Five events that’ll get you off the couch and into the action this Winter.

Our SwissMeUp Travel Writer ‘Phoebe Hosier’ has your winter plans sorted:

Winter is upon us, heralding a dramatic shift – the Aare is quiet, the pop-up river bars closed and Marzili pool emptied. 

As temperatures plummet to as low as 1 degree in the city of Bern and its surrounding areas, a thick sheet of fog lies heavy over the capital city. 

For some Bernese locals, “this is when the winter depression starts to kick in”. 

With sunlight fading fast before our eyes, much like the remainder of 2023, you’d be forgiven for feeling the effects of early onset winter blues.

To combat it, we’ve come up with five fun activities and social events happening this month that will help get you off the couch and into the action. Let’s go.

1. Lose yourself in a mosh pit at Full of Lava festival

Previously known as Saint Ghetto, this festival has been rebranded and rebooted, bringing you a big line up of international musicians and emerging artists. Round up a gang and head down to Dampfzentrale Bern to experience the joy of alternative pop music from 17th  to 19th November. 

Full of Lava organisers have curated a space for alternative sound that challenges conventions of typical pop music by breaking from tradition, which makes for memorable listening. Tickets here:

2. Teleport to outer space

If the wonders of the galaxy never fail to astonish you, then a trip to see the stars through Switzerland’s largest telescope will not disappoint. Located south of Bern in Niedermuhlern, the Space Eye Observatory offers a guided exhibition tour and a live planetarium show. Explore the universe through two telescopes and witness live images transmitted from telescopes around the world. Tickets should be booked ahead of time here: 

3. Immerse yourself in a fantastical fairytale world

“The world is not well.” That’s the grave assessment Rendez-vous Bundesplatz’s creator made of today’s world, citing escalating climate change and global conflicts. The evaluation has served as inspiration for the theme of this year’s lightshow in Bern’s Bundesplatz. Audiences will be transported far away from the real world into the realm of myths and fairy tales. Light shows run for half an hour three times per night from Tuesday to Sunday until 25th November. More information here: 

4. Behold the annual cold water dash

Just because the warm weather is gone doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy the city’s centrepiece. Head down to the banks of the Aare River on Sunday 26th November to watch hundreds of swimmers brave the water in an annual tradition known as the Zibeleschwümme, or onion swim. The cold water dash, dating back to the 1980s, sees entrants swim to Martzili pool, often in a silly get up and sometimes with floats of fondue in toe. Spectating is always a laugh, or if you’re feeling game, you can register to swim:

5. Celebrate the humble onion with some wild bacon jam!

Finally, the Zibelemärit or onion market is a historic annual event and popular Swiss tradition that should absolutely be on your calendar. The Zibelemärit is Bern’s biggest farmers’ market held on the fourth Monday of every November, where onion growers descend on the capital with more than 50 tons of the root vegetable. Bern’s Bundesplatz transforms into a carnival home to steaming pots of mulled wine and strings of colourful braided onions sold at hundreds of stalls. Onion tarts, soups and sausages are all on offer alongside loaves of herby garlic bread. While the market runs all day, many get there as early as 4am to score the best, so best set your alarm. 

OUR SwissMeUp TIP:  

Make sure you check out Peter Wilburg’s stall on the Waisenhasplatz, where you will find a range of seasonal wild boar and venison speciality products. He has some of the best gift ideas for your meat loving friends.” Look for the WILDWURST.CH stall and logo.