The cityscape of Bern, founded in 1191, is marked by decorative fountains, the late Bern Minster and a unique skyline of roofs. All these treasures are enclosed by the loop of the Aare river, curving round the old town like a protective shield. Today, the old town is regarded as one of the most extraordinary and best preserved examples of medieval town planning in Europe and is recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983. Situated right within this one-of-a-kind perimeter are two renowned luxury addresses: the tradition-steeped Hotel Bellevue Palace and the Hotel Schweizerhof Bern.
“This is the most beautiful place we have ever seen.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote these words in a letter to his friend Charlotte von Stein during his 1779 stay in Bern. Also today, the Swiss capital and UNESCO World Heritage Site will cast a spell on its visitors with an almost limitless offer of cultural activities, shopping and lifestyle to enjoy.
Behind the historical facades of the Swiss capital, you find everything your heart could desire: from ultra-modern shops with international brands, fashion boutiques through to exquisite local specialist stores. The four miles of arcades in the Old Town make for an impressive covered shopping promenade. Bern's cellar shops reveal another special feature of the city: in the past used for storage, today these vaulted cellars on both sides of the wide alleyways are home to fashion boutiques, art galleries, cinemas and wine dealers. On Tuesdays and Saturdays, colorful markets with fresh vegetables, flowers and meat products are held on the Bundesplatz (Parliament Square) and Münsterplatz (Minster Square). Standing in marked contrast is the Westside Leisure and Shopping Centre. Opened in 2008, this Daniel Libeskind-designed complex offers a world of shopping experiences across 23,500 square meters of floor space that can only be described in superlatives.
Visitors to Bern are spoilt for choice with a wealth of art and architecture. Home to some of Switzerland's leading museums and galleries, such as the world’s most important Klee collection at Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern is considered a true citadel of culture. Bern's theater landscape – from the City Theater to the Cellar Theater – is sure to impress. The Bern Symphony Orchestra is known for eclectic concerts, working with renowned conductors and soloists and also for guest performances in Switzerland and abroad.
Albert Einstein, who lived in Bern from 1902 to 1909, called these years the happiest and most fruitful period in his life. It was during this time he developed his famous Theories of Relativity. The Bern Historical Museum honors his life and work with the world’s largest Albert Einstein exhibit. His former residence in the Old Town, the Einstein House, is now open to the public.
In Bern, savorers will find the full gourmet spectrum available: Besides the many restaurants serving dishes from all over the world, visitors are offered a variety of traditional specialties on the menu, like Bernese Rösti, classic Bernese platter or a Bernese braided bread for their Sunday brunch. The epicurean menus of the numerous Gault Millau rewarded restaurants make for a memorable visit.
Situated in the heart of Switzerland and Europe, this jewel of a city is easy to reach by car, train or plane via BERN Airport. Thanks to Bern's central location, the Alps and most of Switzerland's attractions are reachable as day or half-day excursions. All the same, also the close Bern Region enchants, be it through its charming rolling hills, the Emmental cheese full of its world-famous holes, the historical bell foundry, ancient castles, themed markets or through the unique hiking and biking scenery of the Nature Park Gantrisch.