Summer vacation has already begun in most Swiss cantons and many people are looking forward to travelling abroad again. But let's not forget that there are many amazing travel destinations right on our doorstep here in Switzerland. To help you discover what our different Swiss regions have to offer, leaders from our different KPMG office locations have shared their summertime tips.

Many Swiss people will stay on home turf for their summer vacation again this year. Are there any spots (museums, cinemas, art galleries or local beauty spots) in Bern you would recommend?

Bern is an attraction in its own right. So I’d like to recommend a short tour, starting at the Zytglogge tower. From there, take a stroll down the Münstergasse to the Münster cathedral, enjoy a coffee on the Münsterplattform (Pläfe) take the stairs (or the elevator) down to the Matte and walk along the river to Läuferplatz and cross the Untertor bridge. Walk a little uphill to the Rosengarten, take in the most scenic view of the Unesco world heritage site of Bern’s old town before you walk down again to the Bärenpark. Here you can watch the three bears play or swim and then perhaps enjoy a beer at Altes Tramdepot where they brew their own beer. Suitably refreshed, you can then cross the Nydegg bridge and wander through the old town back to Zytglogge / Kornhausplatz. Enjoy the colorful fountains along the way!
If you absolutely want to add a museum to the list, then either carry on walking from Rosengarten to the Zentrum Paul Klee or at the end of the tour, walk across the Kirchenfeld bridge to the Bernisches Historisches Museum, where you can visit the interesting exhibition on Albert Einstein. Did you know that he wrote his relativity theory in Bern?

Simon Studer

Simon Studer, Office Head Bern

Do you have any favorite restaurants in your location, whether in the city or the surrounding countryside?

There is an "m" missing (many) in the question 😉
In the city: Ristorante VerdiZimmermaniaSchwellenmätteliDampfzentraleParkcafé Elfenau
In the surroundings: Fähribeizli in Muri, Beau Rivage in Thun, Kemmeriboden BadHuus in Saanen, I could easily go on!

Are there any 'must-do' hikes you would recommend in Bern or the surrounding areas? Are there any particular beauty spots or places they simply have to visit on the way?

With the Bernese Oberland, the Emmental and the Jura all close by, there are plenty of beautiful trails to hike. Here are two of my favorites:

  1. Hohtürli: Start from Griesalp (train to Reichenbach, bus to Griesalp), hike up to the Blüemlisalphütte and down to the Oeschinensee (then walk or take the lift down to Kandersteg). For those with more time, stay overnight at either or all three places. For those with less time or less hiking experience, visit Oeschinensee on an early morning (beat the crowds).
  2. The path less traveled: Start at Lombachalp above Habkern (get there by bus from Interlaken) and hike beneath the Hohgant through pristine scenery and marshlands in this mystic intersection of alps and Emmental, through the headwaters of the Emme, down to Kemmeriboden (then bus to Escholzmatt and train to Bern). If there is time, stay overnight at Kemmeriboden Bad.

On hot summer days: Which public swimming pool, lake or river do the locals go to when they want to cool down or go for a swim in Bern or the surrounding area?

That one is straightforward – you simply must take a swim in the Aare river. The classic stretch is from Eichholz to Marzili, right beneath the parliament building. If you prefer it less crowded, you can jump in at Bärenpark and float to the Lorraine Bad or swim around the Bremgarten-Loop. The Aare is fairly chilly and also still has some strong currents so make sure you "Aare safe". If you prefer to play it safe, the Marzili pools and lawns are the place to go.

For those travelling with kids, what is the coolest attraction in Bern to keep younger tourists entertained? Are there any go-to places if the weather is bad?

My kids love the entertainment options at the Gurten (they even walk up without complaining) or the playground at Rosengarten, both are also attractive spots for the parents. A rainy day is well spent in the Naturhistorisches Museum or also at Bimano – a one-of-a-kind indoor playground with skatepark and boulder arena – AND a cool restaurant / bar, the Zent.

Everyone loves an ice-cream when it’s hot – do you have any insider tips on the best gelateria in town?

You can try the famous Gelateria di Berna. That is definitely a safe choice. Or for a change, I also recommend Eiswerkstatt right at the Bärengraben.

Finally, a question for you: Can you tell us where you are spending your summer vacation this year?

One week we’ll stay in Samnaun in the lower Engadine, for the other week I guess I’ll wait for the recommendations of my colleagues from other offices 😊

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