Bergen, on the beautiful west coast of Norway, is the gateway to the country’s famous fjords. Although the city has expanded over the years from its origins as a trading and fishing port, it retains the quaint and charming wharf buildings that have led the centre to be granted UNESCO World Heritage status.
There is much to do in Norway’s second largest city, including its surrounding region so here’s a list of things to do and places to visit whilst you’re in town.
The wooden old town is over 700 years old and reminiscent of a fairy tale with its brightly painted wharf buildings. Filled to the brim with restaurants, studios, workshops and boutique shops, its narrow alleyways and old wooden merchant houses simply beg to be explored. If you’re into history, you can learn about Bergen’s bygone years at the Hanseatic Museum too.
Fløibanen and Fløyen
With Bergen known in Norway as the city of the Seven Mountains, it is only natural that you would want to visit one of them. By far the most easily accessible is Fløyen, which is close to the city centre. It’s connected to the town by a funicular, Fløibanen, that will take you to the top in a few minutes.
Once at the top, you are free to enjoy spectacular views of Bergen and the surrounding landscape. You can take Fløibanen back down, enjoy a leisurely walk down the mountainside, or go on a hike further into the mountains if you have more time.
Located just a short trek to the south of Bergen, Troldhaugen is famous as the former home of Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg. Built in 1885, the well preserved home is now the site of the Grieg Museum and is dedicated to the life and work of the composer. If you can, try and time your visit so you can enjoy concerts featuring Grieg’s music.
Photo © Grieg Museum
Bergen Main Square & Fishmarket
At the southeast end of the city’s beautiful main harbour, Bergen’s Market Square (Torget) is always bustling.
Its busy quays are where local fishermen land their catches each morning and along with the 700-year old Fish Market (Torget), it’s a fascinating spectacle for early risers and a great place to experience the freshest possible seafood.
The old Bergenhus Fortress has dominated the entrance to Bergen’s harbour since the late 16th Century, and remains one of the most historically important structures in Norway. Be prepared to spend time in the excellent Bergenhus Fortress Museum with its fascinating exhibits relating to the contribution of women and resistance groups during the 1940-45 German occupation. Afterwards, stroll up to the walled remains of Sverresborg, a fortress built around 1660 on the remains of an even older 12th Century castle.
Not far away from Bergen you’ll be nearby places of outstanding natural beauty which can either be reached by ferry or car. Here are places to include on your trip to Bergen:
About 96 km east of Bergen is Norway’s rugged adventure, playground, Voss. The town, surrounded by mountains and fjords attracts dare-devils from around the world to jump off cliffs and bridges. However, we suggest something a little less life-threatening like kayaking or mountain biking!
Norway in a Nutshell
Norway’s most famous roundtrip takes you on a breath-taking journey across some of western Norway’s most prized landscapes. The trip includes the rail journey to Myrdal, the Flåm Mountain Railway, the Stalheim Gorge, and a boat trip along the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Aurlands and Nærøy fjords.
If you’d like more inspiration on how to explore Bergen and beyond, see our Norway for Beginners tour.