Useful information about "Christmas in Bern"

Where can I find sweet chestnuts, how do I get home safely and which market is worth a visit even in bad weather? Here is some valuable information for adventurers in the city of Bern:

How do I get to the city centre and back home safely?

Have you done your Christmas shopping and tasted a variety of mulled wines? After a delightful outing, BernMobil will bring you home safely. Timetables are available at www.bernmobil.ch.

If you come from further away, you will benefit from the SBB RailAway offer: In addition to a 20% discount on the train journey, you will get a mulled wine at the Christmas Markets on Waisenhausplatz and Münsterplatz at a special price. More information you can find here.

Where can I park?

For those not travelling by public transport, there are over 3,500 parking lots available in the multi-story car parks of the city of Bern:

  • Bahnhof Parking
  • Parkhaus Metro
  • Rathaus Parking
  • Parking City-West
  • Mobiliar Parking
  • Parking Casino
  • expo Parking
  • Park + Ride Neufeld

The interactive parking guide allows you to find the closest parking lot 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.

Where can I stay?

Are you travelling from far away and looking to enjoy several days of jolly Christmas ambience? The following link gives an overview of available accommodation in and around Bern. You will get the best prices if you book at Bern hotels directly.

Where can I use the toilet free of charge?

There are twelve “nice toilets” in Bern which are accessible free of charge in addition to the public toilets. These are existing facilities in restaurants and cafés and can be identified as “nice toilets” by the red sticker at the entrance. An overview of all public and “nice toilets” is available at the following link.

When are the markets and shops open?

Opening hours at the Bernese Christmas markets vary. Please find more detailed information on the respective pages .

Usually, shops in Bern have the following 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 Town do not open until 10:00 a.m. If you are looking to visit a specific shop, we recommend that you check the opening hours in advance.

When do Sunday sales take place?

On 1 Advent, 2 December 2018, the shops in the lower Old Town will be open from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. In the scope of the traditional 1st Advent event, many Christmassy surprises are expecting you.

On 16 and 23 December 2018, shops in Bern will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

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 rains or snows: You will find shelter at the Sternenmarkt on the Kleine Schanze, at the Christmas markets on the Waisenhausplatz (Orphanage Square) and the Münsterplatz (Minster Square), in the Chalet Alpenland on the Kornhausplatz (Granary Square), at Øscår Elch in Ringgenpärkli, in the ice rink restaurant on the Bundesplatz (Parliament Square), and at the Rummelbummel in the courtyard of the PROGR.

Of course, there are also countless cozy cafés and vaulted cellars in Bern's old town, where you can enjoy a hot chocolate or a warm soup. Here you can find our favourite cafés.

Where can I buy sweet chestnuts?

Good news for lovers of sweet chestnuts: In Bern there are stalls selling this delicious winter specialty at various corners.

  • On the Bahnhofplatz (Station Square), next to the Church of the Holy Spirit
  • On the Bahnhofplatz (Station Square), directly at the “Loebegge” (corner of the “Loeb”)
  • On the Bärenplatz (Bear’s Square), in front of the Käfigturm (Prison Tower)
  • In the Neuengasse, directly at the station’s “Neuengasse” exit
  • In the Kramgasse, in front of the Zytglogge (Clock Tower)
  • On the Bern Starsmarket on the "Kleine Schanze"
  • On the Christmas Market Waisenhausplatz

Where is the official Christmas tree?

This year, the official Christmas tree of the city of Bern can be found at the Sternenmarkt on the Kleine Schanze. No tree had to be cut down to create this piece of festive art: the decorated tree stands firmly rooted in the greenery of the Kleine Schanze. The Christmas tree lighting will be switched on at the opening ceremony of the “Bernese Christmas” on 29 November 2018.

Overview

🌰 🚽 ☂️ 👶 🍳
Bern Starsmarket X X X X X
Christmas Market on Waisenhausplatz X X* X X
Bern Minster Christmas Market X** X X*** X
Artisan market Münsterplattform X X
Ice Rink on the Parliament Square X X X X
Øscår Elch X X X
Chalet Alpenland X X X
Rummelbummel X X X X

* Restroom in parking Waisenhausplatz (Orphanage Square)
** Restroom on Münsterplattform (Minster terrace) & in Bibliothekgässchen
***Offers for children: candle making in 1st week
🌰 Sweet chestnuts
🚽 Restroom
☂️ Sheltered locations
👶 Offers for children
🍳 Hot meals

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