How to Spend 1 Day in Bern, Switzerland

Have you ever been to Bern, Switzerland? If not, you should. A beautiful city with many attractions, Bern is certainly worth a visit.  Bern offers a variety of attractions for all tastes, whether you enjoy history, art, animals, or simply relaxing in a beautiful setting.

The city of Bern is the federal city of Switzerland. The city is nestled along the banks of the Aare River and is surrounded by mountains. There is much more to discover when you take the time to explore this charming city.

There’s a lot to do in Bern, Switzerland, whether you’re looking for an itinerary or a list of things to do.  In this guide, we’ll show you all the best things to do in one day.

Bern One Day Itinerary: What can you do?

In Bern, there are so many things to do in one day that you can choose from several options based on your mood or the weather. Here’s a glimpse at what one day in Bern might be like.

1. Begin Your Day in the Old Town of Bern

There is no better place in Bern to start your day than the Old Town, located across the Aare River. The Old Town of Bern, which consists of a number of well-preserved buildings from the medieval era, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. 

Located right at the entrance of the Old Town is a prominent medieval clock tower called the Zytglogge. One of Bern’s most famous symbols, the clock dates from between 1218 and 1220. 

The Old Town contains a number of historical buildings dating from the 12th to 15th centuries. There are streets lined with cobblestones lined with historic buildings, as well as arcades with shops and restaurants. 

Bern’s UNESCO-listed Old Town and Zytglogge are a must-see.

After you’ve seen the sights, walk in the direction of Nydegg Bridge. After crossing the Aare River, it will lead you to the bear pit. 

You can buy tickets for guided walks in Bern’s old town at GetYourGuide – Bern: 90-Minute Stroll Through the Old Town.


2.  Visit the Bear Pit

Image of the Bear in Bern by TouringSwitzerland.com

After crossing the Nydegg Bridge, you can explore the Bear Pit. It is home to bears (currently three brown bears), which can be seen playing and climbing around in their enclosure. You can walk the Bear Pit easily. And you may visit it even if you have small children with you, as the fences are high and secure.

Swiss and international tourists love Bern’s bear pit.  Visit the Bear Pit if you are ever in Bern. You will be glad you did.

You can then decide to have lunch near the Bear Pit or head up to Gurten and have lunch there.


3. Enjoy the Breathtaking Views from Gurten 

Image of Gurten by TouringSwitzerland.com

Explore Gurten, Bern’s local mountain, after spending the morning in the city. Gurten offers beautiful views, green (or snowy) meadows, and a relaxing environment. In a paradise at 858 meters above sea level, it looks out over the city of Bern and the Aare river. You’ll have a beautiful panorama of the Bernese Oberland mountains beyond the city.

In summer it has hiking trails, and in winter it has mini ski lifts and a sledding hill. Get your walking shoes or skis and get ready to explore Gurten. If you are looking for a fun day out in the mountains, Gurten is well worth visiting.

From Bern’s main train station, you can get to the Gurten’s valley station in 15 minutes. The Gurten funicular leaves the valley station every 15 minutes.

If you would like to read more about Gurten, you can check out our article Visiting Gurten? 8 Reasons To Love It.


4. Visit a Museum or Two if It’s Rainy

Image of Bern Historical Museum from wikimedia

If it’s rainy or you do not have enough time to go to Gurten, why not explore one of the museums in Bern? Here are some of your options:

  • Bern Historical Museum – Switzerland’s second largest historical museum is the Bern Historical Museum. In addition to Berne and its history, art and silver, the museum contains exhibits on Asia.  Some of the exhibits date back to the Stone Age. It houses more than half a million objects.
  • Einstein Museum – You can also learn more about Albert Einstein, his life, and what he has contributed to science at the Einstein Museum. You can find it inside the Bern Historical Museum itself. Albert Einstein, who is considered one of the world’s greatest physicists, lived in Bern during the time when his theory of relativity changed everything.
  • Zentrum Paul Klee – The Paul Klee Center is a contemporary art museum that not only houses one of Europe’s most important art collections but also offers a suitable venue for events. The building itself was designed by Renzo Piano, who also did the Pompidou Center in Paris and the Whitney Museum in New York. It also has a museum shop, a café, and a workshop for kids.

If you would like to read more about what you can do in Bern in case of rainy weather, check out our article 7 Top Things To Do in Bern When It Rains.


5. End With a Nice Meal for Dinner

Image of a typical Swiss Restaurant by RitaE from Pixabay

Before you end your day, why not try one of Bern’s best restaurants? If you want to have a nice meal in Bern, we recommend the following restaurants:

Jacks BrasserieAn excellent Michelin-starred restaurant located at the Hotel Schweizerhof. French Cuisine. Bahnhofplatz 11, 3001 Bern
Wein & Sein mit HärzbluetAn upscale restaurant with amazing food. Awarded 14 Gault-Millau points. Tip: Reserve your table early.Münstergasse 50, 3011 Bern
NoumiStylish ambiance with excellent cuisine and service. Surprisingly different from all the other traditional restaurants in the city. Kochergasse 3, 3011 Bern
Restaurant SüderTraditional Swiss dining. Moderately-priced. Weissensteinstrasse 61, 3007 Bern
Pizzeria da NinoPossibly the best and most authentic pizza that you can find in Bern. It is a simple restaurant with lots of loyal customers. Belpstrasse 65, 3007 Bern

Summary: 1 Day in Bern, Switzerland

Getting around Bern on foot in one day is easy.  However, this Bern One Day Itinerary can be easily extended to another one or two more days. If you’d like to know more about what to do in Bern, here are more suggestions:

  • The Rose Garden
  • Cathedral at Münsterplatz
  • Federal Building
  • Dählhölzli Zoo
  • Bernaqua
  • Botanic Garden

While you can explore Bern in a day, I’d suggest staying for several days so you can explore other cities nearby.

If you make your base in Bern, you can make many leisurely day trips to Fribourg, Basel, Burgdorf, Interlaken, or some of the stunning places near Interlaken. Alternatively, you can also check out one or more of the mountains near Bern such as Stockhorn or Niesen.