Getting around Bern Explore Bern and Biel/Bienne

Public transport in Switzerland is extensive, reliable, safe and easy to use. It is simple to get around without a car. Enjoy significant savings with many discounted passes available for youth, pensioners, and families. Make sure to take advantage of day trip combination offers. Switzerland is also very bicycle and pedestrian friendly.

Public transport in Bern

Buses and trams connect all areas of the city. Bernmobil (DE) publishes a map with the complete network. Tickets must be purchased from ticket machines at the station or stop before boarding.  

Bernmobil is part of a tariff network called Libero (DE) comprising the Bern, Biel, Burgdorf, and Solothurn regions. Libero includes all public transport modes, such as PostBusesBLSRBS (DE) and SBB/CFF. Libero offers several special discount tickets for children and young people, seniors, families, and more. Visit their website (DE) or the infocenter at Bärenplatz for further information and consultation in English.

Bernmobil has an excellent mobile app available. It offering location-based timetables and ticket purchase directly in the app. The app is called ÖV Bern (public transport Bern) and while only available in German, its features are self-explanatory even with no knowledge of German.

 

Public transport in Biel/Bienne

Biel/Bienne is a bilingual town about 30 minutes outside of Bern. Verkehrsbetriebe Biel (DE/FR) is Biel/Bienne's public transport company. Touchscreen vending machines at stations, stops and buses dispense tickets. Biel is as well part of the Libero (DE) tariff network.

 

Late night transport in Bern and Biel/Bienne 

Moonliner night buses (DE) operate throughout Bern and Biel/Bienne on Friday and Saturday nights (plus limited Thursday night options from Bern) between 1 and 4am. A separate ticket must be purchased for these rides. Check the Moonliner website to view schedules, prices, routes and timetables for your region.

 

Travel passes and basic tips

Several travel passes, including the Half-Fare pass, Junior pass, GA pass, day passes, and many more, are useful for individuals and families. Check out our article on the Swiss public transport system to learn about standard regulations and ticket options. Also, keep an eye out for frequent seasonal and holiday offers from SBB/CFF.

Here are a few helpful tips to get you started on Swiss public transport:

  • You must purchase your ticket before boarding (exceptions made for rural routes with no machine at the stop).
  • Children under six years of age travel for free.
  • Travelling with a dog: Dogs over 30 cm tall (about 12 inches) need to pay second-class half fare (there are also day cards and GA passes for dogs). Small dogs can travel for free in a carrier or basket.
  • Travelling with a bicycle: You are required to buy a supplementary bike ticket. You can bring your bicycle or unloaded bike trailers onto most SBB/CFF trains, private railways, and PostBuses. Folded bikes can be stored as hand luggage for free. Note: Capacities for bicycle transport may be restricted during peak traffic periods.
  • Utilise the excellent SBB/CFF apps for iPhone and Android.

 

Cycling in Bern and Biel/Bienne

As in the rest of Switzerland, Bern and Biel/Bienne are great places to get around by bicycle. Veloland has everything you need to know about discovering Switzerland by bike. It has maps, as well as national, regional, and local bike routes in English.  

With your ID and a CHF 20 deposit, bicycles can be hired for free from Bernrollt (DE) at three pick up points in Bern (after 4 hours you are charged CHF 1 per hour). Pro Velo Bern (DE) has a bike city map that can be ordered from their website. They also have information about biking to work, guided bike tours, classes for children, and much more.

In Biel/Bienne rent-a-bike (DE/FR) has a convenient pick up point at the main train station. They also offer tours and group bike packages. Check out Biel/Bienne Tourism for suggestions on cycling routes and trails.

 

Bern and Biel/Bienne on foot

The city centres of Bern and Biel/Bienne can be easily explored on foot. Bern has a wonderful running/walking trail (DE),as well as public walking tours organised by the city. There are also many hiking routes in and around Biel/Bienne.

Foxtrails in Bern and Thun are another great way to explore your new environment. These are scavenger hunt-like missions on which you solve riddles and decipher messages around the city before moving onto the next clue.

Find more activity suggestions in Enjoying Bern.

 

Parking in Bern and Biel/Bienne

Parking can be difficult to find in Switzerland. For most street parking you need to buy a ticket from the meter to place in your window. Blue zones allow free parking up to 1.5 hours with a parking disc marking your arrival time in the window (buy this at the post office).

Park and Ride (DE) is a system aimed at reducing traffic and parking congestion in Bern's city centre. Use of these parking lots often includes a free tram or bus ride into town. Click on the blue icons on their website to learn about prices, hours, and proximity to major attractions for each lot. P+R Neufeld, Expo Parking and Parkplatz Bern Expo are located on the outskirts of Bern.

It is possible to purchase both day and monthly passes for Park and Ride lots. This can be a good option for individuals with limited parking near their homes. You can also find parking at most main SBB/CFF stations. Mobility car sharing is a convenient and eco-friendly alternative to owning a car.

You may also be interested in the article on Driving and owning a car in Switzerland. 

 

Photo: © Bern Tourismus/ Terence du Fresne

Author: Ursula Christen

I have been with Packimpex for 10 years and every single day is interesting and challenging. I am proud and grateful to be a member of a professional and highly motivated team. Although born and raised in the Canton of Bern, as a young adult I spent longer periods of time in New York and Brussels. I have a degree in economics and business administration and also a teaching diploma for German and English as second languages. I live in the city of Bern and what I enjoy most is swimming in the river Aare. One swim from Muri-Auguetbrücke down to Bern-Dählhölzli (this takes about 30 minutes) equals 3 days wellness, and this is not an exaggeration.

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