Top 10 Things Bergen Norway
We flew over the Norwegian Sea towards the rocky coast of Western Norway, in awe by the natural beauty of the islands and small inlets leading to Bergen. Known as “The Gateway to the Fjords”, Bergen is located halfway between the two biggest fjords in Western Norway – the Sognefjord and the Hardangerfjord. It was hard to come up with a list of just 10 top things to do in Bergen, Norway.
This city is the ideal place to stay before departing on a fjord tour, or returning from one. Founded in 1070, Bergen has a population of 270,000, and was Norway’s capital between 1200-1299.
Here are our top recommendations on what to do, where to stay & dine while in Bergen.
Here is our top things to do while in Bergen, Norway!
What to Do?
Tip: Get the Bergen Card which gets you free offers and good discounts to many of the town’s main attractions.
With only one day to explore the sights, we ventured out with a local expert guide Sue Lindelid, recommended by the Bergen Tourism Board & by avid traveler/author Rick Steves.
Best way to get oriented to this town is to first take the funicular to the top of Mount Fløyen for the best views of Bergen, then walk down through narrow cobblestone streets, passing homes built on the mountainside. On a clear day, you can see out to Askøy Island! If you’re hungry on the top, stop at the Fløien Folkerestaurant for a meal and enjoy the panoramic views.
Bryggen’s Old Wharf:
Next on our top 10 list of things to do in Bergen, Norway on the north side of the harbor, you’ll see some of the original gables still standing from the early 1700’s. This area is listed on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List, and was a cod fish trading center for 400 years. Be sure to walk through the passageways of the old timber warehouses.
There are a variety of museums to visit in Bergen, including the Kode Museums featuring Edvard Munch, Norwegian and international artists. Also, a visit to the Hanseatiske Museum located in a German merchant’s home where you can imagine what life was like for the Hanseatic traders who lived there, near the storerooms filled with dried cod fish.
Walks through the town:
Walk through quaint area along Lille Ovregaten and see old wooden homes and narrow alleyways.
Sample local seafood!
Visit the Fish Market on Torget, and try a sample taste of whale, elk or reindeer sausage.
Discover Bergen by walking the streets, visiting landmarks such as the National Theater with 3 stages, Grieghallen – the modern concert hall, and the aquarium with Europe’s largest collection of sea and freshwater fish and invertebrates. Bergen’s Churches – don’t miss seeing the Baroque pulpit at Mariakirken, and visiting the Domkirken cathedral, or the Korskirken church. Visit the Bergenhus Fortress, one of the oldest in Norway, and the Rosenkrantz Tower.
Not far from the city center is an open-air museum where you can experience how life was in Bergen in the old days.
Fans of composer Edvard Grieg, can visit his beautiful villa about 15-20 minutes drive from town. He lived here with his wife, and composed some of his last compositions at this residence through the late 1800’s.
Further out (40 minutes drive from town), you can visit Ole Bull’s uniquely designed home. Ole was considered one of the greatest violin virtuosos in the world. Bull is regarded a national hero. He influenced many local and national musicians and artists.
Don’t leave Bergen without a visit to the Fjords! How do you explore the 4,000 fjords of Norway surrounded by 74,523 islands in 1 day? It’s impossible. BUT you can see the spectacular fjords on a “Norway in a Nutshell” Tour. Find out more at www.fjordtours.no and about our experience at: www.GlobalAdventuress.com
Where to Stay?
Here are our top places to stay while you travel in Bergen, Norway!
We stayed at Scandic Bergen City, a modern hotel in the heart of Bergen. The hotel is in a great location, just a few blocks to the harbor and fish market, and close to the National Theater. Our hotel rooms were clean and comfortable. The hotel reception was very helpful with dinner reservations and showing us where to go on the city map. Don’t miss the smorgasbord breakfast complete with Norwegian waffles!
Address: Håkonsgaten 2-7, 5015 Bergen For reservations, call: 55 30 90 80 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to Dine?
Here are our favorite places to dine in Bergen, Norway!
Fish Me: in the heart of the fish market, we ate near the harbor’s edge. We dined on giant king crab legs and cod fish & chips! So much seafood to choose from… Fjellskal fisketorgt, røktfisk, salmon, trout, caviar, whale, loyrom, oysters, scallops, cod, lobster, King crab, mussels, shrimp, varmprokt, bokling, makrell, nubbesild, piggvar, torsk–all dried, smoked, in batter, as sushi, or served fresh.
On our next trip, we’d like to try these restaurants recommended by DK Travel Guide & our fantastic hotel concierge, Mathilde, and local guide Sue Lindelid.
Cornelius Seafood Restaurant: On a small island near Bergen is one of the finest seafood restaurants in Norway. Heard it’s worth the journey!
Colonialen: Our hotel concierge recommended this restaurant and it looks very nice – next trip!
Lysverket: Another restaurant recommended to us. Set courses are prepared and the dishes look divine.
Bryggen Tracteursted: a dining place in an historic Bryggen 1700’s merchant’s house.
Quick Bite: craving a sweet, just a sandwich?
Baker Brun: Traditional bakery and café situated at Bryggen. Don’t leave without ordering the “skillingsboller” (traditional Bergen Cinnamon Buns)!
Written by Jennifer McKay & Patricia Stone, travel writers/editors for www.GlobalAdventuress.com
Photos by Patricia Stone
The Global Adventuress Team would like to thank the Norway Tourism Board, the Bergen Tourist Board, Scandic Bergen City Hotel for hosting our visit to Bergen!
We also want to thank Travelpro for providing us with a carry-on spinner suitcase for our journey, and DK Travel for the helpful Norway Eyewitness Travel Guide.
Bergen Tourism Board Stop by the tourism office to get helpful directions, book accommodations, and information on experiences for the whole Bergen region.
Norway Tourism Board Ready to plan your trip to Norway? Visit the Official Norway Tourism site to get started.
Bergen Local Expert Guide: Sue Lindelid, Bergen Tour Guides Email: email@example.com
Travelpro The choice of flight crews and frequent travelers and Global Adventuress! We love our merlot carry on spinner and take it everywhere we go.
DK Travel Guides Excellent book with maps, great photos & helpful information to plan your trip to Bergen, Norway.
Bergen is the 2nd largest city in Norway (pop. 250,000). Founded by King Olav Kyrre in 1070, this town became the country’s capital from 1110 until 1299. For 400 years, Bergen was the Hanseatic center of trade–largest export was fish and its largest import was grain. Bergen is known as the city between 7 mountains, and today is a World Heritage City.