Bergen is the second largest city in Norway and the most popular gateway to the fjords of West Norway. The city is renowned for its great location amidst mountains, fjords and the ocean. Steep mountains and highlands within the city offers excellent hiking opportunities. Having fostered many of Norway's greatest bands and artists, the city is also famous for its cultural life and underground/indie music scene. Bergen's unpredictable weather adds to its quirky, unmistakable charm. Bergen was Norway's main city for centuries, and many patriotic inhabitants believe it still is.
CityscapeBergen has some fine examples of functionalist architecture such as Kalmar House and Sundt shopping centre. "Brutalist" buildings include the science building at the university and the city hall.
The city centre today is where the city emerged during the midle ages. Bergen is (partly because the layout is fragmented by mountains and water) a sprawling city, but outside the city centre there is little of interest to the visitor. Key areas within central Bergen:
VågenVågen is the inner harbour in a natural bay. The fishmarket is at the inner part of Vågen. Bergen emerged as Norway's main town in the middle ages along the shores of Vågen.
- Bryggen (the German or Hanseatic wharf) on the East shore of Vågen, this is the historical centre (including Øvregaten/Lille Øvregaten streets)
- From Bryggen Mt Fløyen rises steeply. The area is dominated by wooden residential buildings.
- Just North of Bryggen is Bergenhus fortress and Håkonshallen (previously also known as Holmen, "the eyot", effectively Norway's capital during some periods of the midle ages).
NordnesNordnes is the peninsula West of Vågen, the shore along Vågen was known as "the beach" (now Strandkaien and Strandgaten streets). The area is characterised by many small wooden residential buildings. Home to the aquarium and a fine park at the North point.
SentrumThe intersection of Torgallmenningen and Ole Bulls plass squares is the focal point of the modern city centre. Included in Sentrum is also the area around Lille Lungegårdsvann (the octagonal lake). The area is dominated by shops, restaurants, hotels and office buildings.
NygårsdhøydenNygårsdhøyden: East of the very centre a distinct mountainous ridge runs in the north-south direction. By locals simply Høyden ("the hill") and is easily recognised by the landmark church Johannskirken (St. John's). Home to the University and several museums. The northern part is known as Sydneshaugen while Nygårdsparken occupies the southern part.
- Stor Lungårdsvannet is a lake or bay of brackish water separating central Bergen from areas to the south. Puddefjorden separates central Bergen from Laksevåg area to the west.
SandvikenSandviken, Skuteviken and Ladegården are primarily residential areas north of Bryggen and the fortress. Within few minutes walk from Bryggen. Dominated by pretty wooden houses.
Founded around 1070 AD, Bergen quickly evolved into one of the most important cities in Norway. It was the country's administrative capital from the early 1200s until 1299, and the largest city in Scandinavia. Bergen was one of the most important bureau cities of the Hanseatic League, interconnecting continental Europe with the northern and coastal parts of Norway, thus becoming a central spot for the vending of stockfish and the commercial hub of Norway. It was the largest city in Norway until the 1830s and has a long maritime history in shipping and finance. Until the Bergen railway (Bergensbanen) began operation in 1909 there was no convenient overland transport between Norway's principal cities.
The city still has relics of its Hanseatic heyday, most notably the old harbour of Bryggen, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Bergen has been ravaged by several fires; the most recent major fire took place in 1917, a fire which destroyed most of the buildings in what is today the central parts of the city center, centered around the large square Torgallmenningen.
While few medieval buildings remain, the historical centre of Bergen is along the eastern shore of the harbour, notably Bryggen (the Wharf), the fortress and the two key churches (Mariakirken/St Marys and Korskirken/Holy cross church). The pattern of settlement is largely unchanged for almost 1,000 years, including Øvregaten/Lille Øvregate − one of Norway's oldest streets.
Except for the dense city center, which made up the entire city before 1916, Bergen is the least dense of the four largest cities in Norway. Most of the settlement inside the very wide city borders is concentrated in the western part of the municipality. The rest of the municipality is made up of mountains, as well as some farmland and smaller settlements. Except for the compact city centre, distances are relatively long within the municipality of Bergen.
