The city of Bergen represents an interesting and exciting confluence of knowledge, culture, and nature. Nestled in a harbor among the soaring hills and mountains of southwestern Norway, Bergen is home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a major cruise port, excellent museums, and a major university. The result is a robust European city that lends itself equally to visitors interested in history, art, knowledge, fine dining, nightlife, and adventures that take them deeper into Norway’s rugged interior and stunning coastline.
Bathed in the warm air and waters of the Gulf Stream, Bergen, Norway is blessed with a pleasant year-round climate.
Winters are cold, but not bitter, and summers are sunny and green, but not sweltering.
Bryggen, A UNESCO World Heritage Site
Set against the towering hills of Bergen and the steely blue waters of the waterfront, the colorful timber-framed buildings of Bryggen create a classic postcard image of Norway.
Bryggen is a painstakingly restored Hanseatic trading center.
In a perpetual state of archeological excavation, the site is constantly evolving.
Walking the narrow alleys of Bryggen is like walking through an amusement park for history buffs.
Troldhaugen and Other Notable Museums in Bergen
Troldhaugen, the home, and studio of composer Edvard Grieg, has been turned into a marvelous museum dedicated to the life and work of this native son of Bergen.
The museum includes Grieg’s piano and furnishings as well as copious photographs of the musician and his many collaborators.
Troldhaugen also offers summertime concerts on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday evenings.
Additional museums and notable attractions in Bergen include:
• Hanseatic Museum
• Bryggens Museum
• Bergen Art Museum
• Maritime Museum
• Bergen Aquarium
• Theta Museum – A recreation of a WWII resistance headquarters – Norway’s smallest museum
• Bergen Museum at UiB – Including major cultural history and natural history collections
Dining and Nightlife in Bergen
Given the students and faculty from the University of Bergen and a plethora of tourists coming through town, it comes as no surprise that this town of more than 250,000 should have a wealth of good restaurants, bars, pubs, and clubs.
From casual wine bars around Bryggen to tourist joints on the water and the summer seafood market, Bergen offers variety and quality at every level.
Just south of Bryggen, the Fløibanen, a funicular railway, runs to the top of Mount Fløien.
Up on top, visitors are greeted with spectacular views of Bergen’s valleys and bays. Next to the Fløibanen station sits the Fløien Folkerestaurant, which boasts a menu as grand and sumptuous as the view from its massive tableside windows.
Travel Outside Bergen
Bergen is the ideal place to strike out by bus, train or ship to explore the rest of Norway.
Whether they are headed south to explore the Hardanger Fjord and the southern reaches of Norway, or east toward Oslo, regular train service, good roads, and reliable bus service from Bergen transport visitors anywhere they want to go.
Headed north, the options are even more enticing. Bergen is a major point of departure and destination for Hurtigruten (Norwegian for Fast Route) vessels traveling both north and south along the Norwegian coast.
Essentially cruise ships that perform double duty as “working boats”, Hurtigruten’s Norwegian coastal cruises stop at major ports along their route, but also call at small fishing villages and outposts, making it possible for travelers to customize their itinerary and visit parts of the Norwegian fjords and coastline that few visitors will ever see.
With tempting year-round weather, rich history, spectacular scenery, all of the cultural and nightlife amenities of a big city, and bus, rail and coastal ship transportation hubs, Bergen stands out as the place to begin any exploration of Norway’s coast and interior.