Bergen's a beautiful Norwegian city that has a great mix of nature, urban attractions, history and culture. Because of this it's able to be enjoyed at all times of the year, just remember to bring an umbrella for those rainier months! It's also a great base to go and explore the Fjords of Norway from, such as the Hardangerfjord region, home to stunning waterfalls and the world famous Trolltunga. But we're here to talk about Bergen, so here are some great things you can do there.
Bryggen is one of the most picturesque waterfronts in the world. It used to be the commercial hub of Bergen and it was where the first buildings in Bergen were built. It's suffered at the hands of fire in it's lifetime a few times (one of the risks when the buildings are constructed predominantly from wood I guess) but it was rebuilt in 1702. It is now home to a number of amazing restaurants, the Bryggen Museum, shops and cafés. If you walk to the opposite side of the port you can snap some cool photos of this beautiful waterfront.
Kaf Kafe Bryggen
Tucked down an alley in Bryggen is this cute cafe where I grabbed a delightful Matcha Latte. Norway is in the top three coffee consuming nations, so if you're a coffee lover, Bergen is definitely worth checking out. Kygo paid homage to his hometown of Bergen and featured this Cafe in one his recent music videos too.
Gamle Bergen Museum/Old Bergen Museum
This open air museum shows what Bergen could have looked like hundreds of years ago. The reconstructed town consists of around 50 wooden houses dating from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. You'll need to take a bus or taxi to reach this as it's a bit of a walk from the city centre. When it properly opens around May, there are actors who help make it a more immersive experience and you even go inside and explore the houses. When I went in March it was off-season and closed, but you're still able to walk round the grounds and feel like you've stepped back in time.
If you fancy a challenge, you can climb over 700 steps on the Stoltzekleiven Trail to get some stunning views over Sandviken and Byfjorden. This one-way route is one of Bergen's most popular trails, but it's fairly intense and not advisable during the winter months. Be sure to bring water and suitable footwear. Once at the top, you can continue on to Mount Fløyen to overlook Bergen where you can get the Fløibanen back down to Bergen.
If you don't fancy a steep uphill climb, you can also take the Fløibanen funicular up to Mount Fløyen. Grab a ticket from the ticket office, and if you're patient you can wait to get one of the seats at bottom of the train for the best view. At the top of Mount Fløyen, you'll find incredible views, a restaurant, a children's play area and walking routes if you want to explore more of Bergen's natural beauty.
Ulriken Cable Car
In the next chapter of 'cool-but-lazy-ways-to-get-to-the-top-of-Bergen-mountains' is the Ulriken Cable Car. This takes you to the highest of Bergen's seven mountains. As it's a short way out of the city centre, you can catch a bus to it just across the road from the Tourist Information centre. Here you can also buy tickets for the bus and cable car which are around 285 NOK/£25/€30/$33 for an adult.
Whilst researching things to do in Bergen, I came across some really picturesque streets on Instagram. I ended up finding these in the neighbourhood of Nordnes, which is definitely worth a stroll around.
Horn Of Africa
In Nordnes I came across the Horn Of Africa, an Ethiopian restaurant that I wanted to shout out in this article due to the friendly waiter there. I had some Ethiopian honey wine and the 'Kirchat Vegetarian' which was a selection of four different veggie dishes.
A short drive out of the city centre is Gamlehaugen, a mansion that the King stays at when he's in town. There's a large lawn that I imagine in summer is awesome to relax and have a picnic on, and also a small beach too. Definitely worth checking out if you're passing by. (There shouldn't be scaffolding on it when you visit too fyi.)
Fantoft Stave Church
Another beautiful old wooden piece of Architecture in Bergen. 10 points to anyone who can guess if this burnt down in it's lifetime too? The answer is of course yes, but this time it was supposedly burnt down in an arson attack by a member of a black metal band. Originally built in 1150, Fantoft Stave Church has been rebuilt exactly as it was before the fire. From 15 May - 15 September you can go inside the church, however outside of these times it's still super cool to just admire it from the outside and walk around the park.
If craft beer and music is your thing, Vinyl is a chill bar you can hang out in with around 25 craft beers on tap. I mainly liked it as it seemed a bit more low key than other bars in the area, and I also liked the fact they actually play their music from Vinyls!
Enhjørningen/ The Unicorn Fish Restaurant
For some dinner options, I'm going to take us back to Bryggen, mainly as the buildings here are so beautiful to sit inside and admire whilst you eat. First off we have the Unicorn Fish Restaurant. Dating from the early Middle Ages, the building has been restored to it's condition in the 18th century. It's a really cosy atmosphere here with some of the best seafood in Bryggen.
Housed in a building that dates back to 1708, Bryggen Tracteursted serves 'Norwegian tapas' which allows you to nibble on a number of Norwegian specialities. The floor was also slanted which was a memorable feature and something that gave you a sense of how old this building is.
Some bonus travel tips for Bergen:
- The weather can change a lot so be sure to have rain jackets/umbrellas at the ready!
- Grabbing a Bergen Card may make your trip more affordable, as it offers discounts on multiple tourist attractions and free travel.
- If you pass a gas station or a supermarket, buy a bag of 'Smash', they're completely worth the calories.
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