On Norway’s western coast, the charming city of Bergen is often referred to as ‘the gateway to the fjords’. In 1979, the Bryggen Hanseatic Wharf was named a UNESCO World Heritage site because of its rich history as a major Hanseatic trading center. The colorful houses and shops here, against the backdrop of mountains, make Bergen a truly picturesque destination. As you wander through Bergen’s cobblestone streets, visitors can enjoy views of the seven surrounding mountains. Bergen is constantly bustling with travelers from all over the world, most whom will visit the wharf as well as the fjords during their stay.
HOW TO GET TO BERGEN
Nonstop flights to Bergen, Norway (Airport code: BGO) can be found from Oslo, London, Copenhagen, and Amsterdam. Another popular option is to fly into Norway’s capital, Oslo (Airport code: OSL), and take a scenic 6 hour train ride to Bergen. Norwegian airlines tends to offer cheaper flights to Oslo than SAS airlines. From the airport, travelers can reach downtown Bergen by taxi, rental car, bus and, soon, the tram. The tram system is currently being expanded to reach the airport. Most hotels are located in the heart of the downtown are. If you plan on using public transportation, the cheapest pass available costs about 4 USD and is valid for 90 minutes, or purchase a 7 day pass at 28 USD.
WHEN TO VISIT BERGEN
The warmest month is July (average temperature of 66F / 19C) and the coldest is January. Fjord boat tours are available all seasons, but a larger variety are offered in the summer. Visiting in the winter is restrictive- with only 7 hours of daylight, visiting the fjords will be a rushed experience. Summer, with nearly 18 hours of daylight, is the most popular time for tourists. On the 17th of May the country celebrates it’s national day with parades, food markets, and natives dressed in traditional Norwegian garb.
TOP SITES TO SEE IN NORWAY
The Norwegian fjords should not be missed when visiting Norway. Bergen is often used by tourists as a stopover before and after visiting the scenic fjords. A fjord is a long and narrow inlet of the sea between high cliffs, and the ones in Norway are spectacular. In the summer, which is the most popular time to travel to Norway, do not forget to plan ahead for a boat cruise into the fjords. In Bergen itself, one of the most popular attractions in Bergen is the FlØibanen Funicular. The funicular runs year round and offers sweeping views of the city area. It costs 90Kr for a round trip which is about 10 USD. There are many hiking trails at the peak of FlØyen, a lake, a restaurant and a souvenir shop. Spend time wandering around the many shops and restaurants along the historical wharf and take some pictures of the classic colorful wooden houses. Along the canal is a large outdoor fish markets that sell fresh caught seafood, fruit and vegetables.
THINGS TO KNOW WHEN VISITING NORWAY
The weather in Norway is cool and often cold, so bring plenty of layers. If you are counting on alcohol to keep you warm, know that it is expensive when purchased at restaurants. A domestic beer can cost around 9 USD for a pint. ‘Applesin’* means orange in Norwegian. Applesin is extremely popular and is found just about everything-tea, ice cream, syrup, jelly, and candy. If visiting during the summer months, book your boat cruise ahead of time to guarantee availability on your desired date of travel.