The picturesque and peaceful city of Norway, recognized by the locals as the true capital of their state for its flavor. Also, this region is called the “gate to the fjords”, and Bergen himself has been drowned in tulips and hyacinths for almost a year. Since its foundation in 1070, King Olaf Quiet Bergen has become a city of seafarers.
In the next two centuries, he managed to become the capital, episcopal residence and major commercial port of the country. In 2000, Bergen was recognized as the Cultural Capital of Europe. It is the second largest city in Norway with a population of 260 thousand people.
Why to go to Bergen?
Bergen has perfectly preserved its historical character, so when you come here you are immersed in the atmosphere of a cozy medieval city. The famous Hanseatic promenade of Bryggen (Bryggen), most of the houses which survived after the fire of 1702, is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In spring, in Bergen, you can witness a unique march to the sounds of the Buekorps orchestra, when young people dressed in uniform walk through the city with banners and drums. In this wonderful city, Edward Grieg and Harald Saverud, the talented violinist Ule Bühl, were born and numerous festivals of music, film, art and food are organized annually. The city is surrounded by 7 rocky mountains, which you can climb and enjoy stunning views of Bergen from a height of more than 600 meters.
Bergen Fish Market
June 01 – September 30 Mon-Sun 07: 00-20: 00
October 01 – December 31 Mon-Sat 09: 00-17: 00
The fish market is located on the promenade opposite the tourist information center. King crab, cod, salmon, shrimp, crayfish and other seafood both in raw and in finished form are sold in tents. Marine life is mainly caught in northern Norway.
Prices at the Bergen fish market are the same as in city restaurants, that is, not low. Despite this, I managed to eat quite tightly completely free. Some sellers gladly treated fried fish and boiled crab, and also talked about their products on camera. At the end of the rows is a huge raspberry, strawberry and blackberry.
Streets of Bergen
To get to know any city, I need to pull on sneakers and go for a walk without a map. Wandering the streets, looking into the gates (of which in Bergen was not noticed). If time allows, I advise you to move away from the tourist routes and just wander around the city on foot, looking at buildings and people.
Due to the fact that Bergen was my first Norwegian city, I kept pestering passers-by with various questions from the series “How to get there”. This is necessary in order to at least minimally understand what kind of Norwegians they are. According to observations, not cold and stiff, but quite friendly.
Bergen is a very romantic city, but I am not an impartial judge. To me, every city by the sea seems fabulous and made for love.
If you are thinking about what to see in Bergen, then the Bruggen embankment is exactly the place from which sightseeing usually begins. Bruggen is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a series of commercial buildings built along the sea. This is the merchant quarter of the Hanseatic League era. Interestingly, in the Hanseatic era, only men who respected celibacy lived in the Bruggen area.
In summer, crowds of Chinese people with cameras and travelers from other countries can be seen on Bruggen; locals of Bergen prefer to sit out in their boats or go on vacation, leaving the city to the mercy of tourists.
There are a lot of souvenir shops in Bruggen
House with a deer head. In the era of the Hanseatic League, many houses were decorated with animal heads and product samples so that sailors could determine in which house the goods they needed were sold.
Bergen sights can be viewed from a height. Mount Floyen is one of the seven hills surrounding Bergen. You can climb the mountain by cable car. At the top there is a beautiful observation deck at an altitude of 425 meters, where Norwegian athletes gather after jogging, as well as other curious citizens. I really liked Mount Floyen: quiet, beautiful, sunny.
In the evening, a gorgeous dinner awaited us at the Fløyen Folkerestaurant with a view of Bergen and communication with the wonderful Norwegian Lin. You can go down from Floyen Mountain on foot. Our guys went down and said that it was worth it, but I went to the hotel by funicular, concerned about my physical condition.
Monument to violinist Ole Bull
Ole Bull is a Norwegian violinist and composer. They say that people go to his monument for inspiration. I also asked for some creative energy.
