7 things you need to pack when moving to Bern

7 things you need to pack when moving to Bern

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Before moving to a new city, especially if that city is in a different country, preparing ahead so that you can make the most of where you are about to call home is vital. To help expats take full advantage of where they live from day one, Crown Relocations has created a packing list of all the things you’ll need to enjoy the Swiss city of Bern.

Moving to Bern in the near future, or newly-arrived in the city and want an overview of all the great things there are to do in the de-facto capital of Switzerland? Here are seven things you should pack to make the most out of your new life in one of the most stunning Swiss cities!

1. Hiking boots

Being situated right in the heart of Switzerland, Bern is home to a number of great walking and hiking trails. Thanks to a well-maintained network of paths that reach from the centre of town right out into the countryside, hiking boots are a must-pack for any new resident.

National hiking routes 2, 8, 29 and 38 can all be reached from the centre of the city. What’s more, the more adventurous traveller could take one of the many trains available from Bern Main Station and do a hike in the Bernese Oberland, Fribourg or even the Swiss Alps! To best find your way, you can use navigation apps on your mobile phone, or use the official hiking maps provided by SwitzerlandMobility.

2. Winter coat and shorts

As in the rest of the country, the weather in Bern is marked by large contrasts as the year goes by. While a winter jacket is a must for most of the time from November to February, the federal city plays host to a very warm and humid summer.

In recent years, temperatures have reached above 37 degrees celsius during the peak of July! On the flip side, the mercury regularly plummets to well below freezing during the winter, so plan accordingly!

3. Skis or a snowboard

Seen by many tourists as the gateway to the Alps, Bern gives you a home within easy reach of some of Switzerland’s top alpine resorts. Some of the most famous, like Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen and Lenk, are less than two hours away by train, and only around an hour's drive!

Whether you are a seasoned carving pro or someone who is just happy to stay standing on the slopes, the resorts near Bern cater to all. So if you are going to move to Bern, why not partake in this typical Swiss pastime by buying (or renting) some skis or a snowboard?

4. Bicycle

Once the snow has melted and the ski lifts of the mountains fall silent, the rushing sound of flying powder is replaced by the rapid pedalling of feet. While it may be tricky to get into your case when you fly over, once you arrive, investing in a bike is a great idea.

Much like hiking, Bern is home to a diverse network of cycle routes perfect for a day out or a commute to work. Along with having several national cycle routes (8, 74, 94) within the old town, the suburbs are also well connected to the city and the countryside.

5. Swimming trunks

While the city does have a number of top swimming pools and "tropical swimming paradises" (Bernaqua and Hallenbad Wyler to name a few), to most people in Switzerland the best swimming activity to do in Bern is to hop in the local river.

During the summer, temperatures in the Aare get up to 22 degrees celsius, making it a perfect way to cool down, relax and get around the city. As the old town is surrounded on three sides by the Aare, some people in the city like to commute to or from work by hopping in the river with a dry bag and letting the current take them to their destination.

Of course, to do this you must be a strong swimmer, but it is well worth the effort.

6. German and French phrasebook

Unlike Zurich (German) and Geneva (French), Canton Bern is home to both French and German speakers thanks to its position right across the so-called Röstigraben - the border between German and French-speaking areas, named after the Swiss German delicacy rösti. In the city of Bern itself and places in Canton Bern to the east and south, a German phrasebook is a handy addition. In contrast, the further west and north you go, the more likely you are to encounter French.

While English won’t be widely spoken in the countryside, residents of Bern itself can usually rely on speaking English. 30 percent of locals in Bern are non-Swiss, thanks in part to the hundreds of embassies in the city.

7. Camera

Finally, sometimes the only advice you need is to stop and take a moment to have a look at your surroundings. In a place like Bern, you’ll be reaching for your camera in a heartbeat.

Along with the enchanting old town, several famous sites like Catherdral, Zyglogge and Federal Palace are all on your doorstep. For the more arts-minded individual, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Zentrum Paul Klee make for a grand day out.

Have fun in the de-facto capital of Switzerland!

We hope that this article has given you a good idea of what you should pack for your new life in Bern. Think you need another item to make your life in the federal city a happy one? Let us know in the comments!

If you are sold on starting a new life in the alpine nation, and need a hand moving all your possessions to or from Bern, or indeed any other city in Switzerland, Crown Relocations has the knowledge and expertise to make your move as stress-free as possible. To make your dream relocation a reality, contact them today!

Daniela  Stoyanova


Daniela Stoyanova

Daniela Stoyanova is a Moving Consultant for Crown Relocations.

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