Useful Information about Christmas in Bern
When do Sunday sales take place?
On the first Advent day, 1 December 2019, the shops in the lower Old City will be open from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. In the scope of the traditional 1st Advent event, many holiday surprises await. On 15 and 22 December 2019, shops in Bern will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
When are the markets and shops open?
If you follow the smell of caramelised almonds, gingerbread and mulled wine, you will discover Christmas markets and little winter wonderlands all over Bern. The opening hours of the markets vary, so make sure you take a look at the overview of markets and their opening hours.
Christmas Markets in Bern
Store Opening Hours
Monday–Wednesday 9:00 a.m.–6:30 p.m. Thursday 9:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m. Friday 9:00 a.m.–6:30 p.m. Saturday 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Sunday closed
There are deviations in individual cases, for example, some shops in the lower Old City do not open until 10:00 a.m. If you are looking to visit a specific shop, we recommend checking the opening hours in advance.
Christmas Markets Overview
🌰 🚽 ☂️ 👶 🍳 Star Market Bern X X X X X Christmas Market on Waisenhausplatz (Orphanage Square) X X* X X Bern Minster Christmas Market X** X X*** X Artisan Market Münsterplattform (Minster terrace) X X Ice Rink on Parliament Square X X X X Øscår Elch X X X Chalet Alpenland X X X Rummelbummel X X X X
* Restroom in the Waisenhausplatz (Orphanage Square) parking garage
** Restroom on Münsterplattform (Minster terrace) & in Bibliothekgässchen alley
***Offers for children: candle making in the 1st week
🌰 Roasted chestnuts
☂️ Sheltered locations
👶 Offers for children
🍳 Hot meals
Where is the official Christmas tree?
This year, the official Christmas tree of the city of Bern can be found at the Sternenmarkt (Star Market) on Kleine Schanze. No tree had to be cut down to create this piece of festive art: the decorated tree stands firmly rooted in the Kleine Schanze greenery. The Christmas tree lighting will be switched on during the “Bernese Christmas” opening ceremony on 28 November 2019.
Roasted Chestnut Stalls
On Bahnhofplatz (Station Square), next to the Church of the Holy Spirit
On Bahnhofplatz (Station Square), directly on «Loebegge» (corner of the LOEB store)
On Bärenplatz (Bear’s Square), in front of the Käfigturm (Prison Tower)
In Neuengasse, directly by “Neuengasse” station
In Kramgasse, in front of the Zytglogge (Clock Tower)
At the Star Market Bern on «Kleine Schanze»
At the Waisenhausplatz (Orphanage Square) Christmas Market
Where can I find shelter in the harsh winter weather?
Several Christmas markets have covered and partly heated areas, so there is nothing to stop you from going even when it’s raining or snowing: You will find shelter at the Sternenmarkt (Star Market Bern) on Kleine Schanze, at the Christmas markets on Waisenhausplatz (Orphanage Square) and Münsterplatz (Minster Square), in the Chalet Alpenland on Kornhausplatz (Granary Square), at Øscår Elch in Ringgenpärkli, in the ice rink restaurant on Bundesplatz (Parliament Square) and at the Rummelbummel in the courtyard of PROGR. Of course, there are also countless cosy cafés and traditional vaulted cellars in Bern’s Old City where you can enjoy a hot chocolate or a warm soup.
THE COSIEST CAFÉS IN BERN’S OLD CITY
Where can I use the restroom free of charge?
In addition to the public restrooms, there are twelve «Nette Toilette» («friendly toilets») in Bern, accessible free of charge. These are existing facilities in restaurants and cafés and can be identified as «friendly toilets» by the red sticker at the entrance. An overview of all public and «friendly toilets» can be found under the following link.
Public Restrooms in Bern
How do I get to the city centre and back home safely?
Bought a lot of presents and tried mulled wine in all its variations? After a long day of Christmas shopping, BernMobil and SBB (the public transport system) get everyone home safe and sound. If you took your car but couldn’t resist a glass or two (or three) of mulled wine, you can call Nez Rouge. The concept is simple: a team consisting of two volunteers from the Nez Rouge carpool service comes to pick you up and bring you and your vehicle home safely. The service is funded by donors and the optional tips from passengers. Check the Nez Rouge website to find out on which days they operate in and around Bern.
Where can I park my car?
For those not travelling by public transport, there are over 3,500 parking lots available in Bern’s car parks. The interactive parking guide allows you to find the closest parking spot and check availability in real time. You can also call the free number 0800 727 536 to learn about the current status of available parking spaces.