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Hints & Tips: How to Travel in Switzerland?

We are looking forward to meeting you all at EAA 2019 in Bern! We are confident that Bern, besides a remarkable Annual Meeting, will provide you with marvellous mountain views, culinary (chocolate & cheese) and cultural experiences as well as world-famous archaeological sites. Here are some tips for your travel and stay in Switzerland.

Clever booking

The airports of Zurich, Geneva and Basel are all equally close to Bern. From the airport, direct train connections will bring you to Bern in less than 1.5 hours. Geneva airport is also only 2 hours train ride away. Several low-cost airlines (e.g. easyJet, Eurowings, Wizz Air, Vueling) have these airports as destinations.

Residents of neighboring countries (Germany, France, Italy, Austria) might check their local railway companies for special saver tickets. Different international bus lines (e.g. Eurolines, Flixbus) are directly going to Bern.

Clever timing

For single train journeys at the lowest possible cost, e.g. from the airport to Bern, look for supersaver tickets of the Swiss Railway Company (SBB) online: SBB supersaver. The earlier you check, the more supersaver tickets are available. Try to avoid peak hours, meaning: try to avoid the hours between 7 and 9 am and 4 and 6 pm. If you would like to spend some additional days in Switzerland, we would recommend to book a Swiss Travel Pass, either for consecutive travel days or non-consecutive days within a month.

Clever housing

There are several housing opportunities in Bern: hotels, hostels, apartments, youth hostels, Airbnb, camping. Accomodation in Bern, including Airbnb (if declared correctly by the host), will provide you with a ticket for public transport within the city that is valid for the time of your stay. If you come with several people, sharing an apartment would be the cheapest possibility.

Clever parking

If you decide to come to Bern by car, make sure that your accommodation has a private parking lot. If it does not, here is some advice where to park your car:

Official parking places in Switzerland are all marked and in most cases chargeable. The parking places are divided into different zones:
  • Blue Zones: Parking from Monday till Saturday from 8 am until 6 pm is free of charge for an hour with the blue parking disc (including EU parking disc). Whereby the arrival time is to be inserted to the next half hour. On Sundays and public holidays parking is free.
  • Yellow Zones: These are private or reserved parking lots.
  • White zones: These are chargeable, often numbered and located near a parking meter.

However, there are some neighborhoods in the periphery of Bern where you could park your car for free. Please contact the organisers for any advice.

Clever eating

Aim to make lunch your main meal since many restaurants offer a menu (fixed-price lunch special) for about 15 CHF (~13 Euros). Use the University of Bern student and staff restaurants which are within 3-10 min. walking distance from the main venue of the AM. Holders of any student or university staff card can eat there good food for 5 Euros.

Simple pizzerias and Asian restaurants are generally cheaper than traditional Swiss places. Stock up on groceries and picnic essentials at stores like Migros and Coop, which also do salads, sandwiches and other to-go snacks. Otherwise, use the possibility of the university restaurant or our lunch service at registration.

Clever drinking

Always bring a bottle: tap water is of really good quality in Switzerland, and there are many places where you can fill up on water. No need to buy mineral water in plastic bottles.

For convivial gatherings, take advantage of the EAA social events, such as the Welcome Reception and the Annual Party. Take profit from a picnic on the shores of the Aare river (e.g. close to the BearParc) or in one of the many parks (e.g. next to the cathedral and Bundeshaus/parliament).

Clever swimming

A special Bernese cultural experience is swimming in the Aare river (which could be already below 18°C water temperature in September). In any case, swimming in the Aare is only for confident swimmers, and you are highly recommended to ask a local person familiar with the river to join you for the first time. Sunbathing and pool swimming, however, is also possible for free in one of the many public swimming baths along the river (e.g. Marzili, Lorrainebad).