Bern is one of the most important cities in Switzerland. It’s the seat of the government, the de facto capital of the country, and the only city whose entire old town has been inscribed on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. If you’ve never been to Bern before, a walking tour is the perfect way of getting acquainted with this charming city.
While it is entirely possible to organize your own walking tour, it’s simply not the same experience as being guided through the city by a local who can tell you the history of every single landmark you visit. Another reason to book a guided tour is to get a local’s recommendations on the best museums, shops, and places to eat, so you never fall into a tourist trap while you’re in Bern. So, here’s a quick overview of some of the best walking tours of Bern, Switzerland!
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Bern: 90-Minute Stroll Through The Old Town
It takes approximately 20 minutes to walk from one end of Bern’s Old Town to the other, so a 90-minute walking tour includes plenty of time to explore the city’s most famous landmarks and attractions.
This tour is led by a knowledgeable local guide who takes you to all the best-known landmarks in the city of Bern, including the Cathedral, the Zytglogge, the Parliament Building, and more. The guide provides you with invaluable knowledge about these attractions, which paints a picture of their importance to the city, but also their history and development over the years.
This is one of the more affordable walking tours of Bern, so it’s perfect for travelers on a tighter budget. Also, the tours are done in smaller groups, so you can be a bit more relaxed and easily get the guide’s attention if you’ve got any additional questions.
Bern: Zytglogge – Tour Through The Clock Tower
The Zytglogge tour is great for tourists who’ve already explored a bit of Bern on their own and want to learn more about the individual landmarks in the city. This tour specifically focuses on the Bern Clock Tower, and it includes a tour of all the rooms inside it.
You will be welcomed inside Zytglogge, and discover the history of this iconic landmark. Each floor covers a certain period of the clock tower’s history, while the top floor offers a stunning panoramic vista of Bern’s rooftops.
The highlight of the tour is probably the visit to the room with the clock mechanism. What’s best is that your guide knows pretty much everything there is to know about the Bern Clock Tower, including how the mechanism works, so this is an opportunity to learn a lot about the city’s most famous landmark.
Express Walk of Bern with a Local
If you don’t have too much time in this city, an express tour of Bern with a local is absolutely perfect. It’s like a speed course about Bern – you’ll still get to see the top landmarks and attractions in the city, but you’ll be going around at a faster pace because the tour is only an hour long.
The tour might as well be called ‘Bern in a nutshell’ because that’s precisely what it is – a condensed walking tour that covers all the main sights in the city, with background information on the culture and history of everything you’re seeing while you’re being guided through narrow cobblestone streets.
This tour is done in groups of six people at the most, and usually, there are even fewer participants, so you can really ask the guide as many questions as you want.
Highlights and Hidden Gems of Bern
Highlights and Hidden Gems of Bern is a guided two-hour walking tour that covers some of the best-known landmarks in the city, but also the places that aren’t quite as popular with tourists. You’ll get to explore Bern through the eyes of a local and see beyond the top-rated attractions, which is ideal for people who are already familiar with Bern’s most famous landmarks.
The tour includes quick stops at the Clock Tower and the Parliament building, but beyond that, you’ll also see the Prison Tower, many gothic fountains, old buildings, and some of Bern’s oldest cafes. The guide will tell you about the city’s incredibly long history and you’re free to ask as many questions as you want.
Bern Old Town Walking Tour (Private Tour)
Private walking tours are great because you get the guide’s undivided attention. They’re generally much more personal than tours in large groups, so there’s wiggle room to adjust the tour to your personal wants and needs.
Also, a private guide usually goes above and beyond to make sure you’re having a great time and seeing everything that interests you. This specific two-hour tour includes visits to several of the lesser-known attractions in Bern, like the Church of the Holy Spirit, the Einstein House, the Tramdepot brewery and restaurant, and the fabulous Rosengarten. It’s also possible to climb to the top of the tower of the Bern Cathedral during this tour, but only if you want.
Capture the Most Photogenic Spots of Bern with a Local
The walking tour of Bern’s most photogenic spots is great for people who want to have stunning photographs to remember this city. Whether you consider photography a hobby, or you just want to have beautiful pictures of yourself in Bern, this tour is absolutely perfect.
You’ll still get to see Bern’s most famous landmarks, but from different angles, than you would get on regular walking tours of the city. This tour also includes trips to panoramic spots just outside the old town, which offer stunning views of Bern’s rooftops.
The tour lasts two hours and is done in groups of six people at most. The tour guide is also knowledgeable in photography and will help you get the perfect shot at each of the locations.
Capture The Most Instaworthy Spots of Bern with a Local
This walking tour of Bern is very similar to the previous one, except that it’s done by a different guide. The main difference is that this tour is half an hour shorter, so it’s a better option for people who don’t necessarily want to spend two hours walking around Bern and exploring photogenic spots.
