The ultimate guide to the best things to do in Bergen, with tips and tricks from a local! Bergen is one of the liveliest and prettiest cities in Norway, as well as being one of the largest and most famous. Its modern and cosmopolitan atmosphere blends with tradition, making Bergen a major hub for local art, history and culture.
Walking through the picturesque alleys of the old town will be like taking a dip back into its glorious past, when it was first the seat of one of the greatest Norwegian kings and capital of the country, and then one of the most important ports and trading post of the mighty Hanseatic League. Even today you can wander around the ancient medieval village called Bryggen, one of the best preserved in the world and recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Bergen boasts a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere, a sophisticated lifestyle and a lively food scene, with fine restaurants serving excellent Scandinavian cuisine. The compact size of the city center makes it an ideal destination for exploring on foot, but the best attractions are just outside the city, such as the view from Mount Fløyen, a cruise in the surrounding fabulous fjords or a multi-day trip to the surrounding region.
Bergen is the ideal base for exploring South Western Norway, being well connected to Oslo and other European cities, so many travelers choose it as a starting point for renting a car and exploring the surrounding region, as a port of departure for a cruise of the Norwegian fjords or for an adventure on the legendary Hurtigruten ships. Whatever the reason for your trip to Bergen, in this guide you will find everything you need to better plan your trip and all the tips from locals on the best things to do in Bergen!
What you will find in this guide to the Best Things to Do in Bergen:
- Things to Know Before Visiting Bergen
- Best Things to Do in Bergen
- Best Places to Eat in Bergen
- How to Get to Bergen
Things to Know Before Visiting Bergen
Bergen is one of the most popular, large and picturesque cities in Norway. It is the gateway to the fjords of Southern Norway and the scenic mountains that stretch inland. The famous coastal express Hurtigruten and many coastal cruises also depart from Bergen. Many fjord cruises stop in Bergen for a few hours, and a tour of the city’s most scenic corners will certainly be one of the highlights of the trip.
Located along Norway’s southwestern coast, Bergen is surrounded by seven mountains and two of the country’s largest fjords, the Hardangerfjord to the south and the Sognefjord to the north. Unsurprisingly, its name, Bergen, means mountain or person who lives in the mountains. So, when visiting Bergen know that the surrounding area is full of excellent opportunities for hiking and nature walks!
Few people know that Bergen was once the capital of Norway. The city was founded in 1070 by Olaf Kyrre, son of Harald III of Norway. This was a remote village active in the fishing and trading of stockfish. However, there was also one of the king’s largest residences here, so in 1217 the capital was moved from Trondheim to Bergen. However, it was not for long, since in the early 1300s King Haakon V decided to move the capital to Oslo.
However, Bergen retains a remarkable historical and cultural heritage and fabulous traces of its medieval past. You will be able to stroll through its picturesque alleys, explore the halls that once housed the Hanseatic League, which in the Middle Ages was the most powerful trade conference in the world, admire the iconic and colorful old wooden houses of Bryggen, the old port district that is now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Today Bergen is one of the most vibrant cities in Norway and arguably the most visited in the country. It boasts an excellent arts, gastronomic and cultural scene. Travelers will find great hotels, a few good hostels, and a plethora of good restaurants serving the best of contemporary Scandinavian cuisine.
Bergen is a great starting point for exploring Southern Norway and the Southern Fjords. Also from here you can go to some of the most popular and picturesque attractions, such as the Flåm Fjord and its scenic railway, the Flåmbana, and the scenic Bergen-Oslo Railway, which crosses one of the most amazing and unspoiled landscapes in Europe.
Best Things to Do in Bergen
Bergen Funicular (Fløibanen) and Views from Mount Fløyen
The Bergen Funicular (Fløibanen) is one of the most popular things to do in Bergen. The short and fascinating journey on this old funicular will take you to the top of Mount Fløyen, the 320-meter hill overlooking the city.
