5 Must Do Things in Bergen
01 June, 2016
Bergen’s history goes back 900 years. In all that time it has been characterised by the hospitality of its people towards visitors. Nowadays it is known for being the true cultural hub of Norway. In fact, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Ever since the intrepid King Olav Kyrre entered the harbour and founded the city in 1070, Bergen has attracted people from all over the world. Some came and then left, while others chose to make Bergen their home. Bergensers have traditionally travelled overseas a lot; indeed, their flair for trading has always earned them long-standing ties with other lands, while drawing a number of different cultures to the city over the centuries. Hence, it was once Norway’s most important city, its first capital and seat of the royal family. The old city, Bryggen, lies just twelve kilometres from the airport – well, a short walk away!
Cruising among Fjords and Mountains
Enjoy an all-encompassing experience by going on a cruise among the fjords, mountains and waterfalls. It lasts three hours and takes you to Osterfjord and the picturesque Mostraumen, a spot so narrow the ships can hardly get through the sound. The cruise starts at Zachariasbryggen, next to the Fish Market. The first stretch of the trip affords nice views of the city of Bergen. You then sail under the Nordhordalandsbrua and on the Osterfjord. As you approach Mostraumen, the fjord begins to narrow and it is thrilling to find yourself hemmed in beneath steep mountains. The route also takes you past several waterfalls and you can even collect some water from them to drink. Have your smartphone cam ready, as it is easy to spot seals, goats and eagles during the crossing. More information here.
Strolling Along the Quayside
The old quayside saw its period of splendour in the 13th century when the erstwhile confederation of merchant cities in the north of Germany, set up to promote trade between the country’s major cities, opened one of its four European kontors here. Its architectural design is unique and is perhaps one of the images of Norway that most springs to mind. Bergen grew up around its colourful harbour which was the hub of trade, navigation and the craft industry.
The Fish Market
Bergen’s picturesque Fish Market is one of Norway’s most widely visited open-air markets. Fruit, vegetables and souvenirs are also sold here, but its mainstay is clearly the sale of fish. It is magnificently sited in the heart of the city, among the fjords and Bergen’s seven mountains. In the summer season (from 1 May to 30 September), the market opens from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day of the week. In winter, however, it only opens on Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Children relish a visit to this market as live shellfish is displayed in large fish tanks.
The best views of Bergen are to be had by taking the Fløibanen funicular railway which takes just 8 minutes to run up Mt Fløyen. Located on the summit is a stunning park with numerous attractions for children. Another option is to go for a walk on the top of the mountain. The funicular is one of Norway’s most famous draws. The ride begins in the city centre, just 150 metres from the Fish Market and the Bryggen. Mt Fløyen is about 320 metres above sea level and atop it you can soak up the fine views and take in the urban landscape in detail, as well as panoramic vistas of the sea and fjords of Bergen.
Edvard Grieg Museum
The current Edvard Grieg Museum was the famous composer’s home for 22 years, and it was in this quaint cabin set in a garden that he composed many of his most emblematic works. The museum is housed in Bergen’s Troldhaugen which, in addition to operating as a museum, also hosts exhibitions related to the creator of the famous Piano Concerto in A minor. It also features a café and a small concert hall which includes a cabin dating from 1885.
Bergen has a lot to offer, whether in the city proper or its surrounding area. We can recommend a visit to Stegastein, a viewpoint set 30 metres above the fjord and 650 metres above sea level, which affords some incredible views! Hurry and discover all this now – check out our flights here.
Images by Bergen Tourist, Sverre Hjornevik, Bergen Reiselivstag, Teje Rakke and Dag Fosse
01 June, 2016