🇨🇭 Bärengraben

Bärengraben, Bern

Planning to visit the Bärengraben? Check out our information below!


One of the city’s most iconic landmarks are the former Bärengraben or bear pits. According to a legend, the town of Bern owes its name to Duke Berthold V of Zähringen, said to have been founded in 1191 when the duke had killed a bear in this area. The new branch was then named Bern. To this day, the bear is also the city’s mascot and you can see this reflected throughout the city, literally and figuratively.

Bears have been kept in the city since 1441. It was a centuries-old tradition in Bern to keep bears trapped in a pit at this location. Fortunately, today bears are no longer held in small, concrete enclosures. A modern bear park has been built since 2009 along the banks of the river where the bears live in a giant park. The bears can roam freely among the various landscaped areas and you can see them from above.

Although the bears have a wonderful enclosure where they also have the opportunity to swim in the Aare, like most people, we are not in favour of bears in captivity. Still, it remains impressive and special to be able to admire these animals up close.  

Photographer: Dimitri.photography by Unsplash

Opening hours:

The Bärengraben is open all year round and admission is free.

Photographer: Leonard Dahmen by Pexels

Tips and Tricks!

Here are a few tips you should know before you visit Bärengraben!

  • Since 2009, Bern bears have had a modern 6,000-square-metre park where they have enough space to have a happy life. As far as it is possible in captivity of course….
  • Just outside the old town, on the other side of the Aare, you will find the ‘Bärengraben’ (bear pit).

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