Shopping in Bern
Over 6km (3.7 miles) of covered arcades in the Old Town shelter many of Bern's upmarket shops and boutiques, protecting shoppers from rain and snow.
The main shopping streets are the Spitalgasse and Marktgasse where you can buy luxury goods like watches, jewelery, art, upmarket fashion and wines. The Old Town also attracts many souvenir hunters. Go and buy soaps made in Bern in the form of the Bern bear at the soap manufacture bblubb, Optingerstrasse 31. You will find Swiss knives at the cutler's business Klötzli, Rathausgasse 84. The famous Bucherer, Marktgasse 2, sells luxury watches, exclusive jewelery and is the first address in Bern for diamonds.
There are food and flower markets on Tuesday and Saturday mornings at Bundesplatz, Münstergasse, Parliament Square and Bärenplatz (daily from May to October on Bärenplatz). From March to December on every first Saturday of the month there is a crafts market on the Minster platform, and a flea market takes place on Mühleplatz in the Matte every third Saturday of the month from May to October. There is also a colourful two-day Geranium Market on the Bundesplatz every April.
Globus, Spitalgasse 37, is a very popular department store offering everything from fashion and cosmetics to home accessories and luxury food. Another department store, Loeb, Spitalgasse 47-57, is particularly good on upmarket fashion. Other department stores include Ryfflihof (Coop City Bern) and The Wankdorf Center, plus the Westside, which has 55 shops and a spa and water park.
Shops are usually open Monday to Wednesday 0900-1900/2000, Thursday 0900-2100, Friday 0900-1900/2000 and Saturday 0900-1700. Most shops are closed on Sundays.
Pick up watches, jewellery or food delicacies as souvenirs. In particular, the Mandelbärli (almond bear) - is a typical souvenir of Bern - and ranges in flavour from chocolate to honey, vanilla and lemon. Chocolate is also popular – head for Läderach, on Spitalgasse 2, stocking an exquisite selection of original Läderach chocolate.
Tourists buying goods costing CHF 300 which they wish to export home can gain tax refunds by picking up a tax-free form at Globus department store, Spitalgasse 17-21.