Bern has been one of the most reputable cities in the world. Since 1848, it has been the capital of Switzerland, and it is a popular tourist destination. Many people worldwide tend to think that the capital of Switzerland is Zurich; however, this is not the case. Many people think Bern is a quiet city until they visit it and know what it offers. The town retains some ancient heritage making it a perfect destination where you can learn more.
On the other hand, Zurich is the financial capital of Switzerland, and it is an excellent destination that you should add to your vacation list. When you travel to Zurich, you will know what makes Switzerland a superb destination to visit. The nightlife in Zurich is very vibrant, and it has more museums, restaurants, shops, and more international multicultural features than Bern. However, the two cities are worth visiting.
Interested in reading other Swiss city comparisons? We’ve been working on comparing Lucerne and Zurich, so feel free to check our article here.
Public transportation in Switzerland is advanced, and you can purchase a one-way ticket, which will cost you $4.25, or choose a daily pass ticket that will cost you $13. Besides, the city is small. Therefore, you can choose to walk from time to time.
Further reading: How to use trains in Switzerland and save money
Taxis in Bern costs a minimum of 6.80 CHF, and any additional kilometer is charged 3CHF.
During the summer or April through October, there are bikes on the Publibike for four hours, and you will not be charged. However, you will be required to pay a deposit of $21.
Many of the attractions in Zurich are closer to each other, and you can walk around as you embrace the dynamic of the city.
Zurich offers free bikes that you can rent and get around with them. However, you will have to show some form of identification to borrow the bike and deposit $20, which is refundable.
The public transport system in Zurich is one of the best in the world. Trams, buses, trains, cable cars, and boats are available to help you move around. The trams are a perfect way that you can get around. A second-class ticket will cost you $3, and you can choose to purchase a day pass for $6. To save on costs, you can buy a Zurich card.
Further reading: Detailed guide on driving in Switzerland
There are taxis in Zurich. However, they are costly. They will charge you a base fare of $6 and an additional $4 for any extra kilometer covered.
Hostel in Bern
This hotel is located in Bern, and it is a perfect choice for backpackers and anyone who wants to visit on a budget. The iconic building is just a few meters from the central train station. It is the economic place. There is a common kitchen, pool table, internet, and television. You have to pay $70.
Hotel Landhaus Bern
This hotel has a lot of history and diversity, and it is one of the places that you should stay in on your next vacation. The hotel currently sits in a location that has been there for the past century. The renovated rooms are in harmony with modern hotel requirements, and it has six-bed dormitories, which are double rooms, and the amenities involved include hair dryers, pillow, and duvets. There is a bar within the vicinity. Unfortunately, you have to part with $75 for a room in this hotel.
Novotel Bern Expo
This is an interphase hotel that caters to both budget and midrange. The hotel is perfect for people looking to mix some business and pleasure. It is possible to take a tram to the hotel’s doorstep because it is close to old Bern city. The cost of a room in this hotel is $80. This room comes with amenities such as free internet, complimentary breakfast, among others.
Hotel Kreuz Bern
This is a midrange budget hotel situated in Bern’s city, and it is characterized by 162 beds offered in three bedrooms, double rooms, and single rooms. This hotel is close to the railway, and you can choose it because it allows you to move from one location to another with ease. Some of the features of the rooms include cable television, free Wi-Fi, and complimentary breakfast. The cost of a room in this hotel is $160.
Hotel Ibis Bern Expo
This hotel is located a few meters from the Bern Expo exhibition center. It features modern amenities such as free Wi-Fi, laundry service, and flat-screen television.
It is one of the finest mid-range budget hotels in Bern, and some of the rooms in the hotel have themed decorations. Besides, you will get a 24-hour bar. Hence, you can enjoy your time in the hotel. The cost of a room in the hotel is $150.
This hotel is located in Bern, and it offers accommodation with a patio. It is a unique hotel because there is free Wi-Fi; it features a kitchen with a dishwasher, satellite television, microwave, and ironing facilities. Everything you need in your house is in this fancy hotel, and you can get everything within one spot. All the rooms in the hotel have fantastic garden views, and it is a perfect location for your stay.
This is the grandest hotel in Bern as it welcomes you with exceptional interior, and there are only a few meters from the Swiss parliament. It also features a rooftop bar and central spa. They are known for their excellent Wiener schnitzel and unique rooms. The amenities in this hotel are worth the price. The price starts from $290.
