The federal city of Bern is definitely one of the most popular spots to visit in Switzerland. This Swiss gem is nestled along the banks of the Aare river, surrounded by mountains, and has a medieval old town listed as a UNESCO world heritage site.
It’s easy to see why Bern is one of Switzerland’s top cities when you see the scenery along the Aare River. Now, if you were wondering when to visit Bern, this is the article for you. Here’s what to expect in Bern during the different seasons of the year.
When do tourists visit Bern?
Bern is a great destination for friends and family all year round. No matter what time of year it is, Bern won’t let you down. The climate in Bern is moderately continental, with warm summers and cold winters.
The best time to visit Bern is during summer, from June to August when you can go swimming in the city pools. Visit Freibad Marzili (Marzilistrasse 29, Bern) where you can swim for free in the clean, beautiful Aare River.
In Bern, summers are busy, but it’s not surprising since it’s the best and hottest time of year. If you want to avoid the summer crowds, go in May or early September.
Best Time to Visit Bern
The best time to visit Bern really depends on your plans and preferences. I would recommend late May, June, July, August, and early September. This time of year, the bathing season is in full swing, so you might have the option to dip into the Aare River. NOTE: It’s important to be a good swimmer to swim on the Aare.
There’s a caveat: it’s going to be crowded, and it might rain. You might get more comfortable avoiding the main summer school holiday of July if you go in early June or late August.
Bern in Summer
- Summer lasts from June until September.
- Summer in Bern is pleasant with temperatures between 23 to 25 degrees. You will also get the most sunshine during the summer months, particularly in July and August.
- Peak summer temperatures can reach 32 degrees Celsius in July and August. The temperatures rarely fall below 12 degrees at night during summer.
- Rain and thunderstorms can happen on some days during summer, and they usually happen late in the afternoon or early in the evening after a hot day.
- Summer is a popular tourist season in Bern, so accommodation and other living conditions can cost a little more.
- For swimming, the best time of year to visit Bern would be from July to August. Please note that you need to be a good swimmer to swim on the Aare River. Make sure you’re safe while swimming.
Bern in Autumn
- Autumn lasts from September to November.
- In Autumn, the temperature starts dropping and so does the amount of precipitation received.
- Temperatures slowly go down from 20 degrees Celsius in September to 8 degrees in November.
- Expect low visibility when Bern is under a sheet of fog. This tends to happen during autumn in lower-lying areas of Switzerland. You will have to visit one of the mountains near Bern if you want to be above the sheet of fog.
- In November, Bern hosts a traditional farmer’s market called Zibelemärit. Around 200 market stands sell onion delicacies like onion cake, onion soup, onion pizza, sausage with onion, etc.
Bern in Winter
- Winter lasts from December to March.
- Winter is going to be cold and gray in Bern. On the days that it’s too cold and grey in Bern, I highly recommend heading to one of the nearby mountains near Bern. It’s usually easy to see the sun from the mountains even when it’s gray and foggy in the flatlands.
- Temps hover around 3 to 5 degrees Celsius, and you can expect snowy days.
- The weather at this time of year in Bern is too cold to be pleasant for warm-weather travelers.
- The Waisenhausplatz and Münsterplatz Christmas Markets brighten up a dreary winter in Bern.
Bern in Spring
- Spring lasts from March to June.
- May tends to be the wettest month per year.
- Beautiful spring days are a good time in Bern because of the nice weather. However, the Bern bathing areas won’t open until the end of April, and the water’s still too cold.
- Flowers will start blooming. Rosengarten is a great place to visit this time of year. From Rosengarten, you can see the whole city of Bern. You can also expect Japanese Cherry Trees to bloom in the spring.
- Grand-Prix, one of the biggest running events in Switzerland with 30,000 participants, is held in Bern in mid-May.
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Darla Uhl 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.