Bern: a fairy tale city in winter
In the run-up to Christmas, Bern is bathed in golden light. Be spellbound by the magic of this wonderful medieval city and enjoy the festive season in the midst of this UNESCO World Heritage site.
As winter comes around, Bern’s Christmas markets are particularly popular. When festive lights catch the eye everywhere you look and the medieval houses are bedecked in powdery snow, shopping for Christmas presents is a wonderful experience. Simply follow the fragrant aroma of gingerbread, toasted almonds, and hot Glühwein to find the markets on Waisenhausplatz (Orphanage Square) and Münsterplatz (Minster Square). Here, local artisans offer beautiful handicrafts, culinary delicacies, and many other delightful products. But you’ll also find fantastic markets in the region around Bern. For instance, are you familiar with the Huttwil Christmas market with its 100 festively illuminated wooden huts? Discover the best Christmas markets in the city and region of Bern!
Winter is the perfect time of year for foodies. Discover culinary delights of a very special kind – from do-it-yourself fondue to raclette with a view.
Have you headed for the Christmas markets and now fancy some fondue and white wine? Then get stuck in! The Platzhirsch restaurant on Waisenhausplatz (Orphanage Square) serves up everything you need to enjoy a fondue under the open sky. As well as a shoulder bag containing bread and a fork, a fondue table, and all the necessary ingredients, the Platzhirsch also provides an amusing “how to” guide (even available in Chinese and Korean!) to help tourists and first-timers make their very own fondue.
Glühwein on three wheels
A special city tour for lovers, bon vivants, and anyone looking for an experience with a difference: Discover the wintry city of Bern from a rickshaw while enjoying a mug of Glühwein! The steaming drink, woolen blankets, and soft, fleecy seat cover will keep you toasty and warm while the driver entertains you with amusing anecdotes and fun facts about the Swiss capital. The Glühwein tour is an original pre-dinner experience, the perfect way to spend a wintry Sunday, or simply a relaxing break from Christmas shopping!
Raclette with a view
The perfect way to relax after Christmas shopping: The unique Sky Terrace at the Hotel Schweizerhof Bern & THE SPA offers 360-degree panoramic views of the UNESCO World Heritage city. Snuggle up in warm blankets as you sit back and relax high above the rooftops of Bern and enjoy a Swiss raclette, hot roasted chestnuts, and delicately spiced Glühwein. A truly heavenly experience!
Make your own cookies at the Kambly bakery
Take flour, butter, and a generous pinch of love. Look over the shoulders of the “Maîtres Confiseurs” of Switzerland’s most famous and popular biscuit manufacturer and bake your own Christmas creations with professional assistance before tasting biscuits to your heart's content with over 100 varieties to choose from!
From ice skating on Bundesplatz (Parliament Square) through a visit to an ice palace to a night in an igloo: there’s plenty to keep you entertained in Bern in winter. Have fun exploring!
Ice skating on Parliament Square
Ice skating on Bundesplatz (Parliament Square) is a truly unique experience! Every year, thousands of locals and visitors lace up their skates and head for the ice in front of the impressive Swiss Parliament Building. A mug of Glühwein and a hearty fondue in the ice rink restaurant are the perfect way to warm up afterwards. Entry is free of charge and ice skates can be hired at the rink.
Tobogganing on the Gurten
When the skies turn white in winter, the Bernese head for their local mountain, the Gurten. In the same spot where 80,000 music fans attend the legendary Gurten Festival in July, you’ll now find people whizzing down the slopes in the snow. Sixty sturdy Davos sledges are ready and waiting to zip down the 1,200m toboggan run.
A night in an igloo
The height of romance! Spending a night in the Kemmeriboden-Bad hotel’s very own igloo is a truly unforgettable experience. After hiking through the snow (the hotel lends snowshoes to its guests free of charge), couples can warm up with a fondue or relax in the spa area with a sauna, steam shower, and hot tub.
Schwarzsee ice palace
Immerse yourself in a fairy tale world of light and ice! Every winter, in a small wood near the Schwarzsee lake, passionate ice artist Karl Neuhaus builds a colorful paradise of caves, grottos, igloos, and up to 15-meter-high ice sculptures. If you start to get chilly, the ice palace’s bar is the perfect place to warm up and perhaps even cook your own cervelat sausage on the fire. The site also has a children’s playground.
Bern for sports enthusiasts
Snow-covered mountains and hilly winter landscapes are calling! From tobogganing and snowshoeing to conventional and cross-country skiing, the Bern region has plenty to offer in winter. Just a stone’s throw from the city, winter sports enthusiasts can find everything their hearts desire.
From the capital to the slopes
Many well-known and large ski areas such as the Jungfrau ski region, Adelboden-Lenk, Meiringen-Hasliberg, and Gstaad are less than a 90-minute drive from Bern. A smaller and lesser known option is the Bumbach/Schangnau ski area in the Emmental. This fabulous location is a particularly great low-cost alternative for families and beginners. Even the world champion Beat Feuz learned to ski here!
Tobogganing fun under the stars
At 1,490 meters above sea level, the Riggisalp offers fun in the snow after dark! Whiz down the four-kilometer-long, well-lit toboggan run while snow crystals glisten all around you in the moonlight. Our tip: fortify yourself first with a tasty fondue in the Bärghuus Riggisalp and head to the Gypsi bar afterwards for a nightcap.
“Hot and cold snowshoe tour”
Yearning for the tranquility of nature? Then the “hot and cold snowshoe tour” through the mystical Napf region is the perfect choice! An experienced guide will lead you almost silently through beautiful snow-covered landscapes, like something out of a fairy tale. All the necessary state-of-the-art equipment is naturally provided. After a two-hour tour, a relaxing dip in the “Hot Pot” hot tub and a warm fondue await you.
Cross-country skiing a stone’s throw from Bern
Did you know that cross-country skiing is one of the healthiest sports in the world? In the Nature Park Gantrisch, just 30 minutes’ drive from Bern, a cross-country skiing paradise with 45 kilometers of perfectly groomed trails awaits you at a snow-sure elevation of 1,450 to 1,650 meters above sea level. The perfect spot for endurance skiers, lovers of the great outdoors, and anyone who wants to try a peaceful sport in a stunning setting.