I love Bergen and I’ve visited numerous times. This salty town on the Norwegian west coast is one of my favorite places to travel to in Norway. From Oslo I usually go by train with the Bergensbanen railway, but I also enjoy driving to Bergen.
Bergen is a town with a lot to offer, but there are some sights and experiences I seem to keep on doing over and over every time I visit. Therefor I’ve made a list with my six top things to do in Bergen. All these things can be done in one full busy day, but I recommend spending at least two days to not have to rush through.
Six top things to do in Bergen
Bergen got a great art scene, and you see a lot of cool street art when you walk around. You find everything from fairytale figures to political statements and artsy creations. There are also some established art galleries such as the Bergen Kunsthall with contemporary art, and the KODE museum.
The KODE museum is spread out between four different buildings. They all have interesting exhibitions, but if time is limited I usually prioritize visiting building number 3. Here you find one of the world’s largest collections of the painter Edvard Munch (who painted the Scream), but also some Norwegian masterpieces from the National Romantic era. A great place for a rainy day.
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#2 SKOSTREDET – The shoemaker street
Skostredet street in Bergen
Despite its proximity to the fish market, a lot of visitors to Bergen miss out on this charming street. On this street you find a lot of cute little shops with retro and second hand products. Also there are some nice restaurants and bars, and a lively place where many locals like to hang out in the evenings.
It’s just a 3 minute walk from the fish market, and put “skostredet” into google maps or use this link to take you there.
#3 BRYGGEN in Bergen
The iconic Bryggen in Bergen
The Bryggen (docks) in Bergen is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. These old wooden buildings have become an icon for the city, and a must see for any visitor. For several hundred years Bergen was the center of exporting dried cod fish (tørrfisk) to Europe. This trade was mainly managed by the powerful German trade organization called The Hanseatic League. The buildings down at Bryggen were the commercial buildings housing the german merchants and large quantities of dried fish from the 1300s and all up to the 1700s.
Today the dried cod fish has been replaced with small shops selling souvenirs and Norwegian sweaters, and I love strolling around in between the narrow alleyways admiring the architecture of the old wooden buildings.
#4 THE BRYGGEN MUSEUM
There’s not many good museums in Norway who covers the medieval ages, but in Bergen they have one, and that is The Bryggen museum.
After a big fire in 1955, archeological excavations found a lot of objects providing an insight into everyday life during the medieval ages. They found everything from medieval shoes, swords, coins and jewelry, and also a lot of wooden sticks with runic inscriptions on them. Some of them with quite entertaining text like a woman giving her husband the message: “This is Gyda, now it’s time to come home from the pub”.
I think this is an excellent museum that gives you good insight into the history of Bergen and the Bryggen area.
#5 MOUNT FLØIEN
The Fløibanen Funicular
Bergen is surrounded by seven mountains, and Mount Fløien is one of them. To get up to the top you can ride Fløibanen, a funicular running since 1918, and you can catch it down at the city center. Up on the top you get a nice view of Bergen and Vågen (the bay).
To get down again you could ride the Funicular, or you can hike down. This would be my recommendation! It’s about a 30 minute walk downhill through a lush forest with nice views of the city. The path is well marked, but all you have to do is just follow the locals.
A seafood plate in Bergen
Bergen has a strong connection to the sea, and is the perfect spot for finding fresh seafood. There are many restaurants offering a seafood plate, usually with a mix of mussels, scallops, shrimp, king crab, oysters and more. The last time I was there I ate at a restaurant called Fjellskål (google maps). They offer a standard plate for around 70-80 USD and you get to enjoy it with a view over the bay and Bryggen on the other side.
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I hope this article provided some inspiration for your next visit to Bergen. Leave a comment if you have any questions about travel to Bergen. I also made a YouTube episode from Bergen with the same six things to do. See link below.
Tusen takk, thanks a lot of reading!