Are you looking for the best things to do in Bern in winter? This winter in Bern guide will help you plan your trip!
Bern is such a fantastic base for trips to the mountains, including Interlaken and Lauterbrunnen (one of the best small towns in the country!).
This guide details what to expect when booking a winter trip to Bern, including temperatures, average snowfall, and more!
And, to finish things off, we list the top Bern winter activities and where to stay on your trip!
Did we miss any of the best places to visit in Bern in winter? Let us know in the comments.
In this post...
Winter Temperatures in Bern
Winter in Bern can be rather chilly. Here are some of the average temperatures for the months of November-March in Bern:
- Bern in November: highs of 8C (45F), lows of 1C (33F)
- Bern in December: highs of 4C (38F), lows of -2C (28F)
- Bern in January: highs of 3C (37F), lows of -3C (26F)
- Bern in February: highs of 5C (41F), lows of -3C (26F)
- Bern in March: highs of 10C (49F), lows of 1C (32F)
Does It Snow in Bern?
When visiting Bern in the winter, it’s not unlikely that you will see snow, especially if you visit during December.
December is said to be the snowiest month of the year, with snowfall averaging around 3.8 inches.
You might also see some snow between late November and late February, and less frequently in March.
During my time in Bern, on the other hand, we were not gifted with any snow and it was early January! Every year brings a new set of surprises, I suppose!
Best Things to Do in Bern in Winter
1. Explore Bern’s Old Town
Visit Bern’s Old City, which was founded in 1191. Since 1983, it has been a UNESCO World Heritage site and visiting is one of the top things to do in Bern.
The Old City of Bern is split into two sections: the lower section, or “the Old City,” is comprised of the region between the Matte neighborhood and the Clock Tower.
Between the Clock Tower and Bollwerk-Hirschengraben is the top portion of the Old City. During the stroll, visitors will be mesmerized by the distinctive sandstone buildings, charming alleys, and impressive monuments.
One of them is the Clock Tower, which attracts people from all around the world.
Large crowds gather in front of the clock tower in Bern’s Old Town to observe the unique performance that usually occurs at the time the clock is about to strike the hour.
Furthermore, large chestnut trees on the Minster Terrace make it the ideal spot for picnics, games, and relaxation.
The old churchyard is a well-liked gathering location because of the spectacular view of the Aare River, the Alps, and the Matte neighborhood.
2. Ice Skate in Front of the Parliament Building
During winter time the Swiss parliament converts into an ice skating utopia.
The artificial ice rink with the unique backdrop of the parliament is a popular place to visit for locals and tourists.
Every year, thousands of people lace up their ice skates and practice their curves on the 600m2 illuminated rink.
Visitors can also visit the restaurant located on the rink to warm up their coldness. The cozy ice rink restaurant has 150 seats and is open daily from 11 AM to 11 PM.
The restaurant serves ice skaters mulled wine and fondue. This year the artificial ice rink will return on December 16th, 2023.
Free admission is offered. The location offers ice skating equipment for rent. Ice skates prices for adults are CHF 10.00, and for children aged 15 and under CHF 7.00.
3. Catch a Show at the Bern Theatre
Bern is regarded as a genuine bastion of culture because it is home to some of Switzerland’s best museums and galleries.
A culture enthusiast’s itinerary should undoubtedly include visiting the Stadttheater Bern on Kornhausplatz to see a ballet, play, opera, or performance by the Bern Symphony Orchestra.
Each season, Stadttheater Bern presents more than 300 opera, operetta, musical, theatre, ballet, and dance productions. The season is from September until July.
There are many world premieres and first performances in addition to the classics. The Bern Symphony Orchestra and the theater work together in opera and ballet.
The VIDMARhallen on the city’s outskirts, with its three stages, offers more playgrounds and creates the perfect environment for theater that moves with the times.
The theatrical education department provides introductions to plays and works, premiere lessons, youth theater clubs for children under twelve and under two, an annual theatre education dance project, and a dance club for children and young adults.
