Discover Bergen, Norway: A Destination Guide
- Written byLauren
Bergen is the second largest city in Norway and is perfectly located in the centre of Fjord Norway. If you are planning a Bergen city break, find out the best things to do and where to stay before you get here so you can make the most of your time in Bergen.
When you visit Bergen, there is plenty to see and do and the city is a great starting point for lots of fjord tours. Discover things to do, where to stay, what to eat and how to travel around in our guide to the city and make every moment one to remember when you visit Bergen in Norway.
Things to do in Bergen
When you are planning what to do in Bergen, there are so many options to suit people of all ages. From adventurous hikes and stunning views of the city to museums and historical places of interest, there are lots of things to do in Bergen, Norway, whatever the weather.
Bergen Fish Market
Since the 1200s, the Bergen fish market has been a popular meeting place for merchants and fishermen at the port of Bergen and is definitely worth a visit. It is open every day, with different opening times for the indoor and outdoor markets throughout the year. The outdoor market sells fresh fish, seafood, fruit, vegetables, flowers and local farm food. The indoor market is open all year round with permanent shops and restaurants and is the perfect place to try seafood such as oysters or freshly boiled shrimps.
Bergen Cable Car
For spectacular views of the city, take the Bergen cable car to the top of Mount Ulriken. It is the highest of Bergen’s 7 mountains at 643m above the city. Mount Ulriken is a great starting point for hikes and you will also find a restaurant, cafe and shops at the top of the mountain. Additionally, you can take a ride on Norway’s longest zip line which travels 300m towards Mount Floyen, but this must be booked in advance. The starting point for the Bergen cable car is just outside the city and you should take the shuttle bus from central Bergen to the cable car station.
There are 7 mountains surrounding the city, making it easy to go hiking from Bergen. Mount Ulriken is the highest, Mount Floyen is the most popular and you can take a panoramic hike across Vidden, between the two mountains. It is also possible to take a cable car or funicular from Bergen city to Mount Floyen and Mount Ulriken, so you don’t have to walk up or down the mountains. Alternatively, venture up the steep mountain path of Stoltzeklevien, with 722 stairs, taking you from Fjellveien up to Sandviksfjellet. With lots of surrounding mountains, there are plenty of opportunities to go hiking around Bergen.
Get to know the sea life from the Norwegian coast at the Bergen Aquarium. If you are looking for things to do in Bergen with kids, or when it is raining, this is the perfect place to visit. The aquarium has been open since the 1960s and is home to a number of animals including sea lions, crocodiles, fish and snakes. Head to the cinema, watch animal feedings or enjoy shows at different times each day. There are indoor and outdoor attractions, an environmental exhibition and the aquarium is within walking distance at just 15 minutes from the city centre.
Discover the city’s rich history at one of Bergen’s museums. Visit the Scientific Centre VilVite, Bergen City Museum, Bergen Cathedral, art museums or Bergen Maritime Museum, amongst many others. If you only have time to visit one museum in Bergen, head to the Hanseatic Museum inside one of the oldest wooden buildings in Bergen on the old wharf. You will learn about The Hanseatic League from 1350-1750 and how the German merchants lived and worked at this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your ticket includes admission to The Hanseatic Museum, Schøtstuene and Norwegian Fisheries Museum.
Fly high above Bergen, directly from the city centre, by taking the Bergen funicular to the top of Mount Floyen. The Fløibanen funicular station is just 150m away from Bergen fish market and is easily accessible for pushchairs and wheelchairs. You will travel 320m above sea level for spectacular views of Bergen. At the top of the mountain, there is a restaurant, cafe, souvenir shop and a children’s playground. Like Mount Ulriken, this is the perfect place to begin hikes in Bergen.
Bergen Fjord Tours
You simply can’t come to Norway without taking a fjord cruise from Bergen. Perfectly located in the heart of Fjord Norway, Bergen sits between Hardangerfjord and Sognefjord and is often referred to as the gateway to the fjords. This provides an ideal location for a Bergen fjord tour, with lots of places to visit by taking the Bergen ferry, bus and train. Take tours from Bergen along Sognefjord to visit Vik and Voss or cruise along Hardangerfjord to see Eidfjord and Vøringsfossen.
Alternatively, try one of our shorter trips from Bergen to Flam of a morning or afternoon or combine a cruise along the Sognefjord with a trip to the Jostedalsbreen glacier. Whichever Bergen fjord tour you choose, you are sure to experience beautiful mountains, waterfalls, local wildlife, rocky shores or small islands with stave churches. Don’t miss out on one of the best things to do in Bergen and book online to secure your fjord tour now.
Where to eat in Bergen
There are lots of places to eat in Bergen for a variety of tastes and budgets. Whether you are looking for a fine dining restaurant in Bergen or want to try the local cuisine, find the best restaurant in Bergen to suit your taste.
Fine dining restaurant in Bergen
For a fine dining restaurant in the heart of Bergen, head to 1877. Indulge in the set menu of Norwegian dishes, created with seasonal ingredients and paired with an accompanying wine. Dishes are presented by the chefs who prepared them in this ambient brasserie and you should allow at least 3 hours to enjoy the tasting menu.
