbergen or Lebern. There are also smaller groups representing Muslims (2%), Jews (1%), Hindus ( <1%), Buddhists (<1%) and others such as Sikhs or Zoroastrians on top of those who don't affiliate themselves with any religion at all(<5%).


Panoramic view of Bern and Berner Munster cathedral
Bern is home to a number of museums and galleries. Its traditional architecture has earned it UNESCO World Heritage Site status. It hosts many festivals, including the Berner Festpiele (a theater festival), and its long history of producing literature and poetry has made it a center for writers like Friedrich Dürrenmatt and Gottfried Keller. This cultural heritage also extends to music; composers such as Heinrich Sutermeister, Hans Kramis, Melchior Franck, Andreas Stadlin and Albinoni are all associated with Bern.


If you're into sports, Bern is home to some of the most well-known players in Swiss hockey. The Swiss Ice Hockey Club is based in Bern, as well as its football club. And if you're more interested in cycling and other outdoor activities, Bern has plenty of options for you to explore on two wheels!

The city also hosts many sporting events every year—for instance, it's the birthplace of the Swiss Football League and hosts an annual street soccer tournament that draws athletes from around Europe.


  • Bern has two daily newspapers, the "Berner Zeitung" and the "Bund".
  • The city's radio stations include Bern FM, Radio 24, Radio SRF 3, and Radio 1.
  • Bern is also home to the Swiss national television station, SRG SSR.


Bern is the birthplace of the Swiss Confederation, and it is one of three federal cities that make up Switzerland. The city has a rich history and culture that you can explore by visiting some of its top museums and landmarks.

The Berner Oberland has been an area of high interest for centuries, including its natural beauty, history, or even its mascot (the bear). These things have attracted both tourists and locals alike to come see what all this area has to offer.

To take advantage of everything that Bern has to offer during your trip there, there are plenty of festivals in which you can participate in events such as Carnival or Christmas Market.

If you're looking for a more relaxed activity while visiting Bern then maybe try out some outdoor activities like hiking up Mount Pilatus! Or if you want something more adventurous then perhaps go white water rafting down river Aare!


Outdoor Activities in the Swiss Alps Bernese Oberland Switzerland
The cuisine of Switzerland is the traditional food of the Swiss, rooted in their alpine culture. The three most typical Swiss dishes are rösti, chuchichäschtli and fondue.

Rösti is a dish made from grated potato, fried in butter or oil until crisp and golden brown on both sides. It is usually eaten with cheese (often Emmental), meat or salad. Rösti is popular throughout the country and can be found on many menus as either a side dish or main course; however it has never attained national culinary prestige like Fondue and Raclette have among foreigners visiting Switzerland.
Chuchichäschtli (literally "little church window") is a traditional baked pasta dish from Central Switzerland with Emmental cheese added to it before baking, creating little holes in the pasta that resemble church windows when cooked through properly; thus giving rise to its name ("chuchichi" being short for "church"). It may also be served with other types of cheese instead of just Emmental (e.g., Appenzeller).


Ferry Lines in Bern
Bern is a major railway hub. There are two main railway stations, Hauptbahnhof and Berner Oberland Bahnhof, both of which have connections to the rest of Switzerland's extensive train network. A third major station, Bern Belp Airport, handles international and domestic flights connecting Bern with other cities in Europe.

There are also several smaller stations within Bern city limits: Simplonallee Station serves trains to Geneva via Lausanne along the Simplon Pass; Wettingen-Meinau Station connects with Zurich via Winterthur; and Wipkingen connects to Basel by way of Olten. In addition to its many train lines, Bern also has an extensive public transportation system consisting primarily of buses but also including tramway tracks that run through parts of the city center and connect with different parts of town.


Old City of Bern
Bern is a cultural hub for the country and home to around 120,000 people. The city has an average elevation of 420 meters above sea level and is located in the Bernese Oberland region.

It's no wonder that health care has been a major part of Bern's growth since it began as a farming community over 1,000 years ago. Today you can find everything from private doctors' offices to state-funded hospitals throughout the city—and just about every type of medical facility in between!


Wengen village in Swiss Alps Bernese Oberland
Bern is one of the most energy-efficient cities in Europe. This is demonstrated by its excellent performance in all areas of energy efficiency: from the development of renewable sources, to minimising losses and optimisation of energy use. The city's Climate Action Plan has set a target for carbon emissions reduction by 30% by 2030. In addition, Bern aims to achieve 100% renewable electricity usage within this time frame.

In order to reach these ambitious targets, Bern implemented various measures such as reducing general energy consumption by 40% by 2030 and increasing use of district heating (heat generation from central plants). The city also aims to reduce CO2 emissions from transport through measures such as promoting public transport, expanding bicycle lanes and providing incentives for electric cars.

Notable People

Bern Switzerland.jpg
Bern is home to a number of notable people, including:
  • Carl Jung, founder of analytical psychology
  • Albert Einstein, father of modern physics
  • Leonhard Euler, mathematician and physicist
  • Heinrich Himmler, Nazi leader

Bern is a beautiful city, with a lot of history and culture. We hope this article has given you a better understanding of the city of Bern. It is a great place to visit and there are lots of things for all ages to do in the city. So come on over and enjoy!

Please view more great landscape images of Bern

Bern and Swiss Alps.jpg

Bern and Swiss Alps.jpg

Swiss Parliament in Bern Switzerland

Swiss Parliament in Bern Switzerland

Bern City View from Rhine River

Bern City View from Rhine River

Summer Time in Bern

Summer Time in Bern

Bern in Switzerland

Bern in Switzerland

Landscape view at Bern city Switzerland

Landscape view at Bern city Switzerland

Sunny summer view of great waterfall in Lauterbrunnen village. Splendid outdoor scene in Swiss Alps, Bernese Oberland in the canton of Bern, Switzerland. Beauty of countryside concept background.

Great Waterfall in Lauterbrunnen Village Bern

Panoramic view of Bern in a beautiful summer day, Switzerland

Panoramic View of Bern

Green fields and famous stunning touristic town with high cliffs in background, Lauterbrunnen, Bernese Oberland, in Switzerland - Europe

Bernese Oberland Switzerland

Bern City View in Switzerland

Bern City View in Switzerland

Panoramic view on the magnificent old town of Bern, capital of Switzerland

Bern Capital of Switzerland

Panoramic view of Bern and Berner Munster cathedral in Switzerland

Bern and Berner Munster cathedral in Switzerland

Aerial view of the Bern old town

Aerial view of the Bern old town

World Treasure City of Berne in Switzerland

World Treasure City of Berne in Switzerland

Old Town of Bern, capital of Switzerland, covered with white snow in winter

White Snow in Bern Winter

Summer landscape with cow grazing on fresh green mountain pastures. Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland, Europe.

Summer Landscape with Cow Grazing Lauterbrunnen Switzerland