Licensed Guide and Norway Tour Planner
Bergen City Guide
Bergen; the capital of the west and the gateway to the fjords.
Bergen is a salty town with a proud maritime history and a strong connection to the sea. Enjoy the UNESCO-listed Bryggen wharf with its leaning wooden houses, ride the funicular up mount Fløien, explore the fish market, and indulge yourself to a plate of fresh seafood.
When to visit Bergen
Located on Norway's southwest coast, Bergen is often wrapped in a misty shroud of drizzle. Bergen is famous for its "liquid sunshine," so be ready for spontaneous rain showers that make you appreciate its vibrant, lush greenery. Even though Bergen got an average of 200 rainy days per year, a rainy day can mean rain in the morning, but sun in the afternoon.
Spring in Bergen (March-May) is characterized by the awakening of nature, with flowers blooming, and the city's green spaces coming to life. From March you can expect temperatures around 2°C to 6°C (36°F to 43°F), but as May arrives you’ll have highs ranging from 13°C to 18°C (55°F to 64°F).
Summer (June to August) also has a fair amount of rain, but at the same time can be a delightful surprise with sunny days, long daylight hours and flowers blooming. Expect average temperatures around 20°C (68°F).
From September to February expect both rainy and sunny weather, with potentially a lot of wind in October and November. December is a cozy time with Christmas markets all around, and in January and February there may be some snow on the ground, but overall Bergen has a mild winter climate with highs ranging from 2°C to 6°C (36°F to 43°F) and lows around -2°C to 2°C (28°F to 36°F).
Getting into Bergen
Bergen Airport (BGO)
To get from the airport I would recommend the Airport Bus Flybussen, which takes about 30 minutes to the bus station and costs 170 NOK if you buy the ticket in advance online (or pay more onboard to the driver).
Another good option, if you are 3 or more travelers, is to share a cab. It’ll take about 20 minutes to downtown, and the prices range from 7-800 NOK. Make sure to agree on a max price before you get into the taxi.
A budget option is to take the Bybanen (city tram), which will take you right downtown in about 50 minutes and costs about 40 NOK one way. Find tickets in the Skyss Ticket App.
Places to stay in Bergen
Bergen is compact, but hilly. If you want easy access to most sights I would stay near downtown, but if you don’t mind the (uphill) hike and want to get away from the crowds, there are also a few spots to stay up on one of the many hills and neighborhoods.
Bergen doesn’t have many high-end/luxury hotels, but here’s a few options that should satisfy the needs of those who want the little extras during their stay.
Hotel Charmante - Skostredet
A fairly new and stylish boutique hotel inspired by early 1900s “decadent”Paris. For something out of the normal you should check this one out. Has a bar and restaurant. Located on a charming and lively street.
Hotel Norge by Scandic
A modern hotel, recently renovated with swimming pool and spa.
Bergen Børs Hotel
Modern, but classic hotel in the old stock market building. Michelin star restaurant, and located just next to the fish market
Name inspired by the A Minor Concerto by composer Edvard Grieg. Expect a modern and luxurious experience.
Bergen has several good good mid-range hotels, but be sure to book early if you visit during the high season (June-August). My favorite Thon Hotel is the Thon Hotel Rosenkrantz, which is just a block away from the UNESCO Bryggen and serves up one of the best breakfasts in any mid-range hotel that I know of.
Another fun hotel is the Hotel Oleana, a colorful hotel inspired by the world famous violinist Ole Bull. Great breakfast and centrally located.
Nearby you can also consider Hotel No13 for their great location and comfortable rooms.
Another good options includes the tucked away Klosterhagen Hotel. This hotel is located in a quiet neighborhood a 10 minute, slightly uphill walk from downtown. A great place for experiencing some local vibes with several nice eateries nearby. Don’t miss their free afternoon waffles.
For another charming neighborhood hotel up on a hill, have a look at Hotel Park. This hotel is a family run place with a traditional interior, located in a beautiful building from the early 1900s.
For a historical hotel downtown check out the quaint and comfortable Hanseatiske Hotel, located just next to the fish market.
The Citybox Hotel might be your best bet for a budget hotel in Bergen. They offer inexpensive and clean rooms with self-service check-in, laundry room, small kitchen, and so on.
You’ll find two locations, the Citybox Bergen City is conveniently located downtown, and the other one at Danmarksplass has slightly better prices, but sits a 15 minute walk or a 2 minute ride with the light rail to downtown.
There are also Bergen City Bikes parked nearby, so you can easily bike downtown.
Note that prices for hotels highly fluctuate throughout the year, and if you book early you can sometimes find good deals! The high season in Norway goes from June to August.
