Bern, the capital of Switzerland, offers a harmonious blend of modern life and rich history. Its medieval city center is a UNESCO World Heritage site, showcasing cobbled streets, terracotta roofs, and the meandering River Aare.
Driving in Bern
Traffic and Parking: The historic old town is mostly car-free, so driving in this area can be limited. There are several parking garages around the periphery of the old town where you can leave your car.
Rules: Ensure that you're familiar with local driving regulations. You'll need a motorway vignette (a sticker) to drive on Swiss motorways. They are available at border crossings, post offices, and petrol stations.
The nearest major airport is Bern Airport (BRN), located approximately 10km southeast of the city center.
Route from Bern Airport to Bern City Center:
- Head northeast on Flugplatzstrasse.
- After 1.4km, turn right onto Muristrasse.
- After 1.2km, at the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto Zollikofenstrasse.
- Continue onto Seftigenstrasse.
- Follow the road until you reach Bern's city center.
The journey typically takes around 20-25 minutes, depending on traffic.
Recommended Places to Visit in Bern (By Foot):
Zytglogge (Clock Tower): This iconic tower offers guided tours and provides an understanding of its astronomical clock.
Bear Park: Home to Bern's emblematic animals, it's a lovely place to relax and see the bears.
Federal Palace: The seat of the Swiss Federal Assembly and Federal Council.
Bern Munster: The tallest cathedral in Switzerland, offering panoramic views of the city.
Einstein House: Albert Einstein lived here while working in Bern, and it's now a museum dedicated to his life.
Recommended Places to Visit Near Bern (By Car):
Gurten: Just a few kilometers from the city center, it's a local mountain offering panoramic views of Bern. (Around 5km from city center)
Rosengarten: A rose garden that offers a great viewpoint over the old town. (Approximately 2km from city center)
Emmental: A picturesque region famous for its rolling hills and the eponymous cheese. It's about a 30-minute drive to the heart of the region.
Thun: A charming town located next to Lake Thun, featuring a historic castle and old town. (Around 30km from Bern)
Gruyères: Known for its cheese, the town also has a historic castle and is a delight to explore. (Approximately 90km from Bern)
If you are hiring a car in Switzerland for the first time we recommend reading our Drive Smart Switzerland guide to ensure you know the rules of the road and can drive safely in and around Bern.