12 Things to See and Do in Bergen Norway
12 Things to See and Do in Bergen Norway. Wrapped in rugged mountains and located next to the country’s deepest and longest fjord, Bergen is a small town nestled on the west coast of Norway.
Although there are only 220,000 residents, there is a surprising amount to see and do in this small town. You can easily spend days here exploring its natural surroundings, relaxing on a fjord cruise, eating fresh seafood and learning more about its long history. I stayed for about three days during my visit and felt that I could have stayed a little longer. It’s pretty, historic and filled with lots of good food.
Bergen is a fairly large tourist destination in Norway, so, unfortunately, you will not have this city for yourself. To help you make the most of your trip, here are my top 12 things to see and do in Bergen:
1. Take a free walking tour
The first thing I do every time I get to a new place is take a free walking tour. They are the best way to get the layout of the land, to see the main tourist sites and to meet a local expert to whom I can ask all my questions.
Nordic Freedom Tours organizes regular tours in English and Spanish. (Just be sure to tip your guide at the end!)
2. See the fish market
The Bergen fish market dates back to the 13th century. For centuries, it has been the hub for local fishermen to sell their fresh fish and seafood. The indoor section of the market started in 2012 and is open all year round (the outdoor market opens on May 1 for the summer).
If you are looking to taste local specialties, there are also plenty of restaurants and food stalls. Just make sure you budget yourself, as prices range from NOK 130 ($ 14 USD) for an appetizer to around NOK 290 ($ 30 USD) for a main course.
Torget 5. Open Monday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
3. Visit the Maritime Museum
Bergen has been heavily dependent on maritime trade since its creation in the 11th century. You can spend an afternoon in this museum to learn more about the city’s maritime history. Exhibitions include ships, paintings, films, artifacts, original maps and 18th century cannons.
The highlight here is the Kvalsund boat, an old Viking longship that dates from the 8th century. It was excavated in 1920. There is also an original Halsnøy boat dating from somewhere between 390 and 535 CE.
Haakon Sheteligs plass 15, +47 55 54 96 00, museumvest.no. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Entrance is NOK 100 ($ 10.50 USD). You can take a guided tour of the museum in English during the months of June, July and August.
4. Wander Bryggen
Bryggen is the old wharf and houses more than 60 narrow, brightly colored wooden boathouses. From the 14th to the 16th century, Bryggen was the main center of the Hanseatic League, a powerful merchant guild in central and northern Europe. Fun fact: his office is the only original building still standing – the others have been rebuilt in the same style.
Today, these buildings are used by various restaurants, tourist offices and hotels. Although the fires have ruined much of the original buildings, the area is still a nice place to walk. You can take a 90-minute guided walking tour with the Bryggen Walking Tour to learn more about the history of the wharf. The visit also includes admission to the Bryggen Museum and the Hanseatic Museum.
5. Explore the botanical garden
The Bergen Botanical Garden was established in 1996 and covers 17 acres. It’s a nice place to get some fresh air and relax with a book. With more than 5,000 plant species, it is home to the largest collection of roses in Norway, as well as the largest collection of rhododendrons in Scandinavia. There are also different sections, such as the Sunny Meadow (which houses summer annuals), a traditional Japanese garden and the Alpine Garden, with all kinds of alpine plants from around the world.
Mildevegen 240, +47 55 58 72 50, uib.no/arboretet. The garden is open 24 hours a day and entry is free.
6. Hike to Mount Ulriken
Located just a few kilometers from the city, Mount Ulriken rises to 643 meters (2100 feet) and is the highest of the seven mountains near Bergen. If you don’t feel ready for a hike to the top, you can take the cable car, which takes about eight minutes and costs NOK 285 ($ 30 USD) round trip. At the top you will have a spectacular panoramic view of Bergen and the sea. There are also shorter hikes (2-3 hours) up there.
If you like the adrenaline rush, you can descend the mountain on Norway’s fastest zip line. It opened in 2016 and is 300 meters long. However, you must reserve your tickets in advance. Tickets cost NOK 450 ($ 47 USD).
7. Explore Pepperkakebyen
Gingerbread City, open in November and December, is the largest annual gingerbread festival in the world. It started in 1991 and now includes more than 2,000 volunteers, bakers, businesses and schools. It consists of hundreds of gingerbread houses and looks like a snowy winter night in Bergen. If you are here during the holiday season, don’t miss it!
Teatergaten 30-2, +47 55 55 39 39, pepperkakebyen.org. Open from mid-November to December 31. Entrance is NOK 100 ($ 10.50 USD) for adults and free for children under 12.
