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In Brief: What to do in Bergen?

Picture this: you're on a dream tour of Norway — the Ultimate Journey of Norway, perhaps? or Norway in a Nutshell? — and you have some free time in beautiful Bergen. What do you do?

To help you along, Petra, one of the Norway experts here at Nordic Visitor, has jotted down some suggestions to guide your sight-seeing in the gateway to the fjords.


Visit Bryggen & Fisketorget

1200px-Brygge_Norway_2005-08-18
A stunning panorama of the colourful buildings along Bergen's old wharf. (Photo by Gerd A.T. Mueller: link)

 

We mentioned that Bryggen is a treasure trove for history buffs back when we were gushing over Norway's gorgeous and numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites, so it should come as no surprise that it's on our list of must-see Bergen sites. The colourful buildings comprising the town's old wharf and tourist-friendly centre were established as a center for Hanseatic merchants way back in the 14th century.

The area also houses Bergen's famed Fisketorget (fish market) where shoppers can pick up the fresh catch, as well as fragrant flowers and other goods for sale by local merchants.

Says Petra: "The place has such a great history. Bryggen has been Bergen’s nerve center since the late Middle Ages. And to take a walk in between the old wooden warehouses is really something special. Also the fish at the fish market is really fresh and the atmosphere there is great. There are a lot of cute little shops in the area. "

A closer look at the buildings of Bryggen, the majority of which are now shops, cafés and museums.
A closer look at the buildings of Bryggen, the majority of which are now shops, cafés and museums.

 

So, of course, a stroll through Bryggen has got to be considered a "must" when you're in Bergen. And, if you're really into the history of the area, then visits to the Bryggens Museum and Hanseatic Museum would likely tickle your fancy. The former showcases many artifacts uncovered during excavations in the Bryggen area over time, and the latter is a great look at the Hansa and their operations in Bergen and beyond.

Take a Hike

Take a hike on the Vidden trail, to be more precise. Petra  says this scenic trail is her favourite in the area "because you get to experience both Fløyen and Ulriken mountains, starting from one mountain and walking to the other. You have great views, and you can just take the funicular up Fløyen or the cable car up Ulriken and walk either direction."

The cable car to the top of Ulriken mountain will being you to a wealth of great hiking trails.
The cable car to the top of Ulriken mountain will being you to a wealth of great hiking trails and is an experience in and of itself!

Visit the Arboretet

Here's a tip from Petra that isn't as well known among travellers to Bergen: pay a visit to the botanical garden, Arboretet. Petra says this gorgeous garden is an oasis for locals looking to luxuriate among the greenery with a picnic blanket and a good book. The catch: it's 25 km outside the centre...

The botanical garden outside of Bergen has Norway's largest selection of roses!
The botanical garden outside of Bergen has Norway's largest selection of roses!

 

Still, if you're a fan of roses, rhododendron, and relaxation it'll be worth the detour.

Check out the Bergen Aquarium

Pingvin is the celebrity penguin at the Bergen aquarium.
Pingvin is the celebrity penguin at the Bergen aquarium.

 

Whether you're travelling with children or not, a visit to the Bergen Aquarium will make for a fun morning or afternoon. The facility features penguins, sealions, crocodiles and many, many species of fish. The sealions even put on a show for the guests!

Get Lost

The side streets in Bergen are well worth a wander.
The side streets in Bergen are well worth a wander.

 

It's not likely you'll actually get lost, says Petra, but this advice is good to take to heart. Just walk away from the main square and explore all the little nooks and crannies that make Bergen so special. You'll see the city, charmingly picturesque Scandinavian houses, and gorgeous scenery to boot. You can't go wrong!


This post has been part of Nordic Visitor's In Brief series, where our travel experts share how they would spend a day in a Nordic destination of their choice.

Learn more about other towns and attractions in Norway, as well as practical travel advice, at our Norway Travel Guide.

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Post by: Catharine

Catharine Fulton is a journalist and travel writer. Though born and raised in Canada, she found herself stuck in the Nordic region since moving to Finland in 2007 to pursue her MA and then migrating to Reykjavík, Iceland in 2009, where she lives with her Icelandic husband and tries (albeit unsuccessfully) to master the Icelandic language.

More posts by Catharine

Getting there

We'd love to give you the same amazing travel experiences as you read about in our blog! To visit the destinations and attractions mentioned in this post - and to discover a few new highlights along the way, check out these recommended Nordic Visitor tours.

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