Norway’s second largest city is situated on the west coast, and its charming, small town feel is enhanced by the seven mighty mountains that act as its natural enclosure; not to mention the breathtaking fjords that are only a short drive away. The city’s waterfront is adorned with houses of every colour, and the fishing heritage of the area dominates its modern day attractions. A few days here is highly recommended, leaving you with enough time to discover everything Bergen has to offer, whilst ensuring you make the most of what is a gateway to some of the world’s most unspoilt wilderness. Anyway, here are a few things to cram into your itinerary when you visit…
Take a ferry on Nærøyfjord
Just inland from Bergen is the stunning Nærøyfjord. A cruise on the fjord can be combined with a scenic morning train ride to Voss, before heading onwards to Gudvangen, where you can catch a ferry across the water to Flåm. Nærøyfjord is one of the narrowest fjords in Europe, and its beauty has been recognised internationally since it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005. With any luck, you will witness goats grazing alongside the fjord and playful seals lounging by the water’s edge as you leave Gudvangen.
Dine on the freshest seafood Norway has to offer
Bergen’s fish market is one of Europe’s finest, with a huge selection of spectacular seafood. All produce on the stalls is fresh, and whilst a bite to eat is notoriously expensive, a wander through the market alongside the beautiful harbour is a great way to spend a morning. The city is also home to a number of fantastic seafood restaurants, offering traditional Norwegian cuisine to open minded tourists, including locally caught whale, incredible salmon and world class shellfish.
Admire the art in the KODE museums
The four KODE buildings are made up of five museums, the Edvard Grieg Museum (Troldhaugen), the Harald Sæverud Museum (Siljustøl), the Ole Bull Museum (Lysøen), as well as the Bergen Art Museum and the West Norway Museum of Decorative Art. In total, Kode presides over a staggering 43,000 works of art, among which are paintings, drawings, sculptures, installations and videos, as well as furniture, artisanal handcraft and design. There are few places in Europe better than Bergen for those with a passion for the artistic, and there is no doubt that at least one of the famous KODE buildings will cater to your taste.
Conquer Mount Fløyen
For an unforgettable view of the city, grab a place on the tram which climbs up to the peak of Mt Fløyen. At over 300m high, you will have an enchanting panorama of the city below, as well as access to plenty of well-marked hiking tracks which lead into the forest. All the possibilities are mapped out on a Walking Map of Mount Fløyen, which you can pick up from the Bergen tourist office in the city centre.
Embrace the city’s heritage
Several sights and museums pay homage to Bergen’s history, and the industries which helped it become so prosperous. From the Maritime Museum to the soon to re-open Museum of Fisheries, there is no doubting the influence that the sea has had on the city. Alternatively experience some of Bergen’s religious history by heading to the beautiful cathedral, Domkirke, where regular organ recitals still occur inside a building with a turbulent history.