Address: im Stadttheater, Kornhauspl. 20, 3011 Bern
4. Snowshoe at Nature Park Gantrisch
Several snowshoe hikes are available at the Gantrisch Nature Park. The “Selibühl panorama walk,” which provides a breathtaking view of the snow-covered Alpine chain, is one highlight.
Direct access to the Gurnigel Berghaus station, where the snowshoe journey begins, is provided by Postbus route 323.
From the halt, the Selibühl panorama trail heads west along the edge of the woodland.
You can take a side trip to the Selibühlhaus and then continue to the Selibühl viewpoint, where you will be rewarded with a 360-degree panoramic view and lots of nature.
The loop trail is especially great for first-time hikers because no prior experience is necessary. A guide is not necessary because the path is indicated.
Please only utilize the designated hiking routes to preserve the woodlands.
The snowshoe tour will include a 3-course evening meal and an overnight stay in Hotel Sternen in Guggisberg where visitors will continue their unique experience the next day. The price for the tour is CHF 115 per person per day.
Address: Schlossgasse 13, 3150 Schwarzenburg
5. Visit the Famous Bern Cathedral
Visit the Bern Münster Cathedral of St. Vincent, which is the most remarkable late-Gothic building in Bern and the largest and most important late-medieval church in Switzerland.
The wonderful view of the city and the snow-capped mountains of the Bernese Oberland may be enjoyed by this highest church tower in Switzerland.
On your way down, you will see the heaviest and most important bells of Switzerland.
The largest religious structure in Switzerland is a three-aisled basilica without a transept that towers over the rooftops of the old town.
Beginning in 1421, construction on this masterwork continued through several generations of builders. Only in 1893 was the steeple finally finished.
The main doorway is a noteworthy feature since it houses the unique representation of the Last Judgment that has escaped the iconoclasm of the Reformation.
The 100-meter-tall cathedral tower, the lookout point, is 344 steps above the entrance.
Address: Münsterpl. 1, 3000 Bern
6. Learn About Bern’s Astronomical Clock Tower
The Zytglogge is one of Bern’s most well-known sights, and it is situated right in the middle of all the city’s other well-known landmarks in the Old Town.
The Clock Tower, which was formerly a city entrance, today draws tourists from all over the world.
A group of people gathers beneath the infamous “Zytglogge” clock each hour to observe the spectacle of the clock figures.
A cockatoo crows, the bear starts his rounds, and the joker takes the opportunity of proclaiming the hour four minutes before the strokes signaling the change of hour.
The initial city expansion’s boundary is defined by the clock tower, which stands in for the first western city gate between 1191 and 1256.
All of Bern’s development revolved around the clock because it served as the city’s central timepiece. Distances were calculated from this point and noted on stones along the cantonal highways.
Address: Bim Zytglogge 1, 3011 Bern
7. Sled or Ski on Gurten, Bern’s Local Mountain
At 858 meters above sea level, there is a paradise of lush meadows with stunning views of the city of Bern, the glittering Aare River, and the snow-capped peaks of the Bernese Oberland.
And, you don’t even need to try your hands at driving in the Alps to get there – a funicular will do all the work for you!
From the top station to the intermediate station of the Gurten funicular, go sliding on the dark sled run.
If you do not have a sled of your own, you can rent one at the top station.
These are made of wood. The price for a traditional wooden sled rental is CHF 5. The use of the sledding run is free of charge.
Ski enthusiasts and families will enjoy skiing in Gurten. The smallest and most regional ski area in Bern can be found at the Gurten funicular.
The kids’ ski lift can be used if the mountain has adequate snow. Everyone making their first descent on the slopes should use the Gurten.
The day pass price is CHF 5. The ski, pole, and boot rentals are also CHF 5.
8. Shop at Bern’s Christmas Markets
Visit the Bernese Star Market for its 80 wooden huts and winter delicacies, hot drinks, and designs from ever-changing exhibitors.
The Swiss children’s village features a carousel and other attractions that delight kids. A charming Gstaad fondue chalet with 200 seats is also available.
It offers cheese delicacies from midday until late at night and welcomes you to enjoy a drink in the heated lounge with friends.
Or enjoy your day at Weusebgaysplatz Christmas Market which is more than 20 years old.
