Things to do in Bergen | Bergen's Best in One List

Things to do in Bergen | Bergen's Best in One List

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Get ready to experience one of the most enchanting cities in Europe! Bergen sits nestled between glimmering fjords and towering mountains on Norway's southwestern coast. As a UNESCO World Heritage City, and the gateway to the fjords of Norway, Bergen offers endless possibilities. Be sure to put some of these amazing activities on your itinerary when you plan your visit to Bergen. 

Take a Fjord Cruise in Bergen      

Depart from the harbor in Bergen on a spectacular adventure into the Osterfjorden Fjord in the Hordaland province. Fjord cruises from Bergen offer an incredible glimpse at Norway's wild scenery, from the shimmering waters of the fjord to the rugged peaks of the nearby mountains.

Things to do in Bergen | Bergen's Best in One List

The water here is crystal clear and clean enough to drink. Your guide will show you the spectacular sights of the fjord, and tell stories that illuminate the unique history of this beautiful place. Be sure to bring your camera – there will be great photo opportunities.

You can take a fjord cruise year round. See tumbling waterfalls cascading into the fjord in summer, or see the mountains encrusted with ice in winter. At the far end of the 27-kilometer long Osterfjorden lies the tiny municipality of Modalen, home to just 380 people, where you can catch a fascinating glimpse into fjord life. 

Hike Mount Floyen      

One of the magnificent "city mountains" that overlook the city of Bergen, Mount Fløyen is one of the great places in the area for hiking and sightseeing. The mountain is covered in shady, secluded forest. Hiking trails lead to the summit, where you can enjoy an amazing view across the city of Bergen. 

Things to do in Bergen | Bergen's Best in One List

If you don't have the energy to hike to the top of this 400-meter mountain, there's a faster option: take the funicular! The Fløibanen funicular railway is sort of like an electric rail car that travels back and forth between Bergen and the top of Mount Fløyen. It has become one of Bergen's most famous attractions, and it's definitely a must-do experience. The train will get you to the top in just 6 minutes. 

Visit the Bryggen Historic District      

The historic harbor district of Bryggen is one of Bergen's main attractions. Known for its colorful buildings standing at the edge of the harbor, Bryggen was built after the great fire in 1702, and many of the structures remain from that time many centuries ago. This vibrant district was where the first buildings in Bergen were built.

Things to do in Bergen | Bergen's Best in One List

Today, it is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Despite being damaged by fires over the centuries, the most recent in 1955, roughly 65 buildings remain of Bergen's old Bryggen town center.

Beyond the iconic and colorful Bryggen front that overlooks the harbor, you will discover a world of possibilities in this historic district. Cozy shops and cafes, unique galleries and artists' studios, winding streets and hidden passageways wait to be explored, with new discoveries around every corner. 

Browse the Bergen Fish Market      

Fishing has always been at the heart of Norwegian life. It is still how many Bergen residents make their living, and you can experience this first hand at the charming Fish Market in Bergen, one of the most important trade centers in Norway going back many centuries.

Things to do in Bergen | Bergen's Best in One List

The Fish Market in Bergen has existed since the 1200s, providing a place for fishermen and farmers to meet and sell their products. These days, it is one of the most visited outdoor markets in Norway. It's where locals come to find the best fresh-caught seafood, and where tourists come to get a taste of Bergen's rich history and vibrant present. 

You will find the freshest seafood around at the Fish Market in Bergen, but you will also find much more. Fruits and vegetables, plants and flowers are always for sale from local farmers, and several restaurants on the site offer incredible local food. The market is open every year from May to September. 

Relax at Lille Lungegaardsvanne      

Take life at a slower pace at Lille Lungegårdsvannet, a picturesque 5-acre lake in the heart of Bergen. The lake is naturally occurring, but it was once much larger than it is today. As the land around Lille Lungegårdsvannet was reclaimed, the lake was shaped and made smaller until it reached its present octagon shape. 

Things to do in Bergen | Bergen's Best in One List

Lille Lungegårdsvannet sits at the center of a park in Bergen, which is a great place to relax and take a break, or even have a picnic lunch during a day of sightseeing. There is a large fountain at the center of the lake, and green open areas of grass and trees all around. Many other attractions are within walking distance, so be sure to stop by.

Visit the Home of Edvard Grieg      

Now known as Troldhaugen, Edvard Grieg Museum was once the home of the celebrated composer Edvard Grieg. Here is where he composed many of his best-known works in the little garden hut behind the main house, and where he lived with his wife Nina Grieg for 22 years. The couple's grave site can be visited on the property.

Things to do in Bergen | Bergen's Best in One List

The house, which has been a museum since 1922, is beautifully furnished with authentic artifacts from the era, including Grieg’s very own 1892 Steinway piano. Designed by Grieg's cousin, the architect Schak Bull, the house was referred to by Edvard himself as his "best composition." It's not hard to see why. Experience it for yourself, and immerse yourself in the life story of one of Norway's most renowned composers. 