The lower station of the Bergen Funicular is located right in the center of the city, behind the Bryggen. You can easily see the beautiful historic building on the corner of Vetrlidsallmenningen and Lille Øvregaten, which are two of the main boulevards in the old town. The picturesque funicular, dating from the early 1900s, climbs through the hillside through a breathtaking landscape.
Today it is operated with modern panoramic carriages with large windows, which allow you to enjoy the view to the fullest. The route lasts 5-8 minutes and ends at the upper station, where there is a panoramic terrace with a breathtaking view of the city!
Many people opt to get to Mount Fløyen by walking the path that starts behind the lower station and winds up the hill. This also passes the scenic Tippetue Viewpoint and then finally arrives at the Fløyen Panorama, which is the same place where the funicular arrives. The route is 3 km long and takes at least 1-1.5 hours. Here you will find the GPS track of the path to Mount Fløyen. An alternative route, just as nice and much less touristy, is the one that starts from Starefossen, east of the city center (GPS track). This is also shorter and easier, but you will still need a long walk to get there from the city center.
Mount Fløyen is not only famous for its views that sweep across the fjord and surrounding mountains, but also for the many opportunities for hiking and nature walks. This is a popular area for mountain biking too, and there are several trails through forests dotted with ponds. The trails are suitable for the whole family.
Near the Fløyen Panorama there is a children’s playground called “Troll Forest” and a café, called Fløistuen, which serves fragrant freshly baked pastries. There is also a restaurant that boasts an unparalleled view, the Fløien Folkerestaurant.
A path leads to the small and pretty Skomakerdiket Lake, a good place for kayaking, canoeing or walking the paths around the lake. There is also a small café serving good pancakes and coffee, the Skomakerstuen, which is only open on weekends.
Hikers can follow the Vidden Tursti, a 15-km-long trail (about 5 hours one way) that leads to Mount Ulriken, the highest peak around Bergen. From there, you can descend by cable car or the trails that lead (in less than an hour) to the suburb of Lægdene, where you can take a city bus to the city center.
The Bergen Funicular is open all year round and also accessible by wheelchair and baby strollers.
Opening hours: from 7.30 AM to 11.00 PM. Weekends opens at 9.00 AM (in summer 8.00 AM).
Ticket prices: Round trip – Adults (16+) 150 NOK, Children 75 NOK, Families (2 adults + 2 children) 375 NOK.
Bergen’s most famous attraction is Bryggen, the old wharf dating back to the Middle Ages. With its marvelous colorful wooden houses and its compelling history, Bryggen is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A stroll through its narrow alleys, its galleries and hidden courtyards is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Bergen.
Symbol of the town’s importance as part of the Hanseatic League’s trading empire from the 14th to the mid-16th century, Bryggen is a historic harbor district that boasts 62 beautifully preserved buildings that were once merchant houses, warehouses and offices and trading posts managed by wealthy and powerful German merchants.
The neighborhood was destroyed several times by fires and Bryggen’s appearance today stems from the time after the big fire in 1702. Even today it is possible to appreciate its medieval aspect, with its long narrow rows of buildings facing the harbor, separated by narrow wooden passages. The port is right in front of it, and here once upon a time ships and vessels loaded with goods docked, there were taverns for sailors and a great coming and going of dockers and fishermen.
Overlooking Vågen Bay, Bryggen is now a quiet neighborhood that is home to some good restaurants, museums, jewelers and art galleries. What were once warehouses of cereals and stockfish now house artisan workshops and offices. A short walk from Bryggen you can also visit the interesting Bryggen Museum, which displays a collection of archaeological finds and artifacts that tell the story of Bryggen’s merchants and craftsmen.
Want to find out more about the exciting history of the Hanseatic League? This confederation of German merchant guilds was one of the most powerful commercial and military organizations of the past. The Hanseatic Museum tells its story through artifacts, maps, treasures and more that belonged to the wealthy German merchants who dominated the stockfish and cereal trade for over 400 years.
