“Christmas Experiences. Nothing beats Bern.”
Strolling across Bern’s Christmas markets is a must for Christmas enthusiasts. The traditional markets on Münsterplatz (Minster Square) and Waisenhausplatz (Orphanage Square) as well as the Christmas edition of the crafts market on Minster terrace are well-known and well-loved. With their handmade design products, hot drinks, and holiday delicacies, the festively decorated stalls in the shape of little houses invite the visitors to treat themselves and do some “schnöigge” (browsing for gifts). Whether you’re buying gifts, sipping mulled wine, or just enjoying the relaxed atmosphere – Bern’s Christmas markets get everyone into the holiday spirit!
No More Cold Hands
It’s no secret that the best solution for cold hands is holding onto something warm. Whether it’s the hand of your favourite person, a bag of freshly roasted chestnuts, or a cup of mulled wine – your fingers will be nice and toasty in no time. If, for a change, you feel like filling your cup with something other than the classic mulled wine, head to Portier, Freibank’s snug garden bistro at Wankdorf City, order a homemade hot spiced apple juice and enjoy it at one of the fire pits. The popular pop-ups Chalet Alpenland, Øscår Elch, and Malso also offer a selection of hot drinks. Thanks to all of these yummy options, no one has to take on the Bernese winter with cold hands!
See the Christmas Lights from Above
Swoon! The London Evening Standard gave Bern the title “Most Instagrammable Winter City” – and rightfully so! One of the best places to marvel at the beauty of the UNESCO-listed Old City is the Rosengarten. Sit on the wall, let your feet dangle, and take in the breathtaking view of the festively decorated alleys, the Christmas lights, and the medieval houses around the Minster. Our tip for “Gfrörlis” (people who are always cold): if you’ve forgotten your cosy winter sweater at home, head over to Restaurant Rosengarten for a hot chocolate (or a coffee with Baileys and whipped cream, yum!). There’s a huge panoramic window, so the winter view can also be enjoyed from inside the warm restaurant.
To the wonderful view
Sunday “Lädele” (leisurely shopping)
Christmas Eve is drawing closer and you’re still looking for the perfect present for you mother-in-law? You haven’t had time to put together your holiday outfit because you were so busy with “Güetzele” (baking cookies) and trimming the tree? Not a problem. In December, Bern’s shops are also open on Sundays. The best time for holiday shopping in the festively decorated city is the first Sunday of Advent: it’s a tradition for the 150 studios, boutiques, small shops and bistros of the lower Old City, so from Zytglogge (Clock Tower) downward, to open their doors from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and greet shopaholics with Christmas surprises.
Find inspiration here!
Sunday shopping (“Sonntagsverkauf”) dates
29 November 2020 1st of Advent shopping, lower Old City 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 13 December 2020 Sunday Shopping 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. 20 December 2020 Sunday Shopping 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Chalet in the City
Yearning for the alpine feeling? If you know where to go, you can experience chalet cosiness without having to leave the city! Decorative “Gondeli” (cable cars) from the Gstaad region are set up in the garden of the Marzilibrücke restaurant on the Aare river, on the Sky Terrace of the Schweizerhof hotel, and in front of the Lötschberg restaurant, prettily decorated with red-and-white checkered curtains, warm furs and authentic accessories such as old skiing poles. Guests are served cold platters with cheeses and dried meats and – obviously – fondue. Now all we need is some fluffy white snow to make the Bernese chalet experience complete.
Christmas in the Emmental
Let it snow! If you love a fairytale holiday season, we suggest a trip to the picturesque (and hopefully snowy) Emmental region. Or recommendation: visit the Berchtoldshof farm in Bätterkinden, where, from 1 December 2020 to 6 January 2021, there’s an impressive 16-metre nativity scene with life-sized figurines. And make sure you stop by the Kambly Christmas World on your way back, where you’ll be able to “schnouse” (nibble) sweet treats, decorate gingerbread, do some holiday baking, and go on a tour to see the wild animals in the forest – you’ll be in the holiday spirit in no time!
Sharing is Caring
Let there be light! For Caritas’ “Eine Million Sterne” (one million stars) campaign, a sea of candles will illuminate Parliament Square on 12 December 2020. If it will take place on Parliament Square or digitally is not decided yet. What we do know: solidarity has never been more important. And whether you watch on a screen from home or on site in the heart of Bern, it is a beautiful sight – and serves a good cause: every candle purchase supports people in need and those affected by poverty. We’re bringing a “Füfliber” (five-franc coin) or paying online and lighting a candle to help. If you want to do even more good, participate in the “Café Surprise” campaign. The idea is simple: when visiting one of the participating cafés, you pay for a second cup of coffee in addition to yours. People in need will be able to enjoy a hot beverage for free.
To the participating cafés