Bergen: Norway’s gateway to the fjords

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The city of Bergen may be Norway’s second largest city, but it still retains the cosy charm of a small town. Situated between hills and fjords, the country’s unique landscape really stands out here. Bergen’s picturesque Bryggen harbour district in particular is a popular photo motif and definitely worth a visit. Here are some tips for a trip to Bergen.

City in Norway

The city of Bergen is located on the south-west coast of Norway and is the second largest city in Norway in terms of population. Bergen is surrounded by fjords, which is why it is also known as the “gateway to the fjords”. These include the Sognefjord, the longest fjord in Norway. The Bryggen neighbourhood is the historic heart of the city.

Area464,7 km²

Holidays in Bergen: what does the city in Norway have to offer?

Are you planning a holiday in Norway? Then you should definitely make a detour to Bergen. Norway’s second largest city impresses with its lively harbour, its cultural scene and the surrounding nature. Nevertheless, the coastal city offers enough peace and quiet to switch off from the hustle and bustle of everyday life – whether it is island hopping, a fjord excursion or a hike up one of the seven hills.

The city is also characterised by its history. Founded back in 1070 AD by Olav Kyrre, it later became Norway’s first capital. Thanks to its harbour as an important trading centre of the Hanseatic League, Bergen was even temporarily the largest city in the whole of Scandinavia in the Middle Ages.


First and foremost, Bergen’s location is what makes the city so unique: it lies between Norway’s largest fjords, the Hardangerfjord and the Sognefjord.

Cruise to Norway's fjords
The Hurtigruten mail boat route takes you from Bergen across the fjords.

There is definitely a reason why Bergen is called “the gateway to the fjords” or “the capital of the fjords”. The Hurtigruten mail boat route starts from here, travelling across the fjords and further along the Norwegian coast. Day trips on excursion boats across the fjords are also possible and will take you to the surrounding idyllic fjord villages.

Mountains and hills

Bergen view
The view of Bergen from Fløyen

Bergen’s second nickname is “the city between the seven mountains”. From the peaks you have a fantastic view over the city and the unique panorama of the fjord landscape with its islands.

The 320 metre-high Fløyen peak is easy to reach with the Fløibahn, which takes you up the steep ascent in just a few minutes. Various hiking routes start from Fløyen and there is a café and a restaurant. The highest mountain is Ulriken at 643 metres. It can be reached by cable car. If you are looking for something more adventurous, you can go hiking on a “fjell tour” and climb the mountains. The hilly landscape is dotted with many small houses on the green slopes of Bergen.

UNESCO World Heritage Site Bryggen

Bryggen wooden houses
61 of the colourful wooden houses in Bryggen are now listed buildings.

Probably Bergen’s most famous motif is Bryggen with its pier and colourful old wooden houses. From here you have a view of the Vågen bay. This is the oldest settlement in the city, dating back to 1070, which was mainly inhabited by merchants in the Middle Ages. However, the wooden houses had to be rebuilt after a fire in 1702.

Bryggen is known as the “Hanseatic landing stage”, which bears witness to a time when Bergen was the trading centre of Norway and the headquarters of the Hanseatic League. Today, Bryggen is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. You can stroll through the small alleyways between the listed houses, which are home to shops, restaurants, museums and galleries.


Bergen Open-Air Museum
Houses in the Bergen Open-Air Museum

If you have had enough of the picturesque nature or just want a change, you should visit the museums in Bergen. The KODE is one of Scandinavia’s largest museums for art, design and music. The house of the famous composer Edvard Grieg, where he lived for 20 years, is now a museum and event venue.

The Bergen City Museum and the open-air museum offer hands-on history: The historical image of Bergen is reconstructed by around 50 wooden houses from the 18th to the 20th century. However, these are by no means the only museums. In and around Bergen there are numerous other exhibitions on various themes relating to history, nature and culture.

Art and culture

Bergen has even more to offer in terms of art and culture. Various concerts take place here throughout the year. Did you know that international music stars such as Kygo and Aurora come from Bergen? As a student city, Bergen has a lively scene of pubs and bars.

While strolling through the city, you should definitely take a closer look around, as international street artists have sprayed street art everywhere, which is worth seeing.


Bergen has been a UNESCO City of Gastronomy since 2015 and is internationally recognised for its renowned gastronomy scene. The regional cuisine with fish and seafood and the typical local delicacies (including steamed cod) are particularly worth trying here. The large fish market is also a place to go, where you can buy regional fish from the sea as well as fruit, vegetables and souvenirs.

Travelling to Bergen

Fancy travelling to Bergen? There are various ways to do so, depending on what is most convenient for you.

Flights to Bergen

For a city trip to Bergen or the subsequent onward journey by ship, it is a good idea to fly to Bergen. The city’s international airport is the second largest in Norway and is located about 13 kilometres from the city centre. However, it is very well connected by the Bergen city railway. A direct flight is of course the quickest way. Alternatively, you can fly with a stopover in Oslo, Copenhagen or Amsterdam.

Cruise to Bergen

Cruises via Bergen are particularly popular. For example, the Hurtigruten route, which continues from Hamburg via Bergen to Kirkenes in the north of Norway. However, the stay in Bergen on cruises is usually limited to one day.

Alternatively, you can take the Bergen Railway from Oslo to Bergen and discover Norway’s nature and many beautiful smaller towns along the way.

Accommodation in Bergen

Hotels in Bergen

The best choice for a short stay in Bergen is a hotel. There is a large selection of different styles and price ranges. A hotel with a direct location in the city centre is particularly practical.

Holiday flats & holiday homes

Holiday flats and holiday homes are rarely found in the city itself, but there is a large selection in the Hordaland region around the Sognefjord and Hardangerfjord.

Motorhome pitches

If you are travelling to Bergen by camper or motorhome, you will of course need a suitable parking space. It is not necessarily advisable to drive into the city, but rather choose a site just outside and use public transport from there. The motorhome car park at Slettebakken (by the football pitch), near the Bergenshallen, is suitable. From here you can easily reach the city centre of Bergen.

If you want to stay longer, you can stop at the “Bergen Camping Park” campsite. It is located in Breistein, from where you can take a bus to Bergen. The campsite offers small cabins for overnight stays as well.

Weather in Bergen

Bergen in winter
Bergen in winter

The weather in Bergen is characterised by a lot of rain: There are around 200 rainy days a year here, although most of them are in autumn and winter. But even that doesn’t detract from the beauty and adventure factor of the city, as there are plenty of indoor activities. Even in summer, the ocean climate ensures moderate temperatures that rarely exceed 20 degrees.

If you want to visit Bergen in winter, you can experience the Norwegian fjord landscape in the snow. The view of snow-covered Bergen is well worth it. There are also various outdoor activities such as skiing or tobogganing.

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