It is set within Finnegården, a fabulous large wooden house in the heart of Bryggen, which is one of the oldest buildings in the neighborhood and in the town. Inside you can admire the original interiors, perfectly preserved. There are still the stockfish warehouses, the merchants’ offices and dormitories, and the authentic creaking wooden floors of the era. You will find out what life was like here when Bergen was a major trading post.
Not far from the Hanseatic Museum you can also visit the Schøtstuene, located next to the Church of St Mary. This majestic palace housed the local headquarters of the Hanseatic League, with the assembly halls of the Hanseatic merchants at Bryggen, the banquet hall and the courthouse.
The Hanseatic Museum at Finnegården is currently closed for restoration and the collection is on display at Schøtstuene.
Mount Ulriken and the Bergen Cable Car (Ulriksbanen)
Mount Ulriken is the highest of the Seven Mountains, the hills surrounding Bergen. It has a height of 643 meters and boasts a crazy view of the city, the fjord and the surrounding mountains. A hike to Mount Ulriken is definitely one of the best things to do in Bergen for outdoor enthusiasts.
However, getting to Mount Ulriken is quite easy and there is no need to climb the trails. There is a convenient cable car, called Ulriksbanen, which takes you quickly to the top. From the cable car you will have superlative views of the fjord and the city, as well as from the top of Mount Ulriken. Otherwise there are a couple of trails leading from the Lægdene suburb to the top. It is about a kilometer with an altitude difference of almost 500 meters, it can be covered in about 1 hour.
You can reach the lower station of the Ulriksbanen with the shuttle that leaves every half hour next to the Fish Market or by bus no. 50. Otherwise you can walk there, it is about 45 minutes walk. On the summit there is an observation deck with telescopes, a cafe and a restaurant. Fit hikers could continue along the Vidden Trail, the 15 km trail to Mount Fløyen.
Ulriksbanen is open daily from 9.00 AM to 11.00 PM and return tickets cost: Adults – NOK 355, Children – NOK 145, Families – NOK 790. The cable car leaves every 5 minutes.
Located at the entrance to Bergen’s harbor, right next to Bryggen, Bergenhus Fortress is one of Norway’s best-preserved medieval stone castles. Today it appears as a large complex of buildings with gardens, courtyards and tree-lined avenues where you can enjoy a nice walk (admission is free). Bergenhus Fortress is located right in front of the cruise terminal, so it is the first attraction in Bergen that cruise passengers will encounter on their walk to the city center.
This fortress dates back to 1240, when Bergen was still the capital of Norway, and was built as the residence of the royal family. Inside you can visit the marvelous King Håkon’s Hall (Håkonshallen), a 13th-century ceremonial hall commissioned by King Haakon IV. While it may seem a little bare today, this was once the luxurious banquet and royal party hall. Today it occasionally hosts events and concerts. The (somewhat overpriced) ticket for the visit costs 120 NOK.
A short distance from Håkon’s Hall you can visit the Rosenkrantz Tower (Rosenkrantztårnet), which is the most important Renaissance building in Norway. This was once the castle where King Magnus Lagabøte lived in the 13th century. You will be able to visit the chapel, the royal bedrooms, the guard rooms, the armory and the dungeons dating back to the 16th century.
The tower also had a defensive role for the town and its port, and the weapons shown were actually used in the Battle of Vågen in 1665. From the top of the tower you can enjoy a delightful view over the town. Tickets cost 120 NOK. Around the fortress you will notice some old German WWII bunkers and other buildings that once housed the quarters of the royal guards, the fortress commander and a small museum dedicated to the history of the fortress.
Bergen Fish Market
One of the best things to do in Bergen is to taste the delicious local specialties based on the catch of the day. Bergen’s Fish Market has been one of Norway’s most important open-air markets since the 1200s and boasts an important supply of the freshest fish from fishermen across the region.
Here once fishermen and merchants met, then for centuries it was one of the most important markets of the town, now it is one of its main tourist attractions. A covered market was also recently built which, despite its name, is more of a food court than a real fish market.
