Switzerland overall is beautiful and if you do have a few more days in this magical heaven why not venture outside Bern city to witness more of this country. Someplace’s you can check out on a day trip from Bern are:-
Lake Thun – Just a few km away from the city is this serene Lake Thun, its shore is surrounded by adorable chalets and houses, including the Thun Castle. You can even take a cruise tour on this lovely lake and see some wonderful attractions like the town of Spiez, St. Beatus Caves, Beatenberg and Interlaken. It takes around two hours to reach both the ends of the lake without taking any stops on the cruise. My recommendation would be cycling around, as it seems absolutely energetic and fun or you can even challenge yourself and follow a hiking trail.
Oeschinen Lake – Just over an hour away from Bern is an ideal place if you want to be further away from the city and spend the whole day relaxing. The serene blue waters of Oeschinen lake from the glaciers is hypnotising, it even freezes in the winter but in summer its a perfect spot for a picnic. You can take a gondola ride to the lake from Kandersteg or walk-up which will take another hour or so. In winter you can opt to ski, take up a wellness program, or Ice fish on the Lake. Another fantastic option from Bern is to take the RegioExpress trains which runs at hourly intervals and you get to see a lot more places than just Kandersteg or the Lake.
Interested in seeing the wildlife? Take up the challenge to explore the Kien Valley game reserve with a game warden and be surprised by some of the animals you encounter on the way. So regardless of whether you decide to hike, cycle or cruise on the lake this would be one memorable day.
Grindelwald – An hour away from Bern this is a town most loved by me, surrounded by three stunning mountains especially the popular Jungfrau and having access to the Jungfraujoch railway this is a splendid place to spend a day or few nights. You can even visit the Top of the Europe point from the Jungfrau Railway, see the snow-covered peaks and take in the chilling Switzerland breeze. This town is famous for skiing and what better place then this, there are tons of winter activities to take part in and you won’t be disappointed.
The town centre has some great restaurants, hotels, shops and options for numerous sports activities. By taking a 35min walk or a small bus ride you can even reach the Glacier Gorge which is marvellous as it showcases the beauty of mother nature. Bachalpsee Lake is a place many suggested especially if you are around Grindelwald. This town is a world-famous destination as its home to some superb festivals like World Snow Festival in January, Ski Races, Triathlon and Snow Bike Championship.
Interlaken – Either take a cruise from Lake Thun or drive around some breathtaking views to reach Interlaken which takes not more then 45min from Bern. You can easily walk around the town, see the 12th-century monastery or the 14th century Gothic Bell Tower. If you are interested in seeing a ruin castle, Unspunnen is just a 3km away from Interlaken. Another touristy place here is the Harder Kulm, it’s a viewing point which provides fantastic views of Interlaken or you can even head to Schynige Platte for the skyline view of Interlaken.
Hohenmatte is the favourite park of the locals and you can get the view of Jungfraujoch mountain from here. If you like to unwind take a cruize down Lake Brienz. Läuferbrunnen, 18min by car and 20min by train from Interlaken is a pleasant village, it’s known as the valley of 72 waterfalls and you will surely be awestruck, don’t miss out on the picturesque Staubach Waterfall.
Activities such as canyoning, paragliding, bungee jumping, and skydive are also very popular around here. Interlaken is also the gateway to Mount Titlis.
Lausanne – An hour drive from Bern is the delightful city of Lausanne on Lake Geneva. It’s popular as it houses the headquarters of the Olympics, and of course the Olympic museum which is a great tourist attraction. My favourite pastime in this city is to cruise on the lake Geneva and hop between the little adorable towns. Take a stroll in the old town or the lakefront district Ouchy which is lined with restaurants and cafes.
If you want some pretty pictures, climb up the Cathedral De Notre Dame or check out its majestic gothic architecture. Parc de Mon Repos is another peaceful place to take a stroll, see the gothic tower, fountains, statues and be surprised by this parks splendid beauty as you walk by. Palud Square is a gem for tourists and locals who love to spend the time in this cobblestoned square, with lines of shops, restaurants and cafes this place surely knows how to attract people. Similar to Palud Square is Bourg Street, especially for the shopaholics. If you want to experience the nightlife here check out the hip district of Flon where there are numerous restaurants, bars and pubs.
Montreux – Perched on the shores of Lake Geneva this town of Switzerland is just over an hour drive from Bern. It’s absolutely romantic and to witness the sunset and sunrise here, it is a blessing in itself. People usually come here to visit the Chateau de Chillon, which attracts a wide number of tourists. The chateau features in postcards, a few movies and on magnet souvenirs from this town. It’s supposed to be haunting but from the outside, it’s absolutely idyllic. Take a walk along the Promenade while gazing at the lake Geneva shoreline, the walk is 3.5km stretch between Chateau de Chillon and the Clarens.
Want to sweep in some nature? Visit the Gorges du Chauderson, there are marked trail and you will love the view of the landscape. Freddie Mercury fans would love to find his statue here at the waterfront depicting his love for Montreux. Switzerland won’t let you down when it comes to luxury, Montreux Palace Hotel is surely one beautiful place to head for an afternoon tea or if you are feeling fancy to spend a night here. Into hiking? Climb up the Rochers-de-Naye mountain or take the easy way out and ride the funicular and witness the amazing flowers, Father Christmas house during winter, or ski here in winter.
Be it a kid or an adult ride the Chocolate train here, it will take you to the town of Gruyeres where you can indulge in some heavenly cheese too. Another place to explore is the less touristy town of Vevey which is a 9 min by car, it’s known because Charlie Chaplin resided here for 24 years and there are still so many activities to do around like visiting the Chaplin’s World museum and discovering the charming Old Town.
Basel – Pretty much on the border of France is Switzerland’s vibrant city, Basel. An hour away from Bern but completely different from each other. It has a lot of French and German influence due to its location proximity with the two countries but it still retains the Swiss charm. Take a romantic stroll around the old town and make it a point to visit the Basel Munster (Cathedral) here. Admire the characteristics of the city hall building, wander across the Marktplatz, the Basel zoo especially if you have kids and the Bottmingen Castle. Marvel at the iconic Mittlere Brucke (bridge) here, its a symbol of the city.
An unusual fun museum to visit is the Toy Worlds Museum Basel, over 6,000 toys on display and even adults will enjoy the collection.
Lucerne – Venturing out of one city to explore another one is always exciting. I have been to Lucerne on a few occasions and have been enchanted by its beauty especially the Chapel Bridge, the Lion Monument as it is so soothing to look at, and the ever so pretty Lake Lucerne. The old town has its own story to tell, so surely take a leisurely stroll around, look at the fountains, old burghers houses and the St. Peter’s chapel.
If you have enough time in Lucerne, board the fun train from the Lake Lucerne to Vitznau from where you can board the cogwheel to Mount Rigi. While assuming you are on a day trip to Lucerne, Mt. Pilatus is an option closer to the city than a full day trip to Jungfrau. The view from this mountain is breathtakingly beautiful. A few more points of visit in the city are Lucerne Culture and Convention Centre, The Jesuit Church, Swiss Museum of Transport, and another popular bridge called Spreuer Bridge.
With these many trips and options from Bern, you surely wouldn’t get bored of Switzerland. This country has mesmerised me since I was a little girl and I haven’t stopped exploring since then. Let me know what are your favourite places here or the ones you highly recommend.