Our 10 best Thrift Shops
Swiss Broc Brocante in Belp
The more than 500 square metres of space of the Swiss Broc Brocante are well used: the house is crammed with rare finds and classics. It takes some time to browse through everything, but it’s definitely worth it. Moderate prices and the huge selection make this antique shop an ideal destination for all those who are looking to snatch several rarities in one visit: there’s just about everything from ornate gold mirrors to fondue pots to antique walking canes – a mecca for treasure hunters and antiques fans. If you’re travelling by car, you will also be pleased about the free parking spaces out front.
TO THE SWISS BROC BROCANTE
A yellow postal box peeks out between the medieval houses of the Matte neighbourhood – it marks the entrance of this charming gem of a Brocki (thrift shop). Head inside for some relaxed browsing among nicely arranged vintage furniture, shiny jewellery boxes, a small, but good selection of clothes, and many other treasures. If you’re lucky, you’ll even be offered a cup of coffee by the friendly staff. Not for sale: the post office counter, which also serves as a cash register. You can still post letters and parcels here. A thrift shop with an integrated post office ... Now its name is starting to make sense: Matte(neighbourhood)-Post(office)-Brocki! Get it?
Bärner Brocki, Lorraine neighbourhood
The Bärner Brocki in the Lorraine neighbourhood is a large, professionally run department store. It’s not only extremely well organized, the fixed prices are also very fair. Experienced bargain hunters start their visit at the shelves with the new goods to find the best treasures before treating themselves to some coffee and cake at the Brocki’s in-house café. The Bärner Brocki also has an exemplary work integration programme. This means that the customers sometimes need to be a bit patient with the employees, but it definitely adds to the charm of this wonderful thrift shop. And they have seasonal activities that contribute to a lively neighbourhood, such as Easter chocolate making or pumpkin sales.
TO THE BÄRNER BROCKI
Designbörse und Brockenstube Renoli, Mattenhof neighbourhood
Behind a nondescript facade at 83 Schwarztorstrasse in Bern’s Mattenhof neighbourhood lies a true mecca for design fans. It is filled to the brim with well-preserved furniture and other objects from the 1960s and 1970s, from Horgenglarus classics to eclectic toys to neon signs from old post offices. If you’re on a budget, visit the second-hand store’s thrift department in the basement for some reasonably priced treasures. Owner Oliver Kathriner is happy to help his customers find what they’re looking for. And if you need help getting your new gem home, he can deliver it to your doorstep with his moving truck – very practical! There’s also a small but stylish second-hand clothing store amidst all the furniture.
TO DESIGNBÖRSE UND BROCKENSTUBE RENOLI
Unfortunately, our beloved thrift shop is temporarily closed. As they have to make way for a new build, they are currently searching for a new location. We recommend regularly checking their website for updates.
This thrift shop is hard to overlook (its name “pink thrift shop” says it all – the building really is very pink!), but because it’s not on a main road, you can still shop in peace. The “thrift store groove” is strong here: the space is overflowing with furniture, household items, and boxes filled to the brim with trinkets and other objects. Keep your eyes open and don’t be afraid to rummage your way through the shop to find hidden treasures – a great challenge for true vintage fans! Not all items are in mint condition, but that’s OK: if you’re friendly and go about it right, the likeable and witty owner is open to some bargaining. This shop can’t really count as an insider’s tip anymore, so it’s best to go regularly!
Rosa Brockenhaus, Wyler neighbourhood
This thrift shop is hard to overlook (its name, “pink thrift shop”, says it all – the building really is very pink!), but because it’s not on a main road, you can still shop in peace. The “thrift store groove” is strong here: the space is overflowing with furniture, household items, and boxes filled to the brim with trinkets and other objects. Keep your eyes open and don’t be afraid to dig through them to find hidden treasures – a great challenge for true thrift shop fans! Not all items are in mint condition, but that’s OK: if you’re friendly and go about it right, the likeable owner is open to some bargaining. This shop can’t really count as an insider’s tip anymore, so it’s best to go regularly!
TO THE ROSA BROCKENHAUS
Hiob International, Bümpliz
The Bümpliz area probably has more thrift shops than any other neighbourhood in Bern, and the Hiob thrift shop is at the heart of it all. You can find pretty much anything you could wish for in the huge space – there’s everything from funky furniture from the 1960s to a wide array of sporting equipment. Or maybe you’re looking for colourful second-hand clothes or a complete porcelain tableware set? The variety is what makes this thrift shop special – you could easily furnish and equip an entire house with things found just here.