If you visit Bergen in the summer, however, you will also be able to see the more authentic open-air market: dozens of stalls neatly display an amazing variety of fish of the highest quality. You can buy what you want and cook it yourself at home, or you can eat it perfectly cooked on the spot. You will be able to try a wide choice of fish, from the famous Norwegian shrimp to cod, halibut and salmon, of course. But also the prized king crab, lobsters and even whale. Fish soups are also good. If you can, wash them down with a good glass of Riesling, just like a local would.
The stalls of the covered market serve fabulous seafood dishes in a very nice setting. Some also have good wines and drinks and also sell other specialties, such as cheeses, jams and more. The prices of a meal at the Bergen Fish Market are not cheap! On average, you spend NOK 250 for a main course.
KODE – Bergen’s Art Museums
Bergen’s vibrant art scene condenses into KODE, the city’s premier art museum. Actually, these are 4 different museums, each focused on a specific theme. The main artistic associations of the city merged to offer art lovers the opportunity to visit all the venues with a single ticket. However, the 4 museums are located next to each other, around Lille Lungegårdsvannet, the octagonal lake located in the city center.
KODE 1, formerly called Permanenten, offers permanent and temporary exhibitions on local art, design and crafts, including jewelery made by Bergen artisans.
KODE 2 is Bergen’s premier contemporary art museum and exhibits valuable works from the Stenersen Collection, one of the most notable in Europe, as well as hosting interesting temporary exhibitions. At the ground floor, you’ll find Bergen’s largest art bookstore with a large selection of books on the visual arts, architecture, photography and design.
KODE 3 is another interesting museum focused on modern and contemporary Norwegian art. The highlight of the museum is the remarkable Rasmus Meyer Collection which boasts some of the best masterpieces by the most famous Norwegian artists, such as Edvard Munch and Johan Christian Dahl.
KODE 4 is the newest of Bergen’s contemporary art museums and hosts temporary and permanent exhibitions featuring works by prominent international artists, such as Picasso, Paul Klee and Dahl.
St. Mary’s Church
St. Mary’s Church is one of the oldest buildings in Bergen and dates back to the mid-1100s. Located behind the Bryggen, it is characterized by an imposing facade with an exquisitely medieval appearance with two asymmetrical square towers, which differ in style windows.
This church is one of the best examples of Romanesque architecture in Norway, and boasts a precious altarpiece depicting the Madonna and Child surrounded by saints, including St. Olav, St. Anthony and St. Catherine.
St. John’s Church (Johanneskirken)
Bergen’s largest and most important church is located on a small hill south of Bergenhus, the most popular and central district of the city. Its red brick facade, in late 19th century Gothic style, hides a beautiful interior that reflects the canons of Nordic architecture, with minimal decorations and geometric motifs, an organ and beautiful stained glass windows.
Gingerbread City (Pepperkakebyen)
One of the best things to do in Bergen during the Christmas season, especially if you’re traveling with kids, is to check out Pepperkakebyen: a miniature city built entirely of gingerbread. Born as a temporary event in 1991, the Gingerbread City has been revived every year for over 30 years.
Each year a new Gingerbread City is built by local children and some volunteer artists. You’ll see a plethora of gingerbread buildings and monuments, including local and international landmarks, as well as cars, boats, trains, and more. In many European cities, nativity scenes are popular this time of year, while in Bergen the nativity scene is a huge and fabulous gingerbread town!
Opens from mid-November until New Year’s Eve. The venue often changes from year to year. Ticket prices start at NOK 150. You can find more info on the official website.
Fantoft Stave Church (Fantoft Stavkirke)
The fabulous Fantoft Stave Church is a medieval wooden Christian church in the classic Northern European style, dating back to 1150. It was once located in a village along the idyllic Sognefjord, not far from Bergen. It was moved at the end of the 19th century to save it from demolition, as a more modern church was being built there.
