Bergen is the second largest city in Norway and the most popular gateway to the fjords of West Norway. The city is renowned for its great location amidst mountains, fjords and the ocean. Steep mountains and highlands within the city offers excellent hiking opportunities. Having fostered many of Norway’s greatest bands and artists, the city is also famous for its cultural life and underground/indie music scene. Bergen’s unpredictable weather adds to its quirky, unmistakable charm. Bergen was Norway’s main city for centuries, and many patriotic inhabitants believe it still is
The character of Bergen is defined by its the location among steep mountains and surrounded by sea (straits and fjords). The city itself has many lakes. It is a typical Norwegian wooden town, even downtown there are notable neighborhoods of small wooden houses in various styles. In some areas wooden houses have been replaced by taller masonry structures giving the city fascinating mix of old and new
Bergen has some fine examples of functionalist architecture such as Kalmar House and Sundt shopping centre. “Brutalist” buildings include the science building at the university and the city hall
History : Founded around 1070 AD, Bergen quickly evolved into one of the most important cities in Norway. It was the country’s administrative capital from the early 1200s until 1299, and the largest city in Scandinavia. Bergen was one of the most important bureau cities of the Hanseatic League, interconnecting continental Europe with the northern and coastal parts of Norway, thus becoming a central spot for the vending of stockfish and the commercial hub of Norway. It was the largest city in Norway until the 1830s and has a long maritime history in shipping and finance. Until the Bergen railway (Bergensbanen) began operation i 1909 there was no convenient overland transport between Norway’s princpial cities.
The city still has relics of its Hanseatic heyday, most notably the old harbor of Bryggen, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Bergen has been ravaged by several fires the most recent major fire took place in 1917, a fire which destroyed most of the buildings in what is today the central parts of the city center, centered around the large square Torgallmenningen.
While few mediveal buildings remain, the historical centre of Bergen is along the eastern shore of the harbour, notably Bryggen (the Wharf), the fortress and the two key churches (Mariakirken/St Marys and Korskirken/Holy cross church). The pattern of settlement is largely unchanged for almost 1,000 years, including Ovregaten/Lille Ovregate one of Norway’s oldest streets
Access : Coordinates : 60.389444, 5.33 / By plane : Bergen Airport Flesland (BGO IATA) (19 km south of the city). The main international airports with flights to Bergen are Copenhagen, London, and Amsterdam. There are also flights from the United Kingdom (such as Newcastle, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen); Prague, Paris, Berlin, Frankfurt, various cities in Spain, and some other airports. There are also a number of domestic flights, such as Oslo, Trondheim, Stavanger, Tromso, Kristiansand and Sandefjord, connecting Bergen to additional international airports. A flight ticket from the capital Oslo to Bergen usually costs around kr 300-400. The main carriers in Norway are SAS and the low cost airline Norwegian Air Shuttle. The Dutch KLM has flights to Amsterdam, Lufthansa to Frankfurt. The smallest airports in Norway are usually served by Wideroe. A new spacious terminal replaced the old in 2017 with more services and facilities within the secured area
By train : Bergen is served by a railway line which runs from Oslo through Honefoss. Bergen is the last station and there is only one station in the city (in addition one station in Arna suburb). The railway line is operated by NSB. The journey takes about 7 hours and gives you beautiful views, especially for the last 3 hours across the plateau and down towards Voss and Bergen. When passing Geilo, you will cross over a high mountain plateau and then travel downwards through some of the best scenery in Norway. If you buy your ticket online well in advance, fares may be as low as kr 199 for a one-way ticket. Bergen station (QFV IATA) is located east of the city centre at Stromgaten 4, close to the bus station and the Bygarasjen garage.
By car : From Oslo and Eastern Norway
The trip from Oslo to Bergen takes between seven and nine hours, depending on the route, the driving conditions and whether you choose to make any stops on the way. Be prepared to add some hours driving time in the winter – and remember that the daylight will be scarce for many months. All routes Oslo to Bergen run through mountain passes. It might be a good idea to use two days on the tour in the winter if you’re not accustomed to these conditions. A 12- or even 14-hour drive on icy, dark roads in bad weather is not very nice. Keep in mind that many roads in Norway are often of narrow and slow due to relatively low traffic and difficult weather conditions.
