Bergen

Located on Norway’s southwest coast, Bergen is the second largest Norwegian city but feels more like a large town. Surrounded by seven mountains, pine forests and beautiful fjords, a weekend here will vastly exceed the wishes of any outdoor enthusiast. The fresh seafood is also fantastic.

While Bergen Airport is 18 kilometers from the city center, public transportation is excellent and cabs are expensive. Take the Flybussen (20 minutes and $13 a ticket) or light rail (45 minutes and about $4 a ticket) directly into Bergen’s city center. Both the bus stop and light rail are directly outside the airport entrance. Book Flybussen tickets in advance to save money.

Norwegian Airlines and SAS run many daily, direct flights to Bergen from across Europe.

While Bergen would be magical any time of year, if you want to hike and fully experience the magic of the fjords (without being inhibited by ice or snow), we suggest planning a trip between April and October.

EAT

Don’t miss the local specialty, fiskesuppe, the Bergen take on fish soup.

Bryggeloftet & Stuene The local speciality is Klippfisk, a North Atlantic cod dried on cliffs for three months, with an intense and salty flavor. Choose the upper floor for the best view.

Fisketorget A fish market has stood on this site since the thirteenth century. Today it has both local vendors and restaurants.

Godt Brød This bakery chain has multiple locations around the city and is great for a quick bite or sandwich on the go.

Hoggorm A hip pizza place just west of the city center that seems to always be buzzing. The pizzas are thin crust, topped with local ingredients and divine.

Naboen This pub and restaurant is a friendly place to drink and eat.

Pingvinen The coziest pub serving up excellent, western Norwegian cooking made with ingredients sourced from local producers. Don’t miss this one.

DRINK

Bryggeriet This classy restaurant overlooking the harbor is also a microbrewery. Go for a beer flight in the afternoon.

Det Lille Kaffekompaniet Cute and comfortable cafe.

Dyvekes This quintessentially Norwegian pub near the harbor has an extensive wine and spirit list and, with its cozy nooks and candle lit tabletops, epitomizes hygge.

Kaffemisjonen Independent coffee shop with great coffee and nibbles.

Statsraad Lehmkuhl This turn of the century, training ship has a place of pride in the Bergen harbor. While it’s possible to take a cruise aboard the ship, we felt the small reception-cum-pub-cum-members-club was a hidden gem. Stop by on a Saturday afternoon for a friendly pint and live music.

PLAY

In the summer, Bergen’s seven surrounding mountains are a paradise for mountain biking, hiking and kayaking.

Bergen Cathedral Pop into this religious medieval vestige to admire its 12th century splendor and stained glass.

Bergen’s neighborhoods Make time to walk around the residential areas surrounding the harbor. The neighborhood just behind Bryggen, Eidemarken, clings to the slope of Floyen mountain and is a labyrinth of old, wooden houses and winding, brick-lane streets.

Bryggen One of Bergen's and Norway's main attractions, Bryggen was built after the 1702 great fire and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The area is known for its medieval, wooden architecture and boutique shops. Check out hip home goods store Røst Bergen.

Bergenhus Fortress This medieval fortress at the top of the harbor entrance is worth an exploration.

Fjord cruise to Mostraumen One of the best ways to experience Norway’s magical fjords is by water. We recommend this three-hour, return trip that takes in wildlife, waterfalls, and gorgeous fjord views. It runs year round but in winter may be more difficult to access the fresh water areas due to ice.

Fløibanen Funicular Take this cable car to the top of Floyen mountain for views of the city and surrounding fjords. A myriad of hiking trails start from here. We also recommend a visit to the lake, which is a short hike from the funicular station at the top.

STAY

Bergen‘s city center is small and most tourist accommodations will be near the main attractions. Check out Thon Hotel Rosenkrantz in Bryggen, or, for a clean and comfortable budget option, we recommend Citybox near the city center.