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World Travel Guide > Guides > Europe > Switzerland > Bern

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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.

Key areas

The main shopping streets are the Spitalgasse and Marktgasse where you can buy luxury goods like watches, jewellery, art, upmarket fashion and wines. The Old Town also attracts many souvenir hunters. The Bernese soap factory bblubb, Münstergasse 52, manufactures and sells locally-made soaps shaped as the Bern bear. You will find Swiss knives at the cutler's business Klötzli, Rathausgasse 84. The famous Bucherer, Marktgasse 2, sells luxury watches and jewellery and is the first address in Bern for diamonds.

Markets

There are food and flower markets on Tuesday and Saturday mornings at Bundesplatz, Waisenplatz and Bärenplatz (from May to October). 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. Minster platform also holds the Bern Minster Christmas Market in December. There is a colourful two-day Geranium Market on the Bundesplatz every April.

Shopping centres

Globus, Spitalgasse 17-21, is a very popular department store offering everything from fashion and cosmetics to home accessories and luxury food. Another department store, Loeb, Spitalgasse 47-51, is particularly good on upmarket fashion. Other department stores include Ryfflihof (Coop City Bern) and The Wankdorf Center, plus the Westside, which has over 50 shops and a spa and water park.

Opening hours

Shops are usually open Monday to Wednesday 0900-1900/2000, Thursday 0900-2100, Friday 0900-1900/2000 and Saturday 0800-1700. Most shops are closed on Sundays.

Souvenirs

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 to Spitalgasse 2 for an exquisite selection of original Läderach chocolate

Tax information

Tourists buying goods costing CHF 300 or more which they wish to export home can gain tax refunds by picking up a tax-free form at Globus department store, Spitalgasse 17-21.

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Featured Hotels

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Nydeck

This friendly 2-star bed and breakfast hotel boasts a central yet quiet location at the heart of old Bern, near the BearPark, the river and the clock tower. The 12 simple rooms are basic but comfortable. There is also a popular café bar and summer pavement terrace.

Hotel National Bern

Hotel National Bern is a family-run hotel built in 1908 and continues to offer bags of character, from its exposed room beams to its original fin-de-siècle lift. The location’s good too, with the central train station just five minutes away. There’s a free welcome drink and 10% discount voucher for the restaurant for all weekday guests.

Hotel Continental

The Continental is an Oslo institution that has been run by the same family for four generations and is more than a century old. Situated in the heart of Oslo, next to the National Theatre, the hotel is known both for outstanding service and restaurants as well as its links with the Oslo arts scene.

Unique Hotel Innere Enge Bern

Located in a park overlooking central Bern, this luxury hotel oozes personality and style. Home to one of the country's best jazz clubs, Marians Jazzroom, it also has two excellent restaurants. All 26 rooms are individually decorated (some with a jazz theme) and each has Wi-Fi access. The hotel also has conference rooms.

Hotel Schweizerhof

Boasting more than 150 years of history – not to mention a guest book that features the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Grace Kelly – the high-end Hotel Schweizerhof remains one of Bern's go-to luxury properties. It benefited from a two-year renovation in 2009. As well as some great restaurants and bars, it also has a spa, cigar lounge and conference rooms.

Best Western Hotelbern

A solid bet for a mid-range stay, with an Old Town location five minutes' walk from the train station. Its impressive art nouveau exterior hides a more modern interior, and there's a good restaurant on site – the Volkshaus 1914. The property sits adjacent to the medieval Zytglogge Tower.