This wooden stave church can be visited today in the village of Fana, 15 km south of Bergen and easily accessible by car or bus. The current church is actually a replica, as the original was burned down in 1992. The arson caused quite a stir, and the church was quickly rebuilt exactly like the original. Inside you will be able to see some relics parts of the old church, such as the original crucifix – which miraculously survived the fire – and a stone cross. An impressive fact is that the church is built exclusively of skilfully intertwined wooden beams, without nails or glue.
In the same village you can also visit Gamlehaugen, the Norwegian Royal Family’s official residence in Bergen. This wonderful royal palace is nestled in a large beautiful park along the banks of a peaceful fjord. In the summer, locals love to come here, lie down on the lawns and relax with a book. In the summer there are also sporadic guided tours of the palace.
Edvard Grieg Museum Troldhaugen
Just a few kilometers south of Gamlehaugen and Fantoft Stave Church do not miss the chance to visit the Edvard Grieg Museum Troldhaugen, a museum dedicated to the prominent Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg set in what was his residence for the last twenty years of his life of him.
The fabulous villa is located on a small hill, called Troll’s Hill, overlooking Lake Nordås, which is not actually a lake but a scenic fjord connected to the sea only by a narrow canal. Here Grieg wrote some of his most famous compositions, and today his house can be visited and you can see his office, the rooms with the original furnishings – including his Steinway grand piano – and the objects that belonged to him.
In the beautiful garden there are other outbuildings, including an auditorium that still hosts concerts, Grieg’s tomb and the hut where the composer took refuge in search of inspiration for his works. It is worthwhile even just to see the charming villa and romantic Grieg’s composition hut located along the banks of the fjord.
The Troldhaugen is open every day except Mondays, the ticket price is 130 NOK. In summer you can attend a piano concert in the chamber music hall of the Troldhaugen, with a repertoire of Grieg’s famous lyric pieces as well as his arrangements of Norwegian folk songs. Ticket prices from 200 NOK. From late June to mid-August there are guided bus tours from Bergen to Troldhaugen which include the lunchtime concert. Ticket prices start from 340 NOK. Info and reservations on the museum’s website.
Gamle Bergen – Old Bergen Museum
One of the nicest things to do in Bergen is to walk along Sjøgaten, the road that leads to the suburbs north of the city center, along which there are some small but interesting museums. Worthy of note are the Storeblå Aquaculture Visitor Center, a one-of-a-kind museum entirely dedicated to the world of aquaculture and salmon farming, and the Norway Fisheries Museum (Norges Fiskerimuseum) focusing on the history of fishing and local fishermen.
But the coolest attraction is the Gamle Bergen Museum, reachable by a 45-minute walk or just 10 minutes by bus (city bus no. 3). This open-air museum is the best place to breathe the atmosphere of medieval Bergen: you can wander through a 19th century village, with typical wooden houses, shops and markets of the time. There are over 50 brightly colored wooden houses, most of which were originally located in Bergen’s city center. You will be able to freely explore the alleys and houses: the village is populated by dozens of traditionally dressed figures, which will allow you to discover many interesting things about Bergen’s history.
The Gamle Bergen Museum is open every day from mid-June to mid-August and only from Thursday to Sunday for the rest of the year. Ticket costs 140 NOK. May be closed in winter, check opening hours here.
A nice thing to do in Bergen, especially for those traveling with kids, is a visit to the Bergen Aquarium, located on Bergen’s Nordnes Peninsula, a stone’s throw from the city center. With its 60 aquariums, it is home to various indigenous species of fish, from cod to rarer and lesser known species. There is also a section dedicated to tropical fish and reptiles, including crocodiles and snakes, and one dedicated to the Arctic, with penguins and other species.
If you are lucky, you will also be able to see the penguins’ feedings! There is also an interesting program of activities, such as presentations about penguins and other species, films about the sea and whales, as well as activities for children, such as touch-tanks. Ticket prices from 320 NOK. You can check the opening hours and schedule of the day’s activities here.
