Switzerland’s capital city has a small elevated historical center on a peninsula carved by the Aare River. Particularly tall bridges cross the river from all sides of the city center promising spectacular views of descending cliff-side houses and accompanying greenery. What I love about this city is that it still keeps a countryside vibe with all its guild houses and lack of intimidating skyscrapers. For a capital city, this is quite unexpected but I think it is always better to still keep a certain level of authenticity and culture especially in the city’s historical center. Otherwise, it would feel like any other modern city.
The streets are lined with guild houses with covered porch walks and colorful Swiss flags hoisted in specific angles creating a village kind of ambiance. The structures are more or less uniform and are only broken by a church or a clock tower. Fancy fountains with medieval sculptures are also everywhere in the middle of the streets. The cobble-stoned paths are lined with tramways but still seem extensively pedestrian. The city looks so medieval horse-drawn carriages would still not feel out of place.
From the peninsula, one has the option to cross the bridges or to go down the river banks. Crossing the towering bridges could be a thrill to the acrophobic but the best thing is that on the other side, an amazing panorama of the old city waits with the sole Bern Minster Gothic cathedral dominating the city skyline. By the banks of the raucous Aare river are old houses and relaxing green parks and on certain points, some cafes.
A day tour is enough for this city as it is rather small but that is how the Swiss cities mostly are. They have small, walkable historical centers but mostly surrounded by a vast plethora of natural wonders such as lakes, rivers, and mountains supporting active and tranquil countryside life. In fact, with all these, it is not surprising that this country offers the best quality of life for citizens compared to any other country in the world.