Due to the city's northern location, close to the northern sea and surrounded by mountains, special weather conditions occur, resulting in approximately 240 days with precipitation a year and a mean temperature of 7.6 °C (45.7 °F). In January 2007, a record of 85 rainy days in a row was set. Still, local people claim there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. An annual mean at close to 8 °C, with even January on average above 0 °C, makes Bergen the warmest city in Norway. Frost just below 0°C and some snow occurs between December and February, but temperatures colder than -10 °C are very rare. Temperatures above 30 °C are also extremely rare.
For the rest of us, the trick is obviously to choose the time of visit with caution. The infamous rain should not keep visitors away in summer, because when the sun breaks through after a rainy day, hardly any city twinkles and glows like Bergen. If you catch the city on a sunny day, you will find an incredible atmosphere as citizens really know how to appreciate nice weather. City planners have probably had this in mind the latest years, resulting in the creation of open spaces, parks, flowers and lawns that are scattered all over downtown.
July has the highest mean temperature, 14.3 °C (57.7 °F), with August, 14.1 °C (57.4 °F) following close behind. May is usually the month with the least precipitation. Considering the number of local events this month, May is probably the best time to visit Bergen, with the summer months of June, July and August almost as good. April is also a relatively dry month, although cooler than the summer months. These averages are merely indications as weather is famously unpredictable and rain does not appear in any regular pattern.
Around 2000, a number of artists from the rhythmic music scene in Bergen gained international fame. In the domestic press, this became known as the Bergen Wave. Musicians and bands with roots in Bergen include Annie, Burzum, Enslaved, Gorgoroth, Immortal, Erlend Øye, Kings of Convenience, Sondre Lerche, and Datarock. Bergen still has a thriving underground/indie music scene.
Great international artists have visited Bergen, including Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Foo Fighters, Coldplay, Muse, Bruce Springsteen, Depeche Mode, Kent and Mark Knopfler. And in the summer of 2011 several artists including Roxette, Mastodon, Avenged Sevenfold, Suzanne Vega, Bob Dylan, Kaizers Orchestra, Kanye West and Rihanna appeared.
Research and educationBergen is home to important institutions of research and education: The University of Bergen, the College of Applied Sciences, and the Norwegian School of Economics. Even before these institutions were created important work were done in Bergen. Armauer Hansen in 1873 discovered that leprosy was caused by a bacteria, a major breakthrough in medical sciences that laid the foundation for modern epidemiology and was also a major input to microbiology. Fridtjof Nansen, the great explorer, humanitarian and diplomat, made his first contribution to the novel science of neuroanatomy when he worked at Bergen Museum. Vilhelm Bjerknes and the Bergen school of Meteorology developed the basis for modern weather forecasting.
Bergen Airport FleslandThe main international airports with flights to Bergen are Copenhagen, London, and Amsterdam. There are also flights from the United Kingdom (such as Newcastle, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen); Prague, Paris, Berlin, Frankfurt, various cities in Spain, and some other airports. There are also a number of domestic flights, such as Oslo, Trondheim, Stavanger, Tromsø, Kristiansand and Sandefjord, connecting Bergen to additional international airports. A plane ticket from the capital Oslo to Bergen usually costs around kr 300-400. The main carriers in Norway are SAS and the low cost airline Norwegian Air Shuttle. The Dutch KLM has flights to Amsterdam, Lufthansa to Frankfurt. The smallest airports in Norway are usually served by Widerøe. A new spacious terminal replaced the old in 2017 with more services and airside facilities.
Flybussen departs from right outside the terminal building. Flybussen makes frequent stops, including at Bryggen, the Fisketorget, and the bus terminal. The journey downtown takes about 30–40 minutes. Adult tickets are kr 120, return ticket kr 170 (discounts for children, students and senior citizens apply). Buy your ticket before boarding to save kr 10, either online, from a machine or from a ticket vendor. However, tickets can easily be bought on the bus, with either cash or cards. Busses run frequently throughout the day. There is a machine next to luggage collection in arrivals, and at the bus stop at the airport - so buy your ticket while you are waiting for your luggage.
Taxis are also available but they cost much more (kr 300-350 on weekdays to downtown, more at night and at the weekend).