8. Visit KODE
The KODE museum is one of the largest in Scandinavia for music, contemporary art, furniture, videos, historical objects and crafts. It presents a wide variety of more than 40,000 objects dating back to the 1800s. The museum is located in four buildings; visitors can also visit the houses of three famous Norwegian composers (Edvard Grieg, Harald Sæverud and Ole Bull).
Visit KODE 1 to see the Silver Treasure, a permanent exhibition of gold and silver objects, dating back 500 years to the past. For temporary exhibitions and the largest art bookstore in Bergen, see KODE 2. KODE 3, which opened in 1924, houses works by Edvard Munch, who painted The Scream.
Rasmus Meyers went 9, +47 53 00 97 04, kodebergen.no. Open Tuesday to Sunday (hours vary by season). Admission is NOK 140 (USD 14.70) in winter and NOK 160 (USD 16.80) in summer.
9. See the fortress of Bergenhus
Next to the port of Bergen is an imposing stone fort called the Fortress of Bergenhus. It dates back to the 1260s and is one of the oldest fortresses in Norway. It includes the Rosenkrantz Tower, a fortified tower dating from the 16th century, and the Haakon Hall, a former royal residence from the 13th century.
Unfortunately, a fire destroyed the hall of Haakon and all interior decorations in 1944, so it is now decorated with tapestries and is mainly used for concerts and banquets. The Rosenkrantz tower was the residence of Eirik Magnusson, the last king to have court in Bergen. Be sure to climb the narrow stairs to the top of the tower, where you will have an impressive view of the surroundings.
5003 Bergen, +47 55 54 63 87. Admission is free, although guided tours in English are available from June to August and cost 100 NOK (10.50 USD).
10. Visit the leprosy museum
Leprosy raged in Europe between 1850 and 1900. With three leprosy hospitals, the city had the greatest concentration on lepers in all of Europe. This revealing museum is located inside St. George’s. Its archives belong to the UNESCO Memory of the World program. You can take an educational tour to learn more about the history, symptoms and treatment of leprosy, as well as the conditions in hospitals during the epidemic.
Kong Oscars gate 59, +47 481 62 678. Open from May to August. Admission is NOK 100 ($ 10.50 USD); guided tours in English are NOK 30 ($ 3 USD) and take place at 11am.
11. Take a gastronomic tour
Bergen’s strong focus on local and sustainable food enabled it to earn its title of Creative City of UNESCO Gastronomy in 2015. Bergen Food Tours is a local travel agency that organizes tours of some of the most popular restaurants. tasty of the city. Bergen Classic 3-hour tour costs NOK 870 ($ 91 USD) and will give you a taste of local dishes like fish soup, wild salmon, reindeer sausage, smoked seafood, and brown cheese , as well as local craft beer.
Nesttunkollen 9, +47 960 44 892, bergenfoodtours.com. Open Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Check the website for visiting hours. Tickets cost NOK 890 ($ 80 USD) per person.
12. Take a fjord cruise
It’s a spectacular way to see the fjords up close and take a relaxing break in the city. There are several different fjords around Bergen, so you can choose a tour that suits your budget and schedule.
The one in Mostraumen offers a tour all year round and takes you 27 kilometers in the Osterfjord along the straits of Mostraumen. You will see towering mountains, sparkling waterfalls and you might even spot seals and eagles!
You can also take a fjord cruise to the Nærøyfjord and Sognefjord (the longest fjord in Norway) to approach the magnificent valleys and gigantic peaks.
Expect to pay between NOK 700-2,000 (USD 73-209) per person.
Book your trip to Bergen: logistical advice and tips
Book your flight
Find a cheap flight using Skyscanner or Momondo. These are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the world, so you always know that nothing is left to chance.
Book your accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the most complete inventory. If you want to stay elsewhere, use Booking.com, as they always offer the cheapest rates for guesthouses and hotels. My favorite places to stay in Bergen are:
Don’t forget travel insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft and cancellations. It is complete protection in the event of a problem. I never go on a trip without it, because I had to use it several times in the past. I have been using World Nomads for ten years. My favourite companies that offer the best service and the best value are:
Are you looking for the best companies to save money?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when travelling! I’m listing all the ones I use to save money – and I think they will help you too!
Looking for more travel advice for Norway?
Check out my Norway travel guide for more ways to save money, tips on what to see and do, suggested routes, read information, packing lists and much more!