Why it rains so much in Bergen - Norway’s second largest city
“There is no bad weather, only bad clothes.” This old Norwegian saying is definitely something you need to keep in mind when planning your vacation to beautiful Bergen.
See, Bergen may be Norway’s second largest city, but it’s first in all of Europe… when it comes to rainfall! Bergen’s unique location between seven mountains doesn’t just make it an unbelievably picturesque destination to visit.
It also makes it particularly exposed to rain showers. How exposed? Well, out of the 365 days of the year, 202-239 are days you should expect at least some rain in Bergen.
Credit: Eirik Bjørnerud | Visit Bergen
Of course, locals don’t let such a little thing as water falling from the sky stop them from enjoying everything Bergen and its surrounding area has to offer… And neither should you!
From exciting outdoor activities to fascinating culture, food and shopping, Bergen has a ton of ways to keep you happily occupied on a rainy day. As long as you wear the right clothes (remember that Norwegian saying we mentioned earlier?) and you know what to expect, you are going to have the time of your life in Bergen, rain or shine!
What’s the best time of the year to visit Bergen?
When you’re visiting the Gateway to the Fjords, Bergen is beautiful year round — although no season is particularly dry!
During winter, you can expect cold winds and average temperatures of -0.1 C - 4.9 C but not a lot of snow. In spring, temperatures rise slowly from 1.1 C - 7.1 C in March (still a frosty month) to 6.9 C - 14.9 C in May. April and May, along with June are also what you would call the “drier” months in Bergen, with June being the driest of the year.
Temperatures in the summers range from 9.9 C - 20.7 C, with July being the hottest month. In autumn, precipitation rises significantly, with October usually the wettest month of the year. Average temperatures fluctuate from a mild September (9.9 C- 15.9 C) to a crisper November (3.6 C - 8.2 C).
Now that you know what the weather will be like, you can pack accordingly! You should definitely bring along a pair of rain boots, as well as walking boots with a sturdy, rubber sole that will allow you to hike even when it’s raining.
Make sure to always dress in layers: Bergen is not as cold as other parts of Norway, but it is quite humid so it’s important to start with a lightweight first layer and then top that with an insulating material like a fleece. Socks are important too! Make sure to bring several pairs — and perhaps invest in a couple that offer anti-blistering technology.
Finally, if you can get your hands on a waterproof backpack, it will simplify your moving around a lot.
No, we did not forget the most important piece of your Bergen wardrobe: the raincoat. The truth is that most non-Scandinavians will immediately think “umbrella” when they hear that it’s raining. Don’t make that mistake!
Not only will an umbrella not protect you from the rain, it will also make exploring much harder: you need your hands free to move (and snap amazing pictures of your surroundings). So a raincoat is really your best option. But if you don’t already own one, don’t worry: what with it being the European capital of rainfall and all, Bergen has elevated raincoats to an art form!
There are several local shops where you can buy raincoats that will not only be functional and protect you from the rain, but will keep you stylish as well.
What to do in Bergen on a rainy day
So, you arrived at the Gateway to the Fjords… and it’s raining. There’s absolutely no need to stay inside your hotel and miss out on all the things the city (and the surrounding area) has to offer! Here’s a list of all the adventures you can embark on, as soon as you wear your raincoat:
Take a history lesson
Did you know that Bryggen, Bergen’s Hanseatic harbor district, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site? Exploring all these colorful buildings is like walking into the past.
A visit to Bryggens Museum will acquaint you with medieval life in Bergen, whereas at the Hanseatic Museum you’ll get to walk through the original Hanseatic building from 1704, in the only house that has kept its original interior.
Go on an art tour
Bergen is home to so many art museums and collections! Here, you’ll find the second largest collection in Edvard Munch’s works in the whole country, as well as works of artists like Pablo Picasso, Nikalai Astrup and many others.
Most of the museums and galleries are located close together too, around Lille Lungegårdsvann in the city centre.
Keep the kiddos happy
If you’re traveling with kids, a visit to Bergen Science Centre VilVite will keep them happy for a whole day. There, they can explore the scientific world through engaging, cognitive and interactive activities.
Another great idea is the Bergen Aquarium, where they can meet penguins and sea lions and walk underneath a shark tunnel.
Bergen is an ultra stylish city, its boutiques giving the capital of Oslo a run for their money. Here you can find everything from avant-garde local designers, carefully curated concept stores and up-and-coming Scandinavian brands to several big malls that carry everything from wellness and design items to highstreet wear.
You literally can’t go wrong with a shopping spree in this city.
Get up in the sky
The good thing about rain is that some of Bergen’s most popular attractions will be less crowded. So don’t miss the chance to take the Fløibanen funicular all the way to the top of Mount Fløyen.
The funicular has been transporting people up and down the mountain for more than 100 years and the ride all the way to the top lasts only 6 minutes — but you will remember it for a lifetime!
When up in the mountain, you can enjoy some freshly baked pastry at the local shop, stroll the Troll forest with the kiddos or go on a hiking trip.
Take a hike
Yes, hiking in the rain! Remember, if you have your raincoat and your waterproof backpack, there’s nothing stopping you from taking advantage of all the amazing hiking opportunities in the hills that surround the city... There are hikes for all ages and experience levels, so you can choose one that fits you. Read here to see where you should go when the sun is shining.
Credit: Eirik Bjørnerud | Visit Bergen