Far views from Bryggen. One of the most iconic things to see during your Bergen trip. It consists of many colorful buildings one next to another
Destinations,  Europe,  Norway

The BEST Things to Do on your Bergen Trip

The charming city of Bergen is best known for its picturesque harbor, colorful wooden houses, and stunning natural scenery. With so much to see and do, planning a trip to Bergen can be overwhelming.

But fear not! I have compiled a list of the top things I did during my Bergen trip that will possibly make your visit unforgettable, too. From hiking to exploring historic sites, this beautiful city has something for everyone.

A Little Bit Of History

The bergen fish market in the evening
The Bergen fish market

Bergen, Norway’s second-largest city, was founded by King Olav Kyrre in 1070 AD, and was the capital of Norway for several centuries. Its strategic location on the west coast made it an important center for trade, particularly during the Hanseatic era.

During the 14th century, German merchants dominated Bergen’s trade, establishing a foreign trading post at Bryggen. The iconic wooden buildings of Bryggen, which still stand today, were built during this period. 

The 17th century brought a decline in Bergen’s economic importance due to wars and fires. However, it remained Norway’s largest city until the 1830s, when it was surpassed by Oslo. Despite this, Bergen continued to be an important cultural center, producing notable figures in the arts and sciences.

In the 20th century, Bergen was occupied by Nazi Germany during World War II. The city was a resistance hub, with many citizens actively opposing the occupation. Post-war, Bergen experienced rapid growth and development, transforming into the cosmopolitan city it is today.

Is Bergen Safe to Visit?

Bergen enjoys a reputation for being one of the safest cities to visit, both in Norway and in Europe as a whole. However, remember that even in the safest cities, it’s always important to remain alert and conscious of your surroundings.

Just like any other place in the world, Bergen does have isolated cases of petty theft and pickpocketing. The areas around the central railway station and the bus station could see these minor crimes, especially during evening hours. 

That said, don’t let this deter you! The locals here are generally incredibly warm and helpful. They pride themselves on their city’s safety features. 

In terms of health and sanitation, Bergen is top-notch. The city’s healthcare facilities are commendable, with no major health issues reported by tourists. It’s worth noting that Bergen also has fresh, clean air, thanks to its coastal location and minimal pollution levels. 

One of the first things that has to come to your mind when planning a trip is insurance.

Safetywing’s Nomad Insurance is one of the best options available out there. With a maximum coverage of 365 days, they are a great option whether you are a Nomad or not! They offer very low rates, but excellent coverage and immediate support (in a few minutes!). The best part? Nomad Insurance can be purchased even if you have left your home country already.

Lastly, they also cover extreme sports, something that can come in very handy if you are an adventurous soul.

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What are the best time of the Year to visit Bergen?

The sweet spot to visiting Bergen, I’ve found, is between May and August. The summer months in Bergen offer pleasant temperatures, and many more hours of daylight. I also believe that these are the months when Bergen truly comes aliv with energy and activities. 

If you’re a lover of the unconventional though, visiting Bergen during winter could be a unique experience. The city turns into a winter paradise, as it gets covered with snow. Undeniably, the vibe of exploring a snowy city (that also offers mountain activities) is much better. However, the extremely low temperature might take much of the joy away.

How many days should I dedicate to my Bergen Trip?

While the number of days you need to spend in Bergen largely depends on your interests and travel pace, I would recommend you to allocate at least three to four days. This allows enough time to explore the city’s main attractions, such as the Bryggen Hanseatic Wharf, the Fløibanen funicular, and the Fish Market, without feeling rushed.

Dont forget, Bergen is also the gateway to the fjords of Norway, and many visitors choose to spend additional time taking day trips to these natural wonders. If you plan to include a fjord tour, such as to the Sognefjord or Hardangerfjord, you may want to extend your stay to five or six days. This will give you plenty of time to enjoy the city and its surrounding landscapes.

However, if you’re a history or culture enthusiast and wish to dive deeper into Bergen’s museums, art galleries, and historic sites, you might want to consider staying for a week. 

So, as you can see, there is no correct answer to this question. The choice is yours!