A fence constructed of fir branches surrounds more than 50 festively decorated, uniquely built wooden houses and stands, which display a variety of goods.
Another choice is the Bern Minster Christmas Market. The Christmas market is located on the Münsterplatz directly in front of the Bern Cathedral.
There you will find artisans that produce unique products. The market also spoils the visitors with culinary delights such as hamburgers, bratwurst, and chnobli bread.
9. See the Paul Klee Museum
The renowned Zentrum Paul Klee is home to the largest collection of Klee’s artwork anywhere in the world, and the center provides a variety of programs, chances for recreation, a lovely setting for events, and, most importantly, a vibrant cultural scene.
The undulating construction of Zentrum Paul Klee is the first notable aspect. The way the building curls up and then abruptly disappears into the grass will astound everyone.
There are other signs with intriguing titles that you can find if you follow the walkways that circle the Zentrum Paul Klee.
Around the structure, there are 18 different walkways with Klee’s works of art as their names.
One of the well-known Paul Klee works on display in this museum is “Ad Parnassum,” a masterwork that many see as the pinnacle of Klee’s pointillist movement.
The entry fee is CHF 20 for a standard ticket and CHF 7 for children 6-16.
Address: Monument im Fruchtland 3, 3000 Bern
10. Warm Up with the Swiss Classic: Cheese Fondue
Visiting Bern in winter means the fondue season has begun. Visit Rooftop Igloo for hot pot cuisine, breathtaking city views, and a special wine, champagne, and cocktail menu.
There are only 8 Igloos for 8 people. Rooftop Igloo means togetherness, enjoyment, and fun with friends and family.
Visit the Marzilibrücke Restaurant for Fondue gondolas. The cable cars offer magical views and a feast for your tastebuds.
Enjoy the mountain view in the snug warm seat and taste the cheese fondue classic or with black truffle which comes with bread, potatoes, pickles gherkins, and onions.
Spend the day at the Kimmeribodenbad Hotel, which offers a special atmosphere for a laid-back evening of fondue entertainment.
The Marbach Mountain Dairy’s unique fondue blend is served with potatoes, bread, pickled veggies, and a board of local dry meats.
Visit ChäsChäuer for something more distinctive. They serve a classic fondue with some gin. The cheese blend is from the Chäsbueb ripening cellar, while the gin is straight from the Matte neighborhood.
You will get the opportunity to see the distillery while on a tour and take part in a special introduction to the gin-making process.
11. Relax at the Hammam & Spa Oktogon
What was Bern’s first gasometer in the 19th century is now a tranquil oriental bath.
The bathing practice is founded on the notion of gradually warming and washing your body, which aids in relaxation and detoxification.
Visitors experience a variety of indulgent procedures, such as warm baths, Moroccan clay masks, hot herbal steam, and natural peelings.
Asian accents like daybeds, silver bowls with elaborate designs, colorful couches, and lanterns complement the soothing ambiance.
When the body has been cleansed and detoxified, relax with a cup of tea and perhaps a small Asian food in the café.
Relax on one of the huge mats or daybeds in the Camekan, the hammam’s resting area, to finish the bathing routine.
Visitors do not need to bring anything to the hammam since the amenities are provided.
Address: Weihergasse 3, 3005 Bern
12. Enjoy the Views at Rosengarten
For those who enjoy flowers, the Rose Garden is a paradise and a wonderful location to relax. It has a fantastic view of Bern and a restaurant in a prime location.
A beautiful perspective of the Old Town and the Aare Loop can be seen from the Rose Garden, a sizable park.
When the weather is clear, the view extends far beyond the city to Bern’s local mountain, the Gurten, and the Alps.
The park is home to 28 distinct species of rhododendrons, 200 different types of irises, and 220 different types of roses.
The Rose Garden served as a cemetery from 1765 to 1877. It has been a public park with a pond and abundant floral beauty since 1913.
There is a reading garden and a gazebo where you can unwind. The Rosengarten restaurant is a fantastic spot to pass the time and have a view of the Old Town’s rows of residences.
