Bergen is the second biggest city in Norway after Oslo, the capital of Norway, and it is geographically considered the ‘gateway to the fjords’. I visited Norway in June, when the temperature was pleasant and the sunlight season is on. In fact, from April to October in the North of Europe there are 6 months of sunlight, while the rest of the year is dark and cold. Despite I visited Norway in summertime, I encountered a lot of rain! So it is smart to always bring a raincoat with you!
According to the ancient legend, the name Norway comes from the old Norse word Norðrvegr, which means ‘the way north’, a name given to this long and craggy coast because it was largely ice-free in the wintertime. (source: HERE)
USEFUL INFORMATION ABOUT NORWAY:
- Language: Norwegian and Nynorsk (New Norwegian). English is well spoken everywhere
- In Bergen there is an international airport (Flesland Airport)
- Visa: NO visa for EU citizens. Please check the rules for your passport
- Capital: Oslo. Population: 659,000 people (Bergen is the second largest city)
- Currency: Norwegian Krone (NOK) – life in Norway is really expensive, be aware of it!
- Time Zone: UTC/GMT +1
- Country Code: +47
- Emergency number: police 112, ambulance 113
- Population: 5,4 million people
BEST THINGS TO DO IN BERGEN
Bergen is a lovely city located in Hordaland, on the West coast of Norway, surrounded by seven mountains. According to the tradition, it has been founded in 1070 by King Olav Kyrre, and its port has always been one of the busiest in the country. Bergen is today an international center for shipping, offshore petroleum industry, aquaculture, sub-sea technology and of course an important stop for the big cruises.
I spent a fantastic week in Bergen, despite the constant rain! Below you can find the list of the best things to do during your trip there!
#1. EXPLORING BRYGGEN
Bryggen is a series of commercial building located near the port, the most iconic place in Bergen indeed. Since 1979 it has been listed on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage! Nowadays it is still a commercial area, full of shops and cafes. Lovely!
“Bryggen bears the traces of social organization and illustrates the use of space in a quarter of Hanseatic merchants that dates back to the 14th century. It is a type of northern “fondaco”, unequaled in the world, where the structures have remained within the cityscape and perpetuate the memory of one of the oldest large trading ports of Northern Europe“
#2. EATING SEAFOOD AT THE FISH MARKET
During my week in Bergen, one of the best moments of the day was always when I was eating seafood! Honestly one of the best I have ever had in my life!
Seafood in Norway is extremely fresh, tasty and delicious! Incredible quality! You cannot miss at least one meal at the Fish Market: they serve you whatever you choose and cook it freshly!
I loved salmon (heavenly good!!!), in every possible way the made it: raw, smoked, marinated, cooked!
But also crab, mussels, caviar, prawns, etc are insanely good!
I have also tried whale steak, which was extremely good! It tastes like a juicy soft beef (to have an idea)!
At the fish market you can find several places which sell delicious berries!
#3. VISITING KODE MUSEUM
I have to admit that I got really astonished by Kode Museum in Bergen! It is in fact one of the largest museums in Scandinavia, with more than 50,000 artworks that can be experienced in four museum buildings in Bergen city center, and in the homes of the composers Ole Bull, Harald Sæverud and Edvard Grieg.
To check the opening hours click HERE.
#4. HIKING UP TO FLØYEN
If you like hiking, one of the easiest hikes from the city center is to Fløyen. It takes approximately 1h30min to reach the top of the mountain, where you can enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view of the city!
I went for a post-dinner hike in June, and I saw this breathtaking sunset at 11PM!!!
Also during the entire hike you have the chance to admire the beauty of the landscapes!
#5. DAY TRIP TO THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS
A day trip to the fjords is surely a must while you visit Bergen. I wrote a full article about my amazing experience with ‘Norway in a Nutshell’! ( click here to read it! )
#6. BEST BARS IN BERGEN
I have to tell you that finding wine in Bergen is so rare, and being Italian it was so weird to me! 🙂
However there are lots of pubs where people mostly drink beer (I’m not into beer at all!).
There are 2 places though where you can have really good drinks:
-‘No Stress Bar’: cozy atmosphere and the cocktails are phenomenal!
-‘Dwell Bar’: very interesting interiors, with a room with big sofas where you can get very comfy!
I had white wine there and it was good!
#7. VISIT St. JOHN’S CHURCH
St. John’s Church, built between 1891 and 1894, is the biggest Cathedral in Bergen with 1250 seats inside.
#8. WALK AROUND THE LAKE
#9. BERGENHUS FORTRESS
Bergenhus fortress is located in the entrance of Bergen harbor, few minutes walking from Bryggen, and it is one of the oldest castles preserved in Norway!
#10. TRIP TO OSLO BY TRAIN
I personally headed to Oslo for a few days from Bergen, and from there I flew to Amsterdam.
If you are planning to spend a week in Bergen, a trip to Oslo is definitely a must. You can fly or drive, but my suggestion is to get there by train: you will enjoy the panoramic view from the window as the train goes through the mountains and spectacular landscapes!
By train it takes approximately 7 hours. I left Bergen very early morning, reaching Oslo by lunch time!
I hope you will have a wonderful time in Bergen and in Noway in general!
And you… Are you lusting for the sublime?