Picturesque Bergen, the second largest city in Norway, is not only surrounded by fjords and mountains, but also European City of Culture and World Heritage City. Because of this, Bergen offers world-class culture and experiences. Nestled between mountains and fjords with many urban attractions, Bergen is worth visiting all year round: beautiful mystical fjords, colorful houses in the Hanseatic Quarter, innovative and local gastronomy and numerous museums. Only the rain spoils one or the other day in the charming city for tourists.
At a glance
Bergen offers a variety of different attractions, but here are the most important ones:
- Visit the famous fish market and taste and enjoy Norwegian seafood
- Stroll through the old town (Bryggen) with the colorful wooden houses and the narrow streets
- Climb one of the seven mountains that surround mountains and enjoy the view
- Drive through one of the numerous fjords, which are located around Bergen
With the Bergen Card (can be bought from the tourist information at the fish market or at the airport) there are numerous discounts on attractions, activities, entertainment, transport, shopping, parking, food and drink. The card is available from 24h (300 NOK – 31€) to 96h (540 NOK – 56€). At the moment, however, the mountain card is not worthwhile because the savings – especially in summer – are too small.
The old town and Bryggen
Bryggen (the Hanseatic Quarter) is considered one of the main attractions in Bergen and is the de facto old town of the Norwegian port city. After a big fire, Bryggen was rebuilt and is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Fish Market, the Bergenhus Fortress and the numerous cafes, restaurants and shops along the quay are among the attractions in the area. Anyone looking for traditional or unique handicrafts will also find what they are looking for in Bryggen. The Clarion Collections Tower offers a good view.
Strolling through this charming neighborhood will take you back in time. Enjoy one of the numerous cozy cafés and the many small boutiques. The Hansemuseum, one of the oldest buildings in Bergen, is also in the middle of the district. It is perfectly preserved and still has the classic creaky wooden floor.
Fish market and culinary highlights in Bergen
The Bergen Fish Market is not only one of the most visited markets in Norway, but also one of the most famous. In addition to fish and seafood, fruit and vegetables are also available there. The fish market is right in the heart of the city at the end of the fjord and close to the Bryggen area.
The indoor fish market is open all year round, while the outdoor market only offers the goods in summer. Near the fish market is also the central beautiful market square with the Ludvig Holberg statue.
Mountainous views around Bergen
The seven mountains around Bergen are almost considered a cultural asset of the Norwegian city. With a fantastic view of the city, the fjord and the sea, at least one mountain should be climbed. The Ulriken cable car or the Fløibanen funicular are used as ascent aids. In the summer months you can also hike between the mountains.
The most spectacular and fastest way to Mountain Fløyen is to take the funicular to the top. From there, the spectacular and fantastic view over mountains, the fjords and the sea can be admired. Numerous hiking trails and nature trails as well as a troll forest invite you to explore the region. The summit is just over 320 meters above sea level and can alternatively be climbed on foot. The ascent takes about an hour, while the descent takes 45 minutes.
At the summit there is also a café with fresh delicacies, ice cream, drinks and souvenirs. A special feature is the Norwegian Svele, these are sweet pancakes. You can also visit the lake Skomakerdiket, which is about 10 minutes from the mountain station. On the way you can meet the goats “Fløyenguttene”. Particularly beautiful photos can be taken at sunset.
The funicular ride (every 15 minutes) takes 6 minutes and costs NOK 150 (€16) return or NOK 75 (€8) one way. The valley station of the railway is very close to the center and can be reached in a few minutes. The hike (Vidden Trail) from Mount Fløyen to Mount Ulriken takes five hours.
If you are looking for a spectacular view of Bergen, you can also climb the 550 meter high mountain peak Blåmann. It can be reached in less than an hour from the top station of the funicular and offers a spectacular view of the city.
An alternative to Fløyen is the highest of the seven mountains around Bergen, Ulriken. These almost 650 meters can be climbed using the Ulriken cable car. From the top there is a wonderful and dreamlike view over Bergen, the mountains, the archipelago and fjords and the sea. Also on the summit is the Skyskraperen Restaurant, known for local and fresh ingredients.
The valley station of the cable car can be reached by car or by bus (10-minute walk). The price is NOK 195 (€21) one way and NOK 345 (€36) return.
The hiking trail on the Stoltzekleiven is considered one of the most popular hiking trails – but also steep. The path leads to Mountain Sandviksfjellet. You will be rewarded with a breathtaking view over the Sandviken district with its fish market and the Stadtfjord Byfjorden. From the highest point you can hike to Fløyen.
Fjords in Norway and Bergen
Anyone traveling in Norway must have visited the splendor of the fjords. Contrasting landscapes, mountains, water and magnificent buildings alternate and create an impressive spectacle. For this reason, Bergen is also considered the fjord capital of Norway, nestled between two of the largest fjords, the Hardangerfjord and the Sognefjord. A windproof jacket should not be forgotten all year round.
A beautiful fjord can be visited by a three hour cruise through Osterfjord. The spectacular fjord with the towering mountains and colorful villages reaches to the town of Modalen.
The Hardangerfjord is perfect for one of the most beautiful day trips in Norway. The second largest fjord is characterized by a rugged landscape and breathtaking views.
More attractions in Bergen
In this section you will find other attractions of Bergen that are worth visiting.
One of the best preserved and oldest castles in Norway is the Fortress in Bergen, Bergenhus for short, from the year 1240. It is enthroned at the harbor entrance and is intended to protect the inhabitants of Bergen. Today only the medieval hall (Håkons Hall) and the defense tower have been preserved. Both can be visited or climbed. Entry (Bergen City Museum) costs 120 NOK (13€).
St. Mary’s Church is located at the end of the Bryggen district and is said to be the oldest building (1140) in Bergen. Entry costs 70 NOK (8€).
The largest church in Bergen is the Neo-Gothic style St. John’s Church. The interior features beautiful frescoes and the neighborhood around the church lets you learn more about local life in Bergen. With its height, the church is also one of the highest points in the city. In contrast to the Marienkirche, entry to this church is free.
Opposite Bryggen is the Kai Strandgaten with numerous small designer boutiques and larger department stores. Scandinavian design in a modern way can be purchased here.
Magic Ice Bar
With the handmade ice bar, the winter wonderland dream in Bergen becomes perfect even in the summer months. Cool cocktails, ice sculptures and works of art can be admired and tasted in this bar. Due to the transience of water, the bar changes slightly from week to week.
Gingerbread Town (Pepperkakebyen)
In winter, a visit to the gingerbread town “Pepperkakebyen” should not be missed. Thousands of gingerbread constructions can be viewed.