BergenBergen is a charming old city with a youthful spirit. As you fly into Bergen, you will see the stunning cliffs rising out of the sea and the fjord surrounded by majestic mountains. In the Middle Ages, Bergen was the largest city in Scandinavia, and it wasn't until the 1830s that Oslo's population overtook that of Bergen. However, Bergen retains its status as an important port city. The dramatic scenery, lively music scene, and pleasant and relaxed atmosphere make Bergen a very popular destination.
The CityThe city of Bergen is surrounded by seven mountains based around its harbour. In the Bergenhus district, there are well-preserved medieval buildings. On the other side of the harbour is the Klosteret area, which has beautiful 18th-century wooden houses and charming alleys where you can take a stroll out to the Nordnes peninsula. The city centre extends from the main square, Torget, to the Nygård area, where most shops and restaurants can be found. Bergen was involved in trade with countries all over Europe and was awarded its city charter as early as 1070 by King Olav Kyrre. Contacts with the Hanseatic League allowed Bergen to export fish and import important supplies of grain. In the harbour, which is called Vågen, you can still see parts of the Bryggen, the old Hanseatic Wharf. The old wooden buildings are on the UNESCO world heritage list and have been damaged by fire several times. From March to May, you can hear drummers marching through the streets – this is the Buekorps, a relic from the days when every Norwegian city had its own militia, but nowadays, it is children who make up the teams of drummers. Bergen has a rich cultural scene and two major festivals: Bergen Festspel and Nattjazzen. The composer Edvard Grieg grew up here and his home, Troldhaugen, has been turned into a museum. In recent years, a number of artists from Bergen, including Kings of Convenience, Annie and Röyksopp, have achieved international success.
Do & See
Bergen is beautifully situated right by the stunning Norwegian fjords. The scenic landscapes are a major part of the experience. Hiking is one popular alternative, as are horseback riding and boat trips.
The best selection of restaurants can be found between Bryggen and Nygård. Bryggen has several excellent fish restaurants, and the view really is worth the price. In the Klosteret area, you will find small cosy restaurants, such as the Spisekroken, which offers modern dishes on the menu. Soup is very popular in Bergen, and it is served both in the most basic bars as well as in the more sophisticated restaurants.
The cafés in Bergen can be an excellent place to find shelter during a shower of rain, and there are plenty of establishments in the city centre to choose from. Skillingsbolle (cinnamon roll) is a Bergen speciality, baked from rye flour and aniseed.
Bars & Nightlife
Bergen is a university city, so its nightlife is strongly influenced by its student population. Hulen at Olav Ryes vei 48 is a popular student centre built in 1968 where rock concerts are held. Here are other suggestions for a fun night out in Bergen.
Bergen is a pleasant place to take a stroll, and has both small, picturesque shops and large department stores and shopping malls. The main shopping area is in the city centre, which is easily accessible on foot. A visit to the Kløverhuset for clothes and shoes and to the Bergen Storsenter, which is the main shopping precinct with over seventy shops, is always worthwhile. Go to the Kjøttbasaren food hall when your tummy starts to rumble, and you can buy some delicious treats to take home or enjoy a pleasant meal.