Explore VilVite, the Bergen Science Center      

Prepare to enter the fascinating world of natural science and technology at VilVite, the Bergen Science Center. Home to an ever-changing selection of exhibits and displays that will fascinate visitors young and old, this is one of the finest museums in Norway and an amazing place to spend an afternoon in Bergen. 

Things to do in Bergen | Bergen's Best in One List

VilVite offers fun and exciting exhibits ranging from robots and underwater experiments to space exploration and virtual explorations. Many of these exhibits are interactive, inviting visitors to become a part of the scientific process. It's a great environment for kids, but grown-ups are sure to have a great time as well. Be sure to check their calendar for upcoming programs and special events.

Reach the Peak of Ulriken      

The mountain range that surrounds Bergen is known as De syv fjell – the Seven Mountains – and offers an endless array of incredible scenery and unforgettable outdoor adventure. The largest and most impressive of these peaks is Ulriken, which stands 643 meters over the fjords far below, and offers a remarkable view. 

Things to do in Bergen | Bergen's Best in One List

You can take a cable car straight to the top of Ulriken, but for a real adventure, set out for the summit on foot. Whether you hike with friends, as a solo adventure, or with a local guide, it's an amazing and often challenging experience. At the top, you will be rewarded with sweeping views of Bergen and the fjords beyond. 

You can follow a hiking trail to the peak of Ulriken by starting at the cable car departure site and following the well-marked trail up along the mountainside. There are steep sections, but the trail is suitable for hikers of all skill and fitness levels. Once you reach the top, there is a restaurant and free telescopes awaiting you, and you can always take the cable car back down.

Climb Rosenkrantz Tower      

Perhaps the most important Renaissance monument in Norway, Rosenkrantztårnet was built in the 1560s by the governor of Bergen Castle and includes structural components dating all the way back to the 12th century. The tower was also once home to King Eric Magnusson and is incredibly well preserved considering its age. 

Things to do in Bergen | Bergen's Best in One List

Rosenkrantztårnet stands to watch over the Bergenhus borough of Bergen, where it is easily accessible to the public. If taking a snapshot from ground level doesn't satisfy you, you can enter the tower for a modest fee and make your way up the winding stairs all the way to the roof of Rosenkrantztårnet, and take in a great view of the city. Entry to the nearby museum and cafe is included in your ticket. 

Dive Into the Norwegian Fisheries Museum      

Norway's rich coastal heritage is on display at the Norwegian Fisheries Museum. This is one of Norway’s newest and finest exhibitions about life along the sea coast, highlighting the incredible fishing that has supported many Norwegians throughout history. 

Things to do in Bergen | Bergen's Best in One List

Located near the waterfront behind the walls of authentic 18th-century wharf-side warehouses, the Norwegian Fisheries Museum offers a chance to learn more about the sea life of the Norwegian coast, and the men and women who depend on it. Take a guided or self-guided tour to learn more about everything from fish migrations and boat building techniques to seal hunting and the fish trade. 

You can also visit the museum as part of a ferry tour during the summer months, or rent a rowing boat to explore nearby waters during museum hours. After a trip to the museum, it's always a fun experience to head to the shore and see if what you have learned can help you identify the sea creatures you find. 

Visit the Arboretum and Botanical Garden      

The Arboretum and Botanical Garden at the University of Bergen offers a prime example of Norway's colorful and diverse plant life in a beautiful setting. The gardens were first planted by the university in 1887, and they have only grown in the many years since. 

Things to do in Bergen | Bergen's Best in One List

Today, Arboretum and Botanical Garden in Bergen is one of the best in Europe. Thanks to Norway's long summer days and ample sun, flowering plants thrive here like almost no other place in the world. In fact, more than 5,000 types of plants all over the world now call these gardens home. Stroll through the gardens at your leisure and watch for some of the most remarkable features, including: 

  • The largest collection of roses in Norway

  • Scandinavia's largest Rhododendron collection

  • Japanese Garden, Heather Garden, and Alpine Garden

  • Historical displays about Norway's plants and traditions

See St. John's Church      

Bergen is home to many splendid churches, but few can compare to St. John's Church, in Bergen's Sydnes neighborhood. The towering spire of this massive red brick church is instantly recognizable. It's easy to spot from miles away, and the sound of its massive pipe organ is a fixture of the Bergen landscape. The church is an architectural marvel and a truly awe-inspiring site. 

Things to do in Bergen | Bergen's Best in One List

St. John's Church, known locally as Johanneskirken, has 1250 seats, making it the largest church in Bergen. It was built in the 1890s in the Gothic Revival Style and is an essential part of any architecture tour of the city. The main spire has four stair towers and a carillon and is the highest tower in Bergen at an impressive 61 meters. 

