Thun and Bern: Beautiful Old Swiss Cities

The second day in Grindelwald was forecast to be wet, so it wasn’t worth spending 60 Swiss Franks (about 60 USD) to take us up to the top of the Grindelwald First lift, which had been our original plan.  Instead, we decided to slow down our trip to Zurich with a few scenic stops in towns and cities.  Thun was our first stop, a beautiful old city on a river. We watched surfers on the river, and took plenty of photos of the covered bridges and pretty buildings. It was Sunday, so most shops were closed, but they looked worth a wander if they’d been open. Lunch was enjoyed in an Italian restaurant along the river…which only served tap water if you also got wine and didn’t allow for the sharing of pizza.  Sort of annoying, but the food was tasty.

Then it was on to Bern. Bern is a smaller city and the capital of Switzerland.  It’s a beautiful place to wander around, with lots of good restaurants and shopping (sadly mostly closed on Sunday).

We visited the famous bear pit, a tribute to the city’s history of keeping bears in a pit in the city. Now it’s more of a riverside sanctuary, and the bears even have access to the river so they can swim to escape the heat.

After windowshopping at expensive watch shops, and staring in awe at some of the rather interesting street sculptures, we relaxed with some gelato and headed onward to Zurich.

Overall, Bern was a pretty city to wander around, but I’d imagine it’s much more lively on a weekday or Saturday than it was when we visited! We parked close to city centre, and were able to walk to all the main sights.

Oregon Girl Around the World



12 Comments Add yours

  1. I seem to recall a cool clock tower in the center of Bern – at the Town Hall? That had bears? It was a long time ago that I was there, I could be misplacing that memory! Yes, it’s funny how quiet a place can feel on Sunday when all the shops are closed. Thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles, Erin

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There was a bear pit, and a clock! What a cool city to wander around. I think everything being closed on Sunday is the thing it took longest for me to get used to as an American.


  2. I visited Bern as a kid and would love to go back! Your pix brought back some memories! #FarawayFiles

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you get a chance to go back, it’s a beautiful place!


  3. I absolutely love those covered bridges, I’d probably go just to see them! Yes, not allowing the sharing of pizza is super annoying – is that a Swiss thing? I’m sure the Italians wouldn’t mind! The bears were for bear-baiting, I presume? Lovely post, I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never set foot in Switzerland! Thanks for the tips

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Back in the day, but now it’s more of a bear sanctuary. I hope you get to visit Switzerland it’s a beautiful country!


  4. Ruth says:

    I would like to explore more of Switzerland but the prices stop me a bit. After Iceland, I am looking for cheaper destination for this year and the next. #farawayfiles


    1. It is pricey, but not as bad as Iceland or Scandinavia. Worth it for the views, but I think my wallet would have been hurting had we stayed for more than a long weekend!


  5. Reblogged this on Travel Inspire Connect and commented:
    An amazingly beautiful country. It is clear that the Swiss take great pride in their country, their cities, their villages, their culture. Great memories of mountain vistas, cool, crisp air, village dairy cows and awaking to the distant sound of cowbells! Bliss.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s something about the alps I just love! It is gorgeous, and I had no idea the culture was so interesting as well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It only took me a couple of days to become smitten by the culture but I have ancestral ties.


  6. Clare Thomson says:

    I can’t believe they still keep bears in the city! Glad you had a photo or I wouldn’t have believed you! Some European cities are like ghost towns on Sundays, aren’t they? I’ve still got so much exploring to do in Switzerland so very glad to read your post on #FarawayFiles


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