Couchsurfing Switzerland Travel

Tips for Bern

23. June 2016

Since I started becoming a frequent couchsurfing host about half a year ago, in December 2015, I gained like 3 or 4 kg of weight. This is because many of my guests want to taste typical Swiss dishes so I take them to the restaurant “Lötschberg” for a cheese fondue – and I can not resist taking part in it.

When I am not able to host you as a couchsurfing guest you can at least take part in my hints for Switzerland’s so called capital. Let’s start the tour.

Sights | Tours | Scenic places | Shopping | Hiking

Sights

  • The Zytglogge is Bern’s emblem – a must see.
    Just one hint: Don’t wait for the hourly ringing of the bell. It is disappointing.
  • The Bern Minster – go up there and enjoy the fantastic view over the city. Even on cloudy or rainy days.
    But keep in mind that the tower closes already at 16:30.
  • You may recognize some international flags and crests on the outside of several houses even in the old city of Bern (which is by the way a UNESCO Cultural World Heritage Site). As you know, Switzerland is a neutral country and thus in diplomatic relationships with almost every other country. And as Bern is the de facto capital of Switzerland you will find nearly all the embassies here (there is even one of North Korea).
    Some of those embassies are located in separate buildings (like the one of the US one or the many embassies in the district of Kirchenfeld) while some smaller countries decided to just rent an apartment in the city. This is why you will find their national coat of arms or flags at many buildings around the city.

Tours

  • Free walking tours
    I highly recommend to take part in one of the almost daily free walking tours in Bern. They will tell you a lot interesting historical details about the city which I do not want to list here.
    On their website you will find the several information about routes and dates, also about the various meeting points.
  • Parliament
    There are guided tours through the parliament building which will take about 75 minutes (including preparation which is a security check before you are allowed to enter). The building is beautiful and has some interesting stories so check out the schedule.

Scenic places

  • Kornhausbrücke
  • Kleine Schanze
  • Rosengarten

Shopping

Some people ask me for typical Swiss souvenirs. Instead of buying a boring t-shirt with a Swiss cross printed on it, I recommend taking something really Swiss with you. In my opinion, there are two options:

  • A “Swiss Army knife”
    A classical souvenir from Switzerland. Useful not only when you are a soldier but also when you are an outdoor freak in general. It can also help you in the kitchen.
    Best store to buy one of those knives in Bern is “Klötzli Messerschmiede” – they have a large collection of Swiss army knives for every intended use.
    Klötzli Messerschmiede: Rathausgasse 84, CH-3011 Bern
  • A “Freitag” bag
    The company “Freitag” was founded in 1993 by two brothers who were working as designers and wanted to create messenger bags – from old truck canvas covers. They are very successful and you can find a large collection of these unique bags at OLMO and a smaller selection at “kitchener”.

  • Stickers

Hiking

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