The OZY Top 25: Each week we share an irresistible vacation hideaway, chosen by OZY staff.
“I never would have guessed it’s a capital,” says almost everyone when they visit Bern for the first time. Indeed, Switzerland’s capital seems like almost anything but — and that’s the charm. Built on top of a steep-sided peninsula on a small bend of the beautiful Aare River, Bern feels like a movie set, not the administrative heart of a country. With only 133,600 inhabitants and a medieval center that’s also a UNESCO Cultural World Heritage Site, it’s pretty darned quiet.
But even an adventurous soul sometimes longs for a safe haven — a place that imparts a warm, fuzzy, “nothing bad can happen here” feeling. That’s Bern. Like Disneyland without the lines and the wild-eyed, sugar-fueled kids. A city that makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time and into an era when the world was safe and peaceful.
Among the city’s must-sees are the Zytglogge clock tower — the epitome of Swiss watchmaking skill — and the stunning Federal Assembly building, which, in addition to its being the center of Swiss democracy, is flanked by 26