The car rental companies Avis, Budget, Hertz, Europcar and National have offices at the airport. Located in the terminal building, by the exit, most of them are open 07:00-21:00 on weekdays. Opening hours in the weekend are limited, but some of the companies will offer 24 hours rental if you make a reservation.
Bergen is served by a railway line which runs from Oslo through Hønefoss. Bergen is the last station and there is only one station in the city (in addition one station in Arna suburb). The railway line is operated by NSB. The journey takes about 7 hours and gives you beautiful views, especially for the last 3 hours across the plateau and down towards Voss and Bergen. When passing Geilo, you will cross over a high mountain plateau and then travel downwards through some of the best scenery in Norway. If you buy your ticket online well in advance, fares may be as low as kr 199 for a one-way ticket. For an additional fee of kr 90, you may upgrade your ticket to NSB Komfort, the equivalent of first class, with slightly better seats and free coffee and tea. If you want to make more out of your journey, get a window seat on one of the most recent upgraded trains (they're quite stylish and have power outlets by every seat) on the left hand side (this will give you the best view).
The ticket office is only open limited hours - outside of which you must use the ticket machines. Not that travel tickets booked via an agent (including Norway in a Nutshell) must be collected from the ticket office. There is a small deli that sells coffee, snacks and some supermarket items open early and late. There is a small cafe with limited opening hours (closed before 17:00 most days).
Universal access is a priority to the Norwegian State Railways. Book your ticket on the phone or buy it at the train station at least a day in advance to inform staff if you have any special needs. You will have the same offers as are available online. Most trains are equipped with lifts or ramps and handicap toilets. Wheelchairs can be secured on board. For the seeing impaired, there are tactile lines in the larger stations. Staff will assist you in the station. If you need an assistant and can provide documentation, you and your traveling companion will get a 50% discount off the full ticket price.
(QFV) is located east of the city centre at Strømgaten 4, close to the bus station and the Bygarasjen garage.
By carFor more details see: Driving in Norway
If arriving in Bergen by car, you will be better off not taking your car into the city center unless you know exactly where you're going, as most streets are one-way or do not allow cars at all (only buses and taxis), read more in the Get around section. Parking is generally forbidden (unless explicitly permitted) downtown inside zone 1, and restricted outside zone 1.
Generally, you will find that many roads in rural areas, even the highways between the cities, are partly narrow and slow. There are no motorways except a few kilometers around the city, most main roads (E16, road 7) are two-lane undivided and limited to . Even if some people drive very fast, you should mind the speed limits (usually 80 km/h) and drive according to the conditions. In the mountains, help can be hours away. Furthermore, you will find traffic controls and police in unmarked cars nearly everywhere. Fines are very high. To avoid dangerous situations, it's a very good idea stop and let faster going traffic pass you. Except in and around Bergen, traffic is generally very light, although there may be some traffic on road 7 during summer vacation and around weekends.
Road E16 from Oslo and Voss makes a circle from Arna through Aasane where it joins E39 on a motorway to the centre (northern approach). At Sandviken the wide road continues through a long tunnel towards the southern city in order to avoid the centre, while those heading for the centre can either exit at Sandviken or just after the tunnel. The southern approach (E39) comes from the Halhjem ferry dock at Os and arrives downtown just before the long tunnel. Find a good parking, and use legs or public transport inside the centre.
From Oslo and Eastern Norway
The trip from Oslo to Bergen takes between seven and nine hours, depending on the route, the driving conditions and whether you choose to make any stops on the way. Be prepared to add some hours driving time in the winter - and remember that the daylight will be scarce for many months. All routes Oslo to Bergen run through mountain passes. It might be a good idea to use two days on the tour in the winter if you're not accustomed to these conditions. A 12- or even 14-hour drive on icy, dark roads in bad weather is not very nice. Keep in mind that many roads in Norway are often of narrow and slow due to relatively low traffic and difficult weather conditions.
From Western Norway
- From Stavanger
- The quick route is E39, which takes you past Haugesund, Stord and Os. The trip takes approximately 5 hours and includes 2 ferries.
- The more scenic route includes a long detour along road 13 through the inner fjords via Odda and Hardanger.
- The shortest road is E39, preferably using route 60 past Stryn which saves one ferry crossing. There are still two ferry crossings.