You’ll be taken to Bern’s most Instagrammable spots, which range from panoramic viewpoints outside the historic center, to spectacular fountains in the heart of Bern. This tour is done in groups of six people at the most, and the guide speaks English, German, and French.
It’s best to specify your language preference when booking, and it’s recommended to try and book the tour during the golden hour, for the absolute best photographs.
Bern’s Art and Culture Revealed by a Local
The Art and Culture tour of Bern is probably the best tour for anyone who is genuinely interested in these subcultures in Bern. Learn about the connection certain famous artists have with this city, about the history of Bern’s best-known museums and art galleries, and also about the spaces where the newer generation of artists get the opportunity to grow and showcase their work.
This tour is great if you want to explore beyond historical landmarks and really get into the depths of a specific subculture. You won’t get to visit any museums during the tour – an hour and a half is way too short a time for that – but you will get tips on which museums you might like best, which are a must-visit, and which you can feel free to skip.
Explore The Best Guided Intro Tour of Bern with a Local
An introductory walking tour is a great way to get to know Bern if it’s your first time in the city. The tour is done only in small groups (up to 6 people) so it will feel very personal. You can choose from three languages for the tour (French, English, German) and it’s best to note your preference while you’re booking the tour.
This is a two-hour walking tour of Bern, in which a local guide takes you to all their favorite spots in the city. It will include some of the most popular landmarks in the city, but you’ll get to see Bern through the eyes of a local and get inside information on all the best cafes, bars, restaurants, and bakeries.
Bern Capital City Private Tour
A private, four-hour tour of Bern is the best for tourists who really want to get to know the city. The tour includes pickup at your hotel, and it will be done only with your group, whether you’re traveling with one other person or five. It’s the best way of discovering Bern because it’s very personal, and the guide can adapt their tour plan to suit your wants and needs.
This tour covers all the most famous landmarks in the heart of Bern, but also a trip to the rose garden, and a proper tour of Einstein House. Tickets for the museum are included in the cost of the tour, and you will have plenty of time to discover everything. Overall, if you want to feel like you’re walking around the city with a friend who knows absolutely everything about Bern, this is one of the best tours to book.
Unique Sites of Bern – Private Walking Tour for Families
Unique Sites of Bern is a tour crafted for families visiting the city. It’s for groups of up to four people and lasts for two hours, during which time you get to discover all the most famous landmarks in the Swiss city, but also hear all the different legends and folklore tales about Bern.
The tour guides are expecting children to be present on this tour, so it’s somewhat crafted around them. Kid-friendly sites will be included in the tour, and many of the tales are the same ones locals in Bern recount to their children. If you want to explore the city with a local guide but don’t feel comfortable bringing your child on a larger tour because it might be disruptive, this is definitely something you should consider.
The only downside is that the tour is available only in the English language.
Bern Old Town – Private Historic Walking Tour
A private walking tour for groups in Bern is the best option for anyone who is traveling in a large group and struggling to find an appropriate walking tour for them. This specific tour is suitable for groups of up to 20 people. The price is the same whether there’s one or 20 people in the group, so you’ll get the best value for money only if there are actually 20 of you.
It’s a two-hour tour that begins at Marktgasse, Bern’s iconic city square. You will get to see the iconic towers, the Cathedral, and the famous government buildings, but also some lesser-known landmarks and attractions. The Granary, Nydeggkirche, Hôtel de Musique, and many of Bern’s iconic statues and fountains are also included in this walking tour.
Bern: Private Custom Tour with a Local Guide
A custom private tour of Bern with a local guide is the best way to explore the city. You can choose the pickup location, the duration of the tour, and the amount of people in your group. The tour can last anywhere from two to eight hours, and the itinerary heavily depends on the length of the tour.
If you opt for a two-hour tour, you’ll walk around the historic center of Bern and see all the top sights. But if you choose a longer tour, you will also have time to visit a museum or even two, head to Rosengarten for the best views, and even stop somewhere for lunch and drinks.
The local guide is knowledgeable and capable of conducting the tour in five languages – English, German, Italian, French, and Spanish. Your input will be taken into consideration for every aspect of the tour, from which landmarks you want to see to what type of food you want to eat, and it will be combined with insights available only to the locals in Bern.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Bern, Switzerland walkable?
The Old Town of Bern, Switzerland is easily walkable. It’s only 25 minutes from the University of Bern to the Bear Pit so a casual stroll through the heart of the city.
How many days should you spend in Bern?
The amount of time you need in Bern depends on what you are interested in, but at the very least you need two days to properly explore the city. If you want to visit multiple museums, 3-4 days should be enough, and if you want to travel to other towns in the vicinity of Bern, a 5-7 day vacation is perfect.
Is Bern worth visiting?
Bern is absolutely worth visiting. The city’s Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it’s full of important landmarks, buildings, and museums. This is one of the best cities in Switzerland for tourists, whether you’re interested in landmarks, shopping, museums, the restaurant scene, or just going out.