The second largest city in Norway, Bergen sits along the mountainous and fjord laden western coastline. Known as ‘the city of Seven Mountains’, Bergen is at the centre of a huge number of scenic hiking trails and walks.
It’s famous for it’s colourful wooden houses and historic wharf that sits on the harbour overlooking the scenic Byfjorden. It’s history reaching back to the Middle Ages. Mountains encircle the city and surrounding suburbs, providing incredible views across the city, and beyond into surrounding fjords.
CURRENCY | Norwegian Krone
TIME NEEDED | 2 – 3 days (depending on how many walks or hikes you’re planning!)
SEASONS & WEATHER | Cold in winter (expect frosts/snow), mild in spring and autumn, warm in summer. Rain and clouds can be common! Visit anytime, but summer should guarantee better weather.
LANGUAGES | Norwegian, but English is widely spoken
HOW TO SAY HELLO | Hallo!
HOW TO SAY THANK YOU | Takk
TRANSPORT | Walking, hiking, ferry, rental car/van
NEAREST AIRPORT | Bergen airport (BGO)
NEAREST BUS STATION | Bergen busstasjon. A service called Flybussen runs from the airport to a stop in the centre.
THINGS TO VISIT, PLACES TO SEE
Bryggen | The Hanseatic wharf is packed full of history, as Bergen has always had a role to play in Norwegian maritime throughout the ages. There are a number of artisan shops to discover between the narrow wooden walkways.
Mount Fløyen | Perhaps the most accessible of the 7 mountains of Bergen is Fløyen. You can ride to the top via the funicular railway called ‘Fløibanen’. The views are beautiful, with brick red rooftops contrasting with the blue of the sea.
Explore the local history | With the Bryggens Museum (NOK 100) and Hanseatic Museum and Schøtstuene (NOK 130), there are plenty of options to delve into the historic past of Bergen, with archaeological finds dating back to the Middle Ages. The museums do an amazing job of walking you through the maritime and trading history, from Vikings to pirates.
Wander the Nøstet district | You’ll find Knøsesmauet road here, which is a quaint curving cobbled road lined with the typical colourful wooden houses. Not to mention the views across to Askøy from Nordnes Park, where you can also wander down onto a small shingle beach too.
Take a boat trip | There are a number of boats and ferries that travel between towns or tour some of the surrounding fjords. Check out Visit Bergen to browse some of the available options and to buy tickets!
The Fish & Flower Market | The markets of Bergen are full of fresh local seafood, Nordic wool jumpers and other souvenirs. There are often stalls set up around the Ludvig Holberg Statue too.
Mount Ulriken | The highest of the seven mountains which surround Bergen. Mount Ulriken offers up beautiful views of not only Bergen itself, but the surrounding eastern fjords too. I thought I was relatively fit. But what I didn’t realise was I’m not ‘Norweigan fit’. Depending on how often you stop (for photos, food or breath) and your ability, it shouldn’t take much more than 2 hours to reach the top. Luckily there is a cable car in place for those who hiked to the top, but didn’t fancy the hike back down *raises hand*.
The Vidden hike is a popular trail that links both Mount Ulriken and Floyen, at approximately 5 hours, it’s an invigorating trail which will reward you with incredible views across the area.
PLACES TO EAT
Eating out in Norway can be a little pricey, as one of the most expensive European countries. If you’re on a tight budget, opt to stay in self catering accommodation in an apartment or hostel, and head to Rema 1000, Kiwi or Coop supermarkets to find ingredients to cook with!
For Coffees | Kaffemisjonen (££-£££) locally owned with great coffee! Det Lille Kaffekompaniet (££-£££) perfect to stop at after walking down from Mount Floyen.
Godt Brod | ££-£££ | A great breakfast option, with plenty of pastries and great coffee too! (Vegetarian, vegan and gluten free friendly).
Daily Pot | £ | An extremely cute cafe with a focus on warming, healthy soups. Just 10 minutes away from the train station and also the fish and flower market.
Munken Bistro | ££-£££ | A mixture of beautifully presented Peruvian and European dishes, with vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options too.
Løvetann Kaffebar | ££-£££ | Perfect for breakfast or lunch, it boasts a cosy atmosphere and filling, hearty and healthy, meals.
Bryggeloftet & Stuene | ££-£££ | Located on the Hanseatic wharf, it specialises in local seafood and Scandinavian dishes. Popular dishes include bakalao (dried, salted cod) and fish soup!
PLACES TO STAY
Budget | £
Bergen YMCA hostel | I stayed here for three nights. It was in a perfect central location and the hostel roof terrace even overlooked the harbour. It has a true ‘hostel vibe’, bustling with travellers from all over the globe. From the sweetest elderly, Japanese man who had recently retired and was travelling Europe, and heading North in Norway, to see the whales. To the Australians from Perth, cracking open a cold one on the roof terrace.
Bergen Budget Hostel | A great option for those on a budget (did I mention Norway is a little on the pricey side!). A short walk to the train station and the Hanseatic Wharf, it’s in an excellent location and a perfect base to explore from.
Bergen Budget Hotel | The name says it all! Located right in the heart of the Bergen, this hotel is a great option for couples on a budget or solo travellers!
MID-RANGE | ££
Citybox Bergen | A perfect, simple and stylish option, just a short walk from the train station. It has self-service checking in and out which is unusual but smooth and efficient!
Ole Bull Hotel & Apartments | In a good central location, this hotel consists of a collection of apartments, it’s a great option for those looking to keep costs down by preparing their own meals.
Det Hanseatiske Hotel | Set within the Bryggen area, in a 16th century wharf building, this hotel is a perfect choice to fully immerse yourself in the history of Bergen.
LUXURY/SPECIAL OCCASION | £££
Bergen Børs Hotel | Scandinavin luxury at it’s finest. With a restaurant focusing on local cuisine, exquisite Scandic design and a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Not to mention underfloor heating in the bathrooms, the luxury!
Bergen is a small but impactful city, you get to really appreciate the Norwegian outdoors lifestyle here. With so many beautiful hikes, mountains and vistas at your feet, it’s a great place to begin exploring the Norwegian way of life.