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  • Writer's pictureIne Vandenwyngaert

Bergen, Norway: A Complete Travel Guide

Updated: Apr 4, 2023

The city of Bergen is located along the southwestern coast of Norway. Surrounded by mountains and fjords, it’s a haven for nature and outdoor enthusiasts. But as a UNESCO World Heritage City and European City of Culture, Bergen also combines history, culture, and an interesting urban life. This charming city might have a small-town feel, but it has tons of entertaining activities to offer. In this travel guide, we highlight how to get to Bergen, everything you need to know before going, where to eat and drink, where to stay, and the best things to do.


Check out our video on Bergen to get a sense of what it's like there!



How to get to Bergen


Get to Bergen by plane


Bergen is the pefect destination to start your journey around Norway. This is because there is an international airport with direct flight to major cities within Europe, such as Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Copenhagen, London, New York, Paris, Stockholm, and many more. Find the best flight deals via Skyscanner!


There are few options to get from the Bergen Airport to downtown. The first option is by city tram or “bybanen”. It departs directly underneath the airport and takes you directly to the heart of Bergen in about 50 mins. This is maybe not the fastest option, but most definitely the cheapest (only 39 NOK) AND you get to see the surrounding area for free. The second option is Flybussen, which takes you downtown in about 20-25minutes. Finally, you can take a taxi which takes about as long as Flybussen. The prices to the airport are fixed and taxi companies follow these rules. Prices start from 450 NOK.



Get to Bergen by ferry


Alternatively, you can also arrive by ferry or cruise, which is a beautiful journey. The Fjord Lines ferry that takes you from both Stavanger (Norway) and Hirtshals (Denmark) to Bergen. The ferry docks within easy walking distance of the city center!



Get to Bergen by train


If you are flying into Oslo, it's also possible to come to Bergen by train. The Bergen Railway between Bergen and Oslo has been awarded one of the most beautiful train rides in the world and is an experience in itself. The train ride takes you over the rugged Hardangervidda mountain plateau! It also allows you to make some stops along the way. Make sure to make a detour to the idyllic fjord village of Flåm from Myrdal Station along the Bergen Railway.



Get to Bergen by car


Finally, if you have your own car or you're renting one, you can easily drive to Bergen along the scenic fjords, waterfalls, mountains, and coast. Get the best deals on rental cars here!


Bergen Maps

We created a custom map of all the places we mention in this article. Simply click on a destination to get directions there for yourself!


Important things to know before you go to Bergen


Bergen weather


Bergen is not known for its pleasant weather. In fact, it's considered one of the rainiest cities in all of Europe. It does rain quite often and can be a bit chilly, even in summer. You can have all seasons in one day even if the day starts out with clear blue skies. So remember to bring proper clothing and a rain jacket. You can check the Bergen weather forecast here.



Best time to travel


The best time to travel to Bergen is during the summer. You can enjoy long days with the sun setting as late as midnight! Even though very unstable, the daily temperature generally hovers around 19°C and may even reach 25°C on hot days. It is also the best time to go hiking in the mountains in the area as there won't be any snow anymore.



Cost & currency


Bergen (and Norway in general) is expensive. It's one of the most expensive places to travel to in the world. Especially the cost of food, drinks (alcohol prices are extremely high!), accommodations, and tours. A beer in a bar often costs over $10 USD and a typical meal comes in around $30 USD. The best way to save money is to get a place that has a kitchen so you can cook your own meals. The Norwegian currency is the Krone, and it is quite strong. That said, you don't need to bring cash. Every place accepts credit and debit cards. During our 4 weeks trip around Norway, we didn't get out cash once. We literally didn't need it, not even to pay for the ferry!



Safety in Bergen


Bergen is a wealthy and safe city with very low crime rates. You won't see any homelessness in the streets, which makes it very pleasant and comfortable to walk around. We felt 100% safe in Bergen! Just as with any city in the world, you should always be aware of pickpockets. Especially protect your belongings in the busy, touristic areas like Bryggen or the Fish Market.



Where to stay in Bergen


It's best to stay in the city center of Bergen as most of the touristic highlights can be found here. A few recommendations are:



hilly Bergen
hilly Bergen

Where to eat and drink in Bergen


There are many food and drink options in Bergen. Here are some more affordable options that we liked:

  • Godt Brød: this is a chain and can be found all around the city. It has delicious pastries and sandwiches (you can put the toppings on as you like)

  • 3 Kroneren: you can find the Norwegian hot dogs here. Try the reindeer sausage here!

  • Fish market: any of the stalls sells fresh fish

  • Sjøboden: cool bar in Bryggen

  • Espresso House: coffee chain in Norway, similar to Starbucks

This list is rather short as we cooked many of our meals due to the high cost of food and drinks!




Best things to do in Bergen


There are tons of great things to do in Bergen and we highlight 6 of our favorite things that can easily be completed within 2-3 days.


