Most of us don’t go to Europe to visit a mall.
In fact, we actively avoid them most of the time. But when the mall is an architectural wonder that also includes the most incredible Adventure Pool & Spa facility we’ve ever seen, it’s a must-see attraction.
Westside is located in Bern-Brunnen, Switzerland, about 10 minutes from the old city. It’s easily accessible by public transit, rail and car. Designed by avant garde ‘starchitect‘ Daniel Libeskind to be ‘a new architectural landmark‘ and as a ‘counterpoint and complement to the old town of Bern‘, the mall was completed in 2008. It is part of a massive suburban complex that also includes a seniors residence, hotel, cinemas, and leisure facilities.
The architecture is angular and impressive – walls & windows at all angles that kids will especially like. In typical Swiss fashion, the finishes and quality are top-of-the-line and expensive. The stores in Westside reflect the high end design with ‘top drawer’ retail establishments to match. No dollar stores here, though there is a McDonald’s. [TTM tip: Skip McD’s & go to the Migros Restaurant instead. Migros is the giant Swiss grocery store chain found everywhere. Its self-serve restaurant offers excellent food, including kiddie meals.]
Though my husband and kids enjoyed the mall’s Maserati + Ferrari shop, the real draw for us at Westside was the Bernaqua Erlebnisbad & Spa – the Adventure Pool.
Bernaqua includes 18 different indoor & outdoor water facilities, including; several waterslides (the longest covered ones in Switzerland), indoor & outdoor pools, kiddie splash pool, saunas, spas and fitness facilities. Bernaqua is unlike any waterpark you’ve ever visited.
While my tweens enjoyed the active waterslides and Wild Water Canyon, my absolute favorite was the warm, 36 degree salt waters of SolAqua, in which you float along in gentle sound, colour and light. It is peaceful and incredibly relaxing – unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Bliss!
Bernaqua is not cheap. A 2.5 hour family (2 adults & 2 kids) pass to the waterpark will cost you around 83 CHF, while a day pass is around 117 CHF. The spa, sauna & fitness services are additional. (prices subject to change)
But, like the Zytglogge or Barengraben, Westside is now a ‘must see & experience’ for our family anytime we’re in Bern. Don’t miss it.
Photo Credits: C. Laroye & Westside
Have you visited Westside in Bern, Switzerland? What did you enjoy the most?