Carnival in Bern brings back tradition, locals and a lot of tourists

carnival in Bern

February 26st 2015  – Bern, Switzerland

The carnival is always described as a children festival, nevertheless there are several popular carnivals, all over the world, that attract mainly grown-ups with a young spirit and colourful dresses: Carnival in Bern is one amongst those.

The Bärner Fasnacht, as called in Swiss German, has a long story that dates back to the Middle Age. Growing in popularity together with the city itself, the Carnival in Bern was banned a few centuries ago, in the 16th century according to historical records, due to political rivalry and religious conflicts. It took almost 500 years but the Bernese people’s spirit and affection for the tradition eventually brought the festival back: it has been more than 30 years now since children and adults celebrated the festival together again in the old town streets. The Carnival in Bern is currently one of the most crowded and popular festivals in the whole Switzerland and it fuses the tradition with the city’s peculiar history, making the iconic bears play a singular role in the festival.

How really popular is the Carnival in Bern?

It’s easy to say that a tourist festival attracts a lot of people; what is more complex is to provide accurate results in order to disclose a crowd’s dynamics and analytics. LBASense is capable to support tourism offices to create an effective promotion based on the actual preferences of the visitors.

With regards to the 3 days long Bernese festival, locals appear to have enjoyed the carnival on the very first day (Thursday, Feb 19th) more than the following days, with a clear 10% bigger crowd compared to Friday and 30% more than Saturday. It’s worth a special note the fact that yet interesting, these results aren’t far from the usual crowd that walks the city centre’s streets. Looking at the first graph below, Swiss people during the festival were as many as in the last working days.

Visitors counting for Swiss people at Carnival in Bern 2015
Visitors counting for Swiss people at Carnival in Bern 2015


What is more surprising perhaps is the fact that a distinctive increase in the tourist population has been registered in the days of the carnival, especially on Thursday. Mainly British, Germans and French have been reported visiting the Swiss capital city late last week; our system says the drop in people counting for UK people is around 60% from Thursday to Friday, while Germans and French were roughly constant during the whole festival.

Tourists counting at Carnival in Bern 2015
Tourists counting at Carnival in Bern 2015


Featured image by Hannah Busing released under Creative Commons Zero (Public Domain), all other images: all rights reserved to DFRC.