The soaring Gothic cathedral that dominates the skyline of Switzerland’s capital city is dedicated to St Vincent, the patron saint of Bern; work began on the church in 1421 but the spire was not completed until 1893. At 84 meters (275 feet) long, it is the biggest religious building in Switzerland, designed in true Gothic style with flying buttresses, gargoyles and dramatic, highly painted carvings of the Last Judgment above the main portal.
Designed by master craftsman Matthäus Ensinger from Strasbourg, the interior is laid out as a three‐aisled basilica and is filled with light filtering through the glorious stained‐glass windows. The choir stalls are a later addition and are decorated with Renaissance carvings of religious scenes; the organ dates from the 1930s and is played in concerts throughout the year. The cathedral also has the tallest tower in Switzerland at 100 meters (330 feet); visitors can climb the 344 stone steps inside the spire to the lookout point for outstanding views over the rooftops of the city and across the River Aare to the snow‐capped peaks of the Bernese Oberland.
Open mid‐Nov–Mar Mon–Fri noon–4pm, Sat 10am–5pm, Sun 11.30am–4pm; Apr–Oct Mon–Fri 10am–5pm, Sat 10am–5pm. Sun 11.30am–5pm. The tower closes 30 minutes earlier. Admission to the church is free but a small fee is payable to climb the tower. The cathedral is best accessed on foot through Bern’s UNESCO‐listed, cute Old Town.