An old Hanseatic capital on the west coast of Norway.
The old Hanseatic capital on the west coast of Norway is a delight, and famous for its history as a trading town and fishing community. Bergen is the southernmost starting point for the coastal cruises with Hurtigruten, and also a gateway to the fjords and the western mountains. Bergen is easily accessible by flight, also international, and by train from Oslo. The 7 hour long Oslo to Bergen train ride is by many described as one of the most beautiful stretches in the world.
The Fløibanen Funicular takes you directly to the summit of Mount Fløyen, which is an excellent vantage point for vistas of Bergen and its harbour and outlying archipelago. This is also the starting point for easy day walks in the mountains close to Bergen.
Read more about the Oslo to Bergen Train journey here.
Within the city centre of Bergen, walking is the best way to get around. You can walk across the downtown in 20 minutes in any direction. Getting around by bike, however, can be difficult in Bergen. Many central streets are paved with cobblestone, and there are only a few roads with designated cycling lanes.
Bergen is a beautiful city and it is easy to get out of town and capture a view. You can also enjoy fish’n’chips down by the wharf and enjoy the fresh sea air. Whilst Bergen has some good attractions to visit, for us at 50 Degrees North, the wonderful thing about Bergen is just relaxing and enjoying the town and surrounding countryside itself.
Surrounded by seven mountains, Bergen is ideal for enjoying the beauties of nature. A few minutes’ ride on the Fløibanen funicular will take you from the city centre to the top of Mt. Fløyen, while a cable car takes you to the summit of our highest mountain, Mt. Ulriken. Enjoy the views and the peace and quiet while gazing down at the city. Fløyfjellet (399 m) and Sandviksfjellet (418 m) are good paths and hiking trails starting from funicular station. Pick up a map locally and go for a short or long walk from the Tram station (Fløyen). Be careful of the moss and slippery conditions.
You can also take some time out to enjoy the good things from the sea. Bergen’s main industry is fishing and for those who enjoy the wharfs, head along the shore and visit the ships. Sample the delicacies on offer at the Fish Market, or spend hours among the fish, penguins and seals at Bergen Aquarium. Bergen’s old Hanseatic wharf is on the UNESCO's World Heritage List.
The old town of Bergen, Bryggen (north side of the bay), is also a place to wander and explore with wonderful wooden houses and alleyways. You can get a good perceptive on how past and present Norwegian communities live and work by wandering these back streets. Between 1350 and 1750, this area used to be a Hansa dock, trading and processing area. The wooden houses at Bryggen today were built after the devastating city fire of 1702, but are probably very similar to the buildings that were there before. Despite neglect and fires (Norwegian cities had a habit of burning down because everything is made of wood), a considerable number of buildings have survived and are now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you enter some of the alleyways between the storefronts, you really get a feel of what Bergen must have been like in the middle ages
Hanging out by the ocean can be one of the best ways to spend a summer day in Bergen and you can enjoy it with the locals. The temperature in the ocean around Bergen is warmer than most places on the west coast because of the outer islands protecting the area from the constant flow of cooler water from the North Sea, and allowing the water to heat in smaller bays in the area. Temperatures can rise to above 20°C after consecutive days with good weather. The water is clean and fresh. There are sandy beaches at Arboretet at Milde (Hjellestad), Kyrkjetangen at Nordåsvannet and Helleneset, "bathing houses"/beaches at Nordnesparken and Elsero situated in Old Bergen in Sandviken. Ask at your hotel the best place to go on the day.
Be sure to visit the new Bergen Fish Market - a new contemporary building on the wharf.