If you spend a few days on vacation in the nature of the Bernese Oberland, you may also want to take a trip to the surrounding area. No destination is more popular than Bern. The capital of Switzerland is only about 1 hour away. It is an interesting city. You can get from Interlaken to Bern quickly and easily by train or car.
Although not quite cheap, the train ride to Bern is ideal. A train leaves every 30 minutes during the day from Interlaken Ost station via Interlaken West, Spiez and Thun to Bern. The first half of the route goes beautifully along Lake Thun (south shore). A round-trip ticket costs (as of 2023) about 50 euros per person. To our knowledge, this return ticket also includes Bern public transportation on the day of validity.
Bern’s main central street starts at the train station. The old town of Bern is within a bend of the great river Aare. The street has several names. First, seen from the train station, it is called Spitalgasse, then Marktgasse, Kramgasse and Gerechtigkeitsgasse. The old town is a UNESCCO World Heritage Site. Almost all important sights of Bern are located on this street or nearby. You can walk everything from the train station, after about a kilometer you get to the river and you have crossed the whole old town.
Guided city tour Bern
You get a lot more information on a guided tour of Bern than you would on a walk through Bern alone. Our recommended city tour (1.5 hours) is not expensive (a little more than 20 euros) and very good. Bookable on the internet: More info and booking
Sights of Bern
The landmark of Bern is the clock tower Zytglogge. It stands in the middle of the old town, in the main street written above. Significant features of the tower are the carillon and the world-famous astronomical clock. Both are masterpieces of technology from the Middle Ages.
Tip Tour Zyglogge: We have made a great guided. Absolutely recommendable! You should book in advance on the Internet: More info and booking
Only a few meters further is the Einstein House Bern (Kramgasse 49) on the right. Einstein lived here from 1903 to 1905. So not as a refugee in the Nazi era, as many think, but decades before. For 5 francs entrance fee you can visit Einstein’s apartment. The apartment, the furniture etc. are still from that time more than 100 years ago. Downstairs is a nice café.
About 100 meters south of our main street is the Bern Cathedral, the most important church in the city. It is a sight inside and out (free admission).
If you walk our main street to the end, you will come across a large bridge over the river Aare. Here is a special sight. On the slope of the river on the right side of the bridge you can see high fences. It is the famous bear park of Bern. Bern is an old dialect word for bear. Here is a small animal park with mighty brown bears. Very nicely done, you can walk along the top and bottom and look at the animals. Bern also has a real zoo a bit outside, but the admission-free bear park is very popular.
Those who are good on foot can walk back. On the way back you can still look at the famous fountains of Bern. Most of them are in the main street of Bern described above. The most famous is the Kindlifresserbrunnen about 50 meters north of the Hauptgasse near the clock tower Zytglogge. However, if you are less good on foot, you can also take a bus back from the Bear Park. Bus number 12 runs all the way back to the train station in our Hauptgasse (about 25 minutes on foot, 10 minutes by bus, leaving about every 6 minutes).
Eating out Bern
All the way from Bern main station to the bears, there are so-called Lauben (arcades) on our main street. These are old covered walkways and a landmark of Bern. In these arcades are many small restaurants and cafes. Mache have at lunchtime for Switzerland inexpensive food. Main courses about 15 to 25 euros. Who can not afford it, you can also find Mc Donalds or Kebab, all about 50% more expensive than in Germany.
You take the train back to Interlaken. If you want, you can also get off halfway in Thun. Also a beautiful city. All in all a wonderful day trip to Bern from the Bernese Oberland (Interlaken).
Video excursion Bern
Very good film on the subject (from YouTube, English)