Hotel Savoy is one of those top destinations you always hear about but have not seen. The hotel is in a prime location from the train station and significant attraction Bern old town. The rooms in this hotel are well organized and well finished, that you will receive everything top-notch during your stay. The nifty technology that is incorporated in the hotel makes it one of the best in town. The price for a room in this hotel is $250.
The Bristol hotel
The Bristol hotel is one of those unique hotels that presents you with a different taste of the environment. The design features some of the intricate designs, and there is so much that you can learn from this hotel and the surroundings. The rooms are equipped with fast internet, and you will be charged around $300 going up depending on the room’s size and amenities.
Youth Hostel Zurich
The youth hostel in Zurich is one of the best hostels that you can stay in because of its pocket-friendly nature and the amenities that you get. This hostel is located in a historic area of the city, and you can easily access different areas of the facility with ease. In addition, you will be given a complimentary breakfast when you stay in the hostel. The price is $110.
Old town Hostel Otter
This is a fantastic Zurich hostel that used to be a hotel in the past before they made it a hostel. It is the best solo traveler hostel because it still retains the previous style of a hotel. You will be given a free complimentary breakfast, and the Wi-Fi is free. The price is $140.
Zurich Center Oerlikon 2
This features modern amenities, and you will feel like you are in an Airbnb. According to travelers who have been in this location, they can attest that it offers the best value for money. The rooms are bigger, and you have a chance to enjoy more privacy. The price for these amenities is $140.
This is an amazing three-star hotel that is located in the Seefeld district. It is a few meters from Lake Zurich and the opera house. It features elegant rooms that are airy and clean. You will be served a complimentary breakfast when you visit this location. There are so many restaurants nearby, and you can explore their cuisine while in the region. The nightlife is also amazing. You will pay $220 per night for a room in this hotel.
This hotel is situated in the central part of Zurich’s old town, and it is a five-minute walk from the train station. There are twenty-seven rooms in the hotel, all with modern decor, and it is made from modern architectural designs making it a perfect place to stay. There is a restaurant on site that serves authentic Sicilian cuisine hence the need to sample some of the best meals in the area. You will have to pay $180 for a room in this hotel.
Hotel Zürich West
This is a four-star hotel that is located in the western part of the Zurich district. Multiple amenities set the hotel apart from the rest. You can enjoy your sauna on the rooftop as well as join a gym in the hotel. In addition, the property is just ten minutes away from the shopping area. A room will cost you $188 per night.
Park Hyatt Zurich
The Park Hyatt Zurich is one of the top hotels in the country, and it is known for its top-notch services. It is a few meters away from the city center, and you can indulge in the vibrant and bustling nightlife around the area. Furthermore, with its proximity to Lake Zurich, the views are amazing, and you can enjoy top not services while viewing mesmerizing environment. The price of a room in this hotel is $430 per night.
Hotel Baur au Lac
One of the best hotels you can ever stay in a while in Zurich is the Baur au Lac hotel. This hotel features a scenic terrace where you can enjoy your breakfast as you check out the fantastic scenes of the surrounding environment. It is a popular spot for summer parties, and when you have VIP access, you are sure that your holiday will be fantastic. The amenities and services at this hotel are elegant, and you will have to pay $450 per night for a room.
The Storchen hotel is located in the center of the luxury shopping district in Zurich, a few meters from the old town and river Limmat. It is a perfect legendary tale that the hotel is from a stork, which symbolizes good luck in Switzerland.
You can enjoy the legendary cocktails served at the top restaurant. The views of the lake and the river at the top of the hotel are genuinely mesmerizing ad you are sure to have a good time there. The price for a room is $450 per night.
Budget for a day
The budget for a day in Bern will depend on the amount of money you are willing to spend. If you are on a tight budget, you will spend around $150 per day in Bern. A person on a medium-range budget will spend about $280 per day, while that on a luxurious budget will spend anything up from $500. The cost of rooms is what drives prices up. You will find a dorm room for $45, while private rooms will charge you over $100. You can purchase a day pass ticket to reduce traveling costs. The average cost of food is around $15 for lunch and $20 for dinner. If you choose to cook, you will have to spend about $130 on groceries per week.
