Why you should visit Bergen
Norway is a rugged, mountainous country, and all the majorly populated centres are either located by the sea or wrapped around the shores of fjords, as is the case with Oslo. This makes them excellent places to visit by ship, and Bergen is the one we’re focusing on here.
Where is Bergen?
Located on the West of Norway, about a sixth of the way up the coastline, which puts it at roughly the same latitude as the Shetland Islands. Bergen weather is probably what you’d expect – generally ranging from about –10 °C in winter to about 20 °C in the summer, with a good chance of snow in the cooler months. So if you’re looking for a new adventure in a beautiful European city, here are seven fantastic things to do in Bergen.
Bergen is known as ‘the city of seven mountains’ and with just a glance at its glorious backdrop you’ll see why. There are also astonishing views of the city, the fjord and the sea that can be enjoyed on the Fløibanen Funicular railway up Mount Fløyen, or on a cable car to the summit of Mount Ulriken, the highest of them all. There’s incredible scope for relaxing walks or hikes amongst the forested terrain too.
If you’re an art and culture lover, you’ll never be wondering what to do in bergen. Surrounding the tranquil, picturesque Lille Lungegård Lake, you’ll find four compelling art galleries, each with its own unique architectural style and focus. The inspiring exhibits range from a collection of adorned domestic objects to masterpieces from Edvard Munch. You’ll also find works by landscape painter Nikolai Astrup, who was born in Kalvåg, 150 km North of Bergen, most notably his drawings depicting Norway’s stunning fjordland scenery.
History & Heritage
While many make a beeline for Bryggen Wharf – which is no surprise given its attractive appearance and symbolic status – there are plenty of other fascinating reminders of yesteryear well worth a visit. Look out for Viking ships at the Sjøfartsmuseet (Maritime Museum), 800-year-old foundations at the Bryggens Museum, and the legendary fiskeskrue at the Hanseatic Museum – this fish press once processed half a million kilos of fish a month!
Not only is the city proclaimed ‘Gateway to the Fjords’ – as the breathtaking Hardangerfjord is within reach – it’s also home to Bergen Akvariet (aquarium), which can be easily reached on foot, ferry or bus. Across 70 indoor tanks, and a large outdoor tank too, you’ll find seals, penguins, snakes and even crocodiles among its globe-spanning collection.
Bergen Fish Market
A short walk from Bryggen takes you to the famous, lively outdoor fish market, a definite ‘must-visit’ during your stay. Few places can match it for atmosphere, and its charming location in the heart of the city, and alongside the harbour, further extends its appeal. You’ll find fruit, vegetables, handicrafts and souvenirs here too.
Sightseeing, Flightseeing and more
There are a few ways to really capture the unique city life in Bergen, including by boat, by bus, by sightseeing train, by seaplane or even by helicopter! Or, if you’d prefer, you can discover the flourishing local food and coffee scene just as easily on foot. Bergen is also a great starting point for fjord tours.
You’ll be enchanted and educated in equal measure at Troldhaugen. This former home of composer Edvard Grieg is now a museum that features a concert hall and key artefacts, including his very own Steinway piano. Alternatively, try Ole Bull’s Villa on Lysøen (the Island of Light). Open to the public in the summer months, the former residence of the violin virtuoso is just as rewarding from the outside – it offers 13 km of leisurely strolls through lush scenery. Its nickname is ‘Little Alhambra’, having taken architectural inspiration from Granada’s Moorish masterpiece.
This fascinating city is featured in a fantastic selection of Fred. Olsen's Norwegian Fjords cruises, journeys that are hand-crafted to show you the very best of our breathtaking homeland on board our smaller ships. So why not explore this incredible city The Olsen Way.