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In the heart of World Heritage Listed Old Bern it’s easy to forget that this grey-green cobbled fairytale city is the Swiss capital and not sleek, confident Zürich. Bern couldn’t be less similar, with its red roofs, four miles of atmospheric arcades, fountains, clock towers and cellar shops and bars, and this is where you’ll find the cultural heart of the country. If you’re here to get lost in a new city then the best places to stay in Bern can be found in the old heart of town. And while Switzerland is known for being fairly pricey, some of our Guru’s recommendations for the best places to stay in Bern are very affordable.
Bern also has a wonderful collection of open air markets held in front of the parliament building - these food and flower markets aren’t just for visitors - a collection of cafes, bars, restaurants and microbreweries to rival any great European capital, some beautiful parks and some wonderful architecture - including eleven fantastical 16th century fountains depicting characters from Swiss folklore. One of the most memorable is the Kindlifresserbrunnen, of the Ogre Fountain, which is an ogre eating children! You can see them all by strolling Marktgasse. Bern also has an unmissable Bear Park.
Our gurus recommendations for the best places to stay in Bern are all centrally located and make an ideal base for exploring the city whether you're after top-notch luxury or a charming B&B.
What Not To Miss
Part of being the cultural capital means having all the best museums, and Bern definitely doesn’t disappoint there:
- There’s the Centrum Paul Klee, Switzerland’s version of the Guggenheim, the Kuntmuseum, which is Switzerland’s oldest and most impressive fine arts museum,
- As well as the Historisches Museum, full of historic treasures, and the Naturhistorisches Museum
- Or perhaps head round the Schweizerisches Alpines Museum, which is all about Alpine mountaineering and cartography
- And then there’s a kinder museum, the Kindermuseum Creaviva, which is full of hands on exhibits and opportunities for children to make their own art.
- There’s also the smaller museums, like the Einstein-Haus, converted from the humble apartment Einstein shared with his family while he was working at the patent office
- After heading to a museum (or two!) stop for a relaxing coffee in the lovely Bundesplatz, the city's main squre.
Where To Stay
- Altstadt, the Old City, is where you'll find most of Bern's sights and loveliest architecture. However, if you stay here expect to pay a fair premium for accommodation.
- Located a little further out from the centre on the banks of the river, Stadtbach is a little quieter and cheaper. Or alternatively, give Engeried (which is of a similar ilk) a try.
- The Bellevue Palace offers everything you’d expect from a palace turned five star hotel: huge rooms with marble bathrooms, elegant but richly decorated public spaces, stunning views and all the mod. cons. you can imagine - but without any stuffiness you might anticipate, it’s very friendly.
- Hotel Schweizerhof is a truly luxurious stay which effortlessly blends old with new. Boasting a top location, great spa and exquisite restaurant, you really can't go wrong staying here.
- The Am Pavillon B&B is a cool, designer, nine-bedroom B&B in an elegant converted terrace. The interiors are all unique and carefully chosen, with their lovely rooms starting from just over £100 a night.
- Innere Enge is just a ten-minute drive from the centre of town, but while the location might not be the most obvious choice, it’s got plenty of quirky charm, spacious rooms, great views and a basement jazz club.
For an apartment
If you fancy the privacy of a self-catering option then browse through the wide variety available online with our partner, Booking.com.
- You're best off visiting weather-wise in the summer months, with the average temperature climbing to 17°C in July and August.
- This however is peak tourist season, so for a quieter and cheaper alternative consider coming in the shoulder season months (May and October).
- If you're coming in from abroad then fly into Bern Airport, located 12km south of the city, before taking a bus or train into the centre.
- If you'd like the autonomy afforded to you by having a car, check out the selection available with our partner, Rentalcars.
Still not sure?
Best Hotels in Bern
Am Pavillon B&B 9 rooms from £106Bern
This cool, designer B&B, in a handsome terrace, is a rarity in Switzerland’s capital city where hotel rooms and breakfasts are not cheap. It’s good value, stylish and laidback while owner Stefan is happy to provide insider tips on the city.Sights nearby - The Clocktower and the centre of Bern is just 1km away.Designer - Uniquely designed interiors.
Blumental Hotel 16 rooms from £132Bern
Blumental Hotel is the perfect base to make the most of Mürren's winter skiing and summer hiking. This family-run property offers spacious rooms decorated in a light and airy chalet style. With a beautiful garden its charming hosts create a friendly atmosphere. Superb location in the centre of town.Families - Family rooms available and free access to the public ice rink in the winterActive Holiday - Ski-to-door in the winter and hiking trails in the summerGreat walks - Hiking trails all around: explore the view from the stunning mountainsOutstanding location
Innere Enge 26 rooms from £170Bern
A charming hotel with Swiss-chalet looks yet only a 10-minute drive from Bern’s city centre. Comfortably traditional, with spacious rooms and glorious views, its trump card is its quirky jazz-theme bedrooms - music and memorabilia - and basement jazz club.Sights nearby - With its 64 metre high green dome The Federal Palace is a grandiose edifice.Local markets - Bern's Old Town is awash with markets and cafes.Lively - Hip and happening.Full of character
Hotel Schweizerhof, Bern 99 rooms from £251Bern
A grand luxury hotel right in the centre of Bern. Clean contemporary style meets old fashioned elegance. Generously proportioned rooms feature floor to ceiling windows, warm hues and glitzy chandeliers. The spa is modern bordering on futuristic. Excellent French brasserie. Grown-up sophistication.Spa breaks - A spoiling modern spa complete with hammam, wellness area, Finnish Sauna, Turkish steam bath and customised treatments.City Style - A sophisticated luxury hotel in an excellent central location.Sights nearby - Visit the Federal Parliament Building, Federal Square and the Clock Tower. Wander through the pretty medieval old town.Swimming Pool - Indoor pool.
Bellevue Palace 129 rooms from £293Bern
Everything you’d expect of a five-star, luxury hotel, the Bellevue Palace has in spades: vast rooms, marble bathrooms, richly decorated salons, smart dining and stunning views. But all mixed in with an unstuffy, easy-going atmosphere and flawless yet friendly service.Local markets - Have a wander round Bern's old town, its antique shops and markets.OpulentRomantic - Good for couples.Landmark - Comes with a reputation.
Hotel Belvedere, Grindelwald 56 rooms from £326Grindelwald
This hotel offers beautiful views of the surrounding mountains, five minutes from Grindelwald's centre. Choose from a range of rustic and contemporary rooms, all boasting balconies with splendid views. Make the most of the spoiling gourmet restaurant, piano bar and pampering spa.Romantic Break - The ideal romantic mountain getaway with long walks, massages and meals at their superb restaurant.Total relaxation - Spend your days in the spa, have a massage or simply enjoy the peace and quiet of the outdoors.Active Holiday - The stunning Bernese Alps offer excellent skiing, swimming, hiking and golfing.Great walks - Make the most of the stunning mountain setting and fantastic range of local hikes.Recommended by - Good Hotel Guide