- The more scenic drive includes detours along road 60 (Hellesylt and Stryn), road 63 (Geiranger) or road 5 (Fjaerland and Sogndal).
- E39 is an obvious possibility, but it has at least four ferries.
- E6 until Otta, then on road 15 towards road E39 via Stryn and the Sognefjord ferry, is a scenic alternative, and probably the fastest and used by the express buses.
- The inland roads (via E6, road 250 and E16, no ferry) might be an easier albeit longer and less scenic option.
- or road 55 Lom to Sogndal via Sognefjellet mountain pass, the highest main road in Norway. Open in summer only.
From Southern Norway
- From Kristiansand where ferries from Denmark arrive:
- Road E39. This route is the shortest but has two ferry crossings. No mountain passes, but mountains can be seen, and sea views also.
- Road 9 to Haukeli–Road E134–Road 13 to Voss–E16. This route is a little longer but has no ferry and is faster. Scenic mountain pass.
There are fast boat services from several communities north and south of Bergen, including many of the islands. Because these passenger ferries stop at various small towns on the way there, you get a great view of the coast and its islands. Fjord1 runs ferries north of Bergen, Norled runs services south of Bergen, and Skyss also does a bit of both, including the Sunnhordland. There is no service from/to Stavanger.
The boat terminal (Strandkaiterminalen båtkai) is on the Nordnes peninsula in the city center. It has luggage lockers, charged daily.
Bergen is the southern terminus for Hurtigruten, a week-long passenger ship route with stops along Norway's coast all the way to Kirkenes in the far north of Norway. Ålesund can be reached overnight, and Trondheim will take one full day and two nights. The terminal is located at Nøstet. The Hurtigruten ships are accessible with a wheelchair.
There are car ferries which run to and from Hirtshals in northern Denmark, operated by Fjordline. The terminal is the Skoltegrunn pier, some hundred meters beyond Bryggen.
Bergen is one of Europe's to cruise ports and is available by cruise departing from several North Sea ports.
Downtown Bergen is compact and easy to walk for most visitors. Most sights and hotels are located within few minutes walk within downtown. While the very centre is located on a relatively flat piece of land, there are hills in virtually every direction out of the centre so heading downhill usually leads to centre. The main square is the east/west Torgallmenningen, a pedestrian zone. The Nordnes peninsula points north from the very centre, on the eastern side is the Vaagen, a small bay and once Bergens main harbour, lined on the eastern side by Bryggen and the Fortress. Overall navigation is generally easy as the summits and the bay provides clear indication of general direction, Mt Ulriken is a key landmark for large parts of the city, while downtown St John’s Church (Johanneskirken) with characteristic red brick and green roof is another landmark. The sturdy theater building at the top of Ole Bulls place is also a point to note. Precise navigation through many irregular streets may still be challenging. Navigation by car can be equally difficult because of hills, narrow streets and many one way streets, what seems close on the map may in fact be a long drive.
Bergen is idiosyncratic in many ways, including layout and names of streets:
- Allmenning are wide streets or squares, laid out at strategic points to prevent fires spreading through the city, often perpendicular to main streets, the main square is Torgallmenningen
- Smug/smau are narrow alleys, usually too narrow for cars, some are so steep that there are stairs
- Smalgang is even more narrow than smug
- Strede old name for street (rarely used but note Skostredet - "Shoe street")
- Gate street
- Vei/veg, road or street
- Kai, quay or dock
- Brygge, quay or wharf
- Plass, square
In addition there is a handful of specific names without generic suffixes like “−gate”, for instance Bryggen (“the Wharf”), Strangehagen (“Strange's garden”, a street), Klosteret (“the Monastery”, a square), Georgernes Verft (“Georges' Shipyard”, a street), Marken, Engen (“the Meadow”, a square), Arbeiderboligen (“Workers' residence”), Torget ("The Market"), Vaskerelven ("Laundry river", a street).
Within the city center, walking is the best way to get around. You can walk across the downtown in 20 minutes in any direction. The most central streets of the city are relatively flat and generally have a good accessibility for the disabled, sidewalks have rounded corners to allow access by wheelchair. The characteristic alleys and narrow streets (often with stairs rather than ordinary streets) on the slopes are however not available by wheelchair and may be difficult to walk for the disabled. The most important pedestrian crossings have sound signals and are indicated by tactile paving. They are also accessible with a wheelchair. Although cobble stone is a popular material in the streets, it is rarely used in pedestrian areas. A map with more information on this subject is available from the municipality's website.
