10 Recommendations for Autumn in Bern
#1 Thirteen reasons why
No, this isn’t about the Netflix series – it’s thirteen good reasons why shopping in Bern is a great idea, whether you’re looking for souvenirs, additions to your wardrobe, or yummy Bernese treats. Under the six kilometres (!) of arcades and in the vaulted cellars of Bern’s Old Town, you will discover all kinds of wonderful shops and hidden gems. While you’re shopping, there will be plenty of time and leisure for a relaxed chat with shop owners and fellow shoppers and to experience the laid-back attitude of the Bernese. Speaking of laid-back attitudes: Did you know that just by spending 4 hours leisurely strolling underneath the Arcades you will burn around 1’400 calories? And as the shopping bags become heavier and heavier as the day goes on (a very likely scenario), you’ll get a free arm workout on top.
Going shopping in Bern
#2 Discover Bern’s brewery scene
Things are fizzing and frothing in the beer capital. Everywhere you look there’s fermenting and brewing going on, including in basements, garages, and even laundry rooms! 176 breweries and microbreweries are registered here – more than anywhere else in Switzerland. No wonder locally brewed craft beer and Bern go together like hops and malt! Whether you go for a drink in the legendary vaulted cellar of the Au Trappiste beer bar in the lower part of the Old Town, visit the Altes Tramdepot (where tasty meals and the unfiltered “Tram beers” are served) or participate in a beer tour of Bern’s brewing culture led by a beer sommelier – in Bern, current and future beer connoisseurs will find everything their hearts desire.
Here’s what’s tappin’
#3 Jazz in the federal capital
Feeling jazzy? The International Jazzfestival Bern usually takes place in spring, but due to the current situation, jazz fans had to be extra patient this year. But the wait is finally over! Starting on September 29th, the 45. edition of the festival will host a series of over 200 concerts with renowned musicians from all over the world. Whether you’re in the cosy and intimate atmosphere of Marians Jazzroom, the jazz tent of the Innere Enge Hotel, or the exclusive premises of the Schweizerhof Hotel – there’s plenty of variety, great venues, musical highlights, and all that jazz. The festival will last until December – get out your planners and start saving those dates!
Let the music play!
#4 Along the banks of the Aare river
In the summer, the Aare – the locals’ favourite river – is perfect for swimming. But there’s also plenty to do on its banks in the fall. Be it a relaxing stroll, visiting the flea market at Dampfzentrale, going to the movies, seeing a play, or enjoying a delicious meal – there’s something for everyone. When the weather is nice, we like to pack a picnic blanket, get cozy on the meadow at Eichholz, and get a fire started at one of the many fire pits to roast sausages and marshmallows. When it’s rainy, we love taking a look at Cinématte’s programme and then enjoying a movie at the iconic movie theatre.
Enjoy the Aare
#5 Visit Bern’s local mountain
Looking for the perfect place to run around in the leaves, fly a kite or be a kid (again)? Look no further, just head to Bern’s local mountain, the Gurten. On sunny autumn days, everyone loves to relax high above the city’s rooftops, enjoying the serene atmosphere and beautiful surroundings. It’s perfect for a quick time-out from the hustle and bustle of the city below. The Gurten is also a garden Eden for children (of all ages): underneath the colourful trees, a thousand rustling leaves await. For visitors with a need for speed, there’s a tobogganing run and many other attractions – most of them free – at the playground, waiting to be discovered and explored after the autumn stroll. The large, noisy ball path, which reminds us of the machines of famous artist Jean Tinguely, is especially fun.
Off to Bern’s local mountain
#6 One order of Swissness, please
We are feeling inspired by our southern neighbour, the canton of Valais, and have decided to start raclette season early this year (since everything else has been turned upside-down anyway). Adventurous foodies enjoy the Swiss speciality al fresco. How it works, you ask? It’s simple: Grab your friends or your sweetheart, pick up the “Raclette-Rucksack” (raclette backpack) at the Restaurant Lötschberg at 16 Zeughausgasse, and off you go! Stroll through parks, along the Aare river or through Dahlhölzi forest - the route is entirely up to you. Once you have found your favourite spot, unpack your bag, light the Rechaud candles and let the raclette fun begin! Our tip: A glass of white wine from the Valais makes everything taste twice as good …
#7 “Weyerli” for the win
Calling all cycling fans! We’re off to the races: on 17 and 18 October, the Bern Radquer biking competition with the EKZ CrossTour and the Allianz Ride & Race will take place at the Weyermannshaus (called “Weyerli” by locals) outdoor swimming pool. Pro cyclists and amateur bikers alike can participate in the different categories. And there’s an event for the younger generation, too: kids and teenagers can enter the Kids-Cross race, where they compete against each other on a section of the pro course while being cheered on by the enthusiastic crowd. Shh, rumour has it there’s a cool surprise waiting for the kids at the end. Spend a fun family afternoon at this Bernese bikefest!
Ready, set, go!
#8 Put on your dancing (er, hiking) shoes
The newly built Gäggersteg, a walkway made of wood, takes hikers on a two-hour walk through the trees of the forest reserve by the Pfyffe, a local mountain. The beautiful panorama and seemingly endless rows of mountain peaks could almost make you dizzy – but you’ll be fine, the impressions and beautiful landscape will give you the energy boost you need to discover the entire family-friendly, themed path. It is built from local wood and stands at up to eight metres above the ground, leading visitors through the forest that was almost completely destroyed by storm Lothar in 1999. Old and young can learn how nature has been recovering by playing the game about "Wild Tüst" and his goats.
Off to the Gäggersteg
#9 Artistic Autumn
Is there anything better than admiring colourful paintings and impressive statues in one of Bern’s many (warm and dry) museums when it’s cold and wet outside? Didn’t think so. That is why the Kunstmuseum Bern and the Zentrum Paul Klee have launched the “Kunstherbst Bern” (Artistic Autumn Bern) which lasts from September until the end of December. Here’s how it works: Simply purchase a combo ticket at one of the two museums and you’re all set to enjoy some great art! The ticket is valid for all six exhibitions on that day. Feeling peckish after your visit? You’re in luck: the restaurant Verdi is right in between the two museums. It is dedicated to none other than classical composer Giuseppe Verdi himself and a wonderful way to end a day of art and culture.
Art in autumn
#10 Family BBQ
Sausage, baked potato, vegetable skewer – or all of the above? On sunny autumn days, there are important decisions to be made! We love big family barbecues (including grandpa, aunt, and nephews), but a balcony can become too small pretty quickly, so we’re headed outside. Be it in one of the city’s parks, by the river or on a hill surrounded by a beautiful view: there’s so many great options! We’re sharing the best locations with you, and we promise you’ll find your new favourite BBQ spot among them. So, get the gang together, fill your backpacks with plenty of treats (don’t forget the marshmallows for dessert), and fire up the grill!
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