BEST DAY TRIPS FROM BERN, SWITZERLAND
Bern, the capital of Switzerland, is a gorgeous city in itself. With its cobblestone streets, picturesque bridges, and medieval architecture, it’s easy to see why Bern has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983.
But what some people don’t realize is that Bern also makes for an excellent base for day trips – thanks to its ideal location at the center of Switzerland.
From Bern, it’s easy to explore some of the best scenic spots in Europe, including Gruyeres, Lake Thun, Lucerne, Zermatt and Matterhorn Mountain, Montreux, Lavaux Vineyards and Chillon Castle, Schilthorn Mountain, Interlaken, and Lauterbrunnen Valley.
Today, I share the best day trips from Bern and why they’re worth checking out on your next trip to Switzerland.
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FAQ: BEST DAY TRIPS FROM BERN
Here are some quick tips – so you can enjoy the best day tours from Bern to the fullest.
How to Get Around For Day Tours From Bern
Whether you plan to use public transportation or get around by car, here are some quick tips to make the trips go smoothly.
🚊 PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION FOR BERN DAY TRIPS
If you get around by public transport, then I suggest this pass.
The Swiss Travel Pass is a great option if you are looking to travel around Switzerland. It allows you to travel on any public transportation in the country, which includes trains, buses, boats, and even some cable cars.
Plus, it comes with discounts at select attractions and restaurants. The pass is available for purchase online or through a Switzerland tourism office.
- Fast and efficient transportation: The Swiss Travel Pass provides access to a comprehensive network of public transport options, including trains, buses, boats, and some cable cars. You can easily get from one destination to another without having to worry about renting a car or finding parking.
- Cost savings: The Swiss Travel Pass offers discounts on some of Switzerland’s top attractions, such as the Jungfraujoch, and the Schilthorn Mountain.
- Convenience: With just one pass that covers all of Switzerland’s public transport options, you don’t have to worry about carrying around different tickets or passes for each journey.
- Flexibility: You can purchase a pass that covers travel for 3, 4, 6, 8, or 15 days. This makes it easy to customize your itinerary and explore different regions of Switzerland.
- CHECK OUT PRICES FOR A SWISS TRAVEL PASS here or read my detailed review on the Pass here.
🚘 GET AROUND BY CAR FOR BERN DAY TRIPS
Getting around Switzerland by car is also a great way to discover Switzerland. A few things to keep in mind though:
- The roads and streets are overall in a good condition which makes driving in Switzerland overall very safe and an amazing experience.
- Parking in cities – including Bern – for more than 2-3 hours might be tricky and expensive. Many tourist attractions – especially outside the twon center – offer free parking.
- Check out my posts on tips for road tripping Switzerland and driving in Switzerland.
- If you want to rent a car, make sure to use a site that finds you the best prices.
LIST OF MOST AMAZING DAY TOURS FROM BERN – SWITZERLAND
So, without further ado – find out about the best places to visit near Bern!
This medieval town, located 65 km (38 miles) from Bern, is best known for its namesake cheese, the Gruyeres Castle, and some of the weirdest museums that you can imagine.
Gruyeres is best known for its cheese, a key ingredient in Swiss fondue. The best way to experience it is by taking one of the many cheese-making tours available here. Another popular activity is exploring the historic Gruyeres Castle, which dates back to 1270 and is surrounded by stunning vineyards.
Other popular activities include visiting the HR Giger Museum (you will not believe what you see here, I am still traumatized) and the Tibet Museum, which offers an interesting insight into Tibetan culture.
Additionally, you can enjoy hiking trails in the surrounding area or take a cable car to visit charming mountain villages. Check out more Guyeres travel tips.
2. Lake Thun
Located only 22 km (13 miles) from Bern, Lake Thun is one of Switzerland’s best lakes for a day trip.
Lake Thun is best known for its stunning mountain views, crystal-clear waters, and picturesque villages. One of the best places to visit here is the St. Beatus Caves, where you can explore a network of natural caves filled with magnificent stalagmites and stalactite formations.
Another popular spot is the village of Spiez, which offers stunning views of the lake and a number of shops and restaurants. Or enjoy various water activities such as swimming, kayaking, or stand-up paddling on the lake.
Additionally, you can take a boat trip to explore some of the best attractions along the shoreline.
Located 110 km (68 miles) from Bern by car. It is best known for its gorgeous wooden bridge and is a must-visit for history and culture lovers.
Lucerne is best known for its iconic wooden bridge, Chapel Bridge, which dates back to 1333. This bridge spans the River Reuss and is one of the best places to take photos in Switzerland.
The city also offers a wide range of cultural attractions, from museums such as the Swiss Museum of Transport and the Rosengart Collection to the Lion Monument, a moving tribute to Swiss mercenaries who died during the French Revolution.
