The Swiss capital is small, quiet and unassuming. Sort of like Canberra, but Canberra lacks the charm this plucky little city seems to have. Bern lags behind other Swiss cities like Zurich and Geneva in terms of touristy attractions, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Unless of course you plan to spend more than two days there, in which case you will inevitably run out of money, things to do or both.
A few hours in the city was enough to drive home the fact that Switzerland really is one of the most expensive countries in Europe. When I had to fork over 5 francs for a bread roll it almost felt like I was at home again, wandering down the streets of Fremantle in search of a decently priced meal.
Switzerland is not a place for the strapped for cash.
But that aside, it costs nothing to wander down the charming, arcaded streets of the old town. As long as you stick to window-shopping and avoid the temptation to go into one of the numerous chocolate shops, or super modern looking not-quite-sure-what-they’re-actually-selling shops. Standing and gaping at the Munster, Parliament house and its view are also free. But unfortunately all these things can be done in a day, unless you’re the type of tourist who really takes their time.
Day two was museum day. Meaning that we dedicated our day to meandering very slowly through the Natural History museum. We managed to stretch it out to take four hours. We also managed to make the walk back to the hostel take an impressively long amount of time too.
By the third day we had officially run out of money. Which meant another day spent wondering quite aimlessly through the city. By the time we got back to the hostel I was well and truly ready to go.
Don’t get me wrong, Bern is a lovely city, but unless you have a real reason to be there or a lot of money to spend, don’t spend more than a day or two there. I’m guessing Zurich or Geneva would have been better choices.