Bern, Switzerland – Endless Holiday Activities

Regarded by the Swiss as the de facto capital this UNESCO listed city and the surrounding area offers the visitor a wealth of holiday possibilities. Peter Morrell reports

Unspunnen Festival, Interlaken holiday region

Unspunnen Festival, Interlaken holiday region

Freestyle.ch

Freestyle.ch Bern

Midsummer's Festival, Lenk-Simmental

Midsummer's Festival, Lenk-Simmental

Seaside Festival, Interlaken holiday region

Seaside Festival, Interlaken holiday region

Swiss Vintage Cycling Festival, Gstaad Saanenland

Swiss Vintage Cycling Festival, Gstaad Saanenland

Stand Up Paddling (SUP), holiday region Interlaken

Stand Up Paddling (SUP), holiday region Interlaken

First Flyer Grindelwald, Jungfrau Region

First Flyer Grindelwald, Jungfrau Region

Chamois in the alps

Chamois in the alps

Jetboat Lake Brienz, Interlaken holiday region

Jetboat Lake Brienz, Interlaken holiday region

BernARTiner, Bern Region

BernARTiner, Bern Region

Exhibition The Revolution is dead. Long live the recolution!, Bern Region

Exhibition "The Revolution is dead. Long live the recolution!" Bern Region

Sculpture trail, Kandertal

Sculpture trail, Kandertal

A while ago I spent a lot of time working in Switzerland including Fribourg. At least once during my week long visits my colleagues and I hopped on a train in the evening for the 30 minute ride to the beautiful city of Bern. (eng: Berne)

The historic UNESCO listed centre is about a 15 minute walk from the station and the picturesque streets are stunning. After walking around admiring the architecture and soaking up the atmosphere we invariably headed to the Ratskeller. This restaurant on Gerechtigkeitsgasse (Justice Alley) serves traditional dishes from the area in a dining space featuring a medieval vaulted ceiling. Here we enjoyed locally brewed beer, Swiss wines and the food of the region.

So I have fond memories of the city but if you also take time out to visit the surrounding ‘Canton’, the equivalent of a UK county and also called Bern, there are lots of activities for both active and more passive tourists.

This summer in Bern there will be an unsurpassed number of new events, music festivals and exciting experiences, summer in Bern and in the Bernese Oberland promises to be an amalgamation of enjoyment, tradition and discovery. Here are the new highlights and events.

Tradition and spectacles

The Unspunnen Festival from 26 August to 3 September in Interlaken will be where age-old Swiss traditions are showcased. Swiss wrestlers, Alpine herdsmen and folk in traditional Swiss costume will test their prowess in various sporting and handicraft competitions and demonstrate skills and customs in traditional events. With the acrobatic and show event freestyle.ch being hosted in the capital for the first time, Bern will cause breaths to be held from 29 September to 1 October: 50 of the world’s most skilful snowboarders, freestyle skiers, mountain bikers and freestyle motocross riders will be demonstrating practically impossible jumps and providing thrills galore at the BERNEXPO Centre.

Music and enjoyment

The Midsummer’s Festival, a new music festival to be staged from 23 to 25 June in Lenk at the foot of the Simmen Falls will surprise visitors with an exceptional line-up. Local bands and international rising stars will be the perfect complement to the culinary delights also on offer. The sounds of rock and celebrations will also emanate from Spiez in the delightfully enchanting bay on Lake Thun for the first time at the Seaside Festival. Apart from being a meeting place for music fans, on 25 and 26 August the event will also become an exclusive food festival featuring a special festival wine laid down by the local winegrowing cooperative. Legendary routes, legendary bicycles: The Swiss Vintage Cycling Festival on 26/27 August in Gstaad will be the highlight of the cycling season for enthusiasts of yesteryear’s bicycles and self-confessed mountain kings. Six different cycling routes, ample opportunities to recount past achievements and a bicycle market in the village centre will ensure that absolutely no one will be left wanting.

Experience and adventure

Summer in Bern is also the perfect time to get out and about and become active yourself. Be it on one of the spectacular Paddle Trails on Lake Brienz or on a fast-paced, adventure-packed tour on a mountain bike, a scooter or electric bike in the Jungfrau region. Newly-opened in the summer, a ‘flight’ on the First-Glider above Grindelwald or a circuit around Lake Brienz in a speedboat is certain to guarantee just as much adrenaline. The guided wildlife observation walks on the Niederhorn with views of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau will also provide for exciting moments and unforgettable encounters in the magnificent outdoors.

Culture and art

Featuring over 100 creatively designed BernARTiner sculptures, what is probably the most endearing dog breed will enliven the city of Bern as an art object from 1 July to 30 September. The life-size figures will serve as a perfect theme during this period before being auctioned for a good cause in the autumn. To mark the 100th anniversary of the Russian October Revolution, an exhibition staged jointly by the Kunstmuseum Bern and the Zentrum Paul Klee – “The Revolution is dead. Long live the Revolution!” – will highlight the influence of social changes on various art forms and their imagery. This summer, new legendary figures have been added to the sculpture trail in Kandersteg which skirts the shores of Lake Oeschinen, serving to make it an even more impressive experience. A summer that promises to be legendary in its truest sense!

For more information on visiting Bern go to www.madeinbern.com/en/
For more on Switzerland visit www.myswitzerland.com/en-gb/

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