About what you should spend 2 days in Bern? So keep reading because the capital of Switzerland is an amazing place to visit.

Unlike the more popular Swiss destinations of Geneva and Zurich, it has a relatively quiet atmosphere. However, it’s still incredibly rich in culture and history – in fact, from the moment you arrive, you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped back in time hundreds of years.

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The reasons for its UNESCO World Heritage status are immediately apparent, from the ancient buildings and narrow cobbled streets to the covered arcades, impressive clock towers and beautiful fountains.

Hot and sunny in the summer – cold and often snowy in the winter – Bern has many attractions at almost any time of the year.

If you are visiting the city for the first time, you may be wondering what to do in 2 days in Bern. This guide is intended to help!

We’ve put together a list of the best things to see and do each morning and afternoon of your stay. We’ve also recommended some great places to eat and our favorite places to stay.

This allows you to travel for free in Bern and the surrounding areas by public transport, with all tram and bus journeys in areas 100/101 managed by the LIBERO Association.

Bern

Day 1

On your first 2 days in Bern, you’ll take in the sights of its beautiful old town before visiting the city’s legendary bears and the art and architecture of the Paul Klee Zentrum.

In the morning

Bern’s natural point of exploration is its historic town, full of fountains and lined with 15th-century arcades.

First, head to Bern Cathedral – one of the city’s most iconic attractions. Originally built as a Catholic church in 1421, the 16th century saw it transformed into a Swiss Reformation church.

Its tower was not completed until 1893 and is so tall that the cathedral now holds the honor of being the tallest in the country.

Its combination of Gothic architecture, amazing stained glass windows and sculptures is a sight to behold. There are other interesting features too, including a Gothic font in the apse, a Baroque organ and carved choir stalls.

The highlight of your visit is climbing the 254 steps to the top of the 328-foot (100-meter) tower (you’ll need to purchase a ticket for this). On a clear day, you’ll get amazing views from the top and can even make out the snow-capped peaks of the Alps on the horizon.

You can also see the bell inside the tower. It weighs 10.5 tons and is the largest in the country.

Department of Bern

From the cathedral, it is only a short walk to Zitglogge. This clock tower has been the western gateway to the city since the 12th century, although the astronomical clock was added in 1530.

It ticks clock by clock and is a spectacle of a circus of mechanical creations. Make sure you arrive a few minutes early so you don’t miss it!

You may want to make a reservation Watch the clock tower to make the most of their trip. It’s very interesting and goes behind the scenes and shows you the mechanisms that run the clock and the dials.

Take a walk next to see the nearby Käfigturm. It was built in the early 13th century as a defense tower, but later became a prison.

Although it is now used for political purposes, you can request a free guided tour and see signs written by inmates on the walls of the prison.

Your final morning stop is the Bundeshaus, the Swiss Federal Palace. It has a beautiful facade and a stunning interior, with amazing sculptures, elegantly carved wood and stunning stained glass windows.

The domed block in the center houses the two chambers of the Swiss Parliament, while the outer wings house the library and various federal institutions. You can book a free guided tour of the building, but make sure you do so in advance – they get booked up fast.

If you see the interior, be sure not to miss the incredible fountain on the Bundesplatz outside, which represents the 26 planes of the 26 cantons of Switzerland. Locals come here to relax and it’s a great place for people watching.

Zytglogge clock tower

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Afternoon

Start your afternoon with lunch on the sunny terrace at the Rosengarten restaurant. The food is good and reasonably priced, while the view is wonderful!

Then stroll through the Rosengarten (Rose Garden) itself. Peaceful and picturesque, it is high on a hill and offers beautiful views across the old town and the Alps.

Its first roses were planted in the early 20th century, and it now has more than 200 different varieties, as well as hundreds of rhododendrons, azaleas and irises. You can also see the beautiful pool, pavilion, fountains and statues.

Now it’s time to see the iconic bear well, which is located next to the park. Bears are a symbol of the city and the four bears kept here are a “must visit” when visiting Bern in 2 days.

Admission is free, this huge site has two enclosures connected by a tunnel. One is the original, authentic den and the other is a larger, newer den that provides the bears with a very comfortable environment to live in.

If the bears are sleeping when you visit, you can see them through the webcam instead.

