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Autumn activities in Bern

Events// Family// Explore Switzerland// Food & Drink// Entertainment// Art & Culture // By Emma Baumhofer // Oct. 18, 2017

WRS is proud to announce that we are now broadcasting on DAB+ in Bern! Our local "Bärnermeitschi" (Bernese girl) and Digital Manager, Emma, gives her recommendations for enjoying the Swiss capital in her favorite season. 

Emma Baumhofer Autumn activities in Bern

Autumn is such a fun month. The golden light is beautiful on the colorful leaves, and the weather outside is just cool enough to get a bit rugged up, but hasn't yet descended into that biting winter cold. This is the season for local and cultural events and enjoying the city from outside. This time of year also brings some wonderful smells and flavors as the winter veg come into full bloom - think pumpkin, hot spiced wine, and of course, cheese! 

For exact dates, click through to the event websites. 


Shnit worldwide short film festival

shnit - worldwide short film festival

5 days mid-October

This is one of my favorite events of the year. I always splurge on a festival pass and fit in as many screenings as I can. The short film festival has great atmosphere, especially at its headquarters at PROGR, where you'll find music and food stands between screenings. Just follow the pink bicycles and lights to the fun. Each film venue has something special. Drinking a pink shnit beer under the pink dome of the Heiliggeistkirche, the old church just next to the station, is so fun! The film selection is very diverse and super high quality. I recommend starting with the International Competition blocks and then squeezing in a themed block like Animates or the more risque Peeping Shnit. 


Rendez-vous Bundesplatz

Rendez-vous Bundesplatz

6 weeks from mid-October to late November 

This is a free, nightly light show displayed on the parliament building at the Bundesplatz. The show runs Mon-Sun at 7pm and 8.30pm, with an additional showing at 9.30pm Thurs-Sat. Each year the show tells a story on a different theme, and always includes a perspective that is kid-friendly. These have included the Reformation, Confederation Helvetica, the Bern bears, and the Matterhorn in recent years. Even if you don't understand the few words spoken, the visual spectacle is amazing. It is a special type of technical light performance that plays on the exact lines of the parliament building. It's a little piece of the Lyon Festival of Lights (Fête des lumières) brought to Bern. 


Onion Market Bern Zibelemärit "Onion Market"

4th Monday of November 

This is a full day event dedicated to... onions! And really garlic and cheese as well. Believe it or not, this event starts at a shocking 5am and wraps up at about 6pm. It's a folk festival where farmers from the surrounding area sell beautifully braided onion strands, among other wares, and food stalls sell piping hot cheese and onion tarts and hot wine. The ground is a colorful mess because the tradition is to buy bagfuls of paper confetti and throw them into the crowd. And for some reason, they also give little plastic hammers to children so they can knock you on the head from their parents' arms as they pass by. It's a bit of early morning surreal mayhem, but if you can embrace it, it's a fun way to start the day. Despite the ungodly hour, the early hours are when this festival is at its best. Without a doubt, you'll be leaving a trail of confetti behind you for the rest of the day. 



Glühwein "mulled wine" at PROGR

Late October or early November through winter

The courtyard in front of PROGR, at the entrance to the Turnhalle, is always a meeting place for fun and culture in Bern. The outdoor bar and food options are ever changing depending on the season and local events. Once the weather turns cold then the Glühwein or mulled wine hut comes! Choose from red or white hot wine and sip it outside to stay warm. You can also enjoy it beside the bonfire before heading inside to the Turnhalle to see the concert or DJ that is on for the night. 



Fondue + Rodelbahn "toboggan" on the Gurten

The Gurten, Bern's local "mountain" or hill, is another classic activity on the outskirts of the city, but Autumn is a particularly lovely time to visit and walk amongst the changing leaves. Take the small Gurten train up to the top and try a run down on the new Rodelbahn, or toboggan run. It's open through October 31st and costs only CHF3.50 for kids and CHF 4.50 for adults. And now that it's getting cold, it's cheese time of year! (When isn't it cheese time?) Enjoy an autumn fondue overlooking the city of Bern from one of the Gurten's restaurants or organize an outdoor fondue around a fire with a group of friends. 


Pumpkin Farm Oppliger

Kürbishof "pumpkin farm" Oppliger

An autumn roundup wouldn't be complete without the mention of pumpkins. If you feel like getting out of the city, a very cute family activity is to visit one of the many local farms that welcome guests to visit their pumpkin farms. There are many options, the Kürbishof Oppliger, mentioned here, is located in the village of Oberburg, near to Burgdorf. Browse the farm for your perfect pumpkin and pick up some local delicacies in the farm shop. Make sure to tuck in for a steaming bowl of homemade pumpkin soup before heading home! 


Listen to WRS in Bern

WRS - Swiss radio in English - is very happy to include Bern in our DAB+ broadcast area. We are the only 24/7 English-language radio station in Switzerland. Tune in to our flagship morning shows the TalkTalk Breakfast Show and the Mid Morning Mix every weekday morning for the news, chat, and to win fantastic prizes. Stay up to date on Bern events through our Events Calendar, and buy and sell local goods through the WRS Classifieds. Make sure to follow WRS on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram, and to sign up for our monthly Events Newsletter

You can listen to WRS on your DAB+ radio in Bern, Zurich, Geneva, Vaud, Basel-Stadt, Basel-Landschaft, Zug, and Lucerne. You can also stream WRS anytime, anywhere from our web player or through the WRS app - download it today for iPhone or Android. Learn more about DAB+ and your listening options: Ways to Listen


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