Getting To Bergen

Bergen is well-connected and accessible by various modes of transport. If you’re planning to travel from abroad, the most convenient way is by air. Bergen Airport, Flesland, is the main international gateway to the city. It offers numerous direct flights from major European cities and several long-haul destinations. From the airport, you can take the light rail or a taxi to reach the city center.

Another popular way to reach Bergen is by train. The Bergen Railway line connects the city with Norway’s capital, Oslo. This scenic train journey, considered one of the most beautiful in the world, takes about seven hours, passing through beautiful landscapes of fjords, mountains, and waterfalls.

If you’re already in Norway or in a neighboring country, you might consider reaching Bergen by ferry. The city is a major cruise port, with regular services from the UK and Denmark. The Hurtigruten coastal ferry also stops at Bergen, offering an opportunity to explore Norway’s spectacular western coastline.

Lastly, for those who enjoy road trips, driving to Bergen can be an excellent choice. The city is well-connected by highways with other parts of Norway. Be prepared for a journey filled with amazing views, as Norwegian roads often wind through picturesque landscapes.

What are the best ways to get around Bergen?

A meal consisting of the "Notorious B.I.G." burger and the "garlucky" fries in the dirty vegan restaurant in Bergen, Norway
A meal at “Dirty Vegan”

Well, Bergen is a very easy city to move around. But let’s dive more into that.

Firstly, Bergen’s compact city center is best explored on foot. Most major attractions are within walking distance from each other, while the center is very pedestrian-friendly.

However, the city’s public transportation system, operated by Skyss, is also very efficient and extensive. It includes buses, trams, and even ferries, which can take you to different parts of the city and its surrounding areas. Tickets can be purchased at kiosks, online, or through the Skyss Ticket app. 

Lastly, for those who prefer cycling, Bergen City Bike offers a bike-sharing service. With stations spread across the city, you can easily pick up and drop off bikes as needed. Cycling can be a great way to cover more ground than walking, and Bergen has many bike-friendly routes.

Where To Stay In Bergen

While in Bergen, we stayed in Citybox Bergen Danmarksplass. The rooms were amazing, and the staff was always helpful. Their automatic check-in and check-out system was very convenient, as it allowed more freedom with time.

The hotel’s location was a bit far from the city center, but there was a nearby tram station, and their rates were some of the cheapest we found in the city. Overall, pros far outnumbered the cons, and I would choose them again for my next stay in Bergen.

Booking a hotel through our website earns us a small commission that helps us continue what we most love. This comes at no extra cost to you.

Can I take a fjord cruise in Bergen?

No Bergen Trip would be complete without a Fjord tour. Nothing beats the experience of witnessing the majestic Norwegian fjords from the deck of a comfortable boat. 

GetYourGuide is a phenomenal platform where you can book your fjord cruise easily and quickly. The best part? They offer a variety of cruises, each one reviewed by a huge number of customers that use the platform every day. May I suggest some stand-out options? 

First up is the Fjord cruise to Mostraumen. Over 3 hours, this trip will take you from Bergen’s port across deep fjords and through the narrow strait of Mostraumen to the village of Modalen. With only 380 residents, you’ll discover a peaceful calm in the area, completely surrounded by Norway’s natural beauty.

Next up is the Norway in a Nutshell tour. Showcasing the best of western Norway’s fjords, this full-day tour is the ultimate adventure for those of you who like to dive deep (not literally, of course!) into nature’s wild beauty. 

The Best Things To Do in Bergen

1. Visit Bryggen

The cozy wooden buildings of Bryggen from an alley inside

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is by far the most famous attraction of the city and one of the main things to do in Bergen! 

Bryggen is a series of Hanseatic commercial buildings lining the eastern side of the Vågen harbor in Bergen. It dates back to the 14th century and was once the center of Norway’s trading empire. 

It is famous for its colorful wooden buildings, now housing several shops, restaurants, and cafes. That is why it is a fantastic place to explore, get souvenirs, dine, or get lost inside.