Do not miss taking a trip up Mount Rigi, to enjoy stunning views of Lake Lucerne. Lake Zug, and the surrounding mountains.
4. Zermatt & Matterhorn Mountain
Located 130 km (79 miles) from Bern. Here you can explore the Alpine village or take a cable car up to the mountain summit and enjoy spectacular views of the Swiss Alps.
Zermatt is best known for its iconic Matterhorn Mountain, which towers over the village.
This picturesque village offers a unique alpine experience with stunning views of the Alps and plenty of activities to enjoy. Explore the quaint cobblestone streets lined with traditional chalets, and restaurants. Go shopping for local souvenirs at one of the many shops in town or explore the culture and history at the Matterhorn Museum.
Other popular activities include hiking, mountaineering, and paragliding.
A must also take a cable car from Zermatt up to the summit of Klein Matterhorn Mountain for some incredible views of the Swiss Alps.
Located 91 km (57 miles) from Bern and best known for its jazz festival, Montreux is a great place to explore the best of Swiss culture.
The annual Montreux Jazz Festival brings together some of the best jazz musicians from around the world. This quaint alpine village also offers plenty of other attractions to explore.
One of the best places to visit here is Chateau de Chillon, a stunning medieval castle located on Lake Geneva. Here, you can stroll the castle’s grounds and learn about its history.
Additionally, Montreux offers plenty of shops and restaurants to enjoy, as well as excellent hiking trails along Lake Geneva’s banks. Other popular activities include boat trips around the lake or a visit to one of many vineyards in the area.
6. Schilthorn Mountain
Located 70 km (43 miles) from Bern, Schilthorn Mountain (at almost 3.000 meters above sea level) is one of the best mountain excursions in all of Switzerland.
Schilthorn Mountain is best known for its stunning panoramic views of the Swiss Alps and as the location for the iconic Piz Gloria restaurant from the James Bond movie “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”.
Enjoy 360-degree views of over 200 snow-capped peaks in the Swiss, Austrian, and Italian Alps, have a meal at Piz Gloria restaurant as well as explore the interactive museum detailing James Bond’s visit there.
Additionally, Schilthorn offers plenty of activities for all levels including hiking, skiing (in the winter), and other Alpine sports.
7. Interlaken & Harder Kulm
Located 60 km (37 miles) from Bern, Interlaken is best known for its stunning views of the surrounding Alps and nearby lakes.
Interlaken offers plenty to explore including Höhenmatte Park, a beautiful green space perfect for picnics or leisurely strolls.
Nearby Harder Kulm is another popular spot for spectacular views of the area as well as a range of outdoor activities. It is a local mountain peak located in Interlaken – just at Interlaken west boat and train station. At the top, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the Alps and nearby lakes.
This family-friendly destination offers plenty of activities such as hiking, paragliding, and biking trails winding through the area.
8. Lauterbrunnen Valley
Located 67 km (42 miles) from Bern and best known for its spectacular mountain views, Lauterbrunnen Valley is a great place to explore the best of Swiss nature.
Lauterbrunnen Valley is best known for its spectacular mountain views, stunning waterfalls, and lush green meadows. Home to the iconic Staubbach Waterfall, as well as 72 other beautiful cascades, Lauterbrunnen is a nature-lovers paradise, where you can explore the area’s many walking paths for breathtaking views of the valley and surrounding peaks.
Visit the nearby Trümmelbach Falls – in the summer months – for an unforgettable experience.
Also, Lauterbrunnen offers plenty of activities such as paragliding, mountain biking, canyoning, and rock climbing – you can also combine it with a trip up Mürren and Schilthorn Mountain for panoramic views of the Alps!
With its stunning scenery and activities to suit everyone, it’s no wonder that Lauterbrunnen is one of the best day trips from Bern.
9. Lake Brienz & Giessbach Falls
Located 80 km (50 miles) from Bern and best known for its cascading waterfalls, Giessbach Falls is a great place to explore Swiss nature.
Lake Brienz & Giessbach Falls is a picturesque spot that offers stunning views of the lake and nearby mountains, as well as access to one of Switzerland’s most beautiful waterfalls.
The best part about visiting this stunning spot is that you can take a boat tour up to the base of Giessbach Falls – you can even get out there and do a short uphill hike to walk behind the waterfalls. These spectacular waterfalls cascade down 500 meters and create a stunning mist that envelops the lake.
Adventurers can try their hand at paddleboarding, sailing, or kayaking on Lake Brienz – and a boat cruise on Lake Brienz is a great activity to just sit back, and enjoy those views!
With its breathtaking scenery and activities to suit all levels, Lake Brienz & Giessbach Falls is one of the best day trips from Bern.
