7 reasons to visit beautiful Bergen

Surrounded by mountains, overlooking the sea that leads to the iconic Norwegian fjords you'll find Bergen, Norway's second largest city. Attractive cobbled streets lined with colourful wooden houses, a calm, laid-back city vibe, picturesque walks and some of the friendliest people on earth, Bergen is a different kind of city break.

View of Bergen, Norway from the summit of Mount Fløyen © Matjaz Inthar - Bergen Tourist Board
View of Bergen, Norway from the summit of Mount Fløyen © Matjaz Inthar - Bergen Tourist Board

Despite being one of the rainiest places in Norway, it's easy to lose yourself in the sheer beauty of the country no matter what the weather.

Getting to Bergen: this idyllic Norwegian city by the sea is very easy to reach and, thanks to TUI Lakes & Mountains*, there are plenty of deals to get you there for less than you might expect.

If you love nature, breathtaking views and like to venture off the beaten track then let us introduce you to Bergen. Here, we share seven superb things to do in this striking city.

1. Cruise the fjords

Taking a cruise through the renowned fjords, now a UNESCO's World Heritage site, comes top of the list and if you only do one thing here, make it this.

Bergen is surrounded by some of the most spectacular fjords including the longest, Sognefjorden, to the north and Hardangerfjord to the south, hence it's known as "The Gateway to the Fjords".

Cruise boat heading up the Sognefjord near Bergen © Robin Strand - Bergen Tourist Board
Cruise boat heading up the Sognefjord near Bergen © Robin Strand - Bergen Tourist Board

The fjords can be reached in just a few hours from Bergen's city centre and there are plenty of fjord cruise options to choose from. Whether you choose a half-day or full-day tour you'll discover unspoiled landscapes, waterfalls and remote, colourful villages all while breathing in the fresh, crisp sea air.

It gets very cold and windy out on the water so make sure you plan your dates carefully and be sure to pack suitable clothing, a lot of layers advised.

2. The magnificent mountain views

Bergen is home to seven mountains, two of which offer high points where you can admire panoramic views of the city, which are nothing short of magnificent.

Mount Fløyen

One of Norway's most famous attractions is the Fløibanen funicular, which takes you to the top of Mount Fløyen. Starting in the city centre, it travels 320 metres above sea level to a viewing platform where you will find the most sensational view and spend far too long gazing at the cityscape and out to the sea.

Fløibanen funicular, Bergen © Pål Hoff - Bergen Tourist Board
Fløibanen funicular, Bergen © Pål Hoff - Bergen Tourist Board

You'll also find a restaurant, souvenir shop, play area and fantastic walking routes where you'll uncover more of Bergen's natural beauty including a secluded lake.

Mount Ulriken

Mount Ulriken is the highest of Bergen's seven mountains and is another popular tourist attraction that should be added to your list.

If you're feeling adventurous you can hike to the top, taking one of several available routes that vary in difficulty. After an approximate two-hour ascent you'll reach the summit, where you're rewarded with a view that promises to mask any lingering aches and pains.

Alternatively, you can opt for the more leisurely way up and jump on the cable car.

3. The world's most amazing train journey

You may have heard of the Flåm Railway, considered the world's most beautiful and steepest train journey. It attracts visitors from around the globe and it's not hard to see - it's definitely one of the highlights of a trip to Norway.

Riding on the Flåm Railway © Sverre Hjørnevik - courtesy of www.visitflam.com
Riding on the Flåm Railway © Sverre Hjørnevik - courtesy of www.visitflam.com

If you take a trip on the Flåm line you'll zoom past some of the most impressive mountain scenery including cascading waterfalls, crystal clear rivers meandering through deep gorges and more.

The journey begins at Bergen where you'll hop on a train and ride past red painted cabins and boat houses as you climb the dramatic slopes until you reach Myrdal.

You'll then change and start your journey down the wild Flåm Valley until you reach the charming village, where you can roam around or visit the Flåm Railway Museum.

