Markets and shopping, Bern
Walking through the Old Town market we were attracted to the wonderful display of local cheese. Such a delight to see and would have loved to be able to buy some.
Notice the garlic by the cheese, does garlic go with cheese? Maybe we should have purchased some to enjoy with a local wine.
Most of the main historical attractions are easy to find in the compact old town of Bern. Well signposted, city maps easily obtained and local citizens friendly and willing to give directions.
We enjoy sitting for a while and just observe the life of the city, the simple everyday things of every city are always a little different. Usually when you take time to observe you will see something unexpected.
We always enjoy the flower markets and flower sellers in European citys', such colour.
Fancy, funny, extraordinary, old-fashioned and weird little shops can be found underneath the arcades of the old town. While Marktgasse has modern chain stores, the side streets have little shops that sell hats, antiquities, unusual fashion.. Sometimes you wonder how they survive, but they do. Even if you do not plan to spend any money, window shopping is a worthwhile and entertaining activity. Some examples are to be seen in my photos.
After we got our bags situated in the lockers at the railway station we went about to explore the city for the afternoon. In the main square leading into the old town area there are a number of food vendors selling meats, cheeses, flowers, etc. Although we didn't spend much time here (as it was beginning to rain) many of the items looked very tempting.
For anyone visiting Bern it is almost a must to visit the different markets that take place. The market tradition is as old as the city itself and over the years has taken on many different faces.
The largest by far is the weekly market on Weisenhausplatz. This takes place on Tuesday and Saturday from 8am and though you won't find many bargains here and a lot of the goods these days sadly, are imported, it is fun to browse the through the stands. From April the market is extends onto Thursday until 9pm.
Except for Sundays and Mondays, the daily fresh produce market on Bäreplatz and now on Weisenhausplatz, offers local and exotic fruit and vegetables, flowers, herbs, honey, homemade jams and bread - everything you need for a nice little picnic under the trees.
The Meat Market takes place on the Münstergasse from 7am until noon every Tuesday and Saturday. Besides meat there is also fish and cheese on offer as well as stand that specialises in tea, herbs and olive oil.
If you still want to see more, then between May and October on every 3rd Saturday of the month, the Fleamarket (flohmi) takes place on the Mühlenplatz in the Matte.
Bern also offers an Arts and Crafts Market. The items being sold are truely lovely - water colour pictures, dolls, woodwork, knitwork, hand crafted games and toys, ceramic and clay work. This market only takes place on the 1st Saturday of the month from 7am until 4 pm.
The Christmas market starts at the end of November and continues daily until the end of December. Little houses take the place of the market stands and are all decorated in coloured lights and pine branches. Here you can find truely original gifts for Christmas and can even make your own candles.
The Münster Christmas Market is an a Christmas extension of the Arts and Crafts Market and takes place in front of the cathedral at the same time as the market on Waisenhausplatz.
Bern has one of the longest, covered shopping arcades in Europe - over 6 km. You'll see antique stores, fashion stores, restaurants, cafes, chocolate shops, bars, markets, flower shops, and more. I didn't do much shopping myself - it was a good place for browsing.
Shopping under the arcades. The main drag is lined on both sides with arcades which is quite handy when it is raining. You can easily walk from the railway station down to the bear pit, mostly covered.
Don't miss the Federal Palace with the Swiss parlament. Most days there are free tours but it helps going there first upon arrival to book on one.
The cathedral is worthwhile see too and sort of behind it there is a park on a terrace that overlooks the river Aare. In summer you can swim in the river from Marzili swimming place but you have to be a good swimmer as the river flows fast.
Another thing are the fountains, check them out. The Zytglogge tower is pretty too and there is a clock play at certain times.
There are plenty of museums as well.
Market of onions every year at the last monday in november
It is not really a good season to travel to Switzerland in November, the temperatures are most low, it might have fog and snow... but if it happens and you are in the region you could see a special market. You can find all goods, but especially onions... and garlic. If you don't like them, stay away, because on this special day, the center of Berne smells of onion pie and hot spiced wine.
But it could be a good gift for someone liking onions, because women have made an art of representing onions in a beautiful way...
And of course... try the delicious onion pie:-)
On weekend mornings, the public square in front of the Parliament turns into a bustling flower and food market for town folks. See my travelogues for more colours in this spot.
If it's a rainy day and you can't go to the mountains - go shopping in Bern. There are arcades everywhere so you won't get wet and can buy a lot. It's still nicer with good weather of course!!!
Open-air markets are one of my favorite things to experience and this one full of morels was no disappointment.