2nd December to 24th December 2017
Bern is a beautiful city whatever the time of year. In winter, the famous terracotta rooftops are dusted with glistening snow and the air is crisp but the welcome is as warm as ever. The Old Town buildings make for an attractive backdrop to the Christmas Market venues - the Münsterplatz market which is devoted to arts and crafts and the more traditional market to be found on Waisenhausplatz. Both venues have a cheery Christmas atmosphere, perfect for a festive short break in Bern.
The Münster Christmas Market has been held on the square in front of the cathedral since 1984. Artists and craftspeople man their own stalls, offering original pieces created in their own workshops around the region. This is a very relaxed market to browse through, away from the bustling shopping arcades and department stores, and a great opportunity to engage with the producers themselves and pick up a truly unique gift for somebody special. The stalls offer everything from textiles to candles, from ceramics to jewellery. The market is open until 6pm with later opening on Thursdays.
The Waisenhausplatz Christmas Market has been operating for over 20 years, with 50 festively decorated wooden stalls, surrounded by a fence made of fir tree branches. Visitors will find a wide selection of typical Christmas products, gifts, sweets, decorations and handcrafted souvenirs. There are plenty of stalls offering regional snacks and mulled wine to give you a warm glow you as you shop. The market is open until 8pm (6pm on Sundays).
Another great attraction during the winter months is the ice rink in Parliament Square. Open from 18th December to February, the ice rink with its beautiful backdrop of the Parliament Building is popular with locals and tourists, and features festive lighting and background music. Entry is free of charge and ice skates are available for hire at the rink. There is also a café serving warming drinks and snacks, perfect for when it is time to leave the ice.
Discover more about Bern by clicking here.
Find out about other Swiss Christmas Markets: Lucerne, Montreux, Basel.
Suggested Itinerary - including the Jungfraujoch
4 DAYS - CHRISTMAS SHOPPING IN BERN AND EXCURSION TO JUNGFRAUJOCH
From £753 per person
This short break is a wonderful way to enjoy Bern's festive activities in the run up to Christmas, with enough time for a day trip to the stunning winter scenery of the Jungfraujoch.
This suggested break is based on a stay in the 3 star Hotel Kreuz, ideally located close to the Parliament. However, we are able to tailor make an itinerary with a range of other 3, 4 and 5 star hotels in Bern.
Day 1 Arrival and get to know lovely Bern with a stroll through the Old Town. Perhaps start your shopping extravaganza in the famous arcades, then browse the menus of the town's many restaurants for tonight's meal.
Day 2 Shop to your heart's content in the Christmas Markets and enjoy lunch from one of the stalls offering delicious traditional treats. In the afternoon you could enjoy a river cruise through the city, or take a spin on the ice rink in front of the Parliament Building.
Day 3 Day trip to the Jungfraujoch. Take in beautiful winter scenery as you travel ever upwards to the unforgettable Jungfraujoch - Top of Europe.
Jungfraujoch sits at the 'Top of Europe', which visitors reach via an exceptionally scenic rail journey. You'll travel through the beautiful wintry Bernese Oberland to Interlaken, followed by Lauterbrunnen and then the amazing cog railway to Kleine Scheidegg and slowly up to the Jungfraujoch and the highest railway station in Europe at 3,454m. The Sphinx is the highest vantage point at 3,571m, with magnificent views of the Aletsch Glacier and the mighty Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau massif. Visit the Ice Palace with its ice sculptures or the Alpine Sensation, recalling the fascinating 100 history of the Jungfrau railway. After lunch, you could even try the 1 hour hike to Mönchsjoch Hut on the specially prepared trail. This is a very special experience - not to be missed - with simply unbeatable alpine views. More about the Jungfraujoch here.
Day 4 A hearty breakfast, perhaps time for another stroll through the Market then bid farewell to Bern with many happy memories and a suitcase full of Christmas gifts!
Your holiday price includes scheduled flights from Heathrow to Zurich inclusive of all airport taxes and security charges, 2nd class return rail transfers, 3 nights' bed and breakfast accommodation as described based on 2 people sharing, 2nd class return rail tickets to the Jungfraujoch and FREE Half fare card which entitles you to half or reduced price travel on most trains, PostBuses and lake steamers. Financial protection ATOL 3148. Booking conditions apply. Tailor Make Your Break: additional days, extra excursions, half board arrangements, higher grade hotels, upgraded rooms and additional resorts can be added. Call our team on 0800 619 1200.
Winter Scenic Rail
Extend your stay and enjoy Switzerland's perfect snowscapes
Bern is perfectly placed as the starting point for a classic scenic rail journey. So, after the Christmas Market, travellers can enjoy the next part of their holiday - taking in wonderful views of the wintry countryside en route to a stay in another part of this beautiful country. Winter can turn the Swiss sky a deep blue, while the snow covering the mountains and pastures is an unspoiled blanket of purest white. While you are warm and cosy in the carriage, perhaps enjoying a steaming coffee, the passing scenery produces mile upon mile of mesmerising beauty. Even for those who have previously enjoyed a summer scenic rail trip, this is an experience not to be missed.
There are two winter scenic rail options from Bern. The destination resorts shown are just examples - please ask if you have a different itinerary in mind.
The Lötschberg Regio Express
A fabulous journey on the original 100 year old route to Brig. The Ambassador is our hotel in this charming town on the Simplon Pass.
From Bern, the route takes you to the beautiful town of Thun, then hugs the lake shore as it makes its way to the lakeside resort of Spiez. Then it's through the imposing Kander Viaduct and the incredible loops around the remains of the Felsenburg Tower. The picturesque ski resort of Kandersteg looks glorious in the snow and contrasts with the blue skies of the Rhône Valley. The pristine Lötschen Valley and the town of Goppenstein are next as you make your final journey into Brig with its lovely Old Town.
The GoldenPass Line
Enjoy even more of Switzerland's scenery on a journey to Montreux on stunning Lake Geneva. We have a choice of Montreux hotels, all in a good position for the Old Town and the lake.
Travel on the first leg of this journey to Spiez, as described above, then change to the famous GoldenPass Line train. Enjoy the spectacular scenery through your panoramic windows en route to the change in Zweisimmen. The final leg of the journey winds its way through the beautiful Simmen valley via Gstaad, famous as one of the world's most glamourous ski resorts. The final descent through the snow of Les Avants and past Lake Geneva's vineyards to Montreux is just stunning.
Tailor Make Your Break. Additional days, extra excursions, half board arrangements, higher grade hotels, upgraded rooms and additional resorts can be added. Call our team on 0800 619 1200.