Damsgård Country Mansion (Damsgård Hovedgård)
Located just 4 km from the city center and easily reachable in 10 minutes by city bus n. 9 stopping in front of the Torget, near the Fish Market, the Damsgård Country Mansion is a beautiful villa dating from the 18th century, built entirely of wood in an enchanting Rococo style.
Surrounded by a garden with a beautiful view of the fjord, this was the country residence of Joachim Christian Geelmuyden Gyldenkrantz, a notable and wealthy government official from Bergen, who was also a minister of war in the second half of the 1700s.
Today the delightful villa can be admired for free from the outside, walking in its exterior gardens. The inner gardens, adorned with statues and fountains, can be visited together with the interiors of the villa. There are guided tours that are held in small groups, only in the summer and only on certain days of the week. If you are interested in visiting, you could try asking about the visiting hours at the Bymuseet i Bergen, which manages the venue.
The Old Voss Steam Railway
One of the lesser known things to do in Bergen is a trip on the Old Voss Steam Railway, located about 30km northeast of the city center. This historic train runs along an old railway that was once the last leg of the Bergen-Oslo Railway.
Here you can travel aboard an old train with vintage carriages dating from 1910-1930 along the 18-km railway between the villages of Garnes and Midttun. The steam loco is a ten-wheeler built in 1913 as the first generation mountain locomotives for the Bergen-Oslo Railway.
The train only leaves on Sundays from mid-June to mid-August. Depart at 11.30 AM from Garnes Station, which can be reached by car from Bergen. Round trip ticket prices from 210 NOK.
Cruise on the Fjords – Osterfjord and Mostraumen
Bergen is surrounded by some of the most scenic fjords in Norway. The reason why many visit Bergen is to explore its amazing surroundings: you can explore some of the most beautiful and wildest landscapes in the world, stunning fjords dotted with remote villages, spot seabirds and climb some of the most impressive mountains in Europe.
Among the most popular things to do in Bergen is definitely a cruise on the nearby Osterfjord, located just north of the city. The ships depart from Bryggen pier offering a beautiful view of its colorful houses, and then continue on to the Esterfjord, a fjord 27 kilometers long and surrounded by steep mountains. From here you will reach the Mostraumen Strait, a very scenic and remote point. Along the way you will see old villages with traditional houses and you will be able to see dozens of scenic waterfalls, whose cold water is pristine and drinkable!
This could also be an idea for a nice road trip. You could hire a car in Bergen and follow the E39 road to the picturesque village of Romarheim. From there you can continue on the scenic Fv569 road to the village of Mo. From Mo the Fv569 heads south towards the village of Dale, where you will find the junction with the E16, which will allow you to explore the fjords northeast of Bergen. This road will take you straight back to Bergen. This road trip takes 2-3 days and you could stay along the way in the nice apartments of Old School på Eidslandet in the village of Eidslandet and the fabulous Solneset Farm in Arna.
The King of the Fjords: Sognefjord and Flåmsbanen
The two main fjords around Bergen are also Norway’s most famous: to the north is the stunning Sognefjord and to the south, the Hardangerfjord. The Sognefjord is famous for its stunning scenery, remote villages and for having some of the most beautiful and pristine branches in Norway, such as the Nærøyfjorden. This is why it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
You can easily explore it with a day cruise trips from Bergen to Flåm, a picturesque village nestled in an enchanted valley at the far end of the Sognefjord. This is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Bergen, as it will allow you to enjoy the stunning coastal scenery of Norway’s most beautiful fjord.
A scenic railway also departs from Flåm to take you to the village of Myrdal, in the rugged mountains between Bergen and Oslo. You will be able to see some of the largest and most spectacular waterfalls and glaciers in Norway. From Myrdal you can return to Bergen by taking the scenic Oslo-Bergen railway.
The entire route can be done on a guided day tour that includes transport by train and bus to the scenic villages from where you will depart for an eco-friendly electric boat cruise on the Sognefjord and Nærøyfjorden. Then you’ll visit the village of Flåm and enjoy the scenic ride on Flåmsbanen to Myrdal. In Myrdal you’ll take the scenic train back to Bergen. This is the most famous tour in Southern Norway.