4. The delicious dining scene

As soon as you step foot in Bergen you're welcomed by the aroma of fresh fish. Owing to the city's waterfront location, it's no surprise that its seafood is otherworldly - even the fish and chips are on another level.

Fish market in Bergen © Robin Strand - Bergen Tourist Board
Fish market in Bergen © Robin Strand - Bergen Tourist Board

Head to the fish market in the heart of the city for the freshest local fish and seafood, as well as fruit, vegetables, flowers and plants.

Alternatively, take the weight off your feet and indulge in some delicious food at one of Bergen's many fabulous restaurants. Whether you're craving great seafood and sushi, a restaurant with an international menu or fine dining, Bergen has an eclectic selection.

If you're looking to splash the cash and treat yourself to some of the best seafood in Bergen, catch a boat to the world-famous Cornelius Seafood Restaurant.

5. Historic Bryggen

Bryggen is perhaps one of the most photogenic spots in Bergen, known for its colourful, wooden-clad boat houses right on the harbour. It's been a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site since 1979 and is considered an extremely important part of the city's heritage.

After being ravaged by many fires over the years, today Bryggen is standing strong and continues to be a vibrant part of the city. Once you've taken all of your photos of the frontage at various different angles, delve deeper and discover many of Bryggen's hidden stories.

Wander through the narrow streets and dark alleys and it will be like taking a trip back to the Middle Ages. Expect to find tiny boutique shops, galleries and cafés, where you can grab a freshly baked bun. There's also a number of museums such as The Hanseatic Museum and Bryggens Museum.

6. Hikes & walks

Hugged by seven different mountains, Bergen makes the perfect walking holiday for all ages and abilities.

If you want an easy ramble Bergen is the type of place where you can simply spend time strolling around the city centre. It's relatively compact and quiet with a relaxed, easygoing atmosphere.

Jaunt around Bryggen wharf and the lake by the Bergen Art Museum or walk through the suburb of Sandviken until you reach the Old Bergen Museum.

However, it's highly recommended that you head for the hills when in Bergen and discover the wondrous natural beauty of the Norwegian mountains.

Hike to 'Troll's Tongue Rock', Hardangervidda National Park © Sveinung Klyve - Bergen Tourist Board
Hike to 'Troll's Tongue Rock', Hardangervidda National Park © Sveinung Klyve - Bergen Tourist Board

Many of Bergen's best hikes begin at Mount Fløyen including the famous five-hour hike between the top of the Fløibanen funicular and the cable car on Mount Ulriken.

There are endless opportunities for hiking in Bergen and, in addition to the well-known routes, there are also plenty of secret off the beaten path walks that you can seek out uncovering serene lakes, stone staircases and awe-inspiring views along the way.

7. Museums & history

Bergen is bursting with history and tradition and home to more than 24 museums most of which you can gain free or discounted entry to with the Bergen Card.

The museums highlight topics such as Bergen's significant history of trade and fisheries, contemporary art, architecture and music.

Head to the Norwegian Fisheries Museum and the Bergen Maritime Museum if you want to learn more about the history of the fishing industry, hunting, shipping and more. See traditional sea houses, boats, ship models and some marine archaeological findings.

Take a tour of KODE where you'll find masterpieces by Pablo Picasso and many other esteemed artists such as Edvard Munch and Nikolai Astrup.

If music is more your scene then, you must head to Troldhaugen, the former home of world-renowned composer Edvard Grieg. Don't miss Grieg's villa, the hut where he composed music and his final resting place alongside his wife.

Weather in Bergen, Norway

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Find out more about the weather in Bergen and see when we think is the very best time to go to make the most of these Norwegian delights in our climate guides.

Ready to discover the many delights of Bergen? Find the latest deals on holidays to Bergen with TUI Lakes & Mountains, and before you know it you'll be tasting freshly caught fish and cruising the smooth waters of the fjords.

Anja Dolphin

Anja Dolphin
Posted on Friday 24th May 2019 in: Adventure City Europe Excursions Nature

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