City Guide: Bergen
Bergen is not only the second biggest city in Norway, it’s also one of the most interesting tourist destinations in whole Europe. The city itself is incredibly charming and a great starting point to so more of Norway and its fjords.
If you are thinking about a trip to Norway, the first city which might come to your mind is Oslo. Fair enough as the capital is a nice enough and accessible place to visit. Nevertheless, I think that Bergen is way more beautiful and unique, even compared to other beautiful cities in Northern Europe like Copenhagen or Stockholm. In this city guide, I’ll explain what you can expect of visiting Bergen and why I think that it’s well worth it!
Bryggen & the historic Old Town of Bergen
When walking through Bergen, you’ll run into various historic buildings. Most of those are located in the cities old town, which can be found right in the centre of town.
Walking along Torgallmenningen, the main pedestrian street in Bergen, is a nice experience, too, but the more interesting places are located in the little streets by the harbor.
This is also where you can find one of the real highlights of Bergen, the historic Bryggen area.
This part of Bergen is known all over the world for its historic and colorful houses.
Not only are these just really beautiful, but you can also visit some and get an idea of how the city must have looked and felt like hundreds of years ago.
In this area, right by the water, there are also a couple more other interesting buildings.
Speaking of the harbour, walking around the water here and just admiring the scenery is really great.
There’s also a daily market, where you can buy fresh fish and seafood – highly recommended. Just a stone throw away from Bryggen, you can find the Bergenhus Fortress.
To me that sounded a bit more fancy than it really is. There are a few remainings of what must once have been an important defense structure.
However, today there’s not all that much interesting to see here, so I wouldn’t both visiting.
The Bergen Aquarium & the Nordnes District
Another area of Bergen that really made an impression on me is Nordnes, located on a pensinula, not far from the actual city center. Getting there involves passing the national theatre, which is worth having a look at.
It’s way less known than Bryggen and also not as colorful, but you can find very charming little streets with cute little houses here, too.
If you are looking for a more local experience, this is definitely an area of Bergen you should visit.
On the tip of the peninsula, you can also find Nordnesparken, where you can have a leisurely walk or just enjoy the views.
Also in the area is the aquarium of Bergen, which isn’t particularly large, but nice to visit.
There are penguins, sea lions, various fish and much more.
While not cheap, I’d say that visiting is worth it, especially when you are coming to Bergen with kids.
In any way, visiting Nordnes is totally worth it as it’s just a short walk away from the main touristic sights, but feels way more local and less touristic.
St. John’s Church & Lille Lungegårdsvannet
When you are walking through town, you’ll realize that there’s a church overlooking town, that’s St. John’s Church at the end of Torgallmenningen.
It’s not like an incredibly impressive church, but you can enjoy a nice view from here. When you’ve walked here, you should also go to Lille Lungegårdsvannet, which is a lake located in the middle of town.
Around it, there are quite a few museums and other noteworthy buildings.
I personally also very much enjoyed the Music Pavilion with the Telegraph Building behind it.
While this area is no must visit, it’s close to the city center and quite nice for a walk around the lake.
Floibanen, Floyen & Hiking in Bergen
One of my personal highlights of visiting Bergen was taking the Floibanen. The station for the funicular can be found right next to Bryggen, making it easily accessible.
The ride up the mountain is scenic and allows for great views of town.
However, upon arrival and getting to the view point, you’ll definitely be sold. If the weather is great, there’s hardly a better place I could imagine.
The downside, obviously, is the crowding with many people being around.
However, when you get a little further away from the main view point, you can still enjoy a nice view of town, while not being among hundreds of other people.
Not far from the main view point, there’s also a cute little petting zoo with goats roaming around.
While you can also take the funicular back to town, I’d recommend hiking.
There are really nice paths down to town and it takes less than an hour if you are quick.
The views while walking a really nice and it’s great to breath fresh air in Norway.
We went down to Skansen, another really nice and scenic part of Bergen.
Regardless of what way you do it, visiting Floyen is a must when in Bergen, in my opinion!
Overall impressions of Bergen
Bergen is a real highlight in my opinion and maybe one of the nicest cities to visit in whole Europe. There’s history, there are nice restaurants and cafés and there are just so many beautiful areas of town. All this is complemented by brilliant views, an incredible scenery and tons of possible activites in the area. If there’s a place you have to visit in Northern Europe, it’s Bergen!
Do you have any questions about Bergen? Feel free to ask or share your impressions in the comments!