Bern is a city of medieval houses and streets, which number among the UNESCO World Heritage sites and through which the wonderful Aare river flows. However, Bern is also the city of the Zytglogge clock tower, of museums and of bars. At the same time, it is surrounded by unspoiled nature, which is quickly reached by e-bike. Those who travel to the Gantrisch Nature Park from Bern will experience this place in all its fascinating contrasts.
The people of Bern have always had their own rhythm. The city has a different beat to other hectic capitals. That is why exploring Bern by e-bike is perfect. And those who hop on an e-bike should definitely also venture out of the city and into the countryside: unspoiled nature and a cycling paradise await, with multiple themed cycling routes.
The best place to start an e-bike day in Bern is in the historic Kramgasse. It is the heart of the old town and boasts 6km of covered arcades, perfect for a spot of shopping if it rains. The road leads to the Zytglogge clock tower, which can be visited on a guided tour. The tower from the 13th century is all that is left of the first city walls. Today it a city landmark. For 600 years, the bells have reliably chimed on the hour, every hour.
To this day. All thanks to the timekeeper, Markus Marti. Three times a week, he climbs the steep spiral staircase to the monumental clockwork and winds the mechanism. Otherwise it will stop ticking over the coming days. The Zytglogge clock tower does not just chime on the hour: visitors flock to see a whole set of figures in motion. The locals also stop again and again, to make sure they don’t miss hearing the famous third cock’s crow. When Marti speaks about time, he does so with a remarkable amount of reverence, and full of emotion.
The timepiece chimes to announce that the next hour of life has begun.
It’s therefore not surprising that Marti is known as the “Lord of Time”. He has been doing this job for over 40 years – it is both a calling and his passion.
Bern is also the city of bridges. Numerous bridges span the turquoise-blue Aare. Many have views all the way to the Alps. One particularly picturesque bridge is the Nydeggbrücke. Those on this bridge feels close to the water – even on e-bike.
Another is the Kirchenfeld bridge, which leads from the Casinoplatz in the old town to the museum quarter. This district is home to the Museum of Communication. In addition to interactive stations, unusual objects and giant video screens, real live people also share fascinating facts and insights about communication in the Museum of Communication. These people are called communicators. They are at the heart of the exhibition and involve visitors in a dialogue, between equals, as we are all experts in communication after all. Martha Mundschin, conservator and restorer, is just one of the team at the Museum of Communication working to ensure it is one of the best in Europe.
After all these adventures, views and e-bike riding, hunger and thirst are sure to set in. Nowhere will satisfy in more style than the Kunsthalle Bar near the Kirchenfeld Bridge.
The bar itself is a walk-in sculpture that “floats” in the trees over the Aare, offering a superlative view of Bern. Delicious drinks, local beer from the beer capital and traditional platters complete the experience.
A day exploring the city by e-bike is an experience full of highlights, that can be as short or long as desired. The city and countryside can be gloriously combined. The Gantrisch Legends Route is less than an hour away by e-bike.
The themed e-bike route provides a total contrast to the city of Bern. The 64km cycling route leads past mystical forests and lush meadows with panoramic views of the unique Gantrisch mountain chain. The route is all about the tales of the countryside and people of the Gantrisch Nature Park. At the adventure points, you can listen on your smartphone to authentic locals telling legends from the region or read them on boards.
Even though the Gantrisch Legends Route is somewhat different to spending a day discovering the city of Bern by e-bike, there are some similarities. Whether in the city or countryside, friendly encounters with the residents of Bern are part of everyday life here. For example, farmers along the route offer regional products in their farm shops and welcome the e-bikers for a drink or snack. Sandra Messerli on her Mühlehof in Rüschegg is one of these farmers.
Chatting with cyclists from all over Switzerland is very special to me and makes a nice change.
If Bern is your destination, you will be spoilt for choice. City, countryside or city and countryside. It's guaranteed to be rich in contrasts – whichever you choose.