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Your guide to Bergen
All About Bergen
Perched on a hillside at the edge of the North Sea, the picturesque city of Bergen serves as the gateway to Norway’s fjord region. Although the second largest city in the country, Bergen exudes small-town warmth and character with inviting shops, galleries, museums, and some incredible street art. Bergen is home to one of the largest art museums in the Nordic region, KODE Museums of Bergen, which spans four buildings and showcases Renaissance works to contemporary pieces.
Bergen’s waterfront, Bryggen, was once a centre of trade between Norway and the rest of Europe. Today, Bryggen’s colourful timber buildings and old wharf are part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city itself is also nestled between seven mountains, which are well worth exploring. Hike to the summit of Fløyen or take the funicular up to the top for spectacular views of the city. You can also reach the top of nearby Ulriken, the highest peak, via a cable car. While in Bergen, be sure to try the fresh seafood for which the city is renowned. Local specialties include fish soup, fish cakes, and a steamed cod dish called persetorsk.
The best time to stay in a holiday rental in Bergen
Summer provides some of the mildest and most predictable weather in Bergen, with up to 19 hours of sunlight a day. Spring is a beautiful time in the city with blooming wildflowers and fruit trees, and the melting snow creates lots of waterfalls in the surrounding mountains. The weather in Bergen cools down in autumn and winter, however the short days and lack of sunlight are far from oppressive. Winter brings snowfall, and ample opportunity for skiing and sledding in the surrounding mountains.
Even though Bergen experiences a lot of rain — around 200 days a year — the city has many indoor attractions to keep you occupied, including museums, shopping centres, an indoor waterpark, and a fjord cruise aboard a covered vessel. If you find yourself in Bergen on a rainy day in December, visit the annual gingerbread village, known as the largest miniature gingerbread display in the world with over 2,000 creations made of gingerbread.
Top things to do in Bergen
Edvard Grieg Museum
Explore the home of one of Norway’s most famous composers at the Edvard Grieg Museum. Just south of Bergen, this home-turned-museum is a well-preserved exhibit of the life and work of the composer. Built in 1885, the house has the feel of an artist’s escape cabin, with ornate artwork, plush vintage furniture, and lavish light fixtures. There are a number of newer buildings on the property as well, including a concert hall, cafe, and shop. Guided tours of the museum are available.
Fisketorget i Bergen (Bergen Fish Market)
Bergen is well known for its fresh seafood, and you can sample some of its finest at the Bergen Fish Market, which has been operating since 1276. It’s one of the most popular outdoor markets in the country, and alongside the day’s catch — haddock, cod, and mackerel are big here — you’ll also find fresh fruit and vegetables and an array of local arts and crafts.
Bergen is surrounded by seven mountains and two fjords, making it a perfect home base for hikers. Although there are a number of hikes in and around the city, the Vidden Hike offers a nice mix of scenery. Along this eight-mile trek you’ll soak up vistas of nearby fjords and snow-capped mountains. The hike is wildly popular in summer, as it is on a well-marked trail and tackles two of Bergen’s mountains, Fløyen and Ulriken.