Where and when do the very best Bernese flea markets take place? What are the secrets behind presenting your secondhand clothing at its best to the public? We’ll tell you this and much more in our comprehensive flea market guide for everyone who loves bargains, chance finds and just having a leisurely stroll around the stands and purchasing a little something just for the heck of it – Bernese-style.
Flohmarkt Grosse Halle, Reitschule
True flea market fans flock to Bern from all over the region in the early hours of every first Sunday of the month to do some bargain hunting in the Reithalle’s main hall. The former riding school, located just a few minutes walking distance from Bern’s main station, hosts one of Switzerland’s largest year-round flea markets. Amid the hustle and bustle on the Schützenmatte in front of the building, there’s always space for people who like to haggle, and for those who want – or rather need – to learn how that works, because a bit of bargaining is just as much part of the Reithalle flea market as taking the time for a relaxed chat with vendors, old acquaintances, or new flea market friendships.
Flohmarkt @ The Stage, Vidmarhallen
At the Vidmarhallen, the world of flea markets takes centre stage. On weekdays, this place gets people moving as a dance, fitness and acrobatics school, on Sundays, it regularly hosts a unique flea market with its own groove. The “Flohmarkt @ The Stage” is perfect for flea market fans who need some good tunes and vibes while hunting for treasures. A live DJ provides cool beats, and the Broadway feeling in the rooms of “The Stage” sets the right mood. And who knows – maybe you’ll discover a rare find or treasure while dancing from stall to stall that you wouldn’t have noticed at walking pace ...
Vide Grenier in the Old City
A stroll beneath Bern’s arcades is always a treat – and even more so when it’s time for the Vide Grenier! The yearly old-town flea market draws visitors to Kramgasse and Gerechtigkeitsgasse alleys for some “Gänggele”, a Bernese word that describes the act of treating yourself to a little something. The local residents and shop owners set up their stalls to sell the countless gems from their attics, apartments, and basements. Make sure you don’t miss out on the treasures: it’s worth getting to the Vide Grenier early to snatch the best finds.
Nachtflohmi (night flea market) at the Dachstock
Attention all night owls: is the good stuff at flea markets always already gone when you get there because the snooze button was just too tempting? Then the night flea market at the Dachstock is perfect for you! Until midnight, visitors come to "schnöigge" (the Bernese word for leisurely browsing) in the famous concert venue, search for treasures among trinkets and curiosities, and enjoy the hustle and bustle.
If you think people only go to Dampfzentrale in the Marzili neighbourhood to dance, make music and eat, you should definitely stop by on a last Sunday of the month (May to September), when the cultural centre on the Aare river turns into a charming marketplace in front of a spectacular backdrop. Browse the stands of private kitsch sellers and professional second-hand vendors – presenting a classy, select range of products is the highest credo. In the "worst" case, all you will do is indulge on the legendary warm chocolate cake on the restaurant’s terrace with a view of the river.
Vintage Suitcase Flea Market at PROGR
The “Vintage Suitcase Flea Market” at the cultural centre PROGR’s café and bar Turnhalle lives up to its name: in large vintage travel suitcases with real patina, trendy and cool accessories, clothes, shoes, rare vinyl records and all kinds of tasteful trinkets and decorative items wait to be discovered by bargain hunters. The two ladies behind it all, Barbara Müller and Natalie Charrier, or the “B&N Vintage Girls”, started the suitcase flea market a few years ago after falling under the spell of the vintage vibe. When the weather is nice, the flea market takes place in the courtyard, otherwise it’s on the Turnhalle’s lower level.
More flea markets in and around Bern
In the mood for a treasure hunt? Get out your planner! In addition to the classics, Bern also has a lot of small, charming flea markets that only take place once or a few times a year. Here’s where and when.
- Berner Brocante (Bernese antique fair) at the Markthalle
Alte Markthalle, Steigenhubelstrasse 60, 3008 Bern
- Brocante Bern
Zentrum Paul Klee, Monument im Fruchtland 3, 3000 Bern
- Neighbourhood flea market
Villa Stucki, Quartierzentrum, Seftigenstrasse 11, 3007 Bern
- Velobörse Bern (bicycle market)
Mehrzweckhalle Kaserne, Papiermühlestrasse 13c, 3014 Bern
Werkhof beim Schlossgutplatz, 3110 Münsingen
Le Beizli, Könizstrasse 161, 3097 Liebefeld
10 Tips for Flea Market Vendors
Motivated to go through your apartment and present your treasures at a flea market? These 10 tips will help you sell your items in no time.
Tip #1The early bird catches the wormThe earlier your stand is ready, the higher the chances of selling your items. Those looking for something specific at a flea market are up early – later on, it’s usually just people strolling and browsing.
Tip #2Less is moreOverflowing, stuffed stalls can be a bit intimidating and off-putting. You’re better off bringing fewer items and presenting them in an appealing manner.
Tip #3Careful presentationMaking huge piles or throwing everything in a basket for people to rummage through is not a good idea. Flea market pros sort their items by category, colour, or style and create an appealing display.
Tip #4Give out complimentsDoes one of the pieces look great on a potential customer when they try it on? Then don’t be shy! A sincere compliment will make those in doubt feel good and encourage them to buy something.
Tip #5Bring a friendSelling your things together means double the fun. And when you’re having a good time, people will notice and automatically be drawn to your stall.
Tip #6Mirror, mirror on the wallIf you’re selling clothes, shoes, and jewellery, don’t forget to put up a mirror! It can do wonders for your sales.
Tip #7Clever combinationsMake suggestions as to what goes nicely with those jeans you’re selling and which top they could be combined with to make it a great outfit, and you’ll often end up selling more than one piece.
Tip #8Hungry shoppersBaked treats and a thermos with coffee make people feel especially welcome and will draw them to your stand.
Tip #9Bring bags and changeDon’t forget to bring old newspapers and bags so your customers can get their treasures home safely. And remember to bring lots of change!
Tip #10End-of-day discountsDon’t want to haul your unsold items back home? If you offer your items at reduced prices an hour before the flea market ends – and make sure to mention it by writing it on a board – you are sure to find a few additional happy customers.