"In Norway, everyone knows everyone, and everyone is very supportive of each other."
- Astrid S
Bergen is a city known mostly for its fjords, but it has so much more to offer. From street food, to nightlife, to history, there's more to uncover here than you think. To help you find some of its hidden gems, here is a list of my top 9 favorite things to do in Bergen, Norway.
FOR A FULL LIST OF MY RESTAURANT RECOMMENDATIONS CLICK HERE
1. Market Square/Fish Market
This central outdoor market has been around since the 1200's, providing Bergen with fresh fish and delicious meals. Shortly after the Hanseatic league arrived in Bergen the market was moved to prevent the German traders from gaining to much power over the commercial trade of the city.
Today, its comprised mostly of street food restaurants set up for tourists so the prices have risen considerably. That being said the food is still absolutely amazing and well worth a try.
Address: Torget 5, 5014 Bergen, Norway
2. The Fjords / Trolltunga
Norway is famous for its stunning Fjords. Bergen is home to Hardangerfjord which is made up of miles and miles of pristine mountains, waterfalls, and orchards. The round trip tour takes about 10 hours and starts at the train statin in Bergen, and winds its way up the mountains toward Voss. Remember that the trip must be booked at least two days in advance!
I'm sure you'll recognize the famous photos taken at Trolltunga, one of Norway's most sought after destinations. The hike itself starts at the main trailhead of P2 Skjeggedal, and takes an estimated 10-12 hours depending on your endurance and condition. The optimal time to visit starts in June and lasts until September.
Price: 1,090NOK ($125USD)
Address: There are various meeting points, check their website for booking info.
3. Bryggen Hanseatic Wharf
Bryggen Hanseatic Wharf was established as a center for trade in the late 12th century, and quickly rose to become of the most important ports for the Hanseatic League. The structures that comprise it have been ravaged by fires thought the centuries and rebuilt a dozen times over. However the original design was preserved and the current structures were completed in 1702. The area is a symbol of old Europe and a testament to its rich legacy.
Address: Bryggen, 5003 Bergen, Norway
4. Bergenhus Fortress
The Bergenhus fortress is a diverse mix of ancient fortifications some of which go as far back as 1240, while others were added as recently as World War II. It is one of the oldest and best preserved fortresses in Norway. Even today it is still an active military installation and the Royal Norwegian Navy has some 150 personal stationed there. Haakon's Hall and Rosenkrantz Tower are the only areas of the fortress that are open to the public and tickets are free.
1 May 2019 - 30 Sept 2019
Monday - Sunday11:00 - 17:00
1 Oct 2019 - 10 Dec 2019
Tuesday - Sunday11:00 - 17:00
Address: Koengen, 5886 Bergen
5. Mount Fløyan
Fløibanen funicular is a small cable car that takes you to the top of Mount Fløyan with spectacular views of the city. I recommend taking the funicular up to the top for 65NOK, then walking down on the way back, which not only saves you money but also lets you see a different part of Bergen. In addition there is a five hour hike that takes you over to the neighboring Mount Ulriken that is is a great way to take in some of Bergen's stunning nature.
Price: 65NOK single, 125NOK return. (~$7USD - $14USD)
1 Jan 2019 - 31 Dec 2019
Monday - Friday 07:30 - 23:00
Saturday - Sunday 08:00 - 23:00
Address: Vetrlidsalmenning 23 A, 5014 Bergen
Photo by Anne Worner
6. Street Art Scene
A surprising addition to the list, Bergen has a burgeoning street art scene that adds a touch of unique character to its cityscape. I love graffiti and street art because it adds color and life to a city and you get a inside look at that particular places culture through a different lens. There are literally thousands of pieces scattered throughout the city so as you walk around keep your head up, and hopefully catch a glimpse of one. You can find a list of works and their locations here.
*Banksy actually visited Bergen in 2010 before he was well-known and completed 8 works, most of which were white washed by the city (Who had no idea he would become the biggest name in street art just a few years later).
Now be warned, you can have a fun night out in Bergen, but make sure you're prepared to spend a bit more (this is Norway after all). That being said there are a few decently priced bars where you can find a healthy mix of locals and tourists. Altona Vinbar comes to mind immediately. Tucked away in the city center, this retro tavern is the oldest in the city, going back as far as the 17th century. They also serve delicious food so it has more of a restaurant vibe during the day and bar feel at night.
For a full list of my restaurant/bar recommendations click here.
Boasting some of the best seafood dishes in the world, Bergen's cuisine is all about the freshest ingredients coming together to create some amazingly unique dishes. A classic stop is Cornelius Seafood restaurant, located on a tiny island, you take a short boat ride to the restaurant where you'll find youself with the best view from a restaurant you've ever seen. It will likely be the most expensive meal you have in Bergen, but also one of the most unique.
Again, for a full list of my restaurant recommendations click here.
9. Fantoft Stave Church
Although it's a recreation (the original church of 1150 has long since been destroyed), it's a fantastic testament to ancient Norwegian architecture. Crazy enough it was destroyed again in 1992 by members of the early black metal scene, that burned down nearly four such churches for reasons unknown. The current church was completed in 1997 and has since been opened to the public. Make sure to check that the church is open however, because it isn't opened year round.
Price: Adults 60NOK, Children 30NOK
Hours:May 15th to September 15th: Open daily from 10:30am to 6pm.
Closed at May 17th.
Address: Fantoftveien 46 at Paradis
WHERE TO STAY?
The city of Bergen is relatively small and you'll most likely be able to walk almost everywhere. With that in mind you can stay at any place of your choosing (closer you are to Market Square the better off you'll be). For hostel lovers I recommend YMCA hostel due to its great location and cleanliness. Other than that try Airbnb and find one close to the Market for the price that fits your budget.