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Bern Region - Vast Land with Heights and Depths

The Canton of Bern is an extraordinary travel destination. Tradition and modernity, nature and culture as well as town and country form a unified whole here and impress with incredible charm.

Spiez Castle in Bern

Geography - From the Jura Mountains to the Bernese Mittelland to the Alps

The Bern Region (also Canton of Bern) lies in the west of Switzerland and is part of the Espace Mittelland, a greater region of Switzerland. The canton has an area of about 5959 km² and a population of 992,617 people. This makes it the second largest Swiss canton and the second most populous one after the Canton of Zurich. It borders on eleven of the 25 Swiss cantons. The Bern Region has the greatest north-to-south extension of all cantons and is the only one, next to Vaud, which has a share in all three greater regions of Switzerland: the Jura Mountains, the Bernese Mittelland and the Alps. The climate is mostly temperate and influenced by the Alps.

Bernese Alps and houses

Nature - Green hills, clear lakes and majestic mountains

The Canton of Bern fascinates with its varied landscape. The Bernese Jura (derived from the Celtic "juris" = forest) is covered in forested hills, the Bernese Mittelland impresses with its magnificent lakes and the Bernese Oberland holds majestic mountains. While the highest peak is the Finsteraarhorn with a height of 4.274 metres, the Aare near Wynau constitutes the lowest point with only 401.5 metres above sea level. The most important great lakes are Lake Thun, Lake Brienz, Lake Biel and Lake Murten. Town and country form a whole. In this way, you always find a green space no matter in which town you are. Nature and culture are generally closely connected in Bern and the inhabitants enjoy and appreciate the unity of their place of residence, work and relaxation.

The Bernese Alps and a lake

Culture - When traditions and modernity meet

There are no less than one hundred restaurants with the name "Bären" (bears) in the Canton of Bern. This is easily explained by the fact that the bear is the canton's heraldic animal. The inhabitants of the Bern Region are determined and pursue their target not in a lax but in an easy-going way. The bigger cities are vibrant with life and at the same time full of tradition and history. They are popular destinations due to their abundance of cultural treasures. Examples are Bern's old town, which is part of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage, as well as numerous theatres, museums, galleries, impressive castles and fascinating medieval architecture. The Canton of Bern is the intersection of two cultures because the German and the French way of living meet here. German and French are of equal rank as the canton's official languages. This is apparent from Biel/Bienne, the only truly bilingual town, in which all signs are written in both languages.

View of Oberhausen Castle

Experience - Culinary pleasures and fascinating wilderness

Bern's cuisine offers a number of delicacies such as the Berner Platte (a meat dish), the dessert meringue, the Emmentaler cheese and the Berner Haselnusslebkuchen (gingerbread made from hazelnuts). Another speciality made from hazelnuts is the Meitschibei (a sweet pastry). Visitors should not miss out on a visit to the Zibelemärit (onion market) to try a traditional Zibelechueche (onion pie). In Emmental, interested travellers can watch the production of the world-famous cheese in a showdiary. Bern's heraldic animal is the brown bear. You can see many of these animals in the famous BearPark in Bern, where they live on an area of over 6,000 m² at the other side of the Aare, opposite of the old town. The music scene in Bern is booming. Since the 1970s the city Bern has been known as the capital of Swiss rock music. Furthermore, over 75,000 music fans visit the Gurtenfestival every year. Other tourist magnets are the Menuhin Festival Gstaad and the Country and Trucker Festival in Interlaken. The city is also great place for going shopping. One highlight are the arcades along Bern's old town, which are 6 kilometres long and invite visitors to stroll without stress.

Bears playing in the water

Activities - No Room for Boredom

One of the best-known areas is the mountainous region around the peaks of the Eiger, Jungfrau and Mönch, which allures hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Bernese Oberland every year in both winter and summer. The Bernese Oberland has a lot to offer for active holidaymakers. In winter, you can choose from a wide range of winter sports such as tobogganing, curling, skiing and ice skating. Popular summer activities are hiking tours, on which visitors can watch ibexes, marmots and chamois. The rivers offer great conditions for adventurous rafting tours and the clear lakes are excellently suited for refreshing baths. The forests in the Bernese Jura are popular destinations for holidaymakers who want to relax as the heights offer a breathtaking view of the Bernese Mittelland and toward France. While the vast green meadows and the typical white limestone walls help travellers relax body and soul in summer, the whole region is covered in snow in winter and excellently suited for cross-country skiing.

Skiing in Bern, winter in Bern

Information

The Canton of Bern can easily be reached by car or train. If you are taking the plane, you can fly to Bern Airport (BRN). Before setting on your journey, you should change money because Switzerland is not a member of the European Union and pays in Swiss franc rather than in euro.

The Canton of Bern is a special and individual travel destination and fascinates with its variety of cultural treasures, urban atmosphere with medieval architecture and overwhelming nature. Holidays in this region are a moving and memorable experience.

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