Road Trip to Hardangerfjord and Trolltunga from Bergen – Itinerary
Located in Hordaland County, 100 km south of Bergen, the Hardangerfjord is one of the largest fjords in the world and the second longest in Norway. It is 179 km long and over 900 m deep, surrounded by scenic mountains and peaceful villages, grasslands and apple farms.
One of the best road trips from Bergen is to the Hardangerfjord and the stunning surrounding mountains. You could rent a car in Bergen and then travel along the E39 to Osøyro. Here you will take the public car ferry to Fusa and travel along the Fv552 to Eikelandsosen. You will continue on the Fv48 to Gjerdmundshamn and from there another ferry crossing to Rosendal, a pleasant town famous for the Baroniet Rosendal, a fabulous 17th century manor house overlooking the Hardangerfjord.
The area is full of trails that allow you to explore the mountains and enjoy a beautiful view of the fjord. You could stay at the Rosendal Fjordhotel and enjoy the serenity of the landscape, or continue on to Odda (50 km). This town is famous for being the base camp for excursions to Trolltunga, one of the most beautiful and famous hikes in Norway.
The hike to the Trolltunga takes about 10-12 hours (round trip) and allows you to reach an exposed rock on a fabulous lake nestled between rough mountains. It is essential to start the excursion early in the morning. There are some good accommodations in Odda, you can find out more on our Trolltunga Hiking Guide.
From Odda also start the paths towards Folgefonna, one of the largest glaciers in Norway. Among the most beautiful viewpoints are the Reinanuten and the Buerbreen. These hikes require some skill and involve rope passages and suspension bridges. Not for beginners!
From Odda you will continue towards the Eidfjord (72 km), a scenic branch of the Hardangerfjord surrounded by rocky walls and hills covered with apple and strawberry crops. From here you can follow the Rv7 road to Vøringfossen, one of the most beautiful and famous waterfalls in Norway. Enjoy a relaxing stop at the fabulous Fossli Hotel, located near the waterfalls, at the picturesque Eidfjord Gjestgiveri or at the Eidfjord Fjell & Fjord Hotel, which boasts beautiful fjord views.
From Eidfjord continue west towards Hardanger Bridge (Hardangerbrua) which will allow you to reach the opposite bank of the Hardangerfjord. Here a short detour on the scenic Fv572 will allow us to visit the picturesque village of Ulvik (35 km from Eidfjord). Near Ulvik is a one-of-a-kind place to stay, the Hardanger Panorama Lodge.
The Fv572 continues towards a beautiful mountainous landscape, passing by scenic lakes and waterfalls, such as the Espelandsfossen, then returning south – to the village of Granvin – from where you will take the Fv7 Hardangervegen, a scenic road that skirts the fjord. From Ulvik to Norheimsund, where you will find the junction to Bergen, it is about 80 km. Here you can stay at the Hardanger Feriesenter Nesvika or the Thon Hotel Sandven. A valid alternative is the nearby town of Øystese, where there are the quaint Hardangerfjord Hotel and Mo Gardsferie. The next day you can continue along the Fv7 and E16 to Bergen, it’s about 80 km. Traveling this itinerary takes 4-8 days.
Best Places to Eat in Bergen
One of the best things to do in Bergen is to discover its vibrant food scene. This city boasts a huge cultural heritage and is one of the best places to discover traditional and contemporary Scandinavian cuisine. Here you will find a selection of our favorite restaurants in Bergen, selected for quality and authenticity of the food, value for money, atmosphere and location.
One of the best restaurants in Bergen is certainly Restaurant 1877, which serves fabulous contemporary Scandinavian cuisine in an elegant setting. It is located in what used to be called “Kjøttbaseren”, which means “meat bazaar”, an old and delightfully restored meat market dating back to 1877. It offers fine 5 or 8 course tasting menus starting from 995 NOK. Wine pairing from 895 NOK.
