Steeped in tradition, the yearly Onion Market in Bern, which started in 1986, is held every fourth Monday of November. This festive celebration has become a staple in Swiss tradition.
There are a couple of legends that surround the Onion Market in Bern. Some believe the market originated in the 15th century with the “Martini Market.” During that time, an array of goods were sold, except for the mighty onion. That exclusion sparked a unique market exclusively for onions, which would finally have their own special day.
The second legend originated in 1405 when Bern experienced their “great fire.” Despite the residents of Freiburg moving quickly to help the city, the city still endured a great deal of devastation. With 100 residents killed and over 650 wooden structures burnt, the city of Bern wished to extend their appreciation to the people of Freiburg. From that time on, the city of Bern permitted the residents of Freiburg the opportunity to sell their onions at the yearly market as a way to pay thanks.
The market kicks-off at 06:00 and closes at 18:00 each year on the fourth Monday in November. Onions are the focal point of the market and they line the streets as locals and tourists pass through to appreciate the decorative stalls. The Old Town comes to life with excitement and of course, the pungent smell of onions. It is said that farmers from across the country contribute over 50 tons of both garlic and onions to make this festival possible.
If you have a palate for onions, this is your event. With onions included in everything from tarts, to homemade bread, soup, pizza and sausage, this event will fill your stomach and your sense of smell with rich and delicious flavors.
If you happen to be very brave and a strong swimmer, don’t forget to mark your calendar for the Sunday before the Onion Market to participate in the “Onion Swim.” With the water being just 6°, this chilly event takes place at the Schönausteg Bridge, and is celebrated as a way to symbolize the start of the Onion Festival! This event is recommended for strong swimmers only!
Swiss Discovery Tours will be visiting the market this November. Please join us!
Please register for the event here.
Date: Monday, November 28
Time: 09:00 - 15:00
Meeting Place: Basel SBB under the big timetable.
We will be leaving Basel SBB on the 9:28 train (track 9) and arriving to Bern at 10:26
We plan to catch the 13:36 (track 6) train back to Basel, arriving at 14:32 (track 12).
*There is another train that departs at 14:36 should we like to have more time at the market.
You are welcome to return with the group or depart at your leisure. Please let us know either way.
A Special Note on Time:
If you do not arrive on time, unfortunately, we will not have the luxury of being able to wait for you. Being punctual for this event is essential! If you register and for some reason cannot attend the event, please text us.
Please wear warm clothes and bring cash and a bag for delicious treats and market goods.