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Bern Area Guide

Buying properties in Bern

The canton of Bern is Switzerland’s capital city and is renowned for its mountains, steep cliffs, glaciers and countless waterfalls. In addition to its superbly well-preserved towns, the canton of Bern encompasses the glacial lakes of Thun, Biel and Brienz and the high-adrenalin sports playground of Interlaken, famed for its exceptional views of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau Massif. Also the car-free towns of Murren and Wengen in the Lauterbrunnen valley and scenic Grindelwald. Further east lies Meiringen, famous for the Reichenbach Falls – the site of Sherlock Holmes’ tragic death – and to the west, Knight Frank's partners within the prestigious resorts of Gstaad and Saanen.

Buying, owning or selling properties in the Bernese Alps

The region immediately surrounding Gstaad is designated as a ‘holiday zone’ so this means that a non-resident may buy in this area and nearby ski resorts. The rest of the canton however, does not allow a purchase without a residents permit. Please refer to our buying guide page for more detailed information.

Living in Gstaad

Gstaad is a veritable paradise for hikers and skiers. The nearest resorts are:

Gstaad/Rinderberg-Saanerslochgrat – 2km, Gstaad - Schönried - Saanenmöser – 3km, Gstaad - Saanen – Rougemont – 6km, Gstaad - St.Stephan - Zweisimmen – 10km, Château d'Oex – 11km

It is also home to numerous spas and ‘wellness’ hotels. The Gault Milau restaurant guide regularly awards high points to Gstaad chefs and the shopping opportunities are of world class standard. To follow are just some of the highlights of the Gstaad calendar:

• International Balloon Festival in Châteux-d'Oex – the most important Alpine balloon event with about 90 hot-air balloons in a variety of shapes and colours (January) • Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad – intimate festival of classical music in spring (February/March) • Ride on Music on the ski slopes of Schönried and Saanenmnöser – a three-day music festival (March) • FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour – Grand Slam Gstaad – volleyball amid impressive scenery (July) • Crédit Agricole Suisse Open Gstaad – international ATP Tennis Tournament with elite players (July) • Davidoff Saveurs Gstaad – a celebration of authentic flavours from kitchen, cellar and humidor (July) • Menuhin Festival Gstaad – a summer music festival in honor of the great violinist and conductor (July – September) • Hublot Polo Gold Cup Gstaad – international teams, riding fiery Arab horses, fight for victory (August) • Country Night Gstaad – leading country event encompassing a wide musical spectrum (September)


There are numerous excellent public and international schools within Bern and in the surrounding communities. For the residents of the Gstaad region the selection is high with the John F Kennedy International school in Saanen as well as the winter campus of Le Rosey, Switzerland's most prestigious boarding school, located in Gstaad. The University of Bern was founded in 1834 though the city’s academic traditions stretch back as far as the 1500’s.

Activities and Entertainment

The city of Bern enjoys a vibrant cultural scene and offers entertainment of every kind, from ballet to jazz, and in every style imaginable from, classical to avant-garde. It plays host to a varied program of art and photography alongside more diverse cultural events. Theatre is well-represented, as is classical music by the prestigious Bern Symphony Orchestra. Bern has a long history of hosting major jazz and rock festivals and is home to a vibrant nightclub scene.

The best-known Alpine regions, justifiably popular, boast some of the finest winter skiing and summer hiking in Europe: Bernese Oberland, Interlaken, Wengen, Grindelwald, Verbier, Crans-Montana, Zermatt, Davos, Klosters and St Moritz.



The Kunstmuseum, Bern’s Museum of Fine Art, houses a collection of over 3,000 paintings of international importance including works by: Delacroix, Manet, Monet, Cezanne, Braque, Gris, Picasso, Klee and Kandinsky. Swiss artists are also represented, among them Ferdinand Hodler and Albert Anker.


The main theatre in Bern is the Stadttheatre where classical and contemporary productions are staged throughout the year. Also, the Kornhaus, a former granary now used as a venue for a wide range of events and exhibitions, the DAS Theater an der Effingerstrasse and Theater am Kafigturm which all offer a modern and mainstream repertoire. Bern also has a large number of fringe theatres tucked away in houses along the streets of the old town.


Bern International Jazz festival takes place from March to June and also, throughout the month of June, Bern Dance Days are held in numerous venues around the city. In July, from the second to the last weekend, the Gurtenfestival, a great rock music event, takes place.


Overland: Switzerland is well connected by high-speed trains, famous for their cleanliness and efficiency, from across Europe.

Distances: Bern – 10km, Basel – 106km, Zurich - 128km, Geneva – 157km. (All distances are approximate).

Start your property search here or read more about the Swiss property market in our Swiss Lakes Insight.