TO HIOB INTERNATIONAL
Winkel, Gol Farang and Mobile Vintage, Lorraine neighbourhood
Small, but an absolute gem – that’s how we would describe this thrift store in the Lorraine neighbourhood, which is actually three shops in one: Winkel finds and sells elegant vintage furniture, Gol Farang has the matching carpets and Mobile Vintage offers a carefully curated selection of trendy second-hand clothing. These people know what’s good, and they sell it at fair prices. By the way: Winkel makes it easy for customers to find specific objects and furniture – bargain hunters and vintage fans can be put on a list and are notified as soon as the desired object has found its way to the shop on Platanenweg street. So if you’re still waiting to find that perfect Eames chair – it might just show up there!
Bücher-Brockenhaus (second-hand books), Rathausgasse
This Brocki teaches us not to throw out books that we’ve finished reading, but rather to drop them off at 30 Rathausgasse, where they are in good, caring hands. Bookworms will find mountains of reading material at this second-hand bookstore. The staff is competent and friendly, the prices reasonable, and the books sorted by subject. In the Kinder-Bücherland, the children’s books section, the countless picture books, children’s books and books for young readers will make the hearts of little bookworms skip a beat. And in Ali Baba’s book den, books cost just 2 francs apiece. In sum: once you set foot into the Bücherbrocki, it’s easy to lose track of time.
TO THE BÜCHER-BROCKENHAUS
Das kleine Bröckli, Lorraine neighbourhood
With the Kleines Bröckli (“little thrift shop”), Myriam Jebli has created a place for fans of the shabby chic look. The likeable owner regularly travels to France and brings back elegant pieces to Bern’s Lorraine neighbourhood. Beautifully arranged decorative objects and tableware complement the furniture and antique mirrors and chests of drawers are displayed in a small adjacent room, but you can also find modern design classics. As the name suggests, the Bröckli is a smaller store, so it’s worth stopping by regularly.
TO THE KLEINES BRÖCKLI
There are of course countless other thrift shops in and around Bern in addition to our top 10. If by now you’re anxious to start thrift shopping, here’s a list of additional stores.
More thrift shops in and around Bern
- Interbroc Lanzenhäusern
- Hiob International, Breitsch
- Hiob Brocki Worblaufen
- Im Quadrat Zollikofen
- Aare Fundgrube
- Eigerplatz Brocki
- Monbijou Brocante
- Bücher Brocky Bern
- La trouvaille
- Emmaüs Brockenhaus Bern
- Heilsarmee Brocki Bern
- BrockenReich, Köniz
- Audio Center, Rütlistrasse
- Interbroc Lanzenhäusern
6 Tips for Thrift Shop Fans
Not yet an expert bargain hunter or thrift shop pro? No need to worry, we’ve got you covered with these six tips.
1. Go regularly
Regularity is the magic word. It is how bargain hunters and collectors force their luck, get to know the selection, and see when new items have arrived. And, in the best case, frequent visitors can make friends with the people who run the shop, securing a clear advantage when looking for something specific that’s harder to find.
2. Make a shopping list
If you wander around a Brocki without a plan, you run the risk of buying wonderful, but completely unnecessary items. Treating yourself to something pretty is nice, but it can also be dangerous (for your wallet and the space and order at home). So, for targeted thrift shop tours, it is best to keep a list of items that you need: nutcracker, kitchen appliance, leather jacket, camera, cast iron pot ... This makes browsing thrift shops fun and organized.
3. Leave the city centre!
What’s popular in the city might be a shelf warmer somewhere else, which is why it’s worth leaving the city sometimes. When you go off the beaten (hipster) track, the chances of finding a real bargain (the unrecognized 60s armchair, the trainer jacket that is so trendy in urban areas ...) are so much higher. Rent or borrow a car (if you’re after the big pieces), plan a day trip, google Brockis in the area, and off you go!
4. Check the opening hours
Thrift shops in rural areas have the best finds, but often also impossible opening hours ("every second Friday of the month from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m."), so be sure to check the opening hours beforehand! For especially ambitious Brocki fans, we recommend keeping a list or to entering the times in your calendar.
5. It’s a give and take
Thrift shops survive on donated goods. Going through your home twice a year, sorting out stuff you don’t need anymore and dropping it off at a Brocki is relieving – and it’s a good deed. It’s also less cumbersome and time-consuming than selling everything individually on Tutti. And in some thrift shops, you even get a small token of gratitude in return, such as a drink voucher at the Bärner Brocki, for example.
6. Take home photos instead of objects
For true Brocki fans, discovering a treasure is already half the fun. Do we really need to bring home yet another pretty teacup? Every once in a while, try photographing a gem and just enjoying the fact that such pretty things exist.