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.
Large flea market and bazaar, Tramdepot-Areal
Traders now present their treasures in the same spot where drivers used to house their trams. The large flea market and bazaar held on the tram depot premises on Thunstrasse provides a fitting backdrop for an extended voyage of discovery into all manner of jewelry items with a story. There are a wealth of items to poke through on the last Saturday of the month, from March to October. If you take the name of this area literally and travel there by tram, you will jump into Number 7 going towards Ostring at Bern railway station and arrive at the Brunnadernstrasse stop eight minutes later, just a hop, skip and jump in your vintage boots from the stands. Our tip: Stop for a bite to eat at the neighboring Restaurant Punto and enjoy your findings over a drink or a meal from the fresh seasonal menu on offer.
Central market, Dampfzentrale
Anyone who thinks that people at the Dampfzentrale only dance, play music and eat, really needs to take a walk into the Marzili district on the last Sunday of the month. During this time, the cultural center transforms into a charming central market set against a stage-ready backdrop from May to September. Which flea market can claim to offer one of the most stunning – well, closest – views of the Aare at the same time? The Dampfzentrale flea market can do this – and so much more: Here you can browse between the stands of private knick-knack traders and professional secondhand salespeople with ease – they really pride themselves on their tidy, selected range of goods. It makes no difference whether you are after an ornate porcelain service or a wooden toy: A Sunday outing to the “Dampfere” is worth it one way or another; even if it’s just to enjoy a piece of their legendary lukewarm chocolate cake on the restaurant terrace. And the view of the Aare is naturally included free-of-charge.
Flea market in the Matte district
Mühlenplatz in the Matte district is the ideal starting point for a voyage of discovery around the oldest district in Bern on foot. It leads to many typical restaurants and little shops which are as much a part of the fabric of the district as the Aare – which slowly meanders past, just a blink of an eye away. From May to October, Mühlenplatz is home to the small but delightful Matte flea market on every third Saturday of the month. It has a loyal fan club, and visitors rarely leave it without a new personal favorite item clutched tightly in their hands. If the colorful bazaar-like range of goods on offer at the Matte flea market has infected you with shopping fever, you will continue your shopping trip into the lower Old City without further ado. Wonderful little boutiques owned by local designers and artists are just waiting to be discovered.
Location Mühlenplatz, 3011 Bern Dates May–September 2019, always on the third Saturday of the month Time 8:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. Information for sellers No advance registration possible; registration is on-site from 6:30 a.m. onwards.
Flea market main hall, Reitschule
On the first Sunday of the month, true-blue flea market fans get up in the small hours to travel from far and wide outside the city limits to Bern on the lookout for a bargain in front of and inside the main hall of the Reitschule. As one of the largest year-round flea markets in Switzerland, it is a veritable hive of hustle and bustle, just a few minutes away from the train station. There is always a spot for hagglers in the middle of the lively comings and goings in Schützenmatte – and for those who would like to become one, or better said: those who should give haggling a go. At the Reitschule flea market, a little “market banter” is a point of honor, like taking enough time for a simple chat with the traders, old acquaintances or for new flea market friendships that you are guaranteed to make here.
Flea market @ The Stage, VIDMARhallen
The flea market world takes center stage in the VIDMARhallen. It is home to a dance, fitness and acrobatic school during the week, but the regular jumble sale held there on Sundays lends it a rather different “groove”. People who only really get their bargain-finding mojo on to music enjoy a browse through the “Flea market @ The Stage”. A live DG supplies the requisite cool beats; while the Broadway atmosphere in “The Stage” rooms offers just the perfect atmosphere. And who knows: Perhaps you will chance upon one or another treasure or curiosity while you are boogieing from stand to stand that you would’ve never have discovered at walking pace...
Location VIDMARhallen, Hall 2/first floor, Könizstrasse 161, 3097 Liebefeld Dates January–May 2019 and September–December 2019, always on every second Sunday of the month.
Exception: In May 2019, the flea market will take place on the 19th of the month.
Time 11:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
More information at www.the-stage.ch (German only).
Vintage suitcase flea market in the Turnhalle (PROGR)
The Vintage Suitcase Flea Market in the Café bar sports hall in the culture center PROGR lives up to its name: Bargain hunters will also come across iconic accessories, clothing and shoes in truly vintage suitcases – covered in patina. Besides rare vinyl records, there are all sort of tasteful, decorative odds and ends waiting for new owners who have a weakness for a real vintage vibe. Organizers Barbara Müller and Natalie Charrier from “B & N Vintage Girls” set up the suitcase market a few years ago to meet this very need. If the weather is fine, the flea market is held in the PROGR courtyard; otherwise, you can find it on the lower floor of the Turnhalle.
