Travel to Bergen

Hanseviertel Bryggen, Bergen

Following on from the Norway post, this is a guide on how to travel to Bergen. Bergen is a quaint city near the North sea, surrounded by hills. The town centre itself is interesting to explore and has great architecture, a fish market, and many churches. The waterside is an especially lively place to spend time, especially at the bars during the summer. Additionally, Bergen is known for being a gateway to spectacular fjords and waterfalls. There are boats leaving directly from Bergen Harbour. And there are also fjords within reach via train and/or bus to Voss.

Festplassen, Bergen
Festplassen, Bergen
Bergen Market at sunset
Bergen Market at sunset
Beautiful view from Fløibanen - Bergstation
Beautiful view from Fløibanen – Bergstation

Highlights

  • Visit the stunning Norwegian fjords, easily accessed from Bergen. You can visit by boat directly from Bergen Harbour or near to Voss via bus, train and boat. I enjoyed the Norway in a Nutshell day tour from Bergen
  • Take the Fløibanen (cable car) from Bergen centre up to the hills. The views are beautiful and you can also find many hiking trails. If you have the time and energy, I would definitely recommend the scenic hikes. We once hiked from the Fløibanen – Bergstation to the Ulriken cablecar and it took us a few hours. We enjoyed the views and the peacefulness. I think we saw less than 10 other people during the entire hike.
  • Bryggens Museum to see the city’s history and artefacts
  • Walk around the old wooden shops of Hanseviertel Bryggen
  • The King Håkon’s Hall and Bergenhus Fortress
  • Rosenkrantztårnet tower
  • Bergen Kunsthall and KODE Museums- KODE3 has works by Edvard Munch
  • Grieghallen concert hall for classical music
  • Leprosy museum and St George’s hospital and church
  • Bergen Cathedral
  • Nykirken

Before you go

  • Be prepared for the weather. The winters are cold and even the summer evenings can be chilly
  • The days are incredibly long in the summer and short in the winter
  • If you get seasick, then bring or buy medication, as you will likely want to take boats to fully enjoy some highlights like the fjords
  • Alcohol is very expensive! There are also limited hours to buy it at a shop especially on the weekends
  • Food in restaurants is also quite expensive compared to London so I had a mixture of nice meals and quicker food to keep to a reasonable budget. Luckily there are some tasty snacks and great bakeries in Bergen
  • Interesting fact- public restrooms that require payment often accept credit cards. Some of them do not accept cash!
  • Most people speak English
  • Bring a good camera if you want to capture the best of the natural sights
  • Restaurants can sometimes close earlier than expected and stop serving food by 9PM so check the opening hours
Bus on ferry from Stavanger to Bergen
Bus on ferry from Stavanger to Bergen
The King Håkon's Hall, Bergen
The King Håkon’s Hall, Bergen
Leprosy Museum St. Jørgen's Hospital
Leprosy Museum St. Jørgen’s Hospital

Transport

  • Norwegian Airlines is a budget airline and has many flights to Norway from around Europe
  • I flew SAS from London and also KLM from Amsterdam
  • The internal trains in Norway are reliable and relatively quick, though they can be expensive
  • The bus system between cities is reliable and scenic. I took the Kystbussen from Stavanger to Bergen and the journey was about 5 hours including some ferries on the bus. The views were beautiful and I enjoyed the scenery.
  • Of course, a great way to see some natural beauty is on a boat, especially cruising through the fjords. One reliable company is Rodne Fjord Cruise. You can also take the scenic Flåmsbana railway to access the fjords near Voss
  • In the city centre, it is easy to get around by foot. If you like hiking then there is also a lot of opportunity for that nearby
  • The cable cars (Fløibanen) in Bergen are great for views or to start some of the hikes.

Accommodation

  • In Bergen, for my first trip I stayed in the Augustin Hotel, which is quite central and peaceful. I would definitely recommend it. For the next trips, I stayed in an AirBnB apartment, and then with a friend. In general, anywhere in the city centre is very safe and there are no bad areas.
  • As usual I would recommend a site such as Booking.com to look at reviews and locations to choose accommodation within your budget. If you want to have the convenience of a kitchen or more space then AirBnB is a good option. I say this especially since if you’re on a budget then it is usually cheaper and you can make some of your own food.
“The Homeless” - street art statue, Bergen
“The Homeless” – street art statue, Bergen
Bergen Cable Car Fløibanen - Bergstation
Bergen Cable Car Fløibanen – Bergstation
Rosenkrantztårnet Medieval Tower, Bergen
Rosenkrantztårnet Medieval Tower, Bergen
Seafood at Bergen Market
Seafood at Bergen Market
Dinner at Spisekroken
Dinner at Spisekroken
Cake from cafe in Gudvangen
Cake from cafe in Gudvangen

Food

Although I haven’t been yet, I have to recommend my friend Marco’s restaurant bar Agave! He managed another restaurant in the past with excellent cocktails and tasty food. Now I can’t wait to try this place with a Mexican theme the next time I visit Bergen!

One of my favourite restaurants in Bergen is Spisekroken. It is a fine dining restaurant with reasonable prices. The ingredients are fresh and the atmosphere is relaxed and cosy. I also appreciated the different flavours as the starter and dessert each had three different dishes.

Some other recommended restaurants include Nama for Japanese, Peppe’s Pizza, and Mandalay Sushi & Burmese

The Bergen market is full of seafood to buy ingredients but also to buy lunch. There are many options including seafood platters, sandwiches and fish and chips.

For quick Norwegian food, I would recommend the local hot dog (polse), which is like a frankfurter wrapped in a flatbread. Also the Danish chain Joe & the Juice serves delicious, healthy sandwiches and juices.

The bakeries are delicious and I liked Godt Brød Korskirken or Marken locations, and also Baker Brun.

Dinner at Spisekroken
Dinner at Spisekroken
Dinner at Spisekroken
Dinner at Spisekroken
The Norwegian hot dog (Polse)
The Norwegian hot dog (Polse)
On the fjord cruise from Bergen
On the fjord cruise from Bergen
Nærøyfjord
Nærøyfjord

FAQs

Q: Do I need a tour guide?

A: No but it may be useful to book a tour to visit the fjords as that makes it easier to get from place to place by a mix of bus, train and boat. It is easy to navigate around the city and on the nearby hiking trails.

Q: Do people speak English?

A: Yes most people speak English

Q: Is it a walkable city?

A: Yes the centre of Bergen is very compact and it is easy to walk around. You may want to take the cable car to the top of the hills, and then there is a lot more walking and hiking in nature to enjoy.

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