Top Tips for a Visit to Bergen
Nestled on Norway’s south western coast, Bergen is often referred to as the ‘Gateway to the Fjords’. It is the second largest city in Norway, and is surrounded by seven mountains on one side and the sea on the other.
It is an ideal base for a holiday in Norway. You can roam through living history in this modern city, before continuing on to explore the wildest and loveliest fjords of Norway. By Norwegian standards it is a large city, but it retains a small-town charm and feel, enhanced by the fact that the locals are fiercely proud of and celebrate its history and cultural traditions.
It offers something for everyone: culture vultures have a range of fascinating museums, art galleries and cultural events to enjoy; outdoor types have endless possibilities for expeditions by sea and in the surrounding hills; gourmands will enjoy the Nordic and ethnic cuisines found from the fish market street stalls up to the Michel starred restaurant. Everyone will appreciate the coffee shop culture in this lively and vibrant city.
Founded more than 900 years ago, Bergen has roots to the Viking Age and beyond. As one of the main offices of the Hanseatic League, Bergen was for several hundred years the centre of prosperous trade between Norway and the rest of Europe. Bryggen, (“The Hanseatic Wharf”) is the most obvious remnant from this time, and is today a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to many of the city’s restaurants, pubs, craft shops and historical museums.
Top 5 Things To Do in Bergen
Explore the Fjords
There are plenty of day tours from Bergen which will allow you to explore some of the most beautiful scenery on the planet. Norway in a Nutshell is one of the most popular day tours incorporating the Sognefjord (the longest fjord in Norway and the second longest in the world)and Project Travel incorporates this into many of their self-guided package holidays touring between Oslo and Bergen. Other fjords worth exploring include Geirangerfjord and the Nærøyfjord, the narrowest and best known of the many arms of the Sognefjord. It is perhaps the most outstanding natural attraction in Norway and is only 250 metres across at its narrowest – hence its name. UNESCO has included the Nærøyfjord and the Geirangerfjord in its famous World Heritage List. The fjords have also been awarded first place in the prestigious list of the National Geographic Traveller magazine.
The very first buildings in Bergen were built alongside the wharf called Bryggen, which continues to be a lively and important area of the city. Bryggen is included on Unesco’s list of World Heritage and is one of Bergen’s most popular attractions. As you stroll through the narrow alleyways or take a tour through one of the tilting Merchant’s Houses, you can imagine life as it was back in the 1300’s when Bergen dominated trade for about 400 years. An important part of Bergen’s history can be experienced in this area, where a lot of the architechture is preserved or rebuilt as it was in the Middle Ages. The Hanseatic Museum or Bryggens Museum presents a unique historical insight to the history of Bergen.
Take a trip up to Mt. Fløyen and enjoy a spectacular view of the city, the fjord and the ocean. By hopping on the Fløibanen funicular you can get to the top of the mountains within a few minutes. There you will find a restaurant as well as plenty of well marked paths to explore. Alternatively, you can join a guided hiking tour or other activity.
Edvard Grieg is probably Norway’s most famous musical son. His compositions for piano include music for Ibsen’s drama “Peer Gynt”. Once you’ve seen the scenery surrounding his home town of Bergen you can actually hear it reflected in his music! Not far outside the city you can visit his family home, Troldhaugen, where there is also a small concert hall. During the summer months there are daily lunchtime 30 minute concerts of Grieg’s music.
Bergen Science Centre
In the permanent exhibition at VilVite, Bergen Science Centre, you can explore approximately 75 different interactive installations and experiments. You can bicycle a 360 degrees loop in G-Force, drill for oil, navigate a ship, forecast the weather as a TV presenter, and much more. The main themes are the weather, the ocean and energy. Any kid (of any age!) who likes pressing buttons, pulling levers and generally having a go, will love visiting the Bergen Science Centre.
Project Travel offers a wide range of holidays in Norway from Ireland that include a stay in Bergen. We can also create a short break in Bergen if you wish. Contact us or call 01 – 210 8391 and we’ll chat your options through with you.
Image credit: Project Travel