SchedulesBus schedules can be a bit difficult to understand. Ask a local or a bus driver; they will usually be able and happy to assist you. Or use en-tur.no. There are information desks at the bus station and off Torgalmenningen providing information on all local bus and train lines free of charge. Calling 177 will also put you in contact with the information center (if you call from a cell phone, be sure to ask for the information center for Hordaland county, as this is a national service).
Schedules and outline maps of the services are available online from the Skyss website together with an online travel planner. There are schedule and travel planner apps available for Android and iOS mobile phones and tablets. Printed schedules can be picked up from any bus, but are only available in Norwegian.
For a few major stops, the bus may have a fixed departure time, and will not leave before schedule. At other stops though, a bus may leave a few minutes ahead of schedule. During periods of high traffic, the bus may be several minutes late. Rush hour traffic is sometimes accounted for in the schedule by greater time allowances, but busy Saturday shopping is often not.
FaresTickets can be bought from the driver, from ticket machines at major stops, from many grocery and conveniences stores, from the information desks at the bus station and off Torgalmenningen, or via the "Skyss billett" app for iOS and Android (available free of charge on Google Play and the App Store).
The driver only accepts cash payment. Tickets are more expensive when bought from the driver.
If you purchase your ticket in advance, you will be given a receipt and a grey card that is actually your ticket. The ticket must be validated when you enter a bus by holding it close to the electronic card reader until you get a green light. Tickets purchased via the apps do not require validation.
The following ticket options are available (prices listed apply to adults and only for travels within Bergen municipality and Straume on Sotra, Kleppestø on Askøy, and Søfteland in Os):
- Single ticket - kr 37 (kr 50 when bought from the driver)
- 10 journeys - kr 305
- 24-hour ticket - kr 95
- 7-day season ticket - kr 245
- 30-day season ticket - kr 780
- 180-day season ticket - kr 3905
At night, only special (and expensive!) night tickets are valid.
Senior citizens (67 years or older), children (15 years or younger) and disabled persons are entitled to discounts on all tickets. Students are entitled to discounts on tickets from 7-day tickets and season tickets.
One child (between the ages of 4 and 15) can travel free of charge together with an adult travelling on an single ticket. Children under the age of four travel free of charge.
Groups of ten or more get a discount on single journeys.
A person accompanying a disabled person who can present a companion/escort card travels free of charge on single tickets. The companion/escort must present the companion/escort card to the driver when embarking or in the event of a ticket inspection. The companion/escort does not need a separate ticket.
If you are caught without a valid ticket or fare card, you will be kicked off the bus and get a stiff fine. Controls are common and performed by both uniformed and plain-clothes personnel.
Fare cards in the form of the electronic "Skysskort" can be obtained at the customer service desks at the bus station and off Torgallmenningen.
Lines and servicesRegular bus services operate throughout the day, major trunk routes running through downtown run with a 20-minute frequency or better. In the suburbs, there are smaller lines, generally operating from a local terminal, with less frequent services. There are not so many buses between the city centre and the southern neighbourhoods of Fana and Ytrebygda, instead the light rail runs from the city centre to the regional terminal at Nesttun, where feeder buses bring passengers onwards.
Most major lines operate seven days a week, including all holidays (usually a regular Sunday schedule with a few exceptions), but some of the lesser lines may have little or no service in the weekends. During the school vacation (mid-June to mid-August), buses are less frequent, so make sure you have an updated bus schedule. On Christmas Eve (December 24), there are no buses after about 16:00. On Constitution Day (May 17), the parades and celebrations shut down the downtown streets, though buses do run to and from downtown, they will generally not run through downtown on that day.
After about 01:00, regular bus services cease to run. In the weekends, there are a few night bus lines available. Tickets are more expensive than on the regular lines (kr 60 within city limits), and travel passes can not be used.
The process of replacing old buses with newer ones accessible for people using wheelchairs is ongoing. Most buses on central lines have low floors and a built-in ramp. On the new buses, that are now a majority, the stops are announced on a display. The bus driver will usually be able to assist you in English, if required.
