Bern, the capital city of Switzerland, is wonderful. This UNESCO world heritage site sits on the banks of the Aar river and at the feet of the Swiss alps. Situated in the centre of Switzerland, Bern is the ideal spot if you wish to explore the beautiful Swiss landscapes. From Bern, there are many opportunities for fun adventures just outside the city. Here are 5 of our favourite day trips from Bern. If you need more travel inspiration, check out these beautiful towns and villages in Switzerland.
5 fun day trips from Bern
1. Going down the Aar
One of the most adventurous day trips from Bern, this is an activity for a warm summer day and is a firm favourite amoung locals in Bern. The Aar is flowing through the lakes of Brienz and Thun before passing through Bern. As the lakes, the river is renowned for its bright turquoise colour on sunny days.
The stream will take you down from Thun until Bern, which will last for an average of 4 hours. It can be done alone, with your family or with a group of friends. As the stream is quite strong, you although should be a good swimmer.
If you want a challenge, you can swim. Some are building floatable islands, others use rubber rings but the most common and practical way to go down the river is with inflatable boats. Rafts and canoe can be easily rented but you should also consider taking the following equipment:
- Bathing suit and towel.
- Sun protection (sunglasses, sunscreen, hat, etc.).
- Waterproof pouches for phone/wallet.
- Food and beverage.
You need to consider that the water is not warm (17°C to 21°C in summer) and if you are sensitive to cold we would recommend to wear a lycra. Lifevests or any floatation help is good to have if you want to freshen yourself in the water.
The waterproof bag/pouches are not a must but do not take anything that cannot stand water. You can try as much as you want, you will get water in your boat. Pro-tip: the water will keep your beverage cool. Pack them all together in a closed bag that you will attach to your boat.
The earliest point to get into the Aar is from the bridge “Regiebrücke” in Thun. It is easily accessible from the train station in about 15 minutes walking:
To go out of the river, it will be well indicated as soon as you arrive in Bern. You need to leave as soon as you arrive at the city’s public beach as the river is blocked after the next turn.
2. Visit the wonderful Bernese Oberland
High mountains, breathtaking landscapes and intensively blue lakes – the Bernese Oberland encapsulates Switzerland at its best.
Whether it is to be in awe in front of the magnificent waterfall in Lauterbrunnen (one of the most beautiful places in Switzerland), to challenge yourself with a hike to a remote mountain lake or have fun with the many activities proposed in Grindelwald, this region needs to be on your Swiss bucket list!
From Bern, you can easily reach any location in the Bernese Oberland in a one day trip.
If you are looking for a more adventurous experience, you should try spending night under the stars (more on our blog). The absence of light pollution in the alps will assure a one-of-a-kind show!
3. Explore the Saint-Beatus caves
Visiting a cave might not sound like the most inviting activity. The Saint Beatus Caves will blow you away before you even enter. The mesmerizing waterfall bursting through the building and the view as you are walking towards the entrance should be enough to convince you.
Inside, you will find network of caves with impressive stalactites and stalagmites.
They are not entirely opened to the public for safety reason but more than a kilometre can be explored. The walls are lit which gives a mystical flair to the place.
The tour will take you about 1.5 hours. Bring your jacket with, the caves are very cold and humid (8°C to 10°C).
4. Visit the authentic village of Murten
Murten is a nice authentic village located at about 30 minutes from Bern.
Sitting on the “Röstigraben” – the “barrier of rösti” – a line separating the french and the german parts of Switzerland (and their cultural differences), Murten is a small but wonderful village.
The beautiful main street with its shopping arcades, the ramparts opened to public for free or the view on the lake; you will surely find something to see in Murten.
It is also a nice place to take a ride on a boat. Why not even take the opportunity to cruise until Neuchâtel?
5. Have a typical Swiss lunch in Gruyères
Located at the feet of the “Moléson” mountain, Gruyères is the furthest location in this list…but is also one of the top 50 things to do in Switzerland. This medieval village stands on a 80 meters high hill that overlooks the lake of Gruyères and offer a stunning panorama on the pre-alps region.
Gruyères is known for its cheeses, used as basis in Swiss Fondues. We would recommend to visit the village around lunch time. Stop by on one of the many terraces and enjoy a fondue in front of a fabulous panorama. Little tip, finish your meal with some “Double Cream” dish.. we tell you no more 😉
Reaching Gruyères is not very easy with public transportation but it’s the opportunity to take a nice road trip and drive through the Jaunpass