If you’re looking for a beautiful city with well-preserved medieval architecture, a centuries-old clock that beckons crowds at noon, and cobblestone streets centered around the glistening blue Aare River, then look no further than Bern. On a cloudless day, it’s easy to see how people fall in love with this romantic city (I mean the Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site) — it does sparkle.
But a beautiful city will only get you so far! If I end up hangry, I don’t care how many ancient clock towers or winding Old Town alleyways there are.
I bet if you’re reading this, you probably feel the same.
Well, my veggie-friends, you can rest assured that Bern’s charm doesn’t end with its architecture. It is also home to a few great vegan restaurants and bakeries, along with many vegan-friendly spots, and this vegan guide to Bern will help you find all of them.
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Is Bern Vegan-Friendly?
I was happy to find many vegan-friendly spots throughout Bern. I even took photos of multiple signs outside of restaurants professing their vegan-friendliness — fantastic, right?! So, if you’re looking for options for vegan breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you will find something to enjoy in Bern.
Vegan and Vegan-Friendly Restaurants in Bern
Gurtengasse 3, 3011 Bern
If you’ve read any of my other Switzerland vegan guides, you know that I love Tibits (and I think that you will, too!). This vegetarian buffet is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and is chock full of vegan options. You can load up with as little or as much as you want! I really hope this chain expands to the US (pretty please, Tibits!).
Laupenstrasse 4, 3008 Bern
If you’re craving a juicy vegan burger with a side of fries, you’ve got to come to Swing Kitchen! This casual diner is flipping the best vegan burgers in town, and my favorite part was watching their impact clock tick up with the number of animals, water, and other resources they have saved by going vegan! A tasty and impactful experience.
Moserstrasse 25, 3014 Bern
This plant-based Indian spot is a can’t miss! This gem is just outside of the Old Town, tucked amongst shops and boutiques, serving an entire menu and buffet (on Fridays) of vegan Indian food. The buffet is the best part — load up on all the curry, chutney, lentils, and veggies your tummy desires.
Christoffelunterführung 2, 3011 Bern (inside the Bern main train station)
This burger joint is like wandering into an enchanted forest — not something you’d expect from a place specializing in burgers and fries. Aside from the relaxing ambiance, it is super vegan and gluten-free friendly. Before you go, check out their website, where you can select what you want to avoid in your dish; it will then tell you all the things you can order, taking all the guesswork out of ordering! One note, many of the vegan patties are gluten-free, but they don’t have gluten-free buns, so I got a lettuce wrap which was more like a spring mix salad — hey, it worked!
Hirschengraben 10, 3011 Bern
We just happened to wander past Dean & David, and their “planet-friendly” menu caught my attention! Almost all “planet-friendly” dishes are vegan and feature veggie-powered superstars like pomegranate and falafel or a chick’n alternative called Planted. They offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner options — the perfect spot for something healthy and fast.
Spitalgasse 47-51, 3001 Bern
This vegan-friendly spot is whipping up loads of dishes to help you feel good! The only bummer is that everything is pre-made, so if they happen to run out of their veggie bowls or sandwiches, you’re out of luck, so get there before the rush! Aside from soups, salads, bowls, and sandwiches, they also offer an assortment of juices.
Bärenpl. 2, 3011 Bern
This is a terrific spot in Old Town to enjoy Chinese and Thai-inspired cuisine. Start with a fresh rainbow roll, then dive into a giant bowl of Udon or rice noodles! The menu is well-marked for vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free items.
Sonnenhofweg 12, 3006 Bern
If you’re interested in a crispy, cheesy slice of vegan ‘za, then it might be worth the trek to this pizza and pasta spot! Their vegan-friendly menu offers pizzas loaded with all your favorite toppings and even yummy calzones.
Altenbergstrasse 4, 3013 Bern
Connected to the Hotel Landhaus, this little café offers vegan soups, samosas, pasta, and more! The menu does rotate with the season, so be sure to check it out before you go. And, one-note, it’s not very vegan and gluten-free friendly.
c/o Dao Qigong, Spitalgasse 40, 3011 Bern
This is a unique dining experience — you eat totally in silence! The concept is for you to be fully present without distractions from life while enjoying an assortment of vegan and vegetarian dishes. Their menu focuses on organic, seasonal produce, and once you see some of the dishes, you’ll understand why they really want you to enjoy them!
Neubrückstrasse 8, 3012 Bern
This interesting spot will catch your attention just around the corner from the University Botanical Gardens. The old building is covered in graffiti, making you think it’s abandoned. Once inside, the ambiance is a mix of grunge with natural elements — old painted tires have been repurposed as planters, and more graffiti brightens the walls and tables. The menu is vegan-friendly and features local produce; the one kicker is they don’t post it online, so it’s hard to know before you go if it will also be gluten-free, but they are willing to work with requests, so it might be worth the adventure!
