Where to stay in Bern for first time: 4 Safe areas

Finding where to stay in Bern as a first-timer can be a headache. That’s why, in today’s article, I will help you to find safe places to stay in Bern for first-time visitors.

I will share with you what I believe are the best and safest areas to stay in Bern for first-timers and tourists, along with a helpful map and areas to avoid. I’ll also share where I stayed in Bern and recommend some of the best hotels for visitors with various budgets.

Bern is the de facto capital of Switzerland, located in the central part of the country. It’s known for its well-preserved medieval old town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city is situated on the Aare River and surrounded by hills, giving it a picturesque setting. 

Some notable landmarks in Bern include the Zytglogge clock tower, the Federal Palace (seat of the Swiss government), the Bear Park, and the Cathedral of Bern.

Bern is also renowned for its high quality of life, being consistently ranked as one of the world’s top cities for its overall quality of living.

Is Bern Safe to visit? 

Yes, Bern is generally a safe place to visit. However, like any other destination, I advise you to always take basic precautions to ensure your safety, such as being aware of your surroundings, safeguarding your belongings, and avoid walking alone in poorly lit areas at night. 

Where to stay in Bern for the first time?

The best and safe areas to stay in Bern for tourists are Old Town (Alstadt), Breitenrain-Lorraine, Monbijou, and Kirchenfeld. Each area has its own charm and attractions, but for first-timers, the Old Town is often the most recommended area to stay.

Old Town is the heart of Bern and offers a charming atmosphere with its well-preserved medieval architecture, cobblestone streets, and arcades. It’s convenient for exploring the main attractions like the Zytglogge (Clock Tower), Bern Cathedral, Bear Park, and the Federal Palace.

Breitenrain-Lorraine, Monbijou, and Kirchenfeld are quiet residential areas, offering a more local atmosphere. They are a bit further from the old town but accessible by walking and using public transportation.

During my trip to Bern, I stayed at the  Best Western Plus Hotel Bern. It was a great mid-range hotel in the heart of the old town, close to everything. It was walking distance from the main train station and was a major sight. Great base for sightseeing and shopping. My room was clean and spacious with a good-size bathroom.

Below is a map of the popular areas in Bern for first-time travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the safe areas to stay in Bern first time
Map of the safe areas to stay in Bern first time

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Bern, especially for first-time visitors. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Bern have been carefully selected by me from well-known and secure booking sites such as booking.com, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. 

If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

4 Best/Safe areas to stay in Bern for first-timers and tourists:

1. Old Town (Alstadt)

Old Town (Altstadt) is the most popular base in Bern for first-timers and tourists. It is the historic heart of the city and has the highest concentration of accommodations, restaurants, and shops, making it convenient for exploring the city on foot. 

The Old Town is renowned for its well-preserved medieval architecture, picturesque cobblestone streets, and covered arcades. Iconic landmarks such as the Zytglogge (Clock Tower), Bern Cathedral (Münster), Bundeshaus (Federal Palace), and Einstein House are all within walking distance.

The Old Town is brimming with charming shops, boutiques, cafes, and restaurants. Whether you’re looking for Swiss delicacies, international cuisine, or souvenirs, you’ll find plenty of options within easy reach.

While the Old Town itself is pedestrian-friendly, it also provides convenient access to public transportation hubs like the Bern Railway Station (Bahnhof). From here, you can easily reach other parts of the city and embark on day trips to nearby attractions.

Best places to stay in Bern Old Town for first-timers:

Luxury ($$$): Hotel Schweizerhof Bern & Spa, 5-star hotel centrally located in the old town of Bern, on the Bahnhofplatz, easy walk from Bern Railway Station and the main sights of the city. The hotel has a fitness center, a lovely rooftop terrace, family rooms, and wonderful breakfast.

Luxury ($$$): Hotel Bellevue Palace Bern, 5-star beautiful hotel, the official guest house of the Swiss government, located in central Bern right next to the Federal Parliament. It has stunning views of the Bernese Alps and the river Aare.  Great base for exploring the city and day trips to nearby Interlaken and Lake Thunersee.

Mid-range ($$): Best Western Plus Hotel Bern, popular 4-star hotel in the heart of Bern, 5 min  walk from Bern Main Station, close to everything, including the French Church, University of Bern, and Zytglogge Tower. It features a rooftop bar with amazing views, a 24-hour front desk, family rooms, and good breakfast. You can find a big supermarket and shopping streets nearby.

Mid-range ($$): NH Bern The Bristol, 4-star modern hotel in the heart of Bern’s Old Town, a short stroll from the Swiss Parliament. Easy access to The Bärenplatz bus stop and the Main Train Station for further exploration. Close to grocery, shopping and many restaurants. Rooms are spacious and comfortable.

Mid-range ($$): Hotel Savoy, 4-star elegant hotel in central old town, within walking distance of the famous arcade shopping streets and the main rail station. It has good size rooms and comfortable beds.

