Bergen, the second-largest city in Norway, is a charming destination that boasts a rich history, stunning natural scenery, and vibrant cultural scene. Located on the southwestern coast of Norway, Bergen is surrounded by seven mountains and is known as the «Gateway to the Fjords.» If you’re planning a trip to Bergen, this guide will provide you with some useful tips and recommendations on how to make the most of your time in this beautiful city.
What to See in Bergen
Bergen is home to many must-see attractions that are worth visiting during your trip. Here are some of the most important:
- Bryggen Hanseatic Wharf: A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bryggen is a historic wharf that dates back to the 14th century. It features colorful wooden buildings that were once used as offices and warehouses by the Hanseatic merchants.
- Mount Fløyen: Take the funicular up to the top of Mount Fløyen for spectacular views of Bergen and the surrounding fjords.
- Fish Market: Located in the heart of Bergen, the Fish Market is a bustling open-air market that sells a variety of fresh seafood and other local products.
- Aquarium: The Bergen Aquarium is one of the oldest and largest aquariums in Europe, with a wide range of marine life from the Norwegian coast and beyond.
- Troldhaugen: This museum is dedicated to the life and work of the famous Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg, who lived in Bergen for many years.
Routes in Bergen
Exploring Bergen on foot is a great way to get a feel for the city and discover some hidden gems. Here are a few routes that you might want to consider:
- Bryggen and the Old Town: Take a stroll through the narrow streets of the Old Town and admire the colorful wooden houses of Bryggen.
- Mount Fløyen Hike: If you’re up for a bit of a challenge, hike to the top of Mount Fløyen for breathtaking views of the city and fjords.
- City Center Walk: Take a leisurely walk through the city center and explore landmarks such as the Bergen Cathedral and the Rosenkrantz Tower.
- Fjord Cruise: Take a boat tour of the fjords and enjoy the stunning scenery and wildlife.
Where to Stay in Bergen
Bergen has a wide range of accommodation options to suit all budgets and preferences. Here are some of the top choices:
- Radisson Blu Royal Hotel: This centrally-located hotel offers modern rooms, a rooftop terrace with views of the city, and a fitness center.
- Bergen Børs Hotel: Housed in a historic building that was once a stock exchange, this boutique hotel offers stylish rooms and a trendy bar and restaurant.
- Thon Hotel Orion: This budget-friendly hotel is located near the train station and offers simple yet comfortable rooms and a complimentary breakfast buffet.
- Bergen YMCA Hostel: If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, the Bergen YMCA Hostel offers clean and simple dormitory-style rooms as well as private rooms with shared bathrooms.
Where to Eat in Bergen
Bergen is known for its seafood and local cuisine, but there are plenty of options for all tastes and budgets. Here are some popular choices:
- Fisketorget: This seafood restaurant is located in the heart of the Fish Market and offers a variety of fresh and delicious seafood dishes.
- Bryggeloftet & Stuene: Housed in a historic building on Bryggen, this restaurant serves traditional Norwegian dishes such as reindeer and fish soup.
- Lysverket: This modern and stylish restaurant serves Nordic-inspired cuisine made with local and seasonal ingredients.
- Pizzabakeren: If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, this pizzeria offers tasty pizzas at affordable prices.
Free Tours in Bergen
If you’re looking to explore Bergen on a budget, there are several free tours available that will give you a great introduction to the city. Here are some options:
- Bergen Walking Tours: This company offers free walking tours of Bergen that cover the city’s history, culture, and landmarks.
- Bergen Free Tour: This tour covers the main sights of Bergen, including Bryggen, the Fish Market, and the Fløibanen funicular.
- Bergen Greeters: This organization connects visitors with local volunteers who offer free tours and insights into the city.
When is the best time to visit Bergen?
The best time to visit Bergen is during the summer months (June-August) when the weather is mild and the days are long. However, be prepared for crowds and higher prices during this time. If you prefer a quieter and more budget-friendly experience, consider visiting in the shoulder seasons (May and September) or even in the winter for a chance to see the northern lights.
Do I need to speak Norwegian to get around Bergen?
No, English is widely spoken in Bergen and you should have no trouble communicating with locals and navigating the city.
Is Bergen expensive?
Bergen can be quite expensive, especially when it comes to accommodation and dining. However, there are plenty of budget-friendly options available if you do your research and plan ahead.
What is the best way to get around Bergen?
Bergen is a walkable city and many of the main sights are located within walking distance of each other. However, if you need to go further afield, there are buses and light rail services available. You can also rent a bike or a car if you prefer.