Falkenpl. 1, 3012 Bern
Speichergasse 4, 3011 Bern
You can never go wrong with falafel, right? This Middle Eastern spot has multiple locations throughout the city and is ready to delight you with creamy hummus, sweet chutneys, zesty salads, and more!
Viktoriastrasse 44, 3013 Bern
A bright pink take-out window will instantly grab your attention! The colorful spot is serving up an assortment of vegan-friendly dumplings that are reasonably priced (how often do you see that in Switzerland?)!
Vegan & Vegan-Friendly Bakeries, Sweets, & Ice Cream in Bern
The trip isn’t complete unless you find a scoop or two of vegan ice cream and maybe even a vegan brownie, am I right? There is one amazing vegan bakery in Bern that you can’t miss, plus many ice cream spots with multiple options, not just sorbet!
Schärerstrasse 23, 3014 Bern
Falkenpl. 9, 3012 Bern
The only fully vegan bakery in Bern, and since there are two locations, you can be sure to get your sugary fix! Aside from fudgy brownies, flaky pastries, and chewy cookies, they also offer fresh-baked bread, sandwiches, and coffee throughout the day! The relaxing ambiance and a sweet treat might make you want to stay awhile.
Laupenstraße 18a, 3008 Bern
This vegan-friendly waffle spot creates Instagram-worthy creations — crispy waffles loaded with chocolate, ice cream, fruit, nuts, and more! They offer a vegan waffle base with select toppings; just ask to ensure they are safe. Sadly, they don’t have a vegan and gluten-free waffle creation.
Gerechtigkeitsgasse 24, 3011 Bern
After an adventurous hike up Gurten, we wandered by this cute gelato shop! Aside from sorbet options, they also offer specialty flavors like caramel peanut crunch, snickerz, and horchata (along with popsicles) — everything is well marked!
Kramgasse 56, 3011 Bern
This Swiss ice cream chain can be found in multiple cities, which is incredible because their vegan options are on point! Everything is well-marked, and their vegan flavors range from traditional decadent chocolate to berry-filled delights!
Multiple locations throughout Bern
This famous Swiss chocolatier doesn’t have a vast selection of vegan chocolate creations, but there are a few! The easiest to spot are the chocolate bars in the green vegan bags; otherwise, ask an employee for help
Spitalgasse 38, 3011 Bern
Vegan crepes and ice cream — is there a better combo? You can build a crepe — sweet or savory — or stick with their vegan falafel creation. After, check out the lineup of vegan-friendly ice cream options.
Vegan-Friendly Markets in Bern
If you’re trying to save a little money or would like to cook, you must check out these two markets in Bern. Both have a great selection of vegan chocolate, prepared foods, frozen foods, snacks, and more!
Multiple locations throughout Bern
This chain is perfect for finding vegan sandwiches and sushi to picking up actual groceries. Each COOP offers a little different assortment of items so if you don’t find what you’re looking for at one, try another!
Bärenpl. 8, 3011 Bern
You will find Alnatura markets throughout Switzerland, which is fantastic because they are perfect for picking up an assortment of organic and natural products from vegan alternatives to Swiss vegan wine!
Where to Stay in Bern
If you’re looking for something centrally located and at a great price, don’t miss these spots! But, if you need more suggestions, check out this guide on where to stay in Bern.
Zeughausgasse 9, 3011 Bern
You might be thinking, a Best Western? Get out of town! Seriously, check it out! It has been fully updated and is the most modern Best Western I have ever seen. Aside from sleek rooms (which feature a Nespresso Machine), you’re steps from The Zytglogge (Old Town Clock Tower) and the rest of charming Old Town. You’re also a short walk to the train station — the ideal location.
Schauplatzgasse 10, 3011 Bern
If you’re looking for something a little fancier than the Best Western, check out its chic neighbor, The Bristol. Sleek rooms and a casual bar are all set right in the heart of Bern’s Old Town.
How Long Should I Spend in Bern?
Sometimes I hesitate to answer these questions for other travelers because travel is a personal experience, and one person doesn’t travel the same way as another. Still, I will give you my opinion and some ideas to fill your days. Then you can decide!
I think two days in Bern is more than sufficient. Bern isn’t a sprawling metropolis like Zurich; you can cover most of it on foot. But it is an excellent spot to base yourself to explore other beautiful spots like Lausanne and the Jungfraujoch.
If you’re only going to spend your time in Bern, you could honestly buzz through most of the highlights in one-day, but if you want to take your time, spread it over two.