Inside Bryggen, there is the Hanseatic Museum and Schøtstuene, which provides an in-depth look into the life and work of the Hanseatic merchants. The museum is housed in one of the old trade buildings and contains well-preserved interiors from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Another notable attraction within Bryggen is the Bryggen Tracteursted, a restaurant that serves traditional Norwegian cuisine in a historic setting. The restaurant is located in a building that dates back to 1708 and offers a unique dining experience.

Besides the historic and cultural experiences, Bryggen also offers a variety of shopping opportunities. The district is home to many independent boutiques and craft shops where you can find unique Norwegian design items, local handicrafts, and traditional knitwear. They are sure to herlp you make the most of your Bergen trip!

2. Take A Trip To Mount Fløyen

A stunning panoramic view of bergen from the top of mt. Floyen

Mt. Fløyen is one of the 7 mountains overseeing the city of Bergen. It is easily accessible by the Fløibanen funicular (operating since 1918!), taking visitors from the city center to the top of the mountain in just a few minutes. The one-way ticket costs 48 NOK, while a round-trip ticket costs 100 NOK.

Pro tip: Take a one-way ticket to get on top and then hike down on foot. It was a great thing to do, and I enjoyed hiking this scenic road a lot!

When you reach the top of Mount Fløyen, you will be greeted by stunning views of Bergen, the surrounding mountains, and the fjords!

The mountain is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. You can hike, bike, or walk along the many trails. There are also opportunities for fishing, picnicking, and birdwatching.

There are so many available activities that more than one visit may be needed! For me, this would rank as one of the Best things I did during my Bergen trip.

My favorite experience in Mt. Fløyen would definitely be kayaking in the lake. The best part is: It was completely free to do!

3. Visit The Fish Market

The Fish Market is a great place to experience local culture and try traditional Norwegian seafood dishes during your Bergen trip.

This bustling market is located in the heart of the city, and has been a central meeting place for merchants and fishermen since the 1200s. 

The market is open every day, and you can find a variety of fresh seafood such as salmon, cod, and king crab, as well as other local delicacies like reindeer or whale meat. The vendors are friendly and knowledgeable, and will happily explain the different types of fish and how they can be prepared.

Besides the fresh seafood stalls, the Fish Market also houses several restaurants where you can taste traditional Norwegian dishes. Cooked or raw, you’ll find something to satisfy your personal taste. Some of the popular dishes include fish soup, smoked salmon, and fish cakes.

Finally, the Fish Market is also a great place to buy souvenirs. Many stalls sell traditional Norwegian goods such as knitwear, leather goods, and local crafts. So, a visit to the Fish Market is also a shopping experience that allows you to take a piece of Norway home with you.

While I am not the biggest fan of seafood, I found the market to be very charming and I was more than happy to give it a go. It didn’t disappoint one bit!

4. Have A Vegan Feast At Dirty Vegan

Attention food lovers: This one is for you! Dirty Vegan is a plant-based restaurant with the best vegan fast food I’ve ever tried! Everything was fresh and delicious, and the atmosphere was unique! This one would be definitely one of the most alternative (and tasty) things to do in Bergen.

Are you a vegan looking for delicious plant-based options or a curious foodie looking to try something new? Then Dirty Vegan is definitely worth checking out.

You can find more information about this wonderful place on my separate guide. I promise, you won’t regret it!

5. Take A Trip To Trolltunga

What could anyone possibly say about this place? While it is not actually among the things to do in Bergen, it was one of the best hiking trips I have ever done and the main reason I visited Bergen.

Trolltunga is a stunning rock formation about 3 hours away from Bergen by car, so that it would require a separate day trip. I suggest arriving in Odda the night before so you can start your trip early the following day. You can read my guide to hiking Trolltunga here.

Final Thoughts

If your heart is seeking adventure, culture, or simply the peace of nature, Bergen seems to combine all of these elements in the most delightful manner. My Bergen trip was a really memorable one, and I hope to be able to transmit those wonderful feelings to you.

Ultimately, remember, travel is not just about seeing new places, it’s about living new experiences, and in Bergen, every moment is indeed, a new experience.

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