Further reading: Learn more about grocery stores in Switzerland
On the other hand, Zurich is one of the top-notch destinations because the budget for a day in this location will be $180 for a tight budget fellow. The medium-range budget is $300, and that of a luxurious individual will be anything up from $550.
The hotel prices are pretty high in Zurich, and you will spend a considerable amount of your budget on accommodation. However, you can purchase a Zurich day pass ticket to reduce costs. The cost of meals is comparable to other Swiss cities.
Things to do
Explore the city
One of the best ways of knowing a place is to explore it on foot. When you do this, it will give you a clear look at the terrain and the unique features it has to offer. While a day tour around the city is free, it is always important to tip your guide.
Visit Bern Cathedral
The ancient church is from the 15th century, and it is the best location that you have ever been to in the city. It is the tallest cathedral in the country, and with its intricate architecture, there is always something to learn about Swiss architecture.
Take a Turkish bath
There is an old boiler in the billiards factory, and it boils water used in the spa. The rooms are constructed in an octagonal shape, and you are given linen to wear. The bath is rejuvenating and relaxing.
Further reading: Explore thermal baths in Switzerland with us
Go for a chocolate tasting tour
If you want to know how Swiss chocolates are made then a trip to the major factories is what you should do. You will get to know the process of making the chocolates as well as taste lots of chocolates.
Further reading: Chocolate factories you must visit in Switzerland
Indulge in the vibrant Zurich nightlife
Zurich is a metropolis, and the nightlife is lit. So if you want somewhere, you can express yourself and enjoy music, dancing and drinking then Zurich is your place. There are different bars and restaurants, and you can sample the cream of the city.
One of the fun activities that you should do is skiing. There is a skiing resort around, and you can indulge yourself in some skiing. There are ski resorts nearby too, and you can try them as well.
This is a popular dish in Bern, and it consists of sausages and meat such as smoked pork, beef, pork chops, among others, all spiced up with juniper spices giving it a fantastic taste. The mixture is then added to pickled turnips and boiled potatoes before serving. It is a humongous dish, and you are sure to be full.
The Bernese Haselnusslebkuchen
This dish is primarily localized in Bern and is not just gingerbread. Other ingredients are incorporated into the mixture to give it a unique taste. For example, honey is added in small amounts until the desired flavor is achieved. There are also other exotic spices included.
The quiches and cheese are among the most popular meals in Switzerland, and you should try them because they will give you a different perspective on the quiches. You can take them on your picnic or load them into vegetables or meats.
This is a fantastic cheese that is melted, and it is escorted with onions, pickled gherkins, and other vegetables of your choice. Since it is a cheesy dish, you are sure to enjoy some Swiss cheese.
Rosti is a fried flatbread that is made from potatoes that are friends. The original version of this delicacy is from Switzerland, and the potatoes are cooked to perfection by achieving a crispy taste.
The saffron sold in Switzerland is one of the most expensive in the world. However, saffron risotto is one meal that is in high demand in Switzerland, and you should not be left behind. Try out this meal and get a feel of the fantastic ingredients. The meal is actually from the Ticino people. However, it is now enjoyed nationally.
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Culture and People
In as much as Bern is a quiet city, the people are quite warm, welcoming, and outgoing. They are a true definition of a Swiss national. The fantastic environment usually means that people are adventurous. Their culture is influenced by the people from different parts of Europe.
Zurich is the melting pot of culture and diversity. You will find people from different nationalities in this city. You should be open-minded and enjoy the vibe. It is a fantastic place to live and enjoy your stay. The people of Zurich are diverse, welcoming, and outgoing.
More on Swiss culture:
- What are Swiss people like?
- What is Switzerland known for?
- Everything you need to know about coffee culture in Switzerland
- Unique Christmas traditions in Switzerland
Best time to visit
The best time to visit Bern is from April through September. During this period, the weather is warm enough, and you can enjoy some fun outdoors. The daily temperatures can reach 23 degrees Celsius.
The best time to visit Zurich is from May through September. The country experiences better weather during this period, and it allows you to explore more places. The average temperature during this period is 22 degrees Celsius.
Bern is a safe city, and you can walk anywhere. However, you must take care of your belongings in as much as they cannot be stolen.
Zurich is a safe city, and there are no burglary or tourist attacks in recent years. However, always take care of your belongings.