Experience the Heart of Vestkanten      

Get ready for a day to remember at Badeland Waterworld, Bergen's premier water park located at the center of Vestkanten. This is a destination that all ages will enjoy, kids and adults alike.

Things to do in Bergen | Bergen's Best in One List

With eight pools, water slides, Jacuzzis and an ice skating rink, this water park has indoor and outdoor attractions, so it's perfect in any weather. It's always a good time to hit the water.

Badeland is at the heart of Vestkanten, Norway's largest shopping and entertainment center, which includes more than 100 stores, several restaurants and cafes, a gym, curling and bowling facilities, and much more. It's the perfect place for some family fun in Bergen.

Tour the Amazing Gamlehaugen      

With a history dating back to the middle ages, the mansion called Gamlehaugen is the residence of the Norwegian Royal Family in Bergen. The architecture of the home borrows elements from 16th-century French castles as well as the high-towered Royal fortresses of Scotland. Gamlehaugen was designed by renowned architect Jens Zetlitz Monrad Kielland and is surrounded by a park-like landscape much like an English garden. 

Things to do in Bergen | Bergen's Best in One List

Gamlehaugen is owned by the state and at the disposal of the King of Norway, but that doesn't mean you can't visit. The grounds are open to the public and are often used as a spot for picnicking and sunbathing. You can also take a tour of the interior of the house during the summer months when the staterooms on the ground floor are open to the public.

Check out the Bergen Maritime Museum      

Experience the deep connection between Norway and the waters that surround it at the Bergen Maritime Museum. The museum presents the maritime history of Norway's seafaring culture from the earliest times right up to the modern day. Bergen's local roots are at the heart of the museum, but the collections represent cultures from throughout Norway. 

Things to do in Bergen | Bergen's Best in One List

The most amazing part of the Bergen Maritime Museum is its beautiful collection of Viking ship models. They are incredibly detailed, lifelike, and historically accurate, and help bring the distant past into the modern era. You will also see paintings, marine artifacts and a treasure trove of exhibits that include an extensive film and video collection. 

Visit Bergenhus Fortress      

Bergenhus Fortress stands to watch over the Port of Bergen, just as it has for centuries. Where once it deterred Norway's enemies, today it welcomes its visitors. Just footsteps away from where most Bergen cruise ships arrive at port, it is one of the most popular attractions in the city. 

Things to do in Bergen | Bergen's Best in One List

It is also one of the most beautiful. The main castle, Håkonshallen, is built of imposing stone and mortar. Like many of the buildings contained within the fortress, it dates back to the 1240s, builds under the reign of King Håkon Håkonsson. 

Bergenhus Fortress is one of the oldest and most well-preserved fortifications in Norway, and visiting it is an unforgettable experience. The fortress area is open to the public during scheduled hours, and you may wander among the ancient stone buildings at your leisure. Be sure to visit the Bergenhus Fortress Museum, which contains incredible displays and historical artifacts from throughout Bergen's history.

Get Wild at Akvariet i Bergen      

Akvariet i Bergen, the Bergen Aquarium, is filled with marvelous creatures and attractions that will give you a chance to reconnect with your wild side! You will see more than 50 different aquariums, both large and small, in which live some of the most amazing animals on earth. 

Things to do in Bergen | Bergen's Best in One List

Many fish, shellfish and other sea creatures from the waters of Norway call the aquarium home. But you will also see marine life from all over the world, from tropical aquariums to deep-sea fish and incredible creatures from the Arctic. You can even watch the crocodiles being fed, see the family of penguins, and get to meet creatures like the piranha, king crab, and many snakes and lizards. 

The Bergen Aquarium was considered to be the largest and most modern aquarium in Northern Europe when it opened its doors in 1960. It remains one of the premier wildlife attractions in Scandinavia. Akvariet i Bergen will fascinate visitors young and old alike.

Explore Torgallmenningen      

Spend some time in one of the most popular meeting places in Bergen – Torgallmenningen City Square. This centrally located street and square are closed to automobiles, making it a perfect place to explore on foot. It has been at the very heart of Bergen for centuries, and its wide-open space was originally intended as a fire break after Bergen was burned in the great fire of 1702.

Things to do in Bergen | Bergen's Best in One List

Today, Torgallmenningen is an ideal place to get a taste of Bergen's vibrant culture. The historic buildings all around the square are now filled with numerous shops, restaurants, cafes, and taverns. 

This large city square is where locals come to meet old friends, and visitors come to make new ones. Concerts, festivals, and other events take place in Torgallmenningen many times throughout the year, and you are guaranteed to see some of Bergen's incredible street performers on any given day. The square is also just footsteps from many of Bergen's other attractions, like Ole Bulls Plass and the famous Fish Market. 

From rich culture to wild scenery, Bergen is a beautiful city that offers endless possibilities. Check the availability today and learn more about planning your adventure in Bergen, Norway.