I absolutely fell in love with Bern and I’m so grateful we made this our home base for our first two nights! It’s a city with a lot of history from medieval times, World War II times, and it claims Albert Einstein as its most famous resident. Plus, it’s just stunningly beautiful with green/turquoise waters flowing through the city full of rustic and historic charm.
I always get asked about hotels, and in this case, I’d say try a hotel finder (affiliate link) for a great priced place that’s close to a metro stop or within walking distance of the train station for easy travel.
Okay, let’s start with why we chose Bern out of so many places in Switzerland, and why we think it’s a must-see.
First of all, there’s a major train station that makes connections to pretty much everywhere in Switzerland, so if you need a home base, it’s a great starter!
Secondly, this is one of those places rich in medieval to WII history, so you’ll see and read a bit of everything as you walk through the beautiful town. It’s very walkable, there’s a ton of great food, and it’s a really family-friendly place.
We loved taking the Rick Steve’s walking tour, and learning about the famous bell tower, it’s tie to medieval history and laws (like smoking being illegal and where people hid to smoke!), and appreciating the art and iconic piece of history it is today.
There’s so much art everywhere, all symbolic, all beautiful, and all very public which we really enjoyed.
The cathedral is truly amazing, Gothic styles that were built to be bigger than another city/town to attract church leadership just get me.
Streets that still have the original cellar covers just made us smile. This was where they stored goods and wine- which it said the city was floating on. That is until Napolean came and took all the goods and wine. But, goods were replenished and it’s a place for many shops today. Such a quirky and cool piece of history!
Above one famous cellar is the Einstein apartment where the Theory of Relativity was formed, and his first child was welcomed. This is also where E=MC² came to be, which was a big piece of WWII and atomic bomb theory. It’s so interesting to reflect what it must have been like to be in that time, to think of someone who moved for a job and then to escape Nazi rule, and to help further science so much.
After a history lesson, we enjoyed walking along the back streets and viewing the gorgeous river, watching people dine at cafes with a view, and finding family-friendly parks for our little guy to stop at and enjoy.
He fell hard for soft pretzels in this area (we all did- Bavaria and soft pretzels are not only a thing, but the thing!), and we learned to keep a little piece to feed pigeons at every stop to keep him busy and happy. It was definitely the highlight of his trip!
We ended our walk at one of the quirkiest and most iconic pieces of this city: Bern is symbolized by a bear, and there are terraces at the end of city walk where bears actually live and reside complete with river fishing and hillside that are contained.
We let our toddler watch the bears, wave at the bears, tell the bears “See you wait-ter (later)” over and over again as they walked around, and enjoy what felt like a day at the zoo to him.
All the while, we enjoyed some of the prettiest views we’ve ever seen, and some of the best food. Which deserves it’s own post and will be my travel post next week: What to eat in Switzerland.
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