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Berner Münster

Peruse centuries-old religious art, climb the tallest church tower in Switzerland and attend sacred music recitals when you visit Bern's Gothic cathedral.

The late-Gothic Berner Münster is a magnificent medieval cathedral that soars above Bern's Old Town. This vast building dates back to 1421, although the first church to occupy this site is thought to have been a small 12th-century chapel. From the top of the cathedral’s tower are fantastic views of the region.

Above the cathedral's main portal is one of its most impressive features, a spectacular rendering of the Last Judgment. This represents the Christian belief that God will assess all of humanity at the end of time, separating the good from the bad. Once you have viewed the artwork with its 294 figures, step inside to explore the basilica's interior.

Admire the beauty of the many stained-glass windows, some of which date back to the middle of the 15th century. Study the carvings of prophets, the Apostles and scenes of everyday life depicted on the 16th-century choir stalls. Look at the three organs, including the principal organ from the 18th century, and walk along the 12 side chapels. Many of these were financed by wealthy families and are decorated with coats of arms.

Pay the small admission charge to climb the 312 steps to the spire of the cathedral’s 331-foot (101-meter) Gothic bell tower. From here you can see the Old Town, the Aare River and the snow-capped mountains of the Bernese Alps, including Eiger and Jungfrau. There is also a lower viewing platform, which requires a climb of 222 steps.

Inside the tower are two chambers housing the cathedral's bells, which hail from seven different centuries. Observe at close quarters the full peal of the bells on a handful of occasions during the year. Details are available on Berner Münster's website. If you are in Bern during the summer, go to the cathedral on Tuesday nights for its weekly sacred music concerts.

Bern Münster is located on Münsterplatz, a cobbled plaza in Bern's Old Town. Arrive by taxi, public transportation or rental car. There are several metered car parks in the area. The cathedral is open daily and admission is free.


Guide to Exploring Berner Munster


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Bellevue Palace Hotel £276
Bellevue Palace Hotel

Bellevue Palace Hotel

Kochergasse 3-5, Bern, BE
     
    5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    This family-friendly Bern hotel is located in the historical district, just steps away from Clock Tower (Zeitglockenturm) and Bundeshaus (Swiss Parliament). Berner Munster and Bern Historical Museum are also within 10 minutes. Bern Station is 11 minutes by foot.

    The Bristol £150
    The Bristol

    The Bristol

    Schauplatzgasse 10, Bern
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Old City of Bern, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Bundeshaus (Swiss Parliament), Clock Tower (Zeitglockenturm) and Bern Art Museum (Kunstmuseum). Berner Munster and Bern Historical Museum are also within 15 minutes. Bern Station is 7 minutes by foot.

      ibis budget Bern Expo £75
      ibis budget Bern Expo

      ibis budget Bern Expo

      Guisanplatz 2 - 4, Bern
         
        1.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Breitenrain-Lorraine, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Bern Expo and Stade de Suisse Wankdorf. Paul Klee Museum and Berner Munster are also within 1 mile (2 km).

        Kreuz Bern Modern City Hotel £125
        Kreuz Bern Modern City Hotel

        Kreuz Bern Modern City Hotel

        Zeughausgasse 41, Bern, BE
           
          3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Old City of Bern, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Bern Art Museum (Kunstmuseum), Clock Tower (Zeitglockenturm) and Bundeshaus (Swiss Parliament). Botanical Garden and Berner Munster are also within 10 minutes. Bern Station is 9 minutes by foot.

          Hotel Bären Am Bundesplatz £121
          Hotel Bären Am Bundesplatz

          Hotel Bären Am Bundesplatz

          Schauplatzgasse 4, Bern, BE
             
            4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Old City of Bern, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Bundeshaus (Swiss Parliament) and Clock Tower (Zeitglockenturm). Bern Art Museum (Kunstmuseum) and Berner Munster are also within 10 minutes. Bern Station is 7 minutes by foot.

            Metropole Easy City Hotel £117
            Metropole Easy City Hotel

            Metropole Easy City Hotel

            Zeughausgasse 26, Bern, BE
               
              2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Old City of Bern, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of French Church, Bern Art Museum (Kunstmuseum) and Clock Tower (Zeitglockenturm). Bundeshaus (Swiss Parliament) and Berner Munster are also within 10 minutes. Bern Station is 9 minutes by foot.

              Hotel Allegro Bern £114
              Hotel Allegro Bern

              Hotel Allegro Bern

              Kornhausstrasse 3, Bern, BE
                 
                4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Breitenrain-Lorraine, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Kursaal Bern, Clock Tower (Zeitglockenturm), and Bern Art Museum (Kunstmuseum). Berner Munster and Bundeshaus (Swiss Parliament) are also within 15 minutes. Bern Station is 17 minutes by foot.

                Hotel Savoy Bern £135
                Hotel Savoy Bern

                Hotel Savoy Bern

                Neuengasse 26, Bern
                   
                  4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Old City of Bern, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of French Church, Bundeshaus (Swiss Parliament) and Bern Art Museum (Kunstmuseum). Clock Tower (Zeitglockenturm) and Berner Munster are also within 15 minutes. Bern Station is 6 minutes by foot.