Six super reasons to visit Bern this weekend

Most people don't need a reason to visit Switzerland's capital. But, just in case, we've got 6 super reasons why you may want to stop by this weekend...

Six super reasons to visit Bern this weekend

1. shnit International Short Film Festival

From humble origins as a short film evening in Bern, shnit has grown into a very popular film festival with events taking place simultaneously in eight cities around the world – from Cape Town to Cairo, New York to Moscow.

Dubbed “a premium venue for the exhibition and promotion of short films”, shnit runs for 11 days and showcases over 200 films of every genre and style. Although opening night was on Thursday, this weekend has a packed programme spread across more than 10 venues. Learn more

2. Rendez-vous Bundesplatz 

The spectacular lightshow that is Rendez-vouz Bundesplatz returns this weekend for its eighth outing. Watch as the Swiss parliament building is lit up by a mixture of animation, light, sound and storytelling. This captivating crowd pleaser lures in more than 500,000 visitors each year – and why not? It’s free, right in the heart of Bern and sure to be enjoyed by the whole family.

As always, the lightshow has a special theme and this year’s edition celebrates the 75th anniversary of ‘The Little Prince’ by telling an abridged version of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s well-loved novella. Performances run daily from October 19 until November 24 with showings at 7pm and 8.30pm, and additional performances on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 9.30pm.

3. Cyclocross World Cup

After an eight year absence, the UCI Cyclocross World Cup returns to Switzerland, and, for the first time, the world’s best cross riders will meet in the nation’s capital Bern. A unique course has been built around Europe’s largest open air swimming pool (Weyermannshaus) and organisers have promised fast and thrilling races with lots of corners and technical sections. Think of a muddy, super intense assault course/triathlon event – but on bikes.   

The main event is for the professionals and takes place on Sunday 21 October, but there’s also races for children, youths and hobby riders planned for Saturday too. More information can be found on the official website

4. Art Workshops for kids and teens

Let your children’s inner artist run free at the Kunstmusuem’s Cool Kids’ Classes this Saturday. The classes are run in English and Russian, and are set up to allow participants to draw, paint and sculpt.

Suitable for 6-14 year olds, the class runs from 10:30AM until noon and costs 10CHF. More details are available on the museum's website.

5. The Indonesian Food Bazar

Fancy trying something a little different this weekend? Then the Indonesian Food Bazar could be for you. With a variety of popular dishes as well as a mixture of traditional specialities, clothes and accessories for you to enjoy, the family-friendly bazar runs from 11AM until 4PM.

We recommend you try the Sate Ayam – or chicken satay skewers – and make sure to get some Bumbu Kacang -peanut sauce – with it (see photo above). Taking place in Gümligen, this event is just a 10-18-minute journey (depending on which bus/train you take) away from Bern central station.

6. zoom in Festival

The 'zoom in' festival for improvised music celebrates its 15th anniversary this year. To mark the occasion, organisers have invited 45 musicians from all over the world to play 15 concerts at various locations in Bern – including Bern Cathedral and the Museum of Communication. 

Known as the hub of contemporary improvised and experimental music in Bern, this year’s festival features a blend of more established international acts and exciting up-and-comers. Headliners on Saturday night include English saxophone player John Butcher and Welsh harpist Rhodri Davies, as well as Lebanese trumpeter Mazen Kerbaj. Get an idea of what to expect in the video above.

Read also: IN PICS – Switzerland's 11 stunning Unesco World Heritage Sites





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Seven events not to miss in Switzerland in April

Whoever said that nothing exciting ever happens in Switzerland was wrong. The month of April, for instance, brims with fun events and festivals happening in all corners of the country.

Seven events not to miss in Switzerland in April

Whether you are into music, food, nature, or any other type of activity, you will likely find something that interests you in April. 

These are just some suggestions from different regions, but you can find more to do if you look at your local community’s calendar of events.

If you are interested in just Easter-related festivities, you can find them in this article:

8 of the best Easter events in Switzerland you won’t want to miss

This is what’s on in various regions:

Tulip festival, Morges (Vaud)

You may think this flower is more associated with Holland than with Switzerland, but you will change your mind if your visit the annual tulip extravaganza in this quaint town on the shores of Lake Geneva.

Starting on April 1st and until May 14th, you can walk on winding paths in the Independence Park behind the historic castle and admire more than 300 varieties of tulips you didn’t even know existed.

Just one of over 300 varieties of tulips in Morges. Photo: The Local

Brunch in Reithalle (Basel)

An old stately building scenically set in a big park in the Basel suburb of Wenkenhof, the Reithalle serves “Spring” brunch on two Sundays in April: on the 2nd and the 16th.

It is the local favourite for people in the area, but tourists are welcome as well.

Zermatt unplugged (Valais)

Now that the winter season is almost over in one of Switzerland’s best-known resorts, the town is not about to go into hibernation.

On the contrary, the first whiff of spring is the music festival that will take place between April 11th and 15th.

The stage will be set up in the centre of the village, where you can listen to multi-genre artists performing at the foot of the iconic Matterhorn.

You can find out who is performing on each day of the festival here

Sechseläuten, Zurich

While not a public holiday per se, many businesses, offices, and banks close for the day, so that Zurich residents can celebrate this ancient spring festival that occurs every year on the third Monday of April.

This means that this year it falls on April 17th, and allows for a long weekend of fun and festivities.

This article explains what this holiday is all about:

Here’s why people in Zurich burn a huge snowman every April

The International Exhibition of Inventions (Geneva)

If you are curious about what unique objects the inventors and nerds from around the world have created, head to the Palexpo in Geneva between April 26th and 30th.

There, you can see about 1,000 new products, both conventional and wacky, that are ready to hit the market.

The Envirama Show will take place in parallel to showcase environmental innovations.

Solothurn Beer Days

Now we are talking!

The largest beer festival in Switzerland will take place from April 27th to 29th in and around the Rythalle in Solothurn.

More than 50 local, regional and national breweries, both micro and medium-sized, will present their art of brewing.

According to organisers, this annual event, which started in 2004, always makes a big splash, though hopefully not literally.

E guete! Image by Alexa from Pixabay 

Food Truck Festival, Locarno (Ticino)

If you are a fan of good street food, then the one taking place in Piazza Grande in Locarno from April 28th to May 1st, may be just up your alley.

You will be able to sample not just authentic dishes from Ticino and Italy, but also from other parts of Switzerland — all cooked in and served from trucks and caravans.

And if you are interested in what is taking place in general during April, this article will help:

Everything that changes about life in Switzerland in April 2023