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Six things people who live in Bern may take for granted

Sandra Sparrowhawk
Sandra Sparrowhawk - [email protected]
Six things people who live in Bern may take for granted
A busy street in Bern in 2020. Photo by Prateek Mahesh on Unsplash

If you’ve lived in Bern for a while, chances are you are no longer appreciating how special the city really is. Here are six things (some) Bern residents take for granted.

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From its exquisite food scene to its beautiful scenery perfect for hiking, you don’t need to look far or long to find good things about Bern - yet sometimes those are the very things long-term residents tend to overlook.

Here are some things you (too) might take for granted.

Parks, parks, and more parks

Bern is known for its laidback atmosphere and somewhat slower pace of life when compared to some of Switzerland’s larger cities, such as Zurich and Geneva.

This makes the capital city ideal for a casual stroll through one of its many parks and when it comes to parks, in Bern you are truly spoiled for choice.

Whether you decide on a romantic stroll in the city’s quaint Mettlenpark, or you want to smell the roses in the Rosengarten – arguably Bern’s most beautiful park offering views over the rooftops of the historic Old City, the Münster as well as the loop in the Aare river.

You may also want to swing by the Botanical Garden of the University of Bern for a more exotic selection, or, if travelling with kids, visit the Tierpark where over 200 species of animals can be seen 365 days a year.

While there, we also recommend checking out the BärenPark which is located at the foot of Bern's Old City. There, you may just be able to sneak a peek at one of the enclosure's real-life bears, which by the way have been the symbol of the city for centuries, though the origins are disputed.

Bern is also famous for its Gurtenpark – a mountain park boasting multiple features such as hiking trails, an observation tower, a playground, as well as numerous other attractions.

READ MORE: Basel vs. Bern: Which is best for a weekend break?

Taking a dip in the Aare

Likewise, did you know that swimming in Bern’s Aare is one of the city’s most beloved summer sports?

Seasoned swimmers in Bern’s waterworks are often spotted sporting an Marzilian Aarebag featuring Bern’s signature bear print. The bag can be taken for a swim while keeping your belongings perfectly dry.

Most of the Aare swimmers meet up at the Marzilibad or Lorrainebad and walk upstream by the river, either from Marzili towards Schönausteg, or from Lorrainebad towards Altenbergsteg – before jumping in the river and drifting downstream.

You can also check out the three most popular Bern swim routes here.

However, whichever route you decide on, do remember that swimming in Switzerland’s rivers (and the Aare specifically) is usually only recommended for experienced swimmers.

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Fresh, tasty water wherever you go

Bern’s public fountains aren’t just great for swimming (yes, that’s a thing), the majority of them provide perfectly safe drinking water.

The city has 102 public fountains – 36 of which are in the city centre - most of which (and all 36 in the centre) offer fresh, clean and tasty Bern spring water for free, meaning buying bottled water is a thing of the past.

All wells in operation are cleaned weekly and regular care of the fountains ensures chemical ingredients and cleaning agents steer clear of the water.

Going to another (non-Swiss) city, you’ll have a quick look around before you realise that there’s not so many water fountains.

Attractions wherever you look

As the capital of Switzerland, Bern sure knows how to deliver on the entertainment front.

In the centre of Bern's Old City you will find the Zytglogge, a medieval clock tower that was built in the 13th century and originally served as a gate tower of Bern's western fortifications.

If you’re in the mood for a museum visit, you should definitely drop by the Einstein Museum which is based within Bern’s iconic Bern Historical Museum.

Many people might not know that Albert Einstein was living in Bern when developing his theory of relativity. The exhibition dedicated to him explores both his private and professional lives as well as the fascinating world of the 1920s.

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You can also grab an audio guide in various languages (German/French/English/Italian/Spanish/Japanese/Hebrew/Chinese/Russian) to enjoy your visit even more.

You can also visit the house at Kramgasse, where the physicist lived with his family in the early 1900s.

READ ALSO: Why the Swiss city of Bern is receiving hundreds of noise complaints

From 21st August to 12th October 2023, politically minded individuals can also take part in a tour of the parliament building which are free of charge and available in German, French, Italian, and English.

READ MORE: Basel vs Bern: Which Swiss city is the best to live in?

Important role in Swiss history

Founded in 1191, Bern is the de facto capital of Switzerland and thus also the political centre of the country as well as the centre of the Bern-Mittelland economic region.

Moreover, Bern’s Old City was also included in the UNESCO World Heritage List and attracts thousands of tourists each year.

In addition to Ovomaltine - cocoa flavoured powder made from malt extract and dried eggs, which is dissolved in cold or hot milk – Toblerone was also invented in Bern, and the city was home to some of humanity’s greatest minds, such as physicist Albert Einstein and artist Paul Klee.

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Employment opportunities

A number of big multinational corporations are headquartered in Bern, which means there are many job opportunities for skilled professionals.

The canton of Bern has over 640,000 employees in more than 70,000 companies and is the largest industrial canton in Switzerland.

Corporations based in the canton benefit from the proximity to universities, technical colleges, and other research institutions.

The Biel/Bienne and the Bernese Jura regions are particularly important locations for the Swiss watch industry with many Swiss watch brands, such as Omega, Rolex, Longines and Swatch enjoying a global reputation.

Moreover, many local and global corporations meet annually at the Swiss Economic Forum in Interlaken making this an ideal opportunity for networking for both established companies and start-ups.

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