To get the most out of your Bergen experience, it is best to buy the Bergen Card. This 24, 48, or 72 hours card gives you free entry or discounted admission to a bunch of museums, attractions, events, and sightseeing tours. It also offers great discounts on shopping, car rentals, restaurants, and bars, and allows you to travel for free on buses and the light rail in the Bergen region!



Check out our article about Western Norway for a full road trip itinerary from Bergen to Alesund!


6. Try the local food


Norwegian culture is highly influenced by fishing and this is also visible in their cuisine. Visit Bergen’s fish market at the waterfront and you’ll see merchants selling their fresh catch of the day as they have for centuries. And even if you’re not a seafood lover, it’s still worth strolling through to check out the fresh fish and take in the atmosphere. Other dishes Norwegians are proud of is “boller”, which comes in many forms and is usually sweet bread with cinnamon or filling, as well as their local hot dog, which is called “Pølse”. This is one of the cheapest snacks you’ll find, and you can choose between regular meat or even reindeer and moose sausages.



Fresh fish at the fish market in Bergen
Fresh fish at the fish market


5. Visit one of the many Bergen museums on a rainy day


With an average of 239 rainy days, Bergen is considered one of the rainiest cities in all of Europe. So chances are high that you’ll experience some rain while you’re there. Luckily, Bergen has more than two dozens of interesting museums that you can visit, covering a wide range of topics. From Bergen's important history with fisheries at the Norway Fisheries Museum, to contemporary art at KODE, and Norway's leprosy history at the Lepramuseum. There's something for everyone! We visited the Bergen University Museum of Natural History, with fantastic exhibits on ocean, plant, and animal life in Norway.




4. Day hike to highest peak in Bergen municipality


Sitting between various mountains, Bergen naturally has plenty of great hiking terrain. At 987 meters tall, Gullfjellet is the highest peak in Bergen municipality and a classic for local hikers. Located a bit outside the city, this trail feels truly remote and is a great escape. The trail starts at Osavatnet and runs past a cabin (Redningshytten) on the way to the summit. With lots of cliffs, small lakes and ponds, this hike is absolutely beautiful. On a sunny day, you can see the ocean to the west and a glacier (Folgefonna glacier) to the east from the summit. To get to the trailhead, it’s best to rent a car or combine public transportation with a taxi ride.


bergen hiking gullfjellet
Near the top of Gullfjellet

3. Visit Bryggen & the Hanseatic Museum


Urban development of Bergen started in Bryggen, a wharf in the center of town. Nowadays, Bryggen is one of Bergen's most iconic and popular attractions. With its vibrant atmosphere, you will find plenty of things to do. You can stroll through the narrow, crooked alleyways, grab a local beer at one of the many cafés, and learn about its historic importance during a Free Walking Tour of the city.


Make sure to visit the Hanseatic Museum. A free guided tour is included when visiting the museum, during which you get to know more about the Hanseatic merchants and their daily life at Bryggen. Trade of stockfish at Bryggen began to boom in the mid 1300s thanks to the Hanseatic League expansion and lasted until the 18th century.


bryggen bergen
the old houses and stores of Bryggen

2. Hike at least one of Bergen's 7 peaks


Bergen is also nicknamed "the city between the 7 mountains" because it is surrounded by seven peaks! And here comes the good news: you can hike them all! The most popular ones are Mount Fløyen and Mount Ulriken, which are easily accessible by foot or bus from the city center. Both are short but steep hikes of a few kilometers each, offering spectacular views of the city, the fjord, and the ocean from the top. Our favorite one was Ulriken as it offers a more elevated view of! And if you’re not into hiking, don’t worry. There is a cable car to Ulriken and a railway to Fløyen if needed. During the summer months, you can also decide to hike from Mount Fløyen to Mount Ulriken (or the other way around). This hike across Vidden takes about five hours.




1. Go on a fjord cruise


Norway is known for its fjords, and so is Bergen. If this is your first time in Norway, make sure to go on a day tour of the fjords. Bergen offers a wide variety of guided tours, with Mostraumen being the most popular and accessible one. During a 3 hour cruise, you will see the varied western Norway fjord landscapes, consisting of steep cliffs and waterfalls. You eventually reach the Mostraumen Strait and the tiny village of Mo, which only counts 100 residents! Alternatively, you can visit other fjords in the area. They are a bit further away and often require some driving first! Options include the Sognefjord, Hardangerfjord, Geirangerfjord, and Nærøyfjorden.





 

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Other Top Bergen resources:


If you're looking for some other suggestions and tips on Bergen, here are some great articles that will help you:

  1. The official Visit Norway website with general information on Bergen

  2. The official Visit Bergen website with very specific information on Bergen

  3. The 17 best things to do in Bergen according to The Planet D


Need more travel inspiration? Check out our other destinations and other articles about Norway:

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Hi! We are Ine & Zac. An international travel couple from Belgium and the US. We created World Wild Hearts to inspire life-changing travel experiences like we've had. Use these tips, stories, and guides to inspire your next adventure of a lifetime!

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