By bus : Via the network of NOR-WAY Bussekspress, Bergen is accessible by direct links from all of South Norway. Bus is usually the cheapest way to travel, but can take some time. The national buses are very comfortable, but not suitable for people using wheelchairs. Schedules and fares are available online, and it is also possible to pre-book. Booking may be required on some routes. The bus station is conveniently located just a few minutes walk from the city center. The terminal for long distance buses is situated on the rear side of the station.
By boat : There are fast boat services from several communities north and south of Bergen, including many of the islands. Because these passenger ferries stop at various small towns on the way there, you get a great view of the coast and its islands. Fjord1 runs ferries north of Bergen, Norled runs services south of Bergen, and Skyss also does a bit of both, including the Sunnhordland. There is no service from/to Stavanger. The boat terminal (Strandkaiterminalen batkai) is on the Nordnes peninsula in the city center. It has luggage lockers, charged daily.
Bergen is the southern terminus for Hurtigruten, a week-long passenger ship route with stops along Norway’s coast all the way to Kirkenes in the far north of Norway. Alesund can be reached overnight, and Trondheim will take one full day and two nights. The terminal is located at Nostet. The Hurtigruten ships are accessible with a wheelchair. There are car ferries which run to and from Hirtshals in northern Denmark, operated by Fjordline. The terminal is the Skoltegrunn pier, some hundred meters beyond Bryggen.
Bergen is one of Europe’s to cruise ports and is available by cruise departing from several North Sea ports
- Bergen Art Museum , The fish market , Floibanen, The West Norway Museum of Decorative Art , St. Jorgen’s Hospital , Bergen Aquarium , Statsraad Lehmkuhl , St. Mary’s Church , Bergenhus fortress , Bryggen (north side of the bay) , Bryggens musem
- The Hanseatic Museum and Schotstuene , Theta museum, Bredsgarden 1 D , Bergen Museum – The Cultural History Collections , Bergen Museum – The Natural History Collections , Vilvite (Bergen Science Center) Thormohlensgate 51 , Bergen Maritime Museum (Bergens Sjofartsmuseum) Haakon Sheteligsplass 15
- Nygardsparken. Always open. This is a very nicely landscaped park laid out in the late 1800s after English patterns
- Fantoft Stave Church (Fantoft stavkirke), Fantoftveien 46 , Gamlehaugen, Gamlehaugveien 10 , Siljustol Museum, Siljustolveien 50 (about 20 minutes by car from
- the city center, southbound bus lines 23 and 26 from the bus station) , Troldhaugen, Troldhaugveien 65 , Ulriksbanen, Ulriken 1 , Gamle Bergen (Old Bergen), Nyhavnsveien 4
- The Norwegian Knitting Industry Museum (Norsk Trikotasjemuseum), Salhusvegen 201 , Alvoen, Damsgard Hovedgard
- Bryggen Hanseatic Wharf : The Bruggen Quarter has been inscribed by UNESCO on the World Heritage List. Here, on the coast of the bay, from the 12th century, fish dealers and artisans settled
Activities : Bergen Guided Tours, Bergen Jazzforum , Bergen Live- Producing most of the larger pop, rock and hiphop concerts in Bergen , Beach-life , Hiking , Fishing
Events : Bergenfest. Music festival from the end of April to start of May , Bergen International Film Festival (BIFF) a week-long film festival held in October every year at Bergen kino , Bergen Reggae Festival (BRF) Yearly event hosted by the reggae collective Cushion in the beginning of June , Constitution Day. On 17 May, every business in town, except restaurants downtown, is closed as the citizens dress up in their finest clothes and celebrate all day long , 16 May. The night before Constitution Day is the definite party night in Bergen , Bergen International Festival.from the end of May to start of June, Bergen International Festival is the largest festival of its kind in the Nordic countries , Nattjazz. Nattjazz is a two-weeks long jazz festival from the end of May to the start of June
Go next : Sognefjord with Flåm. The largest fjord in Norway and Europe / Voss , a village to the east of Bergen world-known for extreme sports such as paragliding and rafting