Bern - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Bern


According to legend, Bern was named when its founder, Berchtold, was advised to go on a hunt and to name the town after the first beast caught. The bear has remained the symbol of the capital city ever since. One of the oldest and most charming cities in Europe, its old centre was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for the preservation of its cobbled medieval street plan, with many ornate fountains, towers, a massive astronomical clock, and buildings much the same as they have been for the last 500 years. With its relaxed atmosphere, farmers markets and friendly people, it is easy to forget that this is the Swiss capital, an important city of politicians and international meetings. And with its interesting museums, theatres, long-standing monuments and landmarks Bern is a popular base from which to explore the mountains and lakes of the nearby Bernese Oberland.

Information & Facts

The three official languages are Swiss German, French and Italian. A few people speak Romansch, but this is confined to the southeastern corner of the country. Most people know at least three languages, including English.

The official currency is the Swiss franc (CHF) divided into 100 rappen (German) or centimes (French). Although not part of the EU many prices are nonetheless indicated in Euros and some merchants may accept Euros. Visa, MasterCard and American Express are widely accepted and ATMs are widespread; many are equipped with the Cirrus or Maestro system. Banks offer the best exchange rates for travellers cheques and foreign currency, but it is also possible to exchange money at major hotels, main train stations and airports. Banks are open Monday to Friday.

Local time in Switzerland is GMT +1 (GMT +2 between March and October).
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