10. Schaffhausen & Rhine Falls
Located 170 km (105 miles) from Bern and best known for its spectacular Rhine Falls, Schaffhausen is a great place for a day trip.
Schaffhausen is best known for its stunning old town – home to many colorful oriel bay windows and beautiful cobblestone streets that lead you into old-world Europe. The city’s most iconic landmark is Munot Castle which overlooks the city and provides breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.
Also, it is a great place to visit for lovely views of vineyards.
The star attraction in Schaffhausen is the Rhine Falls, one of Europe’s largest waterfalls, located along the Rhine River.
Take a boat tour to get up close and personal with the powerful cascade of water. With its stunning scenery and activities to suit all levels, Schaffhausen is one of the best day trips from Bern.
Explore its many attractions including the famous Bahnhofstrasse shopping area, the Lindenhof park that overlooks Lake Zurich, and the Grossmünster church with its iconic twin towers which is one of the most iconic landmarks in Switzerland.
Additionally, you can take a stroll along the promenade of Lake Zurich, or take part in any one of the city’s many festivals and events.
For those looking for an adrenaline-filled adventure, try their hand at white water rafting on the Limmat River. With its stunning lake views, cultural attractions, and activities to suit all levels, Zurich is one of the best day trips from Bern.
12. Grindelwald & Grindelwald First
Grindelwald and Grindelwald First, located 75 km (47 miles) from Bern, is a great day trip destination for adventure seekers looking to explore breathtaking Swiss Alpine scenery.
Grindelwald is a gorgeous little village nestled in the Swiss Alps – Grindelwald First Mountain is best known for its stunning Alpine scenery, breathtaking views of Eiger Mountain, and easy hikes.
At the top of Grindelwald First mountain, the best way to experience all that this area has to offer is with a hike up the mountain to Bachalpsee lake. This easy 1-hour hike takes you along winding cobblestone paths with stunning mountain views and lush forest scenery.
Grindelwald First is also known as the Top of Adventure – where you can take the Flyer or Glider and soar at lightning speeds over 80 km/h. Or hop onto a mountain cart or Trottibike and thunder across cobbled tracks down.
With its stunning scenery and activities to suit all levels, Grindelwald and Grindelwald First are one of the best day trips from Bern.
13. Schynige Platte
Schynige Platte, located about 75 km (46 miles) from Bern, is best known for its stunning Alpine scenery and breathtaking views of Eiger Mountain.
This day trip destination offers plenty of activities to enjoy including hiking through the lush meadows and pastures of Schynige Platte, visiting the beehive-like mountain hotels, or simply taking a leisurely stroll and admiring the breathtaking views.
Take advantage of the Schynige Platte railway which takes riders on a journey along winding mountain paths, through an Alpine wonderland.
Along the way, soak up fantastic views of Jungfrau Mountain and Lake Thun from one of the best views in the region. With its stunning scenery, activities to suit all levels, and historical attractions, Schynige Platte is one of the best day trips from Bern.
14. Biel and Lake Biel
Biel, located just 40 km (24 miles) from Bern, is one of the best day trips from Bern.
Biel is home to a stunning lake, Lake Biel, making it a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.Ttake a boat tour around the lake to take in stunning views of its banks and islands, or take a leisurely stroll along the beautiful promenade.
Other popular activities include swimming at Tiefenau Beach and cycling around its banks. Additionally, explore Biel’s historic Town Hall and Museum of Art & History for a glimpse into the city’s past. With its stunning lake views and activities to suit all levels, Biel is one of the best day trips from Bern.
15. Neuchâtel and Lake Neuchâtel
Located just 52 km (32 miles) from Bern, Neuchâtel, and Lake Neuchâtel are the perfect destination for a day trip.
Known as the ‘Pearl of Swiss Lakes’, Lake Neuchâtel is the largest lake that lies completely in Switzerland and offers stunning views of its banks and islands.
Popular activities at the lake include swimming and sailing. Explore the lively city center of Neuchâtel, home to a variety of attractions including the Museum of Art & History, the UNESCO-listed castle, and plenty of charming cafes and restaurants.
As well as its vibrant cultural activities, you can also enjoy outdoor adventures such as hiking and cycling in the surrounding forests and countryside.
With its exceptional beauty, vibrant cultural scene, and plenty of outdoor activities to choose from, Neuchâtel and Lake Neuchâtel are excellent choices for a Bern day tour.
Thun is located just 29 km (18 miles) from Bern, making it ideal for a day trip. This charming city is home to a stunning lake, Lake Thun, which offers lovely views.
Explore Thun’s lively city center with its quaint shops, vibrant cafes, and restaurants.
Other attractions include the impressive Thun Castle, parks and gardens, or take a boat tour around the lake for an unforgettable experience. With its stunning lake views, vibrant city center, and plenty of activities to suit all levels, Thun is one of the best and closest day trips from Bern.
