WHAT TO DO IN BERGEN?
With a distinguished sharp "R" when they speak, the people of Bergen proudly state that they are from the second largest city in Norway. Bergen used to be the capital of Norway, and some, especially those from Bergen, would state that Bergen should be the capital still. Although this was more than 700 years ago, the citizens of Bergen have accumulated a great pride in being a "Bergenser".
Today, Bergen is a lively town primarily known for its beautiful Hanseatic harbor "Bryggen". It is the perfect hub for exploring the Norwegian Fjords. Here you can read our tips for what you should do while staying in Bergen!
Hike between the Mount Ulriken and Mount Fløyen
Almost all cities of a certain size have this one thing that you must do. Many people would say that "Bryggen" (mentioned later in the article) is Bergen's hallmark. However, a hikers cup of tea would be the trek between Mount Ulriken and Mount Fløyen. This trip starts at either the Ulriken Cable Car or Fløibanen funicular. This five hour hike can start or end at either of these locations. Norway is known to be close to nature, and the hike among Byfjellene (the city mountains) are a perfect example.
On a clear day, you will have a really nice panoramic view of Bergen. The trails are quite good, but having a guide with you will make your hiking experience even more memorable.
Photo: Robin Strand
Lysøen - The home of the national identifier Ole Bull
Most people in Norway today, have lived their entire life in peace. But, it is still just a little more than 100 years ago Norway became independent from Sweden and Denmark. Well, the Germans had us for five years during the 40's, but besides that, it is the in 1905 we recognize that Norway became independent. To complicate it a bit further, our constitution was signed in 1814. As you might understand by now, it took us a while to get rid of our neighbors.
Within the period between 1814 and 1905 Norwegians struggled to build up their national identity. This is where Ole Bull becomes known and important. With a godlike touch, Ole Bull played his violin throughout the biggest concert halls in all of Europe. It is said, that the man who mentored Edvard Grieg has composed close to 70 works. His beautiful house has never been changed since his death in 1880, and a visit to Lysøen should be on every culture persons Bergen-program.
Bryggen- Hanseatic Warf
Bryggen is one of Norway's most visited sights for travelers. The houses and buildings in this scenic area were the first to be constructed in Bergen, and holds a rich cultural and historical significance in the city. Bryggen has been ravaged by fires throughout history, but in 1702 there was a massive fire that reduced the city to ashes. Since it's destruction, Bryggen has been rebuilt on the foundations of this historical area from as far back as the 12th century. This port dominated trade for almost 400 years. The historical significance and a glimpse into the past designated Bryggen as an UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Bergen itself on as a World Heritage City.
Taking time to lose yourself in the narrow alleyways and old cobblestone roads can expose you to hidden shops, restaurants and allow you to walk back in time, seeing the history reveal itself with each step. Today, Bryggen holds popular attractions in the main harbor, from the Fishmarket to the Bergenhus Fortress. There are limitless cute cafes, restaurants and shops to explore, including some timeless and traditional Norwegian crafts.
The Hanseatic Museum and Schøtstuene - Museum Vest
This iconic museum tells the story of how the local merchants and fishermen lived and traded in Bergen for 400 years. Visit the museum to find out about this important period in the city’s history and the stories of some of the people who lived there.
Bergen Guide Service offers excellent guided city tours for travelers to learn about the history, and discover the secret alcoves hidden throughout the city.
Overall, Bergen is a lovely place to spend a few days on your travels to Norway. With easy access to hiking, fjord tours, shops and incredible Norwegian food and history. It is a must-visit stop on your journey to Norway!