Bern’s Christmas Markets
Browsing for Christmas presents, drinking mulled wine, strolling among the stalls – the different Christmas markets in the destination Bern are a must for all Christmas fans! In the city, the traditional Christmas markets on Minster terrace and Waisenhausplatz square as well as the trendy Sternenmarkt (Star Market) on Kleine Schanze invite you to linger and discover. The best thing about them? All three have their own unique touch and specialities and are within walking distance from each other. We also highly recommend a trip to Huttwil, where you’ll find one of the largest, prettiest, and most romantic Christmas markets in all of Switzerland. And in the Emmental town of Trubschachen, the Kambly Experience enchants visitors of all ages with its lovingly decorated chalets.
Overview of all Christmas markets
If you’re interested in handicrafts and traditional craftsmanship, we recommend stopping by the Christmas edition of the crafts market on Minster terrace.
Christmas Shopping under the Arcades
When looking for gifts, don’t forget to stop by the shops in Bern's Old City after browsing the Christmas markets. The six kilometres of arcades and characteristic vaulted cellars make Christmas shopping here extra special. We especially recommend the lower pert of the Old City – from the Zytglogge (Clock Tower) downwards – with its many charming boutiques, ateliers, and local shops. By the way: on 27 November 2022, the shops in the lower part of the Old City are open from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the context of the 1st of Advent event, with many festive surprises in store (no pun intended).
Shopping tips for Bern
How about gifting a shopping experience beneath Bern's famous arcades? From movie theatres to cafés to the fan shop of the local soccer team: you can use the BERNcity gift card to pay in over 200 places. It is available at the Tourist Information in Bern’s main station.
Discover Creative Winter Pop Ups
Christmas in Bern is not just a time of reflection, but also one of colour, creativity, and lightheartedness, with all kinds of inviting winter pop ups. Be it in the lovingly styled courtyard of the Berner Generationenhaus (Bern House of Generations), at Øscår Elch in Ringgenpark, or with a dash of alpine romance at Chalet Alpenland on Kornhausplatz square: you can go by on any day of the week to find hot mules, mulled beer, punch, raclette, and many other winter treats. Enjoy! Oh, and if you prefer a more sophisticated version: visit the restaurant “Vierte Wand” between 4 and 11 December 2022 to indulge on oysters and champagne.
Fondue Fun in Bern
Is there anything cozier than enjoying a fondue with friends or family on a cold winter evening? This Christmas season, Bern's restaurants invite you to enjoy a festive fondue! If you're in the city of Bern but in the mood for that alpine feeling, you can dine in cute, decorative “Gondeli” (cable cars) in front of the restaurants Marzilibrücke or Lötschberg, among others. Adventurous foodies can try the gin fondue from the Matte neighbourhood or the Fondükscha, a fondue experience on four wheels. And if you’re longing for spectacular scenery and romantic winter landscapes, you can book a fondue on the rooftop terrace of the Kursaal Bern, on top of Mount Stockhorn, or in the idyllic Emmental valley.
Overview of the best fondue experiences
If you’re in the mood for a Christmas stroll away from the holiday hustle and bustle, visit the Ochlenberg Christmas Trail: Over the course of eight stations and about one hour, this 1.5-kilometre loop tells the Christmas story, captivating visitors with the lovingly designed stations and figurines made of wool. This Christmas experience is particularly splendid in the evening, when the little houses are lit up. Make sure you stop by the “Hof-Beizli” bistro on the Jordihof farm, which is the starting and finishing point of this Christmas experience, to warm your feet and fill your stomach with festive treats.
The Largest Nativity Scene on the Central Plateau
Every year, the facade of the Berchtoldhof in Bätterkinden is turned into a 16-metre nativity scene. The figurines, décor and props are all hand-made! Visitors of all ages flock to Bätterkinden from far and wide to see the installation, which tells the Christmas story from a different perspective each year. It can be visited for free every day from 1 December 2022 to 6 January 2023 from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Tip: the nativity scene sits 50 centimetres above ground, so it is also suited for children and people in wheelchairs.
Take a Break
It’s just so pretty! The London Evening Standard gave Bern the title of “Most Instagrammable Winter City” – and rightfully so! One of the best places from which to enjoy 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 cobblestone alleys and the medieval houses around the Bern Minster – perfect for escaping the stress of Christmas preparations for a moment. If you prefer a heated place to sit or a more extensive meal than a bag of freshly roasted chestnuts, we recommend the Rosengarten restaurant’s heated fondue veranda, where they combine the wonderful view with an equally wonderful fondue.
Let there be light! For Caritas’ “Eine Million Sterne” (One Million Stars) campaign, a sea of candles will illuminate Parliament Square on 17 December 2022 as a sign of solidarity. Light a candle and donate a “Füfliber” (five-franc coin) to help people affected by poverty and those in need. If you want to do even more good – after all, Christmas is a time of giving –, take part in the “Café Surprise” project. The idea is simple: when visiting one of the participating Bernese cafés, you pay for a second cup of coffee in addition to your own. People in need will be able to enjoy a hot beverage for free.
To the participating cafés
Skating Rink on Parliament Square
From 17 December 2022 to 12 February 2023, current and aspiring ice princesses and princes meet in front of the majestic Parliament Building for some ice skating. After a few pirouettes, you can go and warm your feet at the adjacent restaurant while enjoying a hot chocolate, a steaming mug of mulled wine, or a creamy cheese fondue. Admission to the rink is free, and you can rent the skates on site. We think it’s the perfect choice for a fun, festive family activity or a romantic winter date with your (future?) sweetheart.
Langnau Skating Rink
For Langnau’s locals, their ice rink is the highlight of the season, as well as a relaxed place to meet with relatives or friends and spend a fun afternoon on the ice. The rink is cleaned and maintained several times a day so that you can skate to your heart's content. There are skating aids in the form of cute little seals available for insecure or less experienced ice skaters. Grab your skates and off you go! Added Bonus: Admission is free and there are market stalls by the rink that sell hot drinks to warm your hands. And there’s also a lovely rustic chalet where you can enjoy a traditional fondue. Our tip: make reservations in advance, they’re often fully booked.
You might also like...
Winter Offers at Hotels in BernIn the mood for a winter getaway? From wellness packages to spending the night in an igloo: the hotels in the destination Bern have attractive offers for a relaxing mini vacation.Winter Offers at Hotels in BernMore
Bern’s Christmas Markets and Other HighlightsReady, set, Christmas market! You can find all the information on Bern’s Christmas markets here. ‘Tis the season to be jolly – enjoy the merry Advent season in Bern.Bern’s Christmas Markets and Other HighlightsMore
Fondue fun in BernWinter means the fondue season has begun! From a charming chalet atmosphere to cosy cable cars and rickshaws – we reveal the eight best places to indulge in mouthwatering cheese fondue in Bern.Fondue fun in BernMore
Bern’s Christmas Markets – Practical InformationWhere 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:Bern’s Christmas Markets – Practical InformationMore