We started our European trip by flying to Bergen, Norway. Flying there is very easy from the UK and only takes around 2 hours. After catching the Flybussen transfer bus directly outside the airport front door, we headed straight into the centre of Bergen and absolutely loved it, so thought we would share the coolest things to do when visiting Bergen.
Visit Façade of Bryggen
This is an absolute must. It is a very pretty road with the harbour on one side and a row of old shops, warehouses, bars and offices on the other. These buildings are now a National Heritage site and rightly so. The colourful frontage of these wooden Hanseatic-era buildings are such a great location, not only because of the façade, but it was a great experience to step inside the alleyways. It is worth exploring these passages to find galleries, small shops (full of locally crafted wares including a Christmas shop) and also some cafes.
Shop at Torget Fish Market
Being one of Norway’s most visited fish markets, we had to experience why. The location is very picturesque, right in the heart of Bergen, right next to the water. It is open until 11pm in the summer months and was absolutely heaving with tourists and locals alike. The atmosphere was great and so was the quantity and variety of food on the market stalls. It was fantastic to wander through and check out what was on offer- from fish and chips to shrimp skewers to fresh berries, all locally caught or freshly grown. However, I was shocked that there were whale sausages and other whale meats on sale that I don’t agree with myself. There are pop up restaurants within the fish market so if you fancied stopping here for lunch, it is an ideal location. Saying this, we were recommended to try a local restaurant nearby…
Eat at Søstrene Hagelin
Being just around the corner, the location of Søstrene Hagelin (a deli fish café) was ideal as we were starving after wandering through such amazing looking products in the fish market. This place was absolutely awesome and quite a bit cheaper than the market so was perfect for lunch. We chose a mix of 5 fishcakes for a set price. These were bacon and cheese, leek and cheese, garlic and cheese. The fishcakes are different to the ones from the British chippy. They are not breaded and are more like they are made from a batter with chunky bits of fish. We also had something called a fiske wrapper- basically a fish wrap- which was great too. We sat on a table outside and had some of the best fishcakes we have ever eaten. Good food, friendly staff and a great location!
Although Bergen is a city, it really does have that small-town charm and all of the major attractions are in walking distant. Being surrounded by fjords and mountains makes this a memorable place to visit. As you wander around, keep your eyes peeled for street art as there are some great things to be seen.
Go Up Fløibanen funicular
As we were not staying in Bergen for very long, we decided instead of walking up the mountain path, we would take the Fløibanen funicular to the summit of Mount Fløyen and being located so close to the fish market made this even more worth doing. The queue can get pretty long, so try and go early in the morning or late in the day.
The journey itself is exciting; the views of Bergen below grow ever more magnificent the further up you go. The area on the summit has a restaurant, café, a shop, a play park and lots of opportunity to hike and enjoy the awesome natural surroundings.
When you are at the top, make sure you look out for the goats! We made the most of the picturesque location for some photo opportunities, before walking down the mountain trail back into Bergen’s centre.
See the Fjords from the water
And finally… when visiting Bergen, you must go on a boat tour around the fjords. A fjord is a long, deep, narrow body of water that reaches far inland. Each fjord is formed when a glacier retreats and the sea fills the valley floor. They are U-shaped with mountains on each side and although connected to the sea, the water at the neck of the fjord is shallower than the main body of the fjord behind it.
It really is the perfect way to spend the day. The pictures really don’t do it justice as the views on every side are truly spectacular. Our boat tour took us along Nærøyfjord, the narrowest fjord in the world and a UNESCO heritage site.
We were very lucky to have spotted not only a harbour seal but a pod of porpoise dolphins in the distance. Along the fjord there are lots of small communities and towns, each with its own ‘personality’ and looked idyllic, some do not even have any roads connecting them so the fjords are used by the locals a great deal.
We had a fantastic time in Bergen and I would recommend it to anyone. With so many things to do during your stay it really is such a wonderful place to visit and a great place to start your tour through Scandinavia.