Biel/Bienne (Biel in German, Bienne in French) is the 10th largest city of Switzerland and is located on the northern edge of the canton of Berne. Famous for watchmaking, and home to Rolex, Omega and Swatch among other famous makers.

The city lies at the foot of the first mountain range of the Jura Mountains area, guarding the only practical connection to Jura in the area, and on the northeastern shores of Lake Biel (Bielersee, Lac de Bienne), sharing the eastern tip of the lake with its sister city, Nidau.

The city has more than 50,000 inhabitants and the agglomeration more than 100,000.

Get in

By airplane

The international airports of Geneva, Basel and Zurich are approx. 1 hour away. The Euroairport Basel-Mulhausen is the nearest.

By train

Biel/Bienne has train connections to nearly every city in Switzerland. Direct connection Lausanne, Geneva, Berne, Basel, Eastern Switzerland, Lake Constance and Zurich To Olten - Zürich Eastern Switzerland 30 minutes, to Berne every 20 Minutes, everywhere else they run hourly.

By car

3 highways are connecting Biel/Bienne with the rest of Switzerland.

By boat

As Biel/Bienne is located at the end of Lake Biel, it can be reached by boat not only from other touristic lake villages, e.g. Ligerz, but also from towns on the Lake of Neuchatel, e.g. Neuchatel or the Lake of Murten, e.g. Murten

Get around

Public transportation

The City has a highly efficient, clean and safe public transport system. It includes trams, buses, S-Bahn (local trains) and even boats for the lake and river. Tickets must be purchased from a ticket machine before boarding or from one of the ticket selling kiosks.

By foot

It is possible to visit the main touristic sights of Biel/Bienne on foot. It's safe and not far.



Biel/Bienne is one of the few places in Switzerland to be fully genuinely bilingual, with German as the majority language and French as the minority language, though in practice, Swiss German is the main language, with French being second. However, German is very widely spoken as it's used in lots of media and is taught in schools, even in French-speaking ones. English is also prevalent.



The main shopping district is in the middle of the city. The main shopping streets are the Bahnhofsstrasse and the Nidaugasse. Both car-free! For example: Buy a watch made in Biel/Bienne (ex: Omega, Swatch, Rolex, Candino and a lot more)




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This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, January 24, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.