7 December highlights in the city and region of Bern
Bern’s Christmas Markets
Searching for the perfect Christmas bauble, enjoying spicy mulled wine, taking a leisurely stroll – the various Christmas markets in the city and region of Bern are a must-see for all Christmas fans. From 28 November, the traditional Christmas markets at Münsterplatz and Waisenhausplatz as well as the trendy Sternenmarkt (Star Market) on the Kleine Schanze are ready to be explored. Oh, and the best thing? Each of them has their own specialities, and they are within walking distance of each other. We also highly recommend a trip to Huttwil, home to one of the largest, most beautiful, and most romantic Christmas markets in Switzerland.
Let yourself be enchanted
Christmas Shopping under the Arcades
The lower old town is a real feast for the eyes on the 1st Advent Sunday: warm lights are glowing in the shop windows of the lower old town, inviting you to come in from the cold. On 3 December from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., visitors can browse through Bern’s charming little shops, sip on a hot chai latte and take in the wonderfully warm ambiance. In addition to the 1st Advent event in the lower old town, the official Sunday sales are taking place on 10 and 17 December 2023. Many shops in Bern will be open from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on these days. Also, did you know? The BernCity gift card can be used to pay in over 200 establishments.
How about buying your Christmas gifts early this year?
Christmas all around the World: Provence
With its annual exhibition series «Christmas all around the World», the Bern Historical Museum shines a light on international Christmas traditions. This year it takes a closer look at the Provence. Lilac lavender fields as far as the eye can see probably come to mind when thinking of the southern French province. However, during Christmas season, the region is characterised by something completely different: the so-called Santons. These hand-painted terracotta figurines are part of a long-standing tradition. And: there is a special exhibition with figurines decorated by Marcel Carbonel, a famous santonnier (which is what they call these special painters) from Marseille. Bild: Museum Aargau
Christmas in the South
Giving hope at Christmas time
Let there be light! On 9 December 2023, to show solidarity with Caritas’ campaign «A Million Stars», the square in front of the parliament will be illuminated by hundreds of candles. Light a candle and donate CHF 5 to directly support people in need and people living in poverty. Should you want to do even more good during the Christmas season, take part in the campaign «Café Surprise». It’s a simple idea: just pay for an extra cup of coffee in one of the participating cafés in Bern, so people in need are able to warm up with a free drink.
These are the participating cafés
Discover some creative winter pop-ups
In Bern, the run-up to Christmas is not only contemplative, but also beautifully colourful and creative. In addition to the Christmas markets, numerous winter pop-ups invite you to enjoy a steaming hot drink after work. There’s the inner courtyard of the Berner Generationenhaus, «Øscår Elch» at Ringgenpark, «Platzhirsch» at Waisenhausplatz, the Chalet Alpenland at Kornhausplatz or Gustavs Wintergarten at the Bierhübeli – they all serve «Hot Mules», mulled beer, punch, raclette and much more. Insider tip: the mulled wine on the Münsterplatz. They boil high-quality wine with all the classic mulled wine spices, cool it down and only reheat it once it’s getting tapped. As a result, the flavours are not burnt and remain beautifully strong.
«Ab go Fyräbele» (enjoy an after-work drink)
Gurtenfestival at BERNEXPO
Is there anyone who wouldn’t want the four most amazing days of the year – the Gurten festival – to be happening in winter? Well, the wait is over, because now, Bern has a new temporary club location. The Gurtenfestival and BERNEXPO are bringing the legendary Dancetents Cosmodrome and Supermercado with the “Halle 3.0” down to the city. From 8 to 31 December, various special events will get you fired up and help all the dance enthusiasts among you forget about the cold. The first Supermercado party is dedicated to the 90s and features all its «hits and shits». The highlight of the evening is the happy-hardcore Eurodance queen Blümchen. We’ll start listening to «Boomerang» right now and shaking our booties to «SOS» to get us in the right mood.
A dream come true
Ice Rink Langnau
The ice rink is the wintry highlight for all Langnau residents and a cosy place to meet up with family or friends. The Ice Rink Langnau is treated several times a day, so you can skate laps until the sun sets. Don’t worry if you’re a bit wobbly on skates: they have the cutest, seal-shaped training aids available, so there’s nothing standing in the way of a winter adventure for young and old. And the best thing? Admission is free and cold hands will quickly warm up with a hot drink from the chalet next to the ice rink. To take care of the visitors’ culinary needs, the charmingly magical hut next to the ice rink also serves fondue and brunch on Sunday. We recommend booking in advance, as the tables are usually fully booked.
Strap on your skates and off you go