Quite a few people do not know Bern is the capital of Switzerland. For a long time, Switzerland didn’t have a capital as it was a confederation of independent cantons without a real unity. In 1848, Bern was selected to become the capital over much bigger cities like Zurich and Geneva – to avoid a concentration of power.
Bern is a lovely city, blessed with a beautiful old city center, a fantastic river and amazing nature all around. But most people only come to check out the UNESCO World Heritage sites in the center, and don’t even spend the night. Which is a shame, as there’s so much more to see and it’s so nice to go with the flow and the laid back lifestyle of the locals… Bern also has a very lively music and a very active underground culture scene, which is rarely explored by visitors.
On Spotted by Locals Bern, our Bern Spotters share their personal favorite spots, to help you explore their city like a local. Here’s just a few of them!
Reitschule – A walk on the wild side
“For some Reitschule is the single most important hotspot for alternative culture in Bern, probably the county, maybe even the continent — a rare space without an urge for consumption and with the much needed proof that young people still care for politics and a refuge for people in need.
So if you plan to go there – which I warmly recommend – breathe in, stay cool, be prepared for anything, kindly refuse everything offered to you and enjoy Bern’s wild side!” —Sebastian Meier
Drei Eidgenossen – Everybody’s welcome!
“At Drei Eidgenossen you will always meet an eclectic mix of young and old, of people that are well off and people who live on the margin of society. Inside, there are only big tables for around six people, so you will most probably end up making friends with other guests joining you, one of the reasons, why I like 3 Eidgenossen.” —Kathrin Hiss
Trallala – Urban organic wine
“Trallala is tucked away in the Wyler quarter, close to the public swimming pool «Wylerbad» and has a very urban feel. It has all the ingredients for a merry vinous and culinary evening. It is one of the few bars in Bern, where you find natural wine, their specialty.”
Sauna Lorrainebad – Finnish tradition in cozy Bern
“Important discussions are said to be held in saunas, significant decisions are rumoured to be made in 80° Celsius. Up until this winter, the sauna situation in Bern didn’t really measure up with the status of Bern as the political centre of Switzerland.
However, since the beginning of November, parliamentarians, would-be politicians and people like me who just like relaxing the Finnish way can now enjoy cozy sauna yurts in the Sauna Lorrainebad, right next to the river Aare.” —Kathrin Hiss
Lehrerzimmer – Back to school
“Lehrerzimmer is located in a high school turned into a culture center. The old break space is turned into a giant open-air bar with cool drinks in summer, mulled wine in winter and kebab from Pittaria all year round. The building is stuffed with all kinds of art. The upper floors are non-public and home to dozens of artists, performers, musicians etc. The ground floor hosts a sublime concert bar, a DJing school, a bookstore, several galleries and – of course – Lehrerzimmer.” —Sebastian Meier
More tips? Check out Spotted by Locals Bern!
Bern loving local? Join our team!