On day one, I would explore the Old Town, Rose Garden, and if you’re into history, check out the Einstein Museum or Historical Museum. Also, a great way to learn about the city is by taking a walking tour with a local — this was a highlight for me because I got to know Bern from a new perspective. On day two, head to Bern’s little mountain, Gurten. Unlike neighboring mountains, it won’t take a day to make it to the top, only about an hour, depending on your route. Once you get to the top, you will have gorgeous city views; when you get back, finish up any lingering exploration.
What To Do in Bern
There are a few things that you really can’t miss when you visit Bern — especially in the summertime!
#1 Wander on your own or take a tour through Bern’s Old Town
If you’ve visited other European cities, then you know Old Towns are famous for charming cobblestone streets filled with cafes, boutiques, medieval architecture, and more. Even if you don’t have a set itinerary, just wandering through the streets and alleys is enjoyable!
We took a local tour through Old Town and the surrounding area, and I highly recommend it! Not only will you learn a little history, but you’ll also get a unique local perspective and find things that you might not find on your own. Our guide shared that the Hamman & Spa is an excellent bathhouse in the middle of the city that is often overlooked by tourists — the perfect place to relax.
If you’re looking for a great spot for views of Old Town don’t miss The Bern Cathedral (Bern Münster). The Gothic Church features a narrow tower that allows visitors to climb high above the city for perfect views.
Oh, one more spot you should check out in Old Town (well I guess it’s right on the edge of Old Town) is The Sustainable Shop. The shop is full of a great variety of sustainable products from bikes made of bamboo to organic and fair-trade clothing.
#2 Stop & smell the roses at the stunning rose garden
Perched atop a hill, this enchanting spot features over 400 types of roses and irises and 28 types of rhododendrons — you can imagine the scents and sights throughout the summer! Aside from the fragrant blooms, this is another picture-perfect spot to capture panoramic shots of Bern. On a cloudless day, the Aare River sparkles!
#3 Hike Gurten (or just take the funicular)
This was very quickly one of my favorite parts of visiting Bern. While hiking many of Switzerland’s other mountains can take a serious time commitment and get quite strenuous, Gurten is relatively easy and enjoyable!
The hike only takes about an hour, but if you walk from town, plan for an hour and a half. The mountain features lush meadows filled with a variety of four-footed friends, shady wooded paths, and lovely views of Bern. The summit is also very family-friendly and features multiple play areas, and a toboggan run for kids.
If you don’t have the time to hike, just hop on tram 9 from the Bern Bahnhof, which will take you to the Gurten funicular station. The funicular runs every 15 mins. every day and on public holidays. A roundtrip ticket is 11 CHF.
#4 Take a day trip to the Jungfraujoch
I am still kicking myself for not doing this, so I want to ensure you don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity! You can get to Jungfraujoch on your own (if you do go on your own, also check out Schynige Platte for a hike), but it would be a lot to pack into a day, so I recommend taking a tour so you can sit back and enjoy a wonderland of snow and ice 3,454 meters above sea level, sounds pretty awesome, right?
How To Get Around Bern
How to Get From the Airport to Bern’s City Centre
If you’re coming from the Bern Airport, you’re only 10 km (6 miles) from Bern’s city center, making getting into town super easy. At the airport, hop on the train to Belp station; from there, switch to the S-Bahn to get to Bern. The trip only takes about 30 minutes. If you’re staying overnight in Bern, your transport to and from the airport is included with your stay!
Getting Around Bern
Bern offers a great network of trams, buses, and trains, but I don’t think you’re going to need them. The city is relatively small, and it’s easy to access most sites on foot, but if you want a break or to get across the city, you will have plenty of options. One tourist benefit is that your transportation is included with your stay (as long as you’re staying in Bern). All you need to do is show your hotel keycard or a Bern ticket which will be given to you when you check-in.
If you’re not staying in Bern, you must buy transport tickets before boarding (tickets aren’t sold on buses or trams). Tickets are sold at machines outside of some stops as well as at the Bern main train station. A short fare (valid for only 30 mins) is 2.60 CHF, a single ticket valid in zones 1 -2 (valid for 60 mins.) is 4.60 CHF, or a 1-day travel pass is 9.20 CHF.
Other Vegan Travel Guides for Switzerland
Planning to visit other hot spots in Switzerland like Zurich and Lucerne? Well, you’re in luck! Check out these guides and articles to help plan your trip.
10 Spots for Vegan Food in Zurich You Must Try
The Ultimate Zurich Vegan Travel Guide
Comprehensive Vegan Guide to Lucerne
How to Get to Mount Pilatus on Your Own
The Best Vegan Travel Guide to Geneva
The Complete Vegan Travel Guide to Edinburgh