17. Murten and Lake Murten
Murten, located just 46 km (29 miles) from Bern, is the perfect destination for a day trip.
Surrounded by three lakes – Lake Murten, Lake Biel, and Lake Neuchatel – this charming city offers plenty of activities to enjoy. Popular activities include swimming at one of the stunning beaches surrounding Lake Murten, sailing, and cycling.
The highlight is Murten’s historic city center with its impressive churches, quaint shops, and vibrant cafes. It surely is one of the most beautiful Swiss towns.
Other attractions include the Museum of Art & History or take a boat tour around Lake Murten for an unforgettable experience. With its stunning lake views and plenty of activities to suit all levels, Murten is one of the best day trips from Bern.
18. Lake Oeschinen and Lake Blauseee
Lake Oeschinen, located just 64 km (40 miles) from Bern in Kandersteg, is the perfect destination for a day trip.
This stunning lake, nestled in the Swiss Alps and surrounded by breathtaking mountain views, offers plenty of activities to enjoy. Popular activities include swimming, and hiking around the lake’s banks. Lake Oeschinen is an excellent choice for a Bern day tour. Here is more about this Swiss gem.
Quite close to Lake Oeschinen is the famous Lake Blausee – you can combine these two lakes – Lake Oeschinen and Blausee – if you visit during the long summer months. It is the perfect destination for a day trip. This stunning lake offers breathtaking views of its crystal-clear waters and lush forests surrounding its banks.
Lausanne, located just 100 km (62 miles) from Bern, is the perfect destination if you are looking for a city day trip from Bern.
This vibrant city is home to plenty of attractions, including the iconic Lausanne Cathedral, lively cafes and restaurants in the historical Old Town, as well as an array of museums and art galleries.
Outdoor activities such as sailing and swimming can also be enjoyed in the nearby lakes of Geneva and Neuchâtel. Lausanne is known for its vibrant cultural scene with plenty of festivals, concerts, and events throughout the year.
With its stunning lake views, lively city center, and plenty of activities to choose from, Lausanne is an excellent choice for a Bern day trip.
20. Glacier 3000
Glacier 3000, located 130 km (81 miles) from Bern, is the perfect destination for a day trip.
This stunning glacier offers breathtaking views of its snow-capped peaks and valleys below. Adventure seekers can explore the area on foot or by bike or take a thrilling ride on the Peak Walk suspension bridge across two mountains.
Other activities include skiing and snowboarding on the glacier’s slopes in the winter months, as well as sledding, dog sledding, and paragliding. With its stunning mountain views, thrilling activities, and plenty of attractions to choose from, Glacier 3000 is an excellent choice for a Bern day tour.
21. Niesen Mountain
Niesen Mountain, located just 44 km (27 miles) from Bern, is the perfect place to visit on a day tour from Bern.
This stunning mountain offers breathtaking views of the surrounding hills and valleys below. Take advantage of activities such as hiking to the summit or taking a cable car ride up the mountain. Other activities include skiing, snowboarding, sledding, and ice climbing in the winter months.
With its stunning mountain views, thrilling activities, and plenty of attractions to choose from, Niesen Mountain is an excellent choice for a Bern day tour.
TIPS: WHERE TO STAY IN BERN FOR DAY TRIPS
If you plan to use Bern as your base and go on one of these fantastic day trips, especially by public transport or guided tours, the best is to stay central. With close proximity to the Bern train station, it makes it much easier to get out and explore the places near Bern.
WHERE TO STAY IN BERN:
If you can, book your hotel in the old town. From there, you can get to all (or most) attractions in Bern within minutes.
Bellevue Palace is a 5-star hotel and centrally located – the perfect choice for those who like to indulge in luxury.
I stayed at the 3-star hotel Goldener Schlüssel for 1 night, located in the city center/old town. Though my hotel room was pretty small though, with no direct (and free) parking options and the breakfast was simple, the location was perfect and made up for it.
Bern Youth Hostel is located in the city center and it offers affordable dorm beds but also private rooms with private bathrooms.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON PLACES TO VISIT NEAR BERN
Bern itself is a beauty but it is full of amazing day trip destinations. From exploring the stunning Aare Gorge and its many waterfalls to admiring Munot Castle in Schaffhausen, there is something for everyone.
With its stunning scenery and activities to suit all levels, Bern is an ideal destination for anyone looking to experience some of Switzerland’s best day trips.
It doesn’t matter what type of activity you are looking for, one thing is certain; you are sure to have an unforgettable experience.
I hope this article has inspired you to explore some of the best day trips from Bern. Whether it’s a relaxing boat tour or an adventurous hiking trip, there is something for everyone near Bern.