Moderately priced restaurant in Bergen
Head to Munken Bistro for a moderately priced meal in central Bergen. This cosy restaurant serves Peruvian food, paired with wine. Choose from the vegetarian, pescetarian, classic or duck set menu and mix and match dishes if you would prefer to try something from another menu.
Local cuisine in Bergen
Try Bare Vestland in central Bergen to sample local cuisine and traditional Norwegian food. Enjoy a 4 or 6-course meal of tapas dishes, such as fish stew, paired with Norwegian beers to create interesting flavour combinations. Bare Vestland is usually busy as it is in central Bergen, so reserving a table is recommended.
Lunch or cheap eats in Bergen
If you’re looking for a cheap meal to grab on the go, try Trekroneren in the centre of the city. This popular lunch spot is Bergen’s famous hot dog stand, serving up 10 different types of sausage including reindeer and chorizo sausage. The street food stall is a great place to try the popular hot dogs and is ideal for a cheap meal.
Magic Ice Bar Bergen
You will feel like you have been transported to the arctic when you head to the Magic Ice Bar Bergen. The bar is carved entirely out of ice and feels like winter all year round. Enjoy welcome drinks in an ice glass and keep warm in this enchanting atmosphere by wearing the gloves and winter poncho provided for you.
Travelling in Bergen and Norway
Travelling to Bergen and around Norway couldn’t be simpler and there are lots of travel options. Hire a car, make use of public transport including bus and the Bergen railway or travel by bus from Bergen airport. Whichever way you choose to explore Norway, consider your options and discover the best way to travel around Bergen.
Car hire in Bergen
If you are looking for car rental in Bergen then try Avis or Hertz in the city centre. When you hire a car it gives you the flexibility to explore Norway at your own pace. There is also car hire at Bergen airport, which may be more suitable if you need transport into Bergen, and there will also be more car hire companies to choose from.
Bergen by train
When you want to travel from Bergen to other cities in Norway, Bergen railway provides a great way to get around the country. Travel from Bergen to Oslo on a 7-hour scenic railway journey along Bergensbanen, with stunning views of Norway’s countryside. Bergen train station is in the city centre, next to the bus stop and taxi rank, and is the first stop when you are travelling towards Oslo.
Bergen by bus
Bergen bus station is the main bus terminal in central Bergen and is the starting point for many tours and excursions around Norway. Access public buses, express buses, light rail and the airport bus.
Travelling from Bergen airport
Bergen airport is roughly 18km away from Bergen city centre, so you will need to organise transport if you are flying into Bergen Airport, Flesland. The cheapest way to travel to Bergen city centre is by taking the City Light Rail from the airport terminal, which takes about 45 minutes. Alternatively, the Bergen airport bus takes between 25 and 45 minutes to reach the city centre, you can hire a car or take a taxi which would be much more expensive.
Where to stay in Bergen Norway
When you are deciding where to stay in Bergen there are lots of options available. You might want to rent a home or maybe you’d prefer to stay in a luxury hotel. Whatever your budget, there are plenty of places to stay in the centre of Bergen.
Luxury Bergen Hotels
If you would prefer a more luxurious stay in Bergen city centre, try the Thon Hotel Rosenkrantz. Located close to the Hanseatic Wharf, the Thon Hotel Rosenkrantz is a modern and comfortable hotel. Your booking includes an extensive breakfast and guests can also enjoy a complimentary, light evening meal.
Mid-range Hotel Bergen
Enjoy a comfortable stay in the Zander K Hotel, Bergen. This is a great option if you are on more of a budget but still want a free breakfast and hotel service. The Zander K Hotel is located in the city centre and is just a 10-minute walk from the fish market and waterfront. It is close to the train station and has a modern decor inside.
With over 300 places to choose from, an Airbnb in Bergen could give you more space and more flexibility when you are travelling. From charming flats to traditional houses, an Airbnb might be more suitable for families who don’t want to book multiple hotel rooms and having a kitchen allows you to cook if you are travelling on a budget. You may also find that an Airbnb in Bergen is a cheaper alternative to staying in a hotel and you may be able to stay in charming local areas which you would have never discovered.
For solo travellers, or those on a tighter budget, there are plenty of hostels in Bergen and some include free breakfast and free WiFi. The Marken Gjestehus Hostel has a central location in the city and you can choose from private rooms, mixed dorms or gender-specific dorm rooms. The hostel can be easily reached from Bergen ferry port or Bergen train station and guests can access free WiFi and city maps in the hostel.
The best thing about visiting Bergen is that it is in the perfect place to access Fjord Norway. Not only that, but there is so much to see and do in and around the area, that you are sure to fill your days with history, culture and stunning Norwegian scenery. Don’t miss out on Norway’s best attractions when you stay in Bergen and book your Bergen fjord cruise with Go Fjords and experience Norway as you’ve never seen it before.