Flowers, baked goods, fruits, vegetables, cheese, meat and honey – fresh and local, from Bern and its surroundings. But the Bernese farmer’s markets are not only great because of the excellent quality of the products – they exude the typical Bernese attitude like few other places.
For over a century, the weekly markets have been a popular place for locals to meet up. While strolling through the market, they follow delicious scents, exchange seasonal recipes and gardening tips with the vendors or take a step back to watch the hustle and bustle in the alleys and squares of the Old City. All the while filling their shopping baskets with fresh produce and fragrant flowers.
For many Bernese locals, a trip to the farmer’s market is a weekly must-do – and visitors should definitely stop by as well. The market stalls are run by small Bernese businesses and local farmers. Thanks to the short distances, the produce and flowers are always fresh, and the quality is outstanding. Be it vegetables from the organic farm Seeländer Bio-Hof, baked goods from the local bakery, seedlings from the Zehndermätteli garden centre in Bremgarten or fresh fish from lake Sempach – the motto of the Bernese farmer’s markets is “fresh and local”.
And they stick to their motto, be it summer or winter: The Bernese farmer’s markets take place every Tuesday and Saturday, year-round, on Bundesplatz (Parliament Square), Bärenplatz (Bear’s Square) and Waisenhausplatz (Orphanage Square), as well as in Gurtegasse, Bundesgasse, Schauplatzgasse and Münstergasse alleys.
But the farmer’s markets are not all alike: every single “Märit” (market) has its own subtle characteristics that make it unique. Be it the browsing visitors, the products or the backdrop. In Bundesgasse alley, the stalls are tucked away underneath the arcades and therefore protected from the rain, while the main feature of the Bundesplatz (Parliament Square) market is the impressive Parliament Building in the background.
The weekly farmer’s markets in Bern
Bundesplatz (Parliament Square) and Bärenplatz (Bear’s Square)
In the early morning hours on market days, the two squares start filling up with delicious smells: bread, straight out of the oven, stalls with all kinds of cheese, fresh meat, colourful flowers, seedlings and fruit and vegetables from organic farms. The inhabitants of the “capital of relaxedness” always have time for a chat with the vendors and some shoptalk with other marketgoers about the newest gardening trends. These farmer’s markets make shopping a relaxed and personal experience.
Bundesplatz (Parliament Square)
Year-round, Tuesday and Saturday 7:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Bärenplatz (Bear’s Square)
April to October, December Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. November to March Tuesday 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Originally, the weekly market in Münstergasse alley was only for selling meat. Other products were added over time, but there are still more meat and butcher’s stalls in the medieval alley than at the other markets. There is also fish, cheese and baked goods as well as stalls that sell syrup and rural specialties from the Emmental and Dimtigtal regions. The former meat market is also known today as the gourmet market.
Gurtengasse, Bundesgasse and Schauplatzgasse alleys
In Gurtengasse, Bundesgasse and Schauplatzgasse, vendors sell regional vegetables, seasonal fruit, a large selection of fresh cheese, meat and baked goods, olives, nuts and freshly cut flowers – definitely worth a visit. When it’s rainy, the stalls in Schauplatzgasse are an insider’s tip: the products are sold underneath the arcades and therefore protected from the wind and the rain.
Waisenhausplatz (Orphanage Square)
Visitors looking for a small souvenir or gift will surely find something at the “Händlermärit”, the merchant’s market. There is everything from jewellery, clothes, accessories, toys and leather goods to all kinds of teas and spices. Unlike the other parts of the Bernese farmer’s market, the stalls on Waisenhausplatz (Orphanage Square) and Bärenplatz (Bear’s Square) are also open in the afternoon.