Flying into Bergen as part of a quick three day visit to Norway we were greeted with grey skies, despite it being the middle of summer. By the time we reached the centre of town, though, a quick 20 minute bus ride from the airport, the clouds had parted and Bergen was bathed in sunshine. And what a glorious sight it was!
Alighting at the Fish Market around midday, we were right in the heart of Bergen and it was just a five minute walk, even with our luggage in tow, to our hotel, the Scandic Hotel Neptun. Our room, which we'd pre-booked from Australia, was huge, with a separate bedroom and large living area. Like other hotels we'd stayed at on this visit to Scandinavia, the hotel provided free Wi-Fi.
After checking in and depositing our bags, we headed straight back to the Fish Market where we enjoyed the freshest fish and chips right by the harbour's edge. We then set off to explore as much of Bergen as was possible in half a day.
With their brightly painted facades, the buildings along the old wharf area of Bryggen stood out and beckoned us closer. A photographer's dream, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed buildings are now home to souvenir and craft shops, galleries, cafes and the Hanseatiske Museum. It's easy to spend a lazy couple of hours wandering the laneways behind the wharf area or people watching at one of the outdoor cafes.
Just past Bryggen you'll find the imposing Rosenkrantz Tower, part of the old fortifications of Bergen Castle. Built in 1560 as a defence post and residence, visitors today can still climb the medieval tower for a great view over Bergen and her harbour.
The best place for a view, though, is from Floyfjellet mountain, more commonly known as Floyen. A funicular whips visitors up 320 metres to the summit from where you can drink in the most spectacular views of Bergen and the harbour.
Dinner on the restaurant terrace, with views to die for, was one of the many highlights of our trip. After dinner, we wandered along a couple of the walking paths on Floyen, stopping at the many vantage points for more jaw-dropping views, before we boarded the funicular for our return to the city below.
Despite it now approaching 9.30pm, there was still plenty of daylight (we were in Scandinavia in Summer, after all!), so we spent some time browsing the streets near the funicular station before heading back to our hotel.
Our fleeting visit to Bergen was almost over as we had an 8.30am departure the next morning. Joining our Fjord Tours cruise, we sadly watched Bergen disappear into the distance as we glided towards Flam, the next stop on our Norwegian visit, as part of the Sognefjord in a Nutshell cruise and tour.
We'd spent less than 24 hours in Bergen but it stole our hearts and we'll definitely be back for another visit.
Getting to Bergen:
Bergen airport is serviced by flights from most European airports.
The Norwegian Railways operate a daily service between Oslo and Bergen and vice versa with a journey time of around 7 hours. The Oslo-Bergen line also forms part of the Norway in a Nutshell rail/cruise tour.
If you prefer the freedom of driving yourself, driving from Oslo to Bergen (or in reverse) is a great way to travel between the two cities.
Flybussen - NOK115 per adult one way (about AUD$20)
Where to Stay in Bergen:
Scandic Hotel Neptun - We paid AUD$305 per double per night including breakfast.
What to See in Bergen:
- Fish Market (lunch of fresh salmon and chips NOK120 pp (about AUD$20)
- Bryggen - free
- Rosenkrantz Tower - NOK50 per adult (about AUD$8.50)
- Floyen - Floibanen NOK70 pp return trip (about $12), Cafe meal on Floyen NOK180 pp, (about AUD$30)