Vide Grenier in the Old Town
A stroll under the six-kilometer-long Berner arcades makes our hearts skip a beat in excitement every time, which is just how things should be at “Vide Grenier”! The annual flea market in the Old Town draws people in for a lengthy shopping trip and a leisurely stroll through Kramgasse and Gerechtigkeitsgasse. The locals and “Lädeli” (little shop) owners display the treasures that they have conjured up from their attics, apartments and cellars on numerous market stands; they are always keen to haggle with the many curious passers-by. At “Vide Grenier”, it goes without saying: If you want to get your hands on the best finds, you should get up early – it’s worth it!
Further flea markets in and around Bern
Who’s up for a trip somewhere else for a bit of treasure hunting? Pick up a pen and your agenda! Besides the classics, Bern also has many charming little flea markets which take place only once, or very few times, a year. We’ll tell you when and where.
- Night flea market in the Dachstock (Attic)
16 May 2019, Attic, Kulturzentrum Reitschule, Neubrückstrasse 8, 3001 Bern
More at: www.dachstock.ch
- Flea market Heimstrasse
18 May 2019, Heimstrasse, 3018 Bern
More at: www.facebook.com
- Bike Exchange Bern
25 May and 14 September 2019, Mehrzweckhalle Kaserne, Papiermühlestrasse 13c, 3014 Bern
More at: www.provelobern.ch
- District flea market
26 May 2019, Villa Stucki, Quartierzentrum, Seftigenstrasse 11, 3007 Bern
More at: www.villastucki.ch
2 November 2019, Le Beizli, Könizstrasse 161, 3097 Liebefeld
More at: www.lebeizli.ch
- Berner Bazaar
Always on the last weekend in November, Paul Klee Center, Monument im Fruchtland 3, 3000 Bern
More at: www.zpk.org
- Bernese bazaar in the Market Hall
Every Saturday, Old Market Hall, Steigerhubelstrasse 60, 3008 Bern
More at: www.markthalle.ch
10 tips for flea market sellers
Are you keen to trawl through your apartment and put all your well-preserved treasures up for sale at a flea market? With our ten tips for successful flea market selling, your stand will be sold out in next to no time.
Tip #1Go to the flea market at first lightThe earlier that your stand is ready to go after the market starts, the better your sales are likely to be. Anyone who is after something in particular at flea markets is generally out and about early – dawdlers and Sunday shoppers usually wander through later.
Tip #2Less is moreCluttered flea market stands that are overflowing with goods can be really off-putting to potential customers. If you take fewer items with you and take the time to display them in the best possible way, you will have a decided advantage over your fellow sellers.
Tip #3Carefully presentedGoods that are spread out, piled up or in baskets of all kinds do not look as nice. Flea market experts think about what fits together thematically, color or style wise, and how to arrange their goods attractively.
Tip #4Offer a few complimentsA potential customer is trying on one of your pieces – does it look good? Then don’t be shy! A heartfelt compliment will strengthen the resolve of every skeptic and ditherer to buy something.
Tipp #5It’s easier to sell things when you’ve got a friend there to help youIt is always much more fun to sell things at the flea market with a friend. Any if you’re enjoying yourself and in a good mood, you’ll automatically attract more people to your stand as a result.
Tip #6Mirror, mirror on the wallIf you sell clothing, shoes and jewelry, you should definitely have a mirror close at hand! This can effect true sales miracles.
Tip #7Combination ideas are always popularSomeone who can fit your old pair of favorite jeans may be interested in a matching top that really sets them off – and before you know it, you’ve sold two items of clothing.
Tip #8The best way to browse is through the stomachA sweet pastry and a thermos of coffee on your stand are particularly welcoming, and attract customers with a sweet tooth.
Tip #9Wrap the goods and give changeDon’t forget to bring newspaper and bags with you so that you can hand over the goods to your customer in a nicely wrapped condition. One other thing: Make sure you bring enough change with you!
Tip #10Discount at the endNot keen to take your unsold goods home with you again? If you reduce your prices an hour before the market ends – and write this on a board – you’re sure to find a happy buyer or two.