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Bergen Norway – the Fjord capital

Bergen Unesco Bryggen waterfront. Photo by Rita de Lange, Fjord Travel Norway

Picturesque Bergen is a “must-see” city in Norway

– beautifully located by the fjord, surrounded by 7 mountains, picturesque hillsides with tiny wooden houses & narrow streets, the UNESCO Bryggen wharf; the beautiful, old, wooden wharfhouses from the Hanseatic era.
Click here for travel tips to Bergen
See our picture gallery from Bergen

Bergen’s location in Fjord Norway

Dried cod at Bergen fish market. Photo by Rita de Lange, Fjord Travel NorwayDue to the unique geography of Norway, with fjords carving their way from the coast and far into the countryside, Bergen was in the older days quite isolated from the rest of Norway, but on the other hand, the city was open to Europe, with a large fleet of wooden sailships carrying dried cod to the European markets, mainly in Italy, Spain & Portugal, for their bacalao and stoccafisso dishes.

The UNESCO Bryggen wharf, Bergen, Norway. Photo by Rita de Lange, Fjord Travel Norway

Bergen used to be one of the Hanseatic towns, and the picturesque, Unesco Bryggen wharf dates back to this Hanseatic era. The tiny Hanseatic Museum at Bryggen waterfront is well worth a visit!

Eventually Bergen was connected to the rest of the country with roads, bridges & ferries crossing the fjords, and the amazing Bergen rail line crossing the mountains from Oslo. But the inhabitants of Bergen still feel somehow disconnected from the rest of Norway; a popular saying in Bergen is “I don’t come from Norway, I come from Bergen”, being very proud of their beautiful city.

Bergen - The open air Fish market & hillside.  Photo by Rita de Lange, Fjord Travel NorwayBergen is still open to the world, attracting tourists from around the globe, and fish is still an important part of Bergen’s identity. The open air Fish Market has for centuries been the “heart” of Bergen.
In 2012 a new indoor fish market opened next to the open air market, where you can still by fresh fish, seafood & smoked salmon from Norway. You will also find open air cafés serving salmon sandwiches.

Bergen Funicular to mount Floyen. Photo by Terje Rakke, Nordic Life/Fjord Norway

Bergen is beautifully located by the Bergen fjord, surrounded by 7 mountains. You can take the Funicular to mount Floyen, offering a marvellous view of the city and the surrounding islands and fjords.
The city station is located a short walk from the Fish Market. Close to the top station you find the historic Floyen restaurant & café, with a beautiful view.

There is also a cable car to the top of mount Ulriken, the highest mountain surrounding Bergen, with an altitude of 700 metres above sea level. There is a breathtaking view from the top, as well as a nice restaurant. A scheduled bus service takes you from the city centre to the cable car station.

Bergen’s tiny wooden houses & narrow streets

Tiny wooden houses in Bergen. Photo by Rita de Lange, Fjord Travel Norway

Bergen has several authentic areas with tiny wooden houses and narrow streets, a “must see” during your visit!

You find these picturesque areas at the Nordnes peninsula, at the hillside around the Funicular city station, at the Marken area close to the train station, as well as in the Sandviken & Skuteviken areas.

The charming Old Bergen Museum offers a large selection of authentic wooden houses, located a 10 mins bus drive from the city center

The back yard of Bryggen wharf. Photo by Rita de Lange, Fjord Travel Norway

The back yard of Bryggen wharf

More to see in Bergen:

The Aquarium at the Nordnes peninsula – during the summer season you can take the really tiny ferry departing directly from the Fish Market, takes a few minutes. It is a good idea to stroll at least one way, to see the picturesque areas of tiny, wooden houses and narrow streets at Nordnes and Klosteret area
St Marys church – a beautiful, twotowered stone church, located just behind the Bryggen waterfront and the Radisson Blu Royal hotel.
Read more about St Marys church on Wikipedia

The composer Edvard Grieg’s home Troldhaugen – a tiny, wooden villa with a beautiful garden by the Nordaas lake. Take the city tram “Bybanen” to Hop station (20 mins), then follow the signs to Troldhaugen for a walk of approximately 20 minutes, or a taxi. Read more about Troldhaugen on Wikipedia
The Fantoft Stave Church – an authentic, wooden church. Take the city tram to Paradis station, then walk up a hill for approximately 10 minutes

Lungegaard lake Bergen. Photo by Rita de Lange, Fjord Travel Norway

Lungegaard lake

The idyllic Lungegaard lakea quiet part of the city, with views of the hillsides and the mountains.

You also find interesting Art museums by the lake, where you can see the famous Norwegian painter Edvard Munch’s artworks. Read more on the Bergen art Museums web site

Rea more about Bergen & Bergen’s history on Wikipedia
Watch Rick Steeves’ interesting YouTube video about Bergen

Read about more scenic cities in Norway
View all our Norway destinations & highlights