Bergen, Norway: Where Majestic Fjords Meet a Vibrant Cityscape!
Bergen, located on the southwestern coast of Norway, is a city steeped in history and natural beauty. Known as the “Gateway to the Fjords,” Bergen boasts stunning landscapes of mountains, fjords, and islands, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. With a history dating back to the Middle Ages, Bergen is also home to charming neighborhoods, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and museums that showcase the city’s cultural and maritime heritage. As Norway’s second-largest city, Bergen is a vibrant hub of art, music, and cuisine, making it a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Norway.
In this article I will share the best ways to get around Bergen, some amazing Bergen road trips, my favorite restaurants and hotels, as well as the top things to see and do while strolling the city.
Best way to get around Bergen:
Bergen is a compact and walkable city, but if you need to get around more quickly or if you want to explore the surrounding area, there are several transportation options available:
- Walking: Many of the top attractions are located within walking distance of each other, making it easy to explore the city on foot.
- Public transportation: The city has an efficient and reliable public transportation system, which includes buses and light rail. You can purchase tickets at kiosks or using the Skyss mobile app.
- Taxis: Taxis are readily available in Bergen, and you can either hail one on the street or call a taxi company.
- Bicycles: Bergen has a public bike-sharing system called the Bysykkel, which allows you to rent a bicycle at various locations throughout the city.
- Car rental: If you want to explore the surrounding area, you can rent a car at the airport or in the city center.
- Fjord tours: To explore the fjords around the city, you can take a guided boat tour.
Bergen Road Trips
Bergen is surrounded by stunning natural beauty, and there are several nearby road trips that you can take to explore the fjords, mountains, and coastlines of western Norway. Here are some of the best road trips from Bergen:
- Hardangerfjord: Drive along the scenic Hardangerfjord, Norway’s second-longest fjord, and stop at charming villages, waterfalls, and fruit orchards along the way.
- Sognefjord: Take a road trip to Sognefjord, Norway’s longest and deepest fjord, and explore the picturesque villages and mountains along the way.
- Flåm: Drive through winding mountain roads to the village of Flåm, located on the banks of the Aurlandsfjord. From there, you can take a scenic train ride on the Flåm Railway, which is considered one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world.
- Atlantic Road: Take a Bergen road trip to the Atlantic Road, a dramatic stretch of road that runs across several small islands and bridges, offering breathtaking views of the ocean and coastal landscape.
- Geirangerfjord: Drive to Geirangerfjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Norway’s most iconic fjords, and take a boat tour to see the towering waterfalls and stunning landscapes.
- Trollstigen: Drive to the Trollstigen mountain road, a winding and steep road that offers incredible views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
Note: Some of these road trips may require ferries or toll roads, so make sure to plan accordingly and check the road conditions before starting your journey.
Here are some of the top things to see and do in Bergen:
- Bryggen: Explore the historic Hanseatic Wharf, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and learn about the city’s rich trading history.
- Fløyen: Take a scenic funicular ride up Mount Fløyen for panoramic views of the city and the surrounding fjords.
- Fish Market: Visit the lively outdoor Fish Market, where you can sample local seafood and shop for souvenirs.
- Bergenhus Fortress: Explore the historic fortress, which dates back to the 13th century, and visit the Rosenkrantz Tower and Haakon’s Hall.
- Edvard Grieg’s home: Visit the former home of Norway’s most famous composer, Edvard Grieg, and see his piano and other personal belongings.
- Troldhaugen: Explore the beautiful gardens and visit the museum dedicated to Edvard Grieg at his former home on the outskirts of the city.
- Bergen Aquarium: Get up close with a variety of marine life at the Bergen Aquarium, including penguins, seals, and fish from Norway’s fjords.
- Fjord tours: Take a boat tour of the surrounding fjords, including the famous Sognefjord, Norway’s longest and deepest fjord.
- St. Mary’s Church: Visit the oldest building in Bergen, a beautiful stone church that dates back to the 12th century.
- Leprosy Museum: Learn about the history of leprosy in Norway and visit the former leprosy hospital, now a museum dedicated to the disease and its treatment.
Where to Eat and Sleep
- Lysverket – This modern Nordic restaurant is located in the KODE art museum, and offers creative dishes using local ingredients. The restaurant has won several awards and is known for its exceptional service.
- Cornelius Sjømatrestaurant – This seafood restaurant is located on a small island just outside Bergen, and offers stunning views of the fjord. The restaurant serves fresh seafood dishes, including a famous “Shellfish Platter”, and is accessible by boat or ferry.
- Colonialen – This restaurant offers a mix of Norwegian and French cuisine, and is located in a historic building in the city center. The menu changes regularly, but always features fresh and high-quality ingredients.
- Bryggeloftet & Stuene – This traditional Norwegian restaurant is located in the historic Bryggen area of Bergen, and offers classic dishes such as “Raspeballer” (potato dumplings) and “Fårikål” (lamb and cabbage stew).
- Red Sun Restaurant & Bar is a contemporary Asian fusion restaurant that offers a mix of Japanese, Chinese, and Thai-inspired dishes. The restaurant has a stylish and modern decor, and the menu includes sushi, sashimi, dim sum, and other Asian dishes. Customers rave about the high-quality ingredients and creative flavor combinations. Red Sun also has a bar area that serves cocktails, beer, and sake.
- Altona Vinbar & Kitchen is a cozy and intimate restaurant located in a historic building in the city center. The restaurant specializes in Scandinavian cuisine, using local and seasonal ingredients. The menu includes dishes such as salmon, lamb, and arctic char, as well as vegetarian and vegan options. The restaurant also has a great selection of wines, which customers can try by the glass or bottle.
- Hotel Norge by Scandic – Located in the heart of Bergen, this hotel offers stylish and comfortable rooms, a rooftop bar with stunning views, and a great location close to many of the city’s top attractions. BTW, the breakfast buffet is outstanding.
- Clarion Collection Hotel Havnekontoret – This historic hotel is located in the Bryggen area of Bergen, and offers beautifully decorated rooms, a delicious breakfast buffet, and a rooftop terrace with panoramic views of the city.
- Thon Hotel Rosenkrantz – This stylish and modern hotel is located in the city center, and features comfortable rooms, a fitness center, and a rooftop terrace with great views of Bergen.
- Grand Hotel Terminus – This historic hotel is located near the train station, and offers elegant rooms with high ceilings and antique furnishings, as well as an on-site restaurant and bar.
Viking Ocean Cruises to Norway
If you are interested in visiting Bergen and exploring this incredible part of western Norway, Viking Ocean Cruises has many cruises in-or-out of the Bergen port. Many of their itineraries include stops in Bergen, giving you the opportunity to explore the city and take a road trip to nearby attractions. Viking also offer guided excursions to the surrounding fjords, mountains, and villages, allowing you to experience the beauty and culture of Norway in a hassle-free way. With their luxurious ships and exceptional service, Viking provides a comfortable and enjoyable way to explore this stunning part of the world. Viking is how I got introduced to Bergen and I cannot recommend them highly enough.
Bergen is a charming and picturesque city, known for its scenic beauty and rich history. There are plenty of things to see and do within the city, but if you have the time, a Bergen road trip is a must! Whether you want to explore the fjords, mountains, or coastline of western Norway, there are plenty of stunning natural landscapes and charming villages to discover. A road trip from Bergen allows you the flexibility to explore at your own pace, take in the breathtaking scenery, and experience the unique culture and way of life in this beautiful country.
If you have any questions about visiting Bergen, leave a comment below. So, until next time, we’ll see ya on the road…