Places to eat in Bergen
Bergen has a great food scene and is a city with long culinary traditions. Expect a mix of fresh seafood, traditional Norwegian dishes, and a thriving modern culinary scene.
Here are a few of my favorite food and drink spots in Bergen:
RESTAURANTS & CAFéS
Restaurant 1877 is inside the old meat market building, and specializes in modern Norwegian cuisine.
Fjellskål is a bit pricey, but has impressive seafood plates with a view over the harborfront.
On the cheaper end is Söstrene Hagelin, a traditional “fast food fish restaurant” with tasty fish cakes and fish pudding.
Allmuen has a creative menu and focuses on food sustainability.
Spisekroken is a cozy neighborhood restaurant that focuses on veal and local dishes. You often find reindeer and catch of the day on their menu. For another great dining experience check out MOON, run by two frenchmen who offer a seasonal tasting menu.
3-Kroneren (three crowns) is a hot dog kiosk that’s been around since the hot dog cost three kroner (NOK). In other words, they’ve been around a while and have become a hot dog institution in Bergen. Find all kinds of hot dogs, but you might want to try their Reindeer hot dog with lingonberry jam, fried onions and mustard.
People from Bergen are social animals, and like to go out to grab a drink.
Wine lovers head to Dyveke Wine Cellar with a cozy 16th century vibe!
Don’t miss Hallaisen for the best ice cream in town, including brown cheese ice cream (my favorite). They also have cocktails.
Things to do in Bergen
With its blend of natural beauty, a long history and many cultural riches, Bergen has something to offer every traveler. For rainy days pick an indoor sight, and for sunny days make sure to enjoy it (while you can).
Here are some of my top recommendations for things to do in Bergen:
Bergen has a great collection of art museums, and my favorites are the KODE Museums with a good selection of contemporary art of Edvard Munch and other classical Norwegian painters. Tucked in the middle of the KODE buildings is also Bergen Kunsthall with temporary exhibitions of contemporary art, they also have a nice café for having some lunch.
Other museums include the Bryggen Museum with archeological finds from the old wharf. This is an ideal place to learn about the history of Bergen and its many fires. Try to join one of their guided tours.
The nearby Schøtstuene (assembly rooms) gives insight into the life of the Hanseatic League in Bergen. At the Old Bergen Fortress you can enter the medieval Rosenkrantz tower, and see the Haakon's Hall, gathering place for Norwegian kings throughout history.
With more time check out:
- Norway’s Fisheries Museum
Experience a real stockfish warehouse, and learn more about the history of the sea.
- The Maritime Museum
Viking ship models, boats from Bergen and exhibit about oil production in Norway.
- Gamle Bergen (old Bergen) Open Air Museum
Experience Bergen in the old time by visiting a collection of old houses. Actors and plays make this place come alive.
- The Leprosy Museum
Exploring Norway’s leprosy history (only open in summer).
Sea & FJORD ACTIVITIES
Bergen is nicknamed the gateway to the fjord and is a nice starting point for your fjord adventures.
Find Fjord Cruises for Bergen here. For a short half day cruise I recommend the Mostraumen Cruise. For a full day tour, where you can possibly include a couple of scenic train rides, you can do the Norway in a Nutshell itinerary. Check out the YouTube-episode I made from Oslo to Bergen, but you can also do it as a day trip leaving Bergen in the morning and arriving back to Bergen the same day.
Other Things To Do
- Ride the Bergen funicular fløibanen up to Mount Fløien. Ride the same way back or hike down the hillside together with the locals.
- For another mountain ride, take the cable car to the top of Ulriken.
- Visit the Fantoft Stave Church (replica, only open in summer).
- Join a tour to see Troldhaugen, the home of Edvard Gried (including a concert).
- Visit the fish market and stroll the charming streets of Bergen.
- For a challenging hike, climb to the top of Stoltzekleiven.
How to get around in Bergen
Bergen has a light city rail named Bybanen which can take you from the airport to downtown. There are also plenty of local buses covering pretty much all of Bergen.
Find information about routes and tickets on the Skyss website.
Bergen Travel Connections
With good connections to Sweden, Denmark, Oslo and most other places in Norway,
Bergen is a perfect starting point for your Norwegian adventure.
The train company Vy got frequent departures from Bergen to Oslo on the Bergen Line.
TO TROMSØ, LOFOTEN & BODØ
These destinations are far up north, and unless you have ample time and consider traveling by train and/or bus. For most travelers I would recommend to find a flight and fly up north.
TO STOCKHOLM & COPENHAGEN
For a train ride between Bergen and Stockholm you will need to go through Oslo. I would recommend doing this journey over two days with a stopover in Oslo. Find route schedules and tickets on the Vy website.
There are many flights between Bergen and Stockholm/Copenhagen. Some are direct and some you’ll have to change in Oslo.
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