Theaters and museums in Bergen
If you are interested in a cultural holiday in Bergen, then there are many theaters and museums: the Museum of Applied Arts of Western Norway, the Art Museum of Bergen, the Hanseatic Museum, the Museum of Bruggen, the Edward Grieg House Museum and many others. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, I haven’t been to any museum or theater, so I won’t write about them.
Cheap flights to Oslo and Bergen, Norway
The easiest way to get to Bergen is by plane. We first flew to Oslo with a direct Aeroflot flight, after that with a local low-cost airline Widerøe on the Oslo-Bergen route. SAS and Norwegian flights also fly from Oslo to Bergen.
A ticket to Oslo – Bergen will cost 1600 rubles. You can find and book your flights to Norway using the Skyscanner cheap flight search engine.
It’s no secret that Norway is not a cheap country. To save money, you can buy the Bergen Card in the tourist information center, which gives you the right to free use of public transport, as well as visits to several museums, discounts on restaurants and other benefits (for example, discounts on parking).
Price of Bergen Card:
24 hours: Adults 24 € (NOK 200), Children 9 € (NOK 75)
48 hours: Adults 31 € (NOK 260). Children 12 € (NOK 100)
Before the trip:
Most of the local population of Bergen speaks a special dialect of the Norwegian language, which is not always clear even in the capital. The climate in the city is very rainy and there are no more than 10 sunny days a year, but there are almost never frosts due to the warm Gulf Stream, therefore there are many flowers in the city all year round.
Torghallen has a tourist information center where you can not only exchange money, buy tickets for excursions, but also buy a Bergen Card, use it to visit many museums for free and get discounts in shops and cafes. Bergen has well-developed transport links with the capital and other European countries, and since 2008, flights to some cities in Japan have been organized. You can take advantage of low-cost local flights or go to Oslo by train, the trip takes about 5 hours. Traveling by public transport (bus, tram) costs 29 NOK.
Restaurant in Bergen
At the famous Fish Market (Fisketorget) you can buy delicacies such as marble shrimps, purple octopuses, chestnut crabs, whale meat, pretzels with jellyfish, stuffed white plums and pomegranate seeds, as well as salmon in all kinds of ways. Near the pier Zachariasbryggen there are many fish restaurants serving delicious dishes from freshly caught seafood. Of traditional Norwegian sweets, it’s worth trying Kvikk Lunsj – a chocolate wafer, Klippfisk – mackerel or cod soaked in an alkaline solution, Skillingsbolle sweet cinnamon roll, fish cake (fiskekake), as well taste goat cheese (Geitost) and Norwegian strawberries (Jordbaer). In addition to fish dishes, Norwegian cuisine includes game and venison. Closer to Christmas, the entire local population will be warmed up by Gløgg.
What to bring as a gift from Bergen?
As a souvenir, you can buy traditional knitted Norwegian sweaters, socks and mittens that will warm you in the cold Russian winter. Traditional for Norway are troll figures, tin souvenirs and objects made of stone, glass and ceramics, jewelry. In Bergen, Christmas and New Year souvenirs and decorations are sold throughout the year at Julshuset, and there is also a special Elg store (Moose Shop) in the Bryggen area dedicated to Deers.
Where to eat cheap in Bergen?
The cheapest ready-made meals are sold at the Narvesen and 7 Eleven stalls, and cooked lunches can also be warmed up on request right on site. From inexpensive eateries, you should visit the Peppe’s Pizza pizzeria, Harbor Cafe next to the Fish Market. On the street Rosenkrantzgaten are inexpensive Indian, Japanese and Chinese eateries with reasonable prices for Norway. The most traditional budget restaurant in Bergen is Bryggeloftet & Stuene in the Bryggen area.
Shopping in Bergen
The largest malls with fashionable clothes in Bergen are Kløverhuset, Galleriet in the city center and Bergen Storsenter near the bus station and train station. There are also many small shops and antique souvenir shops on the Bryggen promenade. Since the late 19th century, the Husfliden shop on Vagsallmenningen has been selling traditional souvenirs, national costumes, dishes and wooden toys. Many separate shops with clothes and souvenirs on Ovregaten, Lille Ovregate, Vetrlidsallmenning and Torget.