We stopped in the city of Bergen for a night on our trip through Norway’s fjords. The city is surrounded by the sea, fjords, and mountains. Mount Fløyen, which can be visited by funicular from the old town, offers amazing panoramic views. The city is known for its fish market and old wharf, that was once the center of the Hanseatic League’s trading empire. This area called Bryggen, along the wharf, is home to colorful wooden buildings and is one of the iconically photographed scenes in Bergen.
Top things to do in Bergen
Old Town & Bryggen Hanseatic Wharf
Bergen is situated along the city’s marina and is a great area to spend most of your time while visiting Bergen. There are several restaurants, cafes, and shops lining the streets. It's a good spot to look for souvenirs.
Mt. Fløyen & Fløibanen
One of our favorite attractions in Bergen, Mt. Fløyen is accessed via funicular from the Fløibanen station (near Old Town). Once at the top, the views of the town and surrounding landscape are phenomenal. There is also a cafe, souvenir shop, and food stands with pølses (hot dogs) and waffles. You can get your picture taken with a giant troll located at the park, or take a selfie with the cute goats that live on the mountain.
Tips: For no lines and low crowds, visit Mt. Fløyen in the morning or at night (after 8pm), in the spring/summer season. There are cruise ships that stop into Bergen, making this attraction extremely busy during the peak hours of the day.
This fortress is one of the oldest and most preserved fortresses in the country. It is located at the harbor’s entrance on the Vågen side of the wharf. Some of the buildings date back to the mid-11th century and in medieval times, the area was the royal residence in Bergen, when Bergen was the capital of Norway (until the year 1299).
These picturesque old buildings made of wood were once the center of the Hanseatic commercial activities in Bergen. Today the buildings are home to shops, cafes, and museums. The area has been named a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1979.
Tips: Walk between two of the old buildings to take a look at the construction of the wooden buildings and how much they are now leaning and not fully upright. You can also visit some of the shops (boutique and souvenir) located in the buildings.
For 160 NOK, you can visit three museums in Bergen: Schøstuene, the Hanseatic Assembly Rooms; Det Hanseatic Museum; and Norges Fiskerimuseum. Although we did not have time to visit the museums, they offer a great look into the history of Bergen and it’s role in the fishing and trading industries along the southeastern Norwegian coast. Get the multi-museum ticket at any of the three listed above.
Bergen’s fish market is a famous outdoor market located right on the harbor, selling all kinds of seafood as well as fruits and vegetables. You can buy raw seafood and also prepared food, like shrimp sandwiches. We saw massive crabs and also blue lobster!
This neighborhood is situated on a peninsula west of the main harbor. Nordnes is a nice area to walk around and take a closer look at the local architecture. Walk along Strangehagen to visit a few cute streets, with cobblestone roads and quaint houses.
Tips: Look for Knøsesmauet, Strangebakken, and Verftsbakken.
This park is located on the outermost edge of the peninsula of Nordnes. From here, there is a nice lookout to the sea and the surrounding islands near Bergen. It's a nice area to take a walk after walking along the Strangehagen.
Places to Eat in Bergen
Bare Vestland is the perfect spot to eat dinner in Bergen if you are looking for authentic and well prepared local food (think reindeer, whale, pickled herring). It is located right off the marina and old town area, making it a great location if you are staying in the area.
We ate dinner at Una on the second floor, where they offer a selection of burgers (order the fish burger or the veggie burger - both were very good!). There is also a downstairs bar that has a kitchen with slightly more selection and casual bar style dining.
Places to Stay in Bergen
Det Hanseatiske Hotel
This boutique hotel is located in a great area of Bergen, right near the harbor and Bryggen area. The hotel is situated in a unique and old building that shares some space with the next door museum building. The rooms are a good size and nicely furnished; they also offer a very good breakfast included in the room rate.