The best month to visit Bern is September when the daily average temperature is 13C (56F) with 8/30 rainy days. However, the three summer months June-August are acceptably dry with a 1/3 chance of rain while high temperatures range from 21C-23C, so strolling the shady streets and arcades is fine then. October is also usually dry but considerably cooler with a mean of 9C (47F).
All in all Berne is one of the drier, smaller cities in Switzerland with moderate temperatures so perhaps tourists should base their travel plans on other trickier Swiss destinations since Bern can be fitted into most itineraries, such as holidays in Lucerne or Vevey, trips to Zurich or jazz in Montreux.
By road Bern is around 1-2 hours to these cities on fine tho’ busy motorways/autoroutes, but watch out for speed cameras, your SatNav may not warn you about them! (most of Europe yes, Switzerland, no! )
A 16th century drinking fountain topped by Samson killing a lion (a biblical story); Kramgasse, a street that was also home for a while to Albert Einstein at No. 49, Einsteinhaus. Berne provides the thirsty passer-by with over 100 drinking fountains, eleven of which are crowned by allegorical statues from the 16th century, usually colourful and occasionally grotesque.
Taking an arcade break overlooking the blindfolded eyes of the Justice Fountain in Gerechtigkeitsgasse.
Other Bern Attractions
The Gurten is the small mountain/tall hill just to the south of Berne. Take a short ride up the funicular (cable/cog train) for a few Swiss francs or use your Berne bus/tram pass if you have one; many hotels give tourists the pass when they check in. If you prefer to walk up/down it’ll take about half an hour.
Visitors can walk around the top on a trail with stunning views over Berne’s old town and over to the Alps mountains. There’s a restaurant and bar at the top and a kids play park with small train and crazy golf. Gurten is a fine place for walks, cycling and picnics and spending a few hours or even a whole day up there is possible.
On the walk down there’s a lovely hamlet called Gurtendorf with pretty farms and chalets.
A riddle-solving adventure set in closed rooms where you have to solve puzzles and clues to progress from one room to another against the clock. It’s quite a challenge and good activity if you’re bored or the weather is tiresome, though don’t go there if you don’t like puzzles or are claustrophobic. The setting is a little primitive at the moment and in the development phase.
Rose Garden (Rosengarten)
It’s a steep hike up to the Rose Garden but the different rose plant varieties are beautiful and the views over the Old City are stunning and the café/restaurant is welcoming.
Probably Bern’s most gruesome fountain-statue is in Kornhausplatz, an ogre eating children from his belt-pantry, the Kindlifresserbrunnen. The origin of the concept is lost in time but it is most likely to be a traditional monster used by Swiss parents to scare disobedient children into cleaning their rooms.
And there’s another of those soldier-bears! But what is it doing? Licking the helmet clean? Inspecting it for damage? Looking for honeybees?
A delightful collection of unusual Swiss cows.
Actually giving cows – real, live cows – is a traditional way to honour the deeds of a successful Swiss person. Roger Federer (tennis champion) was given two cows during his career. We assume that giving little, bizarre cows is an offshoot of that custom. Birthday presents? Wedding presents?