HomeSwiss CantonsBernBärengraben - the bear park in Bern

Bärengraben – the bear park in Bern

baerenpark Bern
Views from the Bärenpark in Bern

Anyone that has ever visited Bern, might be able to guess the ‘official animal’ of the Swiss administrative capital. According to the legend, the city even thanks its name to majestic bears! Bears can be seen all over the city. On flags, on medieval buildings and there are even live bears on display in the Bärengraben – or bear pit. Luckily, a lot has changed since the Bärengraben first opened in 1857.

Let me put first that I think that wild animals should not be locked up, no discussion about that. But the bears are a popular touristic attraction in Bern, and many changes have happened in recent years to ensure the well-being of the bears in Bern.

Bärengraben : Now Bärenpark

Originally, the Bärengraben was quite literally a pit where a number of bears were on display for the residents of Bern. A hole, dug in the ground, with rocks where bears were kept in captivity ever since 1857. Luckily, the well-being of the bears of Bern became increasingly important to the town and in 2009, the adjacent Bärenpark was opened. This bear park right by the Aare riverside resembles the natural habitat of the bears. This makes for much more moving space for the bears, while of course still being in captivity. A tunnel links the old Bärengraben and the Bärenpark, but they much seem to prefer spending time in the lush park. They can even take a dip in a fenced-off part of the Aare river!

Visitors of the Bärengraben area can explore the park from different angles, as there are viewing platforms both on top of the park and down by the Aare riverside. The lush yet open vegetation in the park makes it quite easy to spot bears. Three bears currently call Bern their home. There are informational signs that tell you about the history of the area, and the three bears of Bern.

Tired of bear spotting? Relax by the riverside watching the beautiful Aare with its blue water, or grab a bite at the restaurant. In the summer months, an ice cream shop guarantees a cool snack as well.

Bärengraben Bärenpark Bern

Great budget activity in Bern

Visiting the Bärengraben area is completely free of charge. It is a good way to explore this part of the city of Bern. Bärengraben does a good job of explaining its origins. Do you want to visit the Bärengraben during your visit? About an hour off your day should be enough to read the informational signs, spot the bears and relax by the waterside. The bear park is a short 15-minute walk from the Bern station. You can easily combine your visit with seeing other highlights of Bern. There is an elevator between the higher parts of the park and the riverside area.

baerenpark Bärengraben Bern
The surroundings of the Bärengraben are simply stunning

While the park is open year-round, note that bears are hibernating animals. Depending on the winter temperatures in Bern, they might be in hibernation between November and March. During this period, chances are very slim you’ll see any bears.

Bärengraben & Bärenpark Bern
Grosser Muristalden 6
3006 Bern Switzerland

- Advertisement -
Originally from the Netherlands, I landed in Luzern, Switzerland in March 2022 after 10 years in Sweden. Now, I aim to explore as much of Switzerland as I can, and share it here!

- Advertisement -

About TheSwisspath

On this website, you can read all about the best gems in Switzerland


Staying at the Royal Savoy hotel in Lausanne

Lausanne has quickly become one of my favourite cities in Switzerland. Its proximity to the lake, the architecture and how the city always seems...

Save food and money with Too Good To Go Switzerland

As a budget traveller, you can choose to skip meals or exclusively buy food in Swiss supermarkets. A more fun option however is the app Too good to go. This app allows you to purchase food from supermarkets, restaurants a café with amazing discounts.

Luzern Museum Pass – the ultimate money hack

Luzern is a wonderful city with plenty of activities, both indoor and outdoor. For museum lovers, Luzern also has a lot to offer, with...

Visit the LiLu Lucerne Light Festival 2024

It is January and the Christmas decoration and lights are slowly disappearing from the streets. Luckily, Lucerne has a bright event coming up: the...

Take a cruise from Luzern on the Vierwaldstättersee

You have been able to read a lot about visiting Luzern on this website already. The old town, the mountains and various restaurant. One...