Bergen. City in Norway, Europe

Bergen

City in Norway, Europe

Bergen Brygge Photo © Andrés Nieto Porras

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Bergen

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	Bergen
Bergen. Photo by Svein-Magne Tunli
A fairy-tale Bergen on the south-west coast of Norway, is surrounded by seven hills and seven fjords. With the UNESCO World Heritage listed Bryggen and Vågen Harbour, Bergen climbs the hillsides with hundreds of timber-clad houses, while cable cars offer stunning views from above. Norway’s second largest city, with over 250,000 inhabitants, has great museums, friendly locals, and a dynamic cultural life. The beautiful and charming city, established before 1070 AD, is one of the warmest cities in Norway, thanks to the Gulf Stream32 °F, and rain can occur both in January and July.

History

Bergen was originally founded in 1070 by King Olav Kyrre. The 13th century was an important period in the history of Bergen. King Haakon Haakonsson made Bergen the capital of Norway and its dependencies Iceland, Greenland, and many of the Scottish islands, in 1217. Thanks to its geographic location, it was a key commercial, shipping, and industrial town and during the Middle Ages, Bergen grew to be the largest towns in the Nordic region. With its sheltered harbor and the proximity to rich fishing grounds, Bergen quickly established itself as one of Norway's most important trading ports over the centuries. The town flourished as a result of exporting dried cod and importing grain from the country’s northern regions. Today, the economy is underpinned by rich oil and gas fields off the coast, as well as tourism. It is the port with the largest merchant fleet in Scandinavia. It also houses the main base of the Norwegian Navy.

Quiz: Bergen Sunset -
	Bergen
Quiz: Bergen Sunset. Photo by Howard Ignatius

Attractions

Bryggen
Bryggen

Bryggen

Bergen's oldest and one of North Europe’s oldest ports, Bryggen, runs along the eastern shore of Vågen Harbour. It was established as a center for trade by the 12th century. Many fires, the last in 1955, have ravaged the characteristic wooden houses of Bryggen. Its renovation has traditionally followed old patterns and methods, thus leaving its main structure preserved, which is a relic of an ancient wooden urban structure once common in Northern Europe.

Torget fish market

Stop by the fish market to mingle with the crowds. The picturesque and lively fish market in Bergen is one of Norway's most visited outdoors markets. Right alongside the harbor and only a stone's throw from Bryggen, here you'll find everything from salmon and smoked whale meat, fish and chips, fish cakes, seafood salads, and local caviar.

Fløibanen
Fløibanen

Fløibanen funicular

For an unbeatable view of the city and the fjords, ride the 26° Fløibanen funicular to the top of Mt Fløyen (320m), with departures every 15 minutes. The funicular railway is one of Norway's most famous attractions offering innumerable opportunities for walking and hiking. The funicular trip starts from the city center, just 492 feet from the fish market and Bryggen. At Fløyen, there is also a restaurant, cafeteria, souvenir shop, and play area.

Ulriken643

The Ulriken643 cable car takes you to the highest peak of Bergen’s famous "Seven Mountains". From Mt Ulriken (642m), you can enjoy magnificent views of Bergen and the surrounding area - the sea, the islands, fjords and mountains. A shuttle bus to the cable-car lower station leaves every half-hour from the Torget fish market between 9 am to 9 pm, May to September.

Bergen Kunstmuseum

The Bergen Art Museum exhibits a superb collection of predominantly 18th and 19th century pieces by international and Norwegian artists, including Munch, Miró, Picasso, Rodín, and Paul Klee. The museum is one of the largest in all of Scandinavia and offers a great cross section of fine works to be admired. Situated next to the Lille Lungegård Lake, in the center of town, the venue makes for a great leisurely stop over while taking in the other sights of Bergen.

Bergen Aquarium

In more than 60 large and small aquariums you can watch, in fascination, all the weird and wonderful things that occur beneath the surface at close quarters. In addition to getting to know the cod, and all the other creatures that live along the Norwegian coast, you can meet animals like crocodiles, snakes, lizards, and common marmosets in our tropical section. On foot, you can get there from Torget in 20 minutes; alternatively, take the Vågen ferry or bus 11.

Bergen - Bergen
Bergen. Photo by Hilde Kari

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	Bergen
Bergen. Photo by Harvey Barrison

Food & Drink

In Bergen you'll find just about everything from tea rooms to gourmet fish restaurants. Fish and seafood of course, are local specialties; try fish soup, smoked and cured salmon, catfish, monk-fish and herring. Other delicacies include game and venison (such as elk, reindeer, and deer) and a sweet cinnamon roll known as skillingsbolle. Bergen's best restaurants are found in the beautiful center of Bergen, especially near the Torget fish market.

Shopping

Bergen has long been a trading town and its shops rangingfrom the small and specialized to large department stores. Among the best shopping centers in the city center are Kløverhuset in Strandgaten, Galleriet in Torgallmenningen square and Bergen Storsenter near the bus and train stations and the ByGarasjen multi-store car park. Bergen’s biggest shopping center – Lagunen Storsenter – is south of the city center, out towards the airport.

Getting Around

Bergen is great to explore on foot. Strolling around old streets and alleyways where people have lived for centuries is an unforgettable and rewarding experience.

By bus

An efficient bus system is useful on rainy days and for travel farther afield. A free shuttle bus (bus 100) links the bus with the train station and the city center. Schedules can be picked up from any bus, but are only available in Norwegian, like their web counterparts. Bergen Card offers free bus transportation as well as discounts on car parking. Cards are available on a 24 or 48-hour basis with discounts for kids.

By Boat

From late May to late August, the Vågen Harbour ferry (every 30 mins from 10am to 6pm) runs between the Torget fish market and Tollbodhopen at Nordnes.

By Taxi

Taxis are quite expensive but reliable and metered. You will find taxi ranks at the airport, outside the bus and train stations, and at Bryggen. Almost all of the taxi drivers in Bergen speak English. Most of the taxis are high standard cars, like Mercedes and Volvo.

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Author: Ayda. Last updated: Jan 26, 2015

Pictures of Bergen

Bergen
Bergen.

Bergen-panorama i solnedgang, closeup - Bergen
Bergen-panorama i solnedgang, closeup - Photo by Terje Nesthus

Bergen Sunset - Bergen
Bergen Sunset - Photo by Howard Ignatius

Skyline - Bergen, Norway - Bergen
Skyline - Bergen, Norway - Photo by Jim Trodel

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