It is hard to imagine a place that can still look idyllic when it experiences 270 days of rain a year – a common fact found in most Bergen travel guides.
Although an umbrella is essential, it certainly won’t shade Bergen’s unique charm, atmosphere and natural wonders.
Located within the shadows of seven mountains and seven fjords on Norway’s southwestern coast, Bergen is a charming and compact maritime city saturated by spellbinding natural landscape. As Norway’s second largest city it offers a kaleidoscope of activities, a treasure trove praised by adventurers, photographers and historians.
Travel back in time.
As a thin fishbone shaped country, the sea has an inescapable presence within Norway. Arriving by sea into Bergen, you are faced with the picturesque UNESCO site of Bryggen, Bergen’s ancient trading wharf. A quaint reminder of the towns’ importance as a historic trading empire from the 14th to the 16th century, this maze of vividly painted buildings, which lean at a slight angle was once crammed full with codfish and is now filled with galleries, souvenir shops, boutiques and quirky bars at every turn.
The pedestrianized open space is ideal for having a drink outside to watch the world go by. Wandering around the cobbled streets there is a powerful sense of history, Bergen was founded in 1070 although since then there have been many fires, the rebuilding in the 1700s has preserved this traditional wooden structure. Admire the architecture and the picturesque timber-clad houses through swerving between the shadowy alleyways amongst the 61 buildings within the area. This is a truly enchanting quarter within Bergen.
Views from above.
Looking 320 metres down on Bergen, you can see the clear fjord water stretching out for miles lined with the colorful Bryggen and surrounded by Norway’s dramatic and mountainous spine. Picturesque is a word commonly used to describe Bergen and the panoramic view from the top of Mount Floyen perfectly represents this. The advantage of Bergen having so many rainy days means plenty of lush woodland; you can get to the top through a wooded walk up or take the Floibanen funicular. A 360-degree view of Bergen city, still lakes, rugged mountains, fjord after fjord dramatically cut into the rocks and woodland which is like no other. Back at sea level, head to one of Bergen’s newest drinking hangouts, the top floor of the Zachariasbryggen building. With no cocktail menu, order your personalised taste preference and soak up the view over the wharf.
Taste of Bergen.
You wont be short of a culinary treat in Bergen, with a prime seafront location there is plenty on offer. Firstly within the heart of the city is the Fisketorget, serving up freshly caught seafood to the people of Bergen since 1276. With plenty of vendors each day there is a huge selection of salmon, lobster king crabs and even whale meat on offer. The best day to visit is on a Saturday, when the atmosphere is at its liveliest, buy some lunch and take a seat in the perfect people watching location to enjoy your fish. You won’t be short of great restaurants here either, for a taste of Norwegian fare head to the Bryggen Tracteursted. An informal yet authentic little restaurant situated at the back of the Bryggen, serving dishes that change regularly in a tapas form. Recommend the herring three ways and the coal fishcakes – one not to miss.
Cruise the fjords.
Perfectly located, Bergen is renowned as being the “gateway to the fjords,” with 7 fjords quite literally on its doorstep. You simply cannot visit Bergen – or even Norway – without cruising its fjords. With dramatic mountainous scenery surrounded by glass-like water, it is pure wilderness in its greatest form. There are multiple fjord cruising companies, which use Bergen as a base.