Bern Barengraben

End your afternoon at the Paul Klee Zentrum, located on the eastern edge of Bern. Here you can see a large collection of works by German-Swiss artist Paul Klee, one of the most influential artists of the early 20th century.

The building itself is as interesting as the artworks housed in it. Designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, it is light, airy and looks like a rolling landscape.

evening

For a fantastic view of Bern at night, spend the evening at the rooftop bar of Hotel Schweizerhof. In warm weather, you can enjoy summer drinks and summer snacks, while in winter fondue and hot drinks are served.



Day 2

During the second of your two days in Bern, you’ll visit its fascinating museums before treating yourself to some of the best shopping in the world!

In the morning

You will spend your morning at the Bern Historical Museum, the second largest museum in the country and one of the most important.

The neo-renaissance architecture of the building is very beautiful, while inside you will find historical exhibits from the Stone Age to the present day. There is so much to see that you could easily spend a day here!

Part of this museum is the Einstein Museum. Here you can learn everything about one of the most famous residents of Bern – the physicist Albert Einstein.

He lived here for 7 years at the beginning of the 20th century and published many of his important articles. He also lectured at the city university.

The exhibition focuses on Einstein’s development of the theory of relativity while living in Bern. You can see a number of letters, photos, videos and objects related to his life and work.

The animated film explains the theory of relativity in layman’s terms, and there are some notable items, including a letter from Einstein to President Roosevelt, sending him from Germany nuclear power. You can also see Einstein’s Nobel Prize certificate from 1921.

Einstein Historical Museum Bern

Afternoon

After lunch, visit the Einstein House, which is interesting to see after the Einstein Museum.

This is the house on the third floor, where he lived with his wife and son from 1903 to 1905. Here he wrote the Annus Mirabilis articles that changed the way the scientific community looked at the universe.

Spread over two floors, the attraction offers more insight into Einstein’s scientific work, but also into his personal life, with one floor decorated to look like he and his family lived there.

Now it’s time to head to the 3.7 miles (6 km) of covered arcades in Bern’s old town for some serious shopping! These arcades protect you from the weather while you browse the goods in the exclusive shops inside.

If you want to take home luxury items, shop in Spitalgasse and Marktgasse. While on Marktgasse visit Läderach, which sells some of the best Swiss chocolate you will ever experience.

Einsteinhaus

evening

The perfect end to your two days in Bern is with an evening cruise on one of its lakes. These are offered by BLS – the nation’s largest transportation service – at certain times of the year.

Is 2 days in Bern enough?

As this itinerary shows, you can easily see the best of Bern in 2 days. It’s a compact city that you can comfortably explore on foot, with good public transport links if you need it.

Note that this route is two full days in the city. Consider adding an extra night if you have a late check-in or early departure time.

Where to stay in Bern

Here are some of our favorite accommodation options in Bern to suit every budget.

Best budget accommodation

Perfectly located in the Old Town just 300 feet (100 yards) from the famous Zitglogge Tower, immaculately clean Bern Backpackers Hotel Glocke has a fully equipped kitchen, laundry and WiFi in all public areas and free rooms.

You can choose a single bed in a dormitory, a room with a shared bathroom or a suite. Tea is free and there is a large common room where movies are shown in English at night.

Best mid-range accommodation

In Acomo Bern is only 1,350 feet (450 yards) from the Parliament Buildings.

With a variety of rooms, including family rooms, it has free WiFi throughout. Each room has a desk, a flat-screen TV, a private bathroom, bed linen, towels and a kettle, while some also have a kitchenette with a microwave, fridge and stove.

The best luxury accommodation

If you want to feel pampered during your two days in Bern, stay there Hotel Schweizerhof Bern & Spa. This 5-star hotel has a convenient location and beautiful rooms equipped with modern facilities.

All rooms have minibars, large bathrooms with rain showers, Nespresso coffee machines and excellent entertainment facilities including IP telephone. There is also a health center and a restaurant.

Swiss parliament building in Bern

Final thoughts on this itinerary for two days in Bern

A weekend in Bern is enough time to discover its historical and cultural treasures, admire its architecture and gain an insight into local life.

We hope this guide has helped you plan your trip and that you have an enjoyable and memorable vacation.

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