Other good places to try contemporary Scandinavian cuisine is Colonialen 44 (menu from 785 NOK) which is also a good place to have a decent glass of wine and Marg & Bein (4, 6 or 8 course tasting menu from 765 NOK, wine pairing starting from 498 NOK).
Those looking for a fine dining experience could opt for the Bare Restaurant (tasting menu starting at NOK 2000) or the Lysverket (tasting menu starting at NOK 1849). Both were awarded 1-Michelin star.
For those looking for something more modest and less expensive, the Bien Basar serves good specialties that are a mix of Scandinavian and Iberian flavors (main courses around 350 NOK) while Horn of Africa serves excellent African specialties and also good vegetarian dishes (main courses around 250 NOK). Excellent African specialties also at the Savanna Restaurant (main courses from 160 NOK).
In Bergen’s Fish Market you could try Fjellskaal Seafood Restaurant, which serves excellent soups and fish specialties (main courses: 300-500 NOK). For a light meal, Daily Pot serves up good homemade soups and pies.
Bryggen’s most famous restaurants include To Kokker and The Unicorn Fish Restaurant (you can find it as Enhjørningen Fiskerestaurant). Just behind the Bryggen there is also the Bryggen Tracteursted. They serve good traditional cuisine. An average main course costs NOK 350-400, NOK 800-1000 for a meal. Next to Bryggen there are also a couple of other good restaurants, 26 North Restaurant & Social Club Bergen – serving contemporary North European cuisine – and Bryggeloftet & Stuene Restaurant, serving traditional cuisine.
For a sweet, coffee or freshly baked pastry, you could try Baker Brun located in the old telegraph building (on Starvhusgaten street), which is now a shopping mall.
How to Get to Bergen
Getting to Bergen by Plane
Bergen is the second largest and most important city in Norway, so it is well connected with the rest of the country and with Northern Europe. Bergen-Flesland Airport is located 20 kilometers south of the city and is easily connected by the Bergen Light Rail, the tram that connects the city center with the suburbs around Bergen.
There are connections to and from Bergen for various destinations in Europe, mainly Northern Europe, Spain and Great Britain, as well as seasonal flights to and from Italy, France and Croatia, Greece and Turkey, operated by Norwegian and SAS. In addition, there are several connections with other major European cities operated by dozens of national airlines and some low-cost ones. Flights to and from domestic destinations, operated by Norwegian, SAS, Flyr and Widerøe, are quite frequent and at affordable rates, especially those to Oslo.
Rent a car in Bergen
You can rent a car at Bergen Airport or in the city center. It is advisable to book well in advance in the peak seasons, especially in summer and in the Christmas season. You can find the best and cheapest car rentals on Rentalcars and Discovercars.
Getting to Bergen by Train
Travelers from Oslo to Bergen can opt for the comfortable and affordable train from Oslo to Bergen. This is one of the most famous scenic train journeys in Europe, as well as being the highest railway in Northern Europe, running through rugged and pristine plateaus at 1222 meters above sea level. A trip along this railway is one of the must-dos on a trip to Norway and you will be amazed by the landscape and the endless sequence of lakes, waterfalls and mountain resorts. You can find out more about our guide to the Oslo-Bergen Railway.
Getting to Bergen by Ferry
You can get to Bergen with the large and comfortable car ferry that leaves from the port of Hirtshals in Denmark. There are daily connections with night ferries (16.5 – 18.5 hours from Bergen to Hirtshals). Tickets from € 90, cars from € 200. Timetables, prices and booking on Direct Ferries.
Frequent ferries depart from Bergen to many destinations along the Norwegian coast, such as Stavanger, Flåm, Sogndal, Vik and many more. You can find routes, timetables and tickets on Direct Ferries. The famous coastal express Hurtigruten also departs from Bergen, traveling through the old route that runs along the entire Norwegian coast, up to Kirkenes, in the far north, on the border with Russia.