Bergen is a beautiful city nestled between seven mountains on the western coast of Norway. With a rich cultural history, Bergen is known for its picturesque landscapes, charming streets, and bustling waterfront. In this travel guide, we’ll take you through the top 10 places to visit and 5 places to avoid when exploring Bergen.
1. Bryggen Wharf
Bryggen Wharf is a UNESCO world heritage site and a must-see attraction when visiting Bergen. The colorful wooden buildings along the waterfront were once the center of the Hanseatic League’s trade operations in Norway. Visitors can wander through the narrow alleys and admire the unique architecture while also shopping in the various boutiques and galleries.
2. Fløyen Mountain
Fløyen Mountain offers incredible panoramic views of the city and surrounding landscape. Visitors can take the funicular to the top or opt for a scenic hike. At the summit, there are several hiking trails, a souvenir shop, and a café with outdoor seating. Watching the sunset from the top of Fløyen is a must-do experience.
3. Bergen Fish Market (Fisketorget)
Fisketorget is a bustling fish market in Bergen’s city center. Here visitors can sample fresh seafood, including the famous Norwegian salmon, crab, shrimp, and more. There are also vendors selling flowers, souvenirs, and handicrafts. The market is a lively and vibrant area with a great atmosphere.
4. Hanseatic Museum
The Hanseatic Museum is a fascinating glimpse into Bergen’s maritime history. The museum is housed in one of the old merchant buildings in Bryggen Wharf and details the life and times of the Hanseatic League in the city. The museum brings the past to life with its recreated interiors and interactive exhibits.
5. Bergenhus Fortress
Bergenhus Fortress is a medieval fortress built in the 13th century. Located in the heart of Bergen, this fortress served as the residence of the kings until the 1800s. Visitors can take a guided tour and learn about the fortress’s history and importance in protecting the city.
6. KODE Art Museums
KODE is a group of four art museums located in Bergen. The museums house an impressive collection of contemporary and historic art, including works by Edvard Munch and Pablo Picasso. Each of the museums has its own unique focus, so there is something for every art lover.
7. Gamle Bergen Museum
Gamle Bergen Museum is an open-air museum that recreates a historic Bergen neighborhood from the late 1800s. Visitors can explore the wooden houses, cobblestone streets, and gardens while experiencing the daily life of Bergen’s past inhabitants. The museum is a unique and immersive experience.
8. Bergen Aquarium
The Bergen Aquarium is a fun and educational stop for families visiting Bergen. The aquarium has a wide variety of marine life, including penguins, seals, and a large collection of fish. There are also interactive exhibits and activities for children, such as a touch tank and a sea lion show.
9. Ulriken Cable Car
The Ulriken Cable Car is the highest cable car in Scandinavia, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and fjords. Visitors can take the cable car to the top of Ulriken Mountain, where there are hiking trails, restaurants, and a souvenir shop. This is an unforgettable experience for nature lovers.
10. St. Mary’s Church
St. Mary’s Church is the oldest remaining building in Bergen, dating back to the 12th century. The church has undergone several renovations over the years, but it still retains its medieval charm. Visitors can admire the intricate stonework and stained glass windows, as well as attend mass or other religious services.
Places to Avoid
While Bergen is a safe and welcoming city, there are some areas and activities that visitors should avoid.
1. Mount Fløyen Night Hike
While hiking Fløyen during the day is a popular attraction, hiking it at night can be dangerous. The trails are often poorly lit, and the terrain can be uneven. It’s best to stick to hiking during the daylight hours.
2. Red Light District
Bergen’s red-light district, located near the city center, is an area to avoid, especially at night. There are several bars and clubs, but the area can be rowdy and potentially dangerous.
3. City Park at Night
The City Park is a popular destination during the day, but at night it can be a sketchy area. It’s best to avoid the park after dark and stick to well-lit public areas.
4. Hiking Alone
Hiking alone can be dangerous, especially in remote areas. It’s essential to inform someone of your plans and bring appropriate gear, such as a map, compass, and whistle.
5. Taxis without Meters
Some taxis in Bergen do not have meters, and visitors should avoid these taxis as they can overcharge you for rides. It’s best to take a taxi with a meter or take public transportation.
In conclusion, Bergen is a beautiful and charming city that offers something for everyone. With its rich history, stunning landscapes, and lively atmosphere, it’s no wonder Bergen is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Norway.