This is the only practical means of exploring Altstadt and its many attractions. You can see what there is to see here in about 2 1/2 hours.
Don't overlook the possibility of walks in Greater Bern, including Bern's own mountain, Gurten, a popular day-trip destination reached in 25 minutes by tram no. 9 and rack railway. Once here, you'll find walks in many directions and can enjoy a panorama over the Alps. There's also a children's playground.
Walks in and around Bern include 250km (155 miles) of marked rambling paths. One of the most scenic walks is along the banks of the Aare through the English gardens, the Dählhölzli Zoological Gardens, Elfenau Park, and the Bremgarten woods.
For jogging and running, the best spots are the Aare River Run (Dalmaziquai), stretching 4km (2.25 miles), or the Aare River Run -- Bear Pits, which is 5km (3 miles) long.
By Bus & Tram
The public transportation system, the Bernmobil, is a reliable, 77km (48-mile) network of buses and trams. Before you board, purchase a ticket from one of the automatic machines located each stop -- conductors don't sell tickets. If you're caught traveling without one, you'll be fined 80F in addition to the fare for the ride. A short-range ride (within six stations) costs 2.20F; a normal ticket, valid for 60 minutes one-way, goes for 4F.
You can catch a taxi at the public cab ranks, or call a dispatcher. Nova Taxi is at tel. 031/331-33-13, Bären Taxi at tel. 031/371-11-11. The basic rate is 6.80F, plus 3.90F per kilometer.
Seeing Bern by car is very impractical due to traffic congestion in Old Town, its confusing layout of one-way streets, and a lack of on-street parking. If you have a car, it's best to park in a public garage and explore the city on foot; its miles of arcades were designed to protect pedestrians from rain, snow, and traffic.
If you want to rent a car to explore the environs, arrangements can be made at Europcar, Laupenstrasse 22 (tel. 031/381-75-55; www.europcar.com); Hertz, Kasinoplatz at Kochergasse 1 (tel. 031/318-21-60; www.hertz.com); or Avis, Wabernstrasse 41 (tel. 031/378-15-15; www.avis.com).
Altstadt is compressed into such a small area that it's better to cover the historic district on foot rather than on a bike (bicycles aren't allowed on many pedestrian-only streets, anyway). However, in Greater Bern and its environs, there are 400km (248 miles) of cycling paths, which are marked on a special cycling map available at the tourist center . The narrow yellow lanes throughout the road network are reserved for bikers. The point of departure for most official routes is Bundesplatz in Parliament Square. Special red signs will guide you through a wide variety of landscapes. Bikes can be checked out free at the Zeughausgasse (tel. 079/277-28-57).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.