Top 10 Things to Do in Bern When Studying Abroad


Updated on Jan 26 • 4 minute read

Bern is best known for its educational appeal, as it is home to such esteemed institutions of learning such as the University of Bern and Berner Fachhochschule. Students from all around the world come to Bern to further their educations and experience an international exchange that is like no other.

In fact, students relocate to Bern for their studies abroad and instantly fall in love. This city has a vintage, historical feel that is mixed effortlessly with the bright, vibrant air that exists only in the most diverse “student cities.” If you are hoping to live in a relaxed, exciting locale, then you have most definitely chosen the right place for your international education!

However, as you may have guessed, a semester or two abroad is about a lot more than just the university experience, and Bern is just perfect for the student who really wants to acclimate to a new city and an exhilarating culture. Boasting an eclectic variety of shops, cozy cafés, attractions and events, Bern can offer an endless array of invigorating possibilities. Plus, if you decide to broaden your horizons a bit, there indeed is no end to the experiences you may have.

Since there are so many things to see and do, you definitely want to make sure that you don’t miss some of the highlights. So, take a few minutes to look at this list that will make your time in Bern even more fantastic. It’s always a great idea to know before you go!

1. Eat Your Fill of Gelato

Gelato, a delicious Italian ice cream, is extremely popular in Bern. This tasty treat boasts countless flavors, with some that only the most adventurous foodies will try. It’s also on the inexpensive side, so it’s the perfect reward to give yourself after a long day of studying. For the best gelato in the city, try the selections at Gelateria di Berna.

2. Dance the Night Away

Even though Bern can sometimes seem very traditional during the day, when the sun goes down, the liveliness begins! You’ll find dozens of places to go to with new friends, as well as meet some of the friendly Bern locals.

Propeller doesn’t charge any entrance fees or cover charge, so it’s a great place to try. But if you don’t mind a nominal fee, try Kapitel, Bonsoir and Du Theatre, which are located in the city center and are very popular.

3. Have Some Caffeine

If you’re looking for a great place to meet your daily caffeine quota, then Rosengarten will exceed all of your expectations. It boasts Wi-Fi, the best cheesecake in all of Bern and a lovely rose-covered view. It’s also a great place to study, so grab your books and give it a try!

4. Commune With Nature

Situated near the oldest section in Bern, you’ll find a lovely animal park. Sporting the famous “Bear Pit,” you can get really close to these fascinating creatures while enjoying a traditional Irish beer at the onsite restaurant. This is a unique, exhilarating experience!

5. Explore a Castle

Schloss Oberhofen, or the Oberhofen Castle, is an incredible property with a keep from the 13th century. Offering a bounty of historical knowledge, you can take a tour and explore every nook and cranny of this fascinating attraction. Plus, you can enjoy its breathtaking views and delicious foods from its restaurant.

6. Visit the Market

The Zibelemarit, also known as the Onion Market, is held every November in the city of Bern. During this interesting celebration, farmers from all over the land bring a whopping total of 50 tons of onions. It also exhibits vegetables, garlic, cheeses and Glühwein, which is a traditional hot wine. It is located in the old town center and welcomes numerous visitors from miles away.

7. Revel at the Carnival

Held each February, this colorful event, based around the Catholic Swiss Canton, is one not to be missed. Various bands form, called “Guggenmusik-Cliques”, and they traverse a 6km route throughout the city of Bern. Expect to hear loud drums and trumpets, as well as see the local children spread confetti all over the city.

This vibrant event spreads across all of Bern, filling the usually quiet area with an air of exhilaration. And after four complete days of this celebration, Bern is cleaned up quickly and returned to its regular pristine self.

8. Enjoy Museum Night

Museum Night is a local event in Bern that mixes the feel of a party with the knowledge of the region’s most-esteemed museums. All of the participating museums stay open from 17h to 02h, welcoming in visitors non-stop. To add to the festivities, all of the museums are lit with different colors, and there are concerts everywhere you go.

Additionally, you’ll find free outdoor museums, such as last year’s dedication to classic cars, which were also driving all over the city. This is one of the most popular events with the student population.

9. Run in the Grand Prix

The Grand Prix in Bern is an annual marathon that welcomes over 28,000 competitors. However, if you aren’t up for the running part, you can simply watch and participate in the celebration. According to Bern Tourism, it is known as “the 10 most beautiful miles in the world.”

10. Attend the Gurten Festival

Each summer, this unique music festival rolls into the city of Bern, welcoming in over 80,000 fans from all over the globe. The Gurten Festival offers the gigantic crowds over 60 bands and 60 DJs, with genres ranging from local music to rock or R&B. To go along with the music, you’ll also find delicious food, drinks and stunning views.

Of course, there are dozens of other things to do during your time in Bern, so don’t miss any of the fun-filled opportunities that this dazzling destination has to offer! After you find a suitable room or a shared apartment with a couple of your new classmates on a trusted platform like Housing Anywhere, all you have to do is relax and prepare for the experience of a lifetime!

Ready for your adventure?