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Highlights

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Bikes to borrow free of charge (they also have flyer electrobikes, scooters and skateboards). Pick up at Milchgässli (next to Bahnhofplatz). Open daily 7.30 am – 9.30 pm, deposit required: passport or ID card plus CHF 20.-.

Bear Pits (Bärengraben). The bear is Bern’s heraldic animal. The Bear Pits house five Pyrenean brown bears. Daily 9.30 am - 5 pm. Bus 12 to station Bärengraben.

French Church. (Französische Kirche). Oldest church in Bern. Dominican priory church from 1270 to 1285. Church for French-speaking Protestants from 1623; after 1685 a center for Huguenot refugees.

Parliamentary Building (Bundeshaus). Seat of Swiss government and parliament. Free guided tours (duration 45 min.), Mon – Sat at 9, 10, 11 am and at 2, 3 and 4 pm,
plus Thursdays 5, 6 and 7 pm (no tours during parliamentary sessions; then access to the public galleries only). Passport or ID card required! Check-in at the latest 25 minutes before the start of the tour (security entrance, east side of Parliament Building)! In view of the large number of visitors it is advisable to sign up the day before (031 322 85 22).

Münster-Cathedral from 1421. A prime example of Swiss late Gothic architecture. Highest spire in Switzerland: 344 steps above the entrance, 100 meters high, from where you can enjoy an excellent view! Tue-Sat 10 am – 5 pm, Sun 11.30 am - 5 pm, closed on Mondays (latest entry to climb the spire is 30 min. before closing time). Free admission to the cathedral, entry to the spire costs CHF 4.-.

Swiss Alpine Museum. History of the Swiss Alps. Special exhibits, multimedia show, audio-visual information in 4 languages. Mon 2 – 5.30 pm, Tue - Sun 10 am – 5.30 pm. Admission CHF 10.-, students CHF 7.-. Helvetiaplatz 4, cross the bridge at Casinoplatz.

Natural History Museum. (Naturhistorisches Museum, Bernastrasse 15). Over 200 lifelike presentations of domestic and exotic birds and mammals. See the original Barry, the famous Saint Bernard dog who saved over 40 lives. Mon 2 – 5 pm, Tue, Thu, Fri 9 am – 5 pm, Wed 9 am – 6 pm, Sat and Sun 10 am – 5 pm. Admission CHF 8.-, students CHF 6.-.

Zoological Gardens Dählhölzli. Attractive woodland setting. A unique selection of European and exotic fauna. Open daily 8 am – 6.30 pm, CHF 8.-, students CHF 6.-. Take bus 19 to Tierpark.

Museum of Fine Arts (Kunstmuseum). One of the most distinguished collections in Switzerland: Italian, Swiss and French art, i.e. Picasso, Kandinsky, Matisse. Hodlerstrasse 12. Tue 10 am – 9 pm, Wed - Sun 10 am – 5 pm, closed on Mon. Admission CHF 7.-, students CHF5.-.

Einstein House at Kramgasse 49 is the apartment where Einstein lived from 1903 to 1905. It’s now a small museum featuring pictures which provide an insight into Einstein’s years in Bern. April – Sep open daily 10 am - 5 pm, in Oct Tue – Fri 10 am – 5 pm, Sat 10 am – 4 pm, Sun closed; admission CHF 6.-, students CHF 4.50. (the Historical Museum at Helvetiaplatz 5 presents a permanent exhibition under the name “Einstein Museum”; open Tue – Sun 10 am – 5 pm; CHF 18.-, students CHF 13.-.)

The new Zentrum Paul Klee is much more than a traditional fine arts museum. Approx. 4,000 paintings, watercolors, drawings, puppets, sketches and other works of Paul Klee’s are on display. Take bus no 12 from the railway station until “Paul Klee Zentrum”. Tue - Sun 10 am-5 pm, Mon closed. Admission CHF 16.-, students CHF 14.-

Mt. Gurten. Popular day trip destination! Panorama of the city and the Alps. Reached in 25 min. by tram no. 9 to Wabern. Get off at Gurtenbahn.¨ From July 15th – 18th the legendary Gurten open-air festival is held up here

On really sweltering days cool down in and on the shore of the beautiful meandering river Aare. In the popular public free bath Marzili 17 you can float down the river (good swimmers only). A great spot for a self-catering barbecue is the park Eichholz (right next to the river – this is where people from Bern spend many of their summer days).

And when it rains? Bern’s six kilometers of arcades, with shops, restaurants and cafés, is weather-proof. Window-shopping is fun!