Address: Alter Aargauerstalden 31B, 3006 Bern
13. Check Out the Art at Bern’s Museum of Fine Arts
The oldest art museum in Switzerland with a permanent collection is the Museum of Fine Arts in Bern.
The collection is constantly expanding and evolving and currently includes over 4,000 paintings and sculptures in addition to 50,000 drawings, prints, photographs, videos, and films.
It also includes works from the Gothic era to the present.
The permanent collection includes pieces by renowned artists from the Surrealist, Impressionist, Expressionist, Cubist, and “Der Blaue Reiter” movements as well as Salvador Dali, Claude Monet, and Vincent van Gogh.
The key works of this period are paintings by Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, and Pablo Picasso. Contemporary art and works from the twenty-first century complete the remarkable collection.
The Museum of Fine Arts Bern provides a welcoming environment for museum visits and art viewings by fusing historical Baroque and contemporary aspects.
The sizable display rooms can also be used for conferences and other private and professional gatherings.
Address: Hodlerstrasse 8, 3011 Bern
14. Celebrate Carnival in Bern
The traditional “Gugge Party” is held to properly commemorate the beginning of Bern’s carnival, which begins at 11:11 a.m. on November 11 when the city’s carnival bear is locked up in the Prison Tower to hibernate.
The actual celebration, however, starts on the Thursday following Ash Wednesday, when the bear is awakened and let out of its hibernation in the Prison Tower.
This marks the start of the carnival. The first exciting highlights are the Guggenmusik bands in Rathausgasse Lane and the food, drink, and music on Münsterplatz square.
The small carnival enthusiasts get their chance on Friday when a procession for kids takes place in Zeughausgasse Alley’s lower section.
It focuses on a different subject each year.
The third day of the carnival also has much to offer, including the outdoor theater in front of the Kreuzgassbrunnen fountain in Kramgasse Alley and the “poetic carnival” in the lower section of the Old City.
15. Visit the Bern Historical Museum/Einstein Museum
Switzerland’s second-largest history museum is located in Bern.
The museum houses exhibits from prehistoric periods to the present that connect to Bern’s history, as well as permanent displays of artifacts from Asia, Oceania, America, and Egypt.
The Muri statuette group, a collection of six Gallo-Roman bronze statues, is one of the collection’s most impressive pieces.
In addition, the Einstein Museum, a component of the Bern Historical Museum, contains a chronicle of the physicist’s life on a surface area of about 1000m2.
The biographies of the genius and his ground-breaking discoveries are depicted in almost 550 actual objects and replicas, 70 videos, and several animations, all of which also serve to illustrate the history of his era.
The author discusses both the personal and professional facets of Einstein’s life to reveal the human being underneath the intellect.
Address: Helvetiapl. 5, 3005 Bern
Where to Stay in Bern
If you are looking for a great place to stay in Bern, these are some of our top picks!
- Swissôtel Kursaal Bern (offers Old Town views!)
- Los Lorentes Hotel Bern City (newly opened in 2022)
- Stay KooooK Bern City (top location!)
- Hostel 77 Bern (budget option)
Did we miss any of the best things to do in Bern in winter? Let us know your winter in Bern tips in the comments!
More Switzerland Travel Guides
- Things to do in Bern
- Interlaken in winter
- Interlaken things to do
- Winter kayaking in Interlaken
- Zurich in winter
- One day in Zurich
- Geneva in winter
- Day trips from Zurich
- Top day trips from Lucerne
- Lucerne in winter
- Best places to stay in Lugano
- Lugano day trips
- Switzerland’s best small towns
Pin this Winter in Bern Guide
Megan is a travel blogger and writer with a background in digital marketing. Originally from Richmond, VA, she now splits her time between Frankfurt, Germany and Arctic Finland after also living in Norway, Armenia, and Kazakhstan. She has a passion for winter travel, as well as the Nordic countries, but you can also find her eating her way through Italy, perusing perfume stores in Paris, or taking road trips through the USA. Megan has written for or been featured by National Geographic, Forbes, Lonely Planet, the New York Times, and more. She co-authored Fodor’s Travel ‘Essential Norway’ and has visited 45 US states and 100+ countries.