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Marzilibahn Funicular: All You Need to Know

Last Updated on December 12, 2023 by Darla

Marzilibahn Funicular connects Bern Marzili with the Swiss Federal Buildings via a short inclined railway. Aside from its functional use, the Marzilibahn funicular is also a popular attraction in Bern, Switzerland. It was first opened in 1885 and has been operating ever since.

Image of Marzilibahn Funicular in Bern by TouringSwitzerland.com
Image of Marzilibahn Funicular in Bern by TouringSwitzerland.com

Marzilibahn is one of the oldest and shortest funiculars in Switzerland. The little train climbs 31 meters in altitude on its 105-meter-long journey.

Overview: Marzilibahn Funicular

Image of Marzilibahn Funicular in Bern by TouringSwitzerland.com

The Marzilibahn funicular is a unique way to travel between the Marzili district at 504 meters above sea level and the Federal Palace of Switzerland (Bundeshaus Bern )at 539 meters above sea level.

On the railway, two small red cars run on a single track, allowing them to pass each other midway. There are stunning views of the city and the Aare River from this ride, which makes it one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. From the Marzili station, you will only need around 5 minutes to get to the nearest bathing area Freibad Marzili.

The locals also use the funicular to get between the two districts, so they can save time and energy instead of walking up the steep hill.

History of Marzilibahn Funicular

Marzilibahn Funicular is a historic funicular railway located in Bern, Switzerland. Since it was built in 1885, it has been the fastest way to get from Bern’s train station to Freibad Marzili. It is also one of the oldest funiculars in Switzerland.

Until 1974, Marzilibahn Funicular was a water ballast railway. This type of railway system uses water as a means of weight distribution or ballasting. To pull up the funicular below, water was filled up to 3,500 liters from the city stream. The funicular’s water was disposed of in the river Aare when it reached the bottom1.

It was later converted to electric power in 1974. The Marzilibahn Funicular cars are counterbalanced, which means that when one car goes up, the other goes down. Today, you can find the discarded funicular at the Swiss Museum of Transport in Lucerne (Verkehrshaus Luzern).

Since its first operation in 1885, the Marzilibahn Funicular has been one of Bern’s top tourist attractions. Views of the city and surrounding mountains are spectacular while riding it. As it provides a quick and convenient way to travel between the Marzili district and the city center, the railway is also popular with locals.

Design and Construction of Marzilibahn

Image of Marzilibahn Funicular in Bern by TouringSwitzerland.com

The Marzilibahn Funicular is a unique and iconic transportation system within the city center of Bern, Switzerland. The funicular was suggested by the engineer and Federal State Treasurer Robert Schnyder2.

Currently, the Marzilinbahn Funicular is a single-track system that is powered by electricity. Funicular cars are arranged on either end and cross in the middle. It provides a quick and efficient means of transport between the Marzili neighborhood and Bern’s city center. With a bright red color, the car design is simple and functional.

Funicular rides are available upon request, every three minutes, and they take about one minute each. The top station is where tickets are checked. It has a capacity of 30 persons per car.3

Marzilibahn Funicular: Practical Information

Image Near Bundesterasse in Bern by TouringSwitzerland.com
Image Near Bundesterasse in Bern by TouringSwitzerland.com

Route and Stations

There are two stations on the funicular, separated by 32 meters.

StationAltitude (meters)DescriptionAddress
Bern Bundesterrasse539 mUpper StationBundesterrasse 7
3011 Bern
Bern Marzili507 mLower StationMünzrain 20
3005 Bern
Image of the Marzili Neighborhood near the Aare River in Bern by TouringSwitzerland.com
Image of the Marzili Neighborhood near the Aare River in Bern by TouringSwitzerland.com

The lower station can be found in Bern Marzili near the popular bathing area Freibad Marzili and the Marzili neighborhood. It is near the Aare River.

The upper station can be found near the terrace beside the Swiss Federal Building. This area also has a large public square popular for gatherings and markets. Nearby are Bern’s Old Town and Bern’s Train Station. The terrace here provides a fantastic view of the city as well.

Operating Hours

Marzilibahn operates 7 days a week from 6:15 AM to 9:00 PM. Occasionally, it will be closed for inspections or revisions, but this will be announced in advance.

It is still possible to travel from the city by bus if the funicular is not operating.

Prices

Tickets for the funicular can be purchased at the ticket machines located at the stations. The ticket price is CHF 1.50 for a single trip and CHF 2.90 for a round trip. There is no charge for children under 6 years old.

Ticket prices are published on their website: http://www.marzilibahn.ch.

Final Thoughts: Marzilibahn Funicular

The Marzilibahn Funicular, which opened in 1885, holds a significant place in the history, culture, and daily life of Bern, Switzerland. Originally designed as a means of transportation, the funicular quickly became a beloved tourist attraction that continues to captivate visitors to this day.

The Marzilibahn Funicular’s iconic presence and scenic route, offering panoramic views of the city and Aare River, make it an essential experience for visitors seeking to immerse themselves in the beauty of Bern.

In summary, the Marzilibahn funicular holds a special place in Bern’s history, culture, and daily life. Its longevity as a beloved tourist attraction, its iconic presence in the cityscape, its practical role as a means of transportation, and its ability to witness the city’s evolution make it a cherished symbol of Bern’s rich heritage.

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Darla is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country. Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.

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