When Norway first came into my mind as a country to visit on my travels, Bergen was immediately on the bucket list. At first, Bergen was simply another word for the Fjords for me, however on arrival I soon realised there was much much more to see and enjoy.
After having taken the train from Oslo to Bergen, I arrived in a great mood due to the fantastic views you experience from your seat for the whole 6 and a half hours journey. Tomorrow, I will return to Oslo and take the same route in reverse and will no doubt write a post about it as it certainly deserves one dedicated to it alone.
Your second thought about Bergen is probably the iconic image of Bryggen along the waterfront. These are a series of Hanseatic commercial buildings along the Vågen harbour which have been on the UNESCO list for World Cultural Heritage sites since 1979. The lopsided buildings are all different colours and are certainly worth admiring either at a distance, getting a photo from the other side of the harbour or close up by shopping in them or wandering the alleys in between the buildings.
Mount Floyen is well worth a visit whether you take the Floibanen funicular up to the top or you walk. For adults, single ticket is 50 NOK and return is 95 NOK and for children between 4 and 15 a single will cost 25 NOK and a return 50 NOK. There were quite a few people walking or running up the mountain, however the ride up is very pleasant and only takes 5-8 minutes. Once on top, you’ll experience amazing views across Bergen and out across the water. You can also enjoy a coffee or lunch whilst on top or take a walk through the forests or to the lake and for the children , there is an activity area. The walk down takes around 45 minutes depending on how many times you stop to take photos and there are various routes you can follow so you can choose the distance and gradient you want. The Floibanen is a quick walk from the harbour so you return right back near restaurants or shops whichever you prefer.
I took a 3 hour sightseeing tour of the Fjords which cost 550 NOK and although there was a warning of ice in the Fjords and a possible early return, we did get to within 5 minutes of the end of the tour when we met the ice and had to turn around. The views from the side and the top of the boat were so beautiful all the way along and then once we were travelling closer to the Fjords, every turn provided the WOW factor.
I also enjoyed visiting the Pepperkakeby which is the world’s biggest gingerbread city. It cost 100 NOK for adults to visit and although I didn’t think it would be my sort of thing, it was money well spent. Schools and kindergartens contribute every year and there are miniature houses, trains, cars and ships made from real gingerbread. The quality of the exhibition was fantastic and I found myself taking lots of photos as I wandered round and really enjoyed seeing the creativity of the young people of Bergen.
If you enjoy shopping, then Bergen will not disappoint as it has shopping centres as well as shopping streets and tourist shops so you will certainly find somewhere to go. I’m not much of a shopper, however I like to look around to see what type of shops a city has as that tells you a lot about its general population. As it’s Christmas time, I was also able to visit the Christmas market and walk around the nearby lake which was very enjoyable especially watching the children getting surrounded by the pigeons.
I really enjoyed Bergen and I can imagine returning some day if I choose to do a Fjord cruise around Norway in the future.