Budget ($): Stay KooooK Bern City – Online Check In, 3-star hotel in the heart of Bern, only a few mins walk from the train station, Bärenplatz Square, Zytgloggeturm clock tower and Federal Palace of Switzerland. You can easily get around by using foot or free public transport in Bern.

Budget ($): Boutique Hotel Belle Epoque, 3-star hotel conveniently in the city center of Bern, short walk front the river, shopping streets, and major landmarks such as the Zytglogge Tower, Bärengraben, and Dählhölzli Animal Park. It has family rooms and an elevator which is helpful.


2. Breitenrain-Lorraine

Breitenrain-Lorraine, located just north of the old town, is a great base for a more local atmosphere and easy access to major attractions.

This area has numerous local attractions including the Wankdorf Stadium( a soccer stadium home of BSC Young Boy), the Rose Garden, and Bear Pit animal park.

Best places to stay in Bern in Breitenrain-Lorraine:

Mid-range ($$): Swissôtel Kursaal Bern, popular 4-star hotel located in the Breitenrain-Lorraine district of Bern, just across the bridge from the old town. It has stunning views of the medieval Old Town and the Alps. Easy access to the tram line no 9 right in front of the hotel to services to other parts of the city and the main train station. The hotel will give code to use public transport for free.

Budget ($): prizeotel Bern-City, popular 3-star hotel in Breitenrain-Lorraine, a 15 mins walk from the old city center.  Close to the  Rosengarten with a beautiful city viewpoint and Bears garden. You can find bus stops right outside the hotel, buses are free with the Bern Welcome App.

Budget ($): Hotel Marthahaus, great accommodation conveniently located in a quiet residential area, close to the old town, the central station, BEA-Expo, Postfinance Arena, and Stade Wankdorf. You will have free access to public transport to explore Bern and nearby areas including zones 100 and 101. It has complimentary breakfast and comfortable family rooms.

Budget ($): Stay KooooK Bern Wankdorf – Online Check In, 3-star accommodation, offering bike rental services and rooms with a kitchen. It’s located in a nice business area, right next to a popular  Bern-Wankdorf train station and a supermarket. Trams and buses will bring you to the city center.


3. Monbijou

Monbijou, located close to the main train station and the old town, is a convenient base in Bern for a more local vibe and easy access to major attractions and activities. You can find several popular accommodations in this area.

Best places to stay in Bern in Monbijou:

Budget ($): ibis Styles Bern City, popular 3-star accommodation, located 15-20 mins walk from the  Bern Train Station and Old Town. It features air conditioning rooms, a fitness center, 24-hour front desk, and Very Good Breakfast. Location is not super central, but easily reachable by foot or public transportation.

Budget ($): Hotel La Pergola, 3-star hotel located in Mattenhof-Weissenbühl, 15 mins walk from the old town and the  Bern House of Parliament. It features a tour desk, clean & quiet rooms, and luggage storage space. Bern offers free public transport to people staying in the city, and the hotel will explain to you how to access this. 

Budget ($): Sorell Hotel Ador, 3-star accommodation situated in the City West business district, a few mins walk from the historic center and the central station. Easy access to a wide range of bars and restaurants.


4. Kirchenfeld

Kirchenfeld is an elegant residential area with beautiful architecture, close to the Bear Pit, Rosengarten  and Zoo Bern. Kirchenfeld also houses several museums, including the Naturhistorisches Museum Bern, Bernisches Historisches Museum / Einstein Museum, Museum of Communication.

Best places to stay in Bern in Kirchenfeld:

Mid-range ($$): Luxury Apartments Justingerweg Bern, great Nouveau-style accommodation in the Embassy quarter of Bern in Kirchenfeld-Schosshalde, 10 mins walk from the Old Town, Clock Tower and the Cathedral. Also close to the Bern Zoo and Thunplatz Bus Stop. It features free parking, paid airport shuttle service, and BBQ facilities. Close to tram stops with free public transport.  

Mid-range ($$): Habsburg B&B, good value for money adults-only  bed and breakfast located in a historic building, in a quiet place, slightly out of the city center but easily accessible by walking and taking public transportation. 

Mid-range ($$): Hotel Landhaus, good value for money family-run hotel, close to the Rose Garden and Bear Park. Quiet place to stay with easy access to the historic center. Just be mindful that the hotel doesn’t have an elevator, no air conditioning, and the stairs are quite narrow. 


In conclusion, Old Town (Alstadt), Breitenrain-Lorraine, Monbijou, and Kirchenfeld are the best places to stay in Bern for first-timers and tourists. Old Town is overall the best location for those who want to stay in the heart of the action.

You can continue reading about other destinations in Switzerland in these articles:

There you have it, my recommendations for the most popular and safest neighborhoods that you can stay during your first trip to Bern. I hope you enjoyed my article and find it both informative and helpful.

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. This means that, at absolutely no additional cost to you, I'll earn a small commission if you click through and purchase something I've recommended. I only recommend products that I use myself or firmly believe in. Thank you!

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