Zurich to Bern Day Trip: A Complete Guide

You might want to decide to take a day trip to Bern after you’ve seen all that Zurich has to offer.  A beautiful city with many attractions, Bern is certainly worth a visit. 

The city of Bern has something for everyone, whether you’re into history, art, animals, or just relaxing in a beautiful setting. Besides, it’s only an hour away by train from Zurich. You can go there easily and without a hassle.

Bern is Switzerland’s federal city. Nestled along the banks of the Aare River, the city is surrounded by mountains. This charming city has a lot to offer when you take the time to explore it.

Zurich to Bern Day Trip

Bern, Switzerland has a lot to offer, whether you’re looking for an itinerary or a list of things to do. In this article, we will assume that you have your hotel in Zurich and will head to Bern for the day. Here’s all you need to know about a Zurich to Bern Day Trip. Now, let’s go! 

1. Take The Train from Zurich Train Station to Bern

Image by Ig Solares from Pixabay

As soon as you reach the Zurich Train Station (Zurich HB), check the big blue display boards in the middle.  Multiple trains will lead you from Zurich to Bern. You can find the train number and platform number on the station signs. Furthermore, the trains will be marked on the front and the sides with which route they are traveling. 

To make things easy, I suggest taking the direct trains from Zurich to Bern. There are around four direct trains per hour from Zurich to Bern. It typically takes 56 to 88 minutes to travel by train from Zurich main train station to Bern, depending on which train you take.

  • The fastest trains are the Intercity trains (IC) traveling to Geneva Airport and Brig because those trains do not stop anywhere else before stopping in Bern.
  • The Inter-regional trains (IR) departing for Bern are slower due to a 10-minute stop in Olten. These trains stop also in Zürich Altstetten, Langenthal, Herzogenbuchsee, and Burgdorf before arriving in Bern.

2. Visit the Old town and Clock Tower

Image of the Zytglogge in the Old Town by Christophe Schindler from Pixabay

The Old Town, located across the Aare River, is the perfect place to start your day in Bern. Bern’s Old Town, which has a lot of well-preserved medieval buildings, was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. 

The Zytglogge clock tower is right at the entrance of the Old Town. It’s one of Bern’s most famous symbols, dating from between 1218 and 1220. Bern’s UNESCO-listed Old Town and Zytglogge are must-sees.

There are a lot of historic buildings in the Old Town, dating from the 12th to 15th century. Cobblestone streets line historic buildings, and there are arcades with shops and restaurants. 

After you’ve seen the sights, walk in the direction of Nydegg Bridge. You’ll get to the bear pit after you cross the Aare River. 


3.  Walk Around the Bear Pit

Image of the Bear in Bern by TouringSwitzerland.com

Once you cross the Nydegg Bridge, you can explore the Bear Pit (Bärenpark in German). You can see bears playing and climbing around in the enclosure. Currently, they have three brown bears. It’s easy to walk around Bern’s Bear Pit. The fences are high and secure, so you can come even with small kids.

Bern’s Bear Pit is a big hit with Swiss and international tourists. After the bear pit, you can walk to the Rose Garden. The Rose Garden is only 6 minutes away from the Bear Pit.

4.  Enjoy the Views of Bern from the Rose Garden

Image of Bern from the Rosengarten by TeeFarm from Pixabay

While it’s close to the Old Town of Bern, it has a great view of the city. You need to walk uphill, but it’s nothing too hard.

The Rose Garden of Bern (Rosengarten) is beautiful in the spring when the flowers bloom, and in the fall when the leaves turn colors. There are a variety of roses there.

I think the best part about the Rose Garden is the view of the old town of Bern, the Münster Cathedral, the Nydegg Bridge, and the river Aare.

You can dine at the bistro or you can sit in one of the areas around the park. Below are some restaurants you can choose from if you don’t want to have lunch here.


5. Come to one of Bern’s Best Restaurants for Lunch

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

6. Visit a Museum or Two

Image of Bern Historical Museum from wikimedia

When you’re done with lunch, you might want to visit one of the museums in Bern. I recommend going to the Historical Museum, which is Switzerland’s second-largest museum. There are also other choices like the Natural History Museum and Zentrum Paul Klee.

  • Bern Historical Museum – Bern Historical Museum is Switzerland’s second-largest museum. There’s also exhibits on Asia, along with Bern and its history, art, and silver.  There are some exhibits from the Stone Age. More than 500,000 objects can be found here.
  • Einstein Museum – At the Einstein Museum, you can find out more about Albert Einstein, his life, and his contributions to science. You’ll find it inside the Bern Historical Museum. Albert Einstein, considered one of the world’s greatest physicists, lived in Bern when his theory of relativity changed everything.
  • Zentrum Paul Klee – Besides housing one of Europe’s most important collections of contemporary art, the Paul Klee Center also offers a space for events. The building was designed by Renzo Piano, who also designed the Pompidou Center and Whitney Museum. The museum has a shop, a café, and a kid’s workshop.
  • Natural History Museum of Bern – Among the Natural History Museum’s collections are preserved animals from Switzerland, Asia, and Africa. Furthermore, they have Switzerland’s biggest collection of animal skeletons and bones.

7. Take The Train from Zurich HB to Bern

You’ll catch multiple trains from Bern back to Zurich. From Bern Train Station, I recommend taking the direct trains. Every hour, four direct trains leave Bern for Zurich.


Summary: Zurich to Bern Day Trip

It’s not hard to do a day trip from Zurich to Bern. You can swap one of the suggestions above with these other options:

  • Gurten mountain
  • Cathedral at Münsterplatz
  • Federal Building
  • Dählhölzli Zoo
  • Bernaqua
  • Botanic Garden

While you can explore Bern in a day even if you are based in Zurich, you can also opt to stay here 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, BaselBurgdorfInterlaken, 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.