Switzerland’s Capital is Hot Again
With its exceptional location inside a bend of the river Aare, the Swiss capital of Bern is a city that feels more like a charming town. As it possesses a remarkably preserved medieval city center, the Old Town of Bern has also been named a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Arriving by train into Bern is quite easy due to its location in the heart of the country. Swiss trains run hourly, if not more, often directly from airport locations. Forget the expensive cab ride or rental car. You can be in Bern from Zurich airport in 75 minutes, and Geneva in less than two hours. The train station itself has many amenities such as luggage lockers, shopping, events ticket sales, restaurants and a post office. When you exit, the Old Town is within easy walking distance.
A popular starting point is the Clock Tower (Zytgloggle). Dating from 1191, this elaborate medieval clock tower delights spectators with moving puppets once an hour. The clock also gave Albert Einstein inspiration for his theory of relativity when he lived in the city from 1903 to 1905.
The Old Town also boasts one of the longest covered shopping promenades in Europe. Find the latest European fashions, lots of cozy cafes and restaurants and endless people watching. Make your way up to the Rose Garden for a fantastic panorama of the city with a beautiful sea of flowers at your back.
Easily go from the capital to the cool mountains using Switzerland's efficient rail network, which is one of the best in all of Europe. Trains to Interlaken, gateway to the Berner Oberland run every half-hour. In just over 2 hours from Interlaken, you can be at Jungfraujoch – the Top of Europe. At 3,454 meters – that's over 11,000 feet above sea-level, Jungfraujoch is the highest railway station in Europe. The observatory platform has an astonishing view of the mountains and Aletsch Glacier. View a 13-mile ice stream that will melt your heart then have a bite at the "Top of Europe" restaurant. It really is a taste of Heaven. Don't forget your Swiss Pass!
Want to come down from the mountains and practice your French? Fribourg is just 20 minutes away. Its Old City, one of the best maintained in Switzerland, sits on a small rocky hill above the valley of the Sarine. Just over an hour away, Lausanne has been inhabited since the Stone Age and sits majestically on the shores of Lake Geneva. Once a haven for romantic writers like Rousseau, Shelly and Lord Byron, today it's a hot spot for water-sports enthusiasts.
If you don't just want to practice your French, but actually be in France, you can do it easily with a Eurail France-Switzerland Pass. Two countries, two gorgeous backdrops to watch from your train window. Rail Europe – we set the stage for scenery. Try that at 30,000 feet up.
Contributed by: Eric, Specialty Desk Agent, loves to frequent European events on visits with family in wonderful Kassel and Dortmund.