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Bob André Engelsen

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5 mins read

Photo tips: 14 historical landmarks in Bergen

Medieval buildings, mountain views, narrow streets and a waterfront location is just some of many features making the city so beautiful.

The combination of history and beauty makes Bergen an attractive playground for photographers. We have gathered a list of some of the most famous historical sights and landmarks that easily can be reached in the city centre. Charge your camera, stock up on memory cards and let’s head out and explore:

The colorful wooden houses at Bryggen wharf

The historic Bryggen wharf is one of the most iconic landmarks in Bergen. It was originally built around 1070, and was established as a trade centre by the 12th century. Today it is included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. 

Through the centuries the numerous events of rebuilding the structure has followed old patterns and methods, thus leaving its remaining structure preserved. Today, some 62 buildings remain of this former townscape. 

Hot tip: Hidden behind the iconic front structure lies a hidden world of passages, small shops, galleries and art studios ready for you to explore...and of course photograph.

The view from atop Mount Fløyen

From the top of Mount Fløyen you have panoramic views of downtown Bergen. Taking the funicular, it's only a 5 minute ride to the top. The hike will set you back around 50 minutes, but there are several great photo spots along the trail worth exploring. The path zigzags up the mountain, going from the buzzing city to the quiet forest. A fun and exciting option to get to the top is a guided Segway tour

From the viewing platform at the top you also look upon Byfjorden and the seaway leading to the Norwegian Fjords

The 180 degree panorama view from Mount Ulriken

At 643 m (2,110 ft), Ulriken is the tallest of the seven mountains surrounding Bergen. The mountain is a well featured landmark that is easily recognized from afar by the TV tower on the top. It is worth noting that the tower is beautifully illuminated at night perfect for capturing for some great night shots

Ulriken boasts an aerial tramway, connecting the mountain to the city. In 2018, a new granite stairway going all the way to the top of Ulriken was completed. The stairway was handcrafted by Nepalese Sherpas, and built with rocks found in the surrounding terrain. Both the hike up and the view at the top are highly photogenic!

The characteristic narrow alleys between wooden houses

In the 19th century, Bergen was Europe's largest wooden city. You still get a sense of the old urban environment with dense wooden houses, cobbled streets and alleys. 

The wooden houses cling on to the mountainside of Fløyen, and entire neighborhoods have survived city fires and the ravages of time in the districts of Nordnes and Sandviken.

The central harbor at Vågen

Since the city of Bergen was established, life here has centered around this bay. The old merchant ships moored in Vågen, shipping dried cod from Northern Norway to the rest of the world. 

Today, Vågen is still buzzing with activity. Cruise ships, supply boats from the oil industry and fjord cruise boats all use Vågen as their safe haven. Along the southern shore of Vågen you can catch beautiful waterfront photos of Bryggen.

The historical fish market located between the waterfront and the mountains

The picturesque Fish Market in Bergen is one of Norway's most visited outdoors markets. In addition to fresh seafood you can get your hands on locally produced fruit, berries, vegetables and meat. 

Between satisfying your taste buds, capture shots of life at the outdoor and indoor market. The indoor market became the newest addition to the 800-year-old market when it opened in 2012.

Old Bergen Museum

Make sure not to miss out on the highly photogenic Old Bergen. The open-air museum is a reconstructed small town consisting of around 50 wooden houses dating from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. The collection includes a bakery, a watchmaker’s house and a dentist’s house among others. 

The museum is located 7 minutes by bus or a 30 minute walk from the city centre. The houses provide for great indoor and outdoor photo opportunities to enjoy. Pinky swear!

The downtown pond - Lille Lungegårdsvann

Centrally located in Bergen's cityscape, is the characteristic lake Lille Lungegårdsvann. Originally it was part of a fjord arm connected to Puddefjorden, but through the centuries it has been filled to make room for the growing city. 

In the spring it is popular to take photos of or by the large cherry blossom trees lining the north side of the pond.  The fountain in the middle is beautifully illuminated at night.

The highly photogenic Music Pavilion

The music pavilion is the crown in Byparken, considered as Bergen’s first public park. The surrounding park is carefully cared for, and the flowers are always looking pristine. The pavilion is constructed in cast iron, and was given to Bergen as a gift by a businessman in 1888. Next to the pavilion you will also find a world-famous Norwegian composer.

The Rosenkrantz Tower - A small tower that packs a punch

Built as a demonstration of power, the Rosenkrantz tower has housed both kings and thieves since it was constructed in the 1270s. The fortified tower is considered to be the most important Renaissance monument in Norway. 

If you're coming from Bryggen wharf, you find the tower through the maingate of Bergenhus Fortress. Try to photograph it from a low angle, as it's not the tallest tower in town. 

The King Håkon’s Hall - A stone hall worthy of a royal photo

Located right behind the fabled tower, is King Håkon’s Hall. The impressive stone hall is the largest standing building from the Middle Ages in Norway. It has survived royal weddings, naval bombardment and the second world war. 

The best place to photograph the hall is from the side facing Vågen. Make sure to bring a wide angle lens, as it can be tricky to get the whole building in the frame without climbing the fortress walls. 

St. John’s Church

With the church tower reaching 61 meters above the ground, making it the tallest tower in Bergen, the St. John’s Church is not easy to miss. The church can be seen from most parts of Bergen. 

It is located on Sydneshaugen, the same hill as the University of Bergen and the Natural History Museum. If you want the sunlight to illuminate the front of the tower, you have to get up early.

DNS - Beautiful art-nouveau theater dating back to the 1850s

The theater is one of the most characteristic buildings in art nouveau style in Norway. It's surrounded by a beautiful park with flower beds and large oak trees. The facade is richly decorated, with details in every nook and cranny. Here you can really spend a lot of time if you want some artistic photos.

Last but not least - Torgallmenningen, one of the main city squares

Do you still have room on your memory card? Okay, here is one more spot great for photography. Torgallmenningen is Bergen’s main square, and the city's most important social meeting place. 

The large open space, the fountain, the Blue Stone and the colorful buildings provide for a multitude of great picture opportunities.

If you still have room on your memory card - here are 20 lesser known, but still just as spectacular, places to photograph in Bergen.

Explore Bergen