Looking for the best things to do in Bergen, Norway? Bergen is home to picturesque fjords, colorful homes in the historic city center, some of the best hikes in the world, and world class museums. And that’s just to start.
Surrounded by mountains and fjords, Bergen is a city of almost 300,000 people on the southwestern coast of Norway. It’s a perfect mixture of stunning natural beauty, coupled with world class museums and wonderful places to eat.
If you’re planning a visit to this amazing city, here are the 20 best things to do in Bergen.
Many lucky visitors come to Bergen via the Oslo to Bergen train, one of the most beautiful train rides in Europe.
Bergen is called the “heart of the fjords“, and it manages small town charm, while being the second largest city in Norway. There are so many places to visit in Bergen, from day trips to the fjords, exploring the historic downtown and museums, and more.
The view of Bergen from easily accessible Mount Floyen (320 meters above sea level) is spectacular. It’s likely one of the most popular attractions in Bergen, simply for the stunning bird’s eye view over the city.
The base of the Funicular is conveniently located downtown, and the ride to the top is just over ten minutes.
Bryggen is the historic center of Bergen. Also known as Tyskebryggen, Bryggen is one of the oldest port cities in Northern Europe. It’s packed with colorful homes, businesses and hotels, situated on narrow, winding streets.
This historic quarter of Bergen is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Hanseatic Museum and Schøtstuene is a museum in the city center of Bergen. It highlights how the Hanseatic merchants lived and influenced Bergen over the course of 400 years.
The fish market in Bergen dates all the way back to the 1200s.
The Bergen Fish Market is one of Norway’s most visited outdoor markets. Bergen is a UNESCO City of Gastronomy. There’s plenty of fresh seafood here, but be sure to try persetorsk, a traditional steamed cod dish from Bergen.
Fun fact about Norway: Norway is the largest exporter of salmon in the world.
If you’re not a seafood lover, the fish market also sells fresh fruit, vegetables, handicrafts and souvenirs.
Ulriken is the highest mountain surrounding Bergen, which sits at 643 meters above sea level.
The Ulriken Cable Car makes it easy to reach the peak, and take in the panoramic views of the surrounding islands, sea, mountains and fjords.
If you’re the energetic type, you can hike to the top with the locals. You can even zipline or paraglide from Ulriken.
Tip: The tourist bus to the base of the mountain is faster than the cheaper local bus.
Stoltzekleiven is a steep paved trail with stairs that lead up to the top of Sandviksfjellet mountain.
There are over 900 steps on this trail and it’s one of the most popular trails in Bergen.
The mountain is on the east side of the city in the neighborhood of Sandviken, just north of the mountain Fløyen.
The Bergenhus Fortress is one of the best preserved stone castles in all of Norway. Dating back to the 1200s, it housed both Kings and criminals alike for centuries. The Rosenkrantz Tower is one of the major sights in the Bergenjus Fortress and is often considered one of the most important renaissance monuments in Norway.
Officially called Julemarked Byparken, this beautifully manicured park surrounds a small lake near the train station. There’s a charming gazebo with flowers and plenty of green grass and trees.
The Bergen Tourist Information Building is near the Fish Market in the city center. It’s a handy place to book activities, fjord tours, get information on Bergen sightseeing, and buy Bergen attractions tickets or the Bergen Card.
Tip: You can buy a Bergen Card at the Tourist Information Building, online, and at some select hotels and stores. The Bergen Card gives you free entry or discounted admission to museums and attractions, events and sightseeing tours, plus discounts on restaurants and parking. A Bergen card gives you free travel on buses in Bergen and the region, as well as the Bergen Light Rail between Bergen airport and the city center. You can buy the card in 24, 48, 72 and 96 hour versions. Prices start at 300 kr (adult) or 100 kr (children 3-15 years of age).
Fantoft Stave Church is a reconstructed stave church in the Fana borough of Bergen. It’s a striking building, with its black color making a distinct contrast to most European churches.
Bergen is well known for its university. The university, in turn, houses many impressive museum collections.
The University Museum of Bergen (Universitetsmuseet i Bergen) includes the Natural History Collection, the Cultural History Collection, and the Seafaring Museum.
Famous composer Edvard Grieg (1843–1907) spent his days creating music in Troldhaugen.
It’s a living museum with an exhibition center, shop and cafe, concert hall, composers’ cabin and Grieg’s villa. Guided tours are available, and you can also listen to a concert in the museum’s concert hall.
The KODE Museum is made up of four museums, KODE 1, 2, 3 and 4.
The Bergen Maritime Museum is one of Norway’s oldest museums. It’s packed with replicas of Viking ships as well as other maritime memorabilia.
VilVite is the place to explore technology and science, whether you’re a kid or adult. There are plenty of hands on activities, and exhibits on water experiments, robots and globes, making it one of the most fun things to do in Bergen with the family.
The Bergen Aquarium is Norway’s largest aquarium, and one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions. There’s plenty of entertainment here, including sea lion shows and penguin feedings, making it a must for kids of all ages.
There’s spray-painted street art all over the city of Bergen, much of it from world-class street artists.
Make sure to check out Skostredet, which is Bergen’s famous shopping street, and an ideal starting point for a self-guided street art tour.
Bergen is well known for its successful musical bands and artists, like Kygo, Aurora and Röyksopp.
Even if you can’t catch a big name artist in the time of your visit, there are plenty of music venues throughout the city with excellent up and coming acts.
Bergen’s day trips largely focus on visiting the gorgeous nearby fjords and mountains. Bergen is the most popular jumping-off point for visiting Norway’s most famous fjords. While you can visit Norway by bus, it’s usually much easier to have your own transportation, or take a tour.
Bergen is perfectly nestled between the two biggest fjords in Norway, the Hardangerfjord and the Sognefjord. This makes the city an ideal starting point for fjord excursions.
You’ve likely seen Hardangerfjord’s Trolltunga on social media. Trolltunga is a rock that juts out 700 meters above Ringedalsvatnet lake, making for a stunning photo.
A lot of people join in the popular Norway in a Nutshell tour, which lets you enjoy Norway’s UNESCO fjords and mountains. The tour also includes a ride on the Bergen Railway and the Flåm Railway.
The hike between Ulriken and Floyen takes just over four hours. It’s a well marked trail, and popular with tourists and locals alike.
The Flåm Railway is often described as one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world. It’s certainly one of the steepest as well. The train runs from the end of Aurlandsfjord, a tributary of the Sognefjord, up to the high mountains at Myrdal station.
The journey takes around two hours.
Do you have anything to add to our must see attractions in Bergen? Let us know! We’d love to hear your thoughts.
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