The old Hanseatic city of Bergen proudly wears the nickname “gateway to the fjords” for its supreme location close to the fjords of Western Norway. But the city is so much more than just a gateway – it boasts a proud history, a rich cultural life and an intimate urban city centre, beautifully surrounded by seven mountains and several islands.
Bergen exudes a unique charm that can only be truly appreciated in person. Enjoy strolling around the old streets and alleyways where people have lived for centuries.
The highlights of Bergen
As a visitor to Bergen there is no way you will miss out on Bryggen. Walking through its UNESCO-listed narrow alleyways, made even darker and more mysterious by overhanging balconies, feels like stepping back in time. Bryggen is not a museum but part of the cultural heritage that is still in use - a living historical area of the city.
Photo: Klaus Peter Kappest, Shutterstock and Raymond Engmark
The Fløibanen Funicular is a very popular attraction, running from the city centre to the top of Mount Fløyen in about 7 minutes. From the viewing platform you can admire spectacular views of the city, mountains and fjords. In addition to a wide range of hikes, you'll find a restaurant, café, souvenir shop and playground.
The picturesque and lively Fish Market is one of Norway's most visited outdoor markets. Mingle with the crowds, enjoy some seafood or just experience the atmosphere. Elsewhere, visit the Aquarium to see fish, penguins, sea lions and seals, as well as crocodiles, snakes and spiders, take a stroll to the old fortress at Bergenhus, or visit one of Bergen’s many museums and galleries.
There are plenty of tempting shopping opportunities in the city, from small and specialised shops to large department stores. Bergen also has a varied year-round entertainment scene that ranges from world-class musical and theatrical performances to exciting football matches.
When it comes to eating and drinking, it’s easy to enjoy a good meal and get a taste of the city’s nightlife. You’ll find just about everything here – from coffee shops, fish restaurants and delicious international cuisine, to small arty cafés, bars and nightclubs. Choose according to your taste, appetite, mood and budget.
Fresh seafood and inland ingredients are prepared by a new wave of dedicated chefs like Christopher Haatuft
Before departure, you can explore more of the area as part of our pre-voyage programmes. Norway in a Nutshell takes you through some of the most magnificent scenery in the area with breathtaking fjords, rural idyll and the spectacular Flåm Mountain Railway. These are all great ways to transform your voyage into a total Norwegian holiday; one that you will remember for the rest of your life.
King Olav Kyrre founded Bergen in 1070 AD, and it became Norway’s first real capital in the 13th century. As a major European trading and seafaring port, it was one of the Hanseatic League’s most important trading centres, making it the largest town in Scandinavia during the late Middle Ages and early modern period. Until the 1830s, Bergen was the biggest town in Norway.
Today Bergen has a population of approximately 270,000. Trade and seafaring still play an important part in its economy, while industry, trades, tourism, fisheries and the oil and gas industry are other important sectors. Bergen is also a major university city.