By light rail
Night lines operate all Friday and Saturday night with departures every 30 minutes.
You need to buy your ticket from the ticket machine at the station before you board. Apart from that, the ticket and fare card system is the same as for buses, see the Get around by bus section for more details. It's possible to change from bus to light rail and from light rail to bus within the time of validity of a ticket. Tickets for the night lines must be bought on board. Fare cards can not be used. The price is 60 kr.
The light rail is accessible with a wheelchair. All stops are announced and displays also show the name of the next stop.
To park in a spot reserved for the disabled, you need a standard European "blue badge", a special parking permit (generally, handicapped parking permits from most countries will be accepted). It must be placed on the inside of your car's front window, clearly visible from the outside.
The municipal parking authorities provide a brochure with some information on the general rules of parking along with a map of parking spots, including parking spots for the disabled.
Driving in the area outside the city center is quite convenient, with expressways going in most directions. The roads are well sign-posted, but a map will probably come in handy anyway. Mind the speed limits; traffic controls are common and fines are stiff. Do also keep in mind that a lot of the roads are toll roads. All toll stations are automated. When approaching one, keep driving and do not slow down. A photograph of your license plates will be taken, and you will receive an invoice per mail. During rush hours (07:30-09:00 and 15:00-17:00) traffic is jammed many places, but it's nothing compared to larger cities in Europe.
Between 1 November and 31 March, the use of studded tires is legal. Within Bergen municipality, you have to pay a fee to use such tires. You can pay at automated payment stations on the main roads into Bergen (Norwegian: oblatautomat), Statoil gas stations or by visiting the municipal parking authorities in Bygarasjen or Vincens Lunges gate 3 (directly south of the railway station).
Taxis are generally expensive in Norway. Throughout Bergen, there are a number of taxi stalls where taxis are parked waiting for customers. During the day, taxis will usually not pick up customers nearer than 300 metres from the stalls, except when called to an address. During the night in the weekends, taxi queues can be very long (up to one hour), and all customers are therefore required to go to the stalls. It is possible to order taxis to addresses also at this time of the week, but you shouldn't really expect the taxi to arrive.
The places where the taxis are stationed changes from time to time because of renovation of the city streets, but usually you will find them at the bus station, the railway station, Festplassen, Ole Bulls plass, Torget and in Torggaten and Vetrlidsalmenning. Look for signs saying "Taxi". Some taxi stalls are only open during the night, and vice versa. Information about this is printed on a separate sign below the taxi sign. If no taxis are available at the taxi stall, call 07000 (Bergen Taxi), 08000 (Norgestaxi), +47 55 70 00 00 (Taxi 1) or +47 55 70 80 90 (Bryggen Taxi). There is usually a fee associated with calling a taxi. Taxis may also be ordered in advance by calling one of these numbers, which is recommended if you are able to.
Fares are approximately the same regardless of the taxi company. All companies are regarded as reliable and safe. If several taxis are available at a taxi station, you may pick the one you want from the line.
It can be added that taxi drivers rarely expect or receive any tip.
There is one local commuter train service, between downtown Bergen and the suburb of Arna in the east (schedules are available from the Norwegian State Railways' web site). If you are going to Arna, the train is by far the fastest option from downtown since the roads run around the mountains while the railway line runs straight through them; it is an eight minute train ride, running every half hour during most of the day. Tickets should be purchased beforehand in the office at the downtown station or in the machines both downtown and in Arna.
By bicycleGetting around by bike can be difficult in Bergen. Many central streets are paved with cobblestone, and there are only a few roads with designated cycling lanes. Cycling in such lanes can even be dangerous, as car and bus traffic may cross the lane. It is however legal to cycle on the sidewalks as long as you do not disturb pedestrians. Front and rear lights are mandatory after dark. Bicycle theft and vandalism is common, so be careful where you leave your bike and always use a lock.
There is a city bike rental service. kr 50/24 hours will get you unlimited rides of up to 45 minutes.
Panorama pointsBecause of its rugged landscape Bergen has an abundance of panorama points and these give an intense feeling of space, notably Mt Fløyen and Mt Ulriken served by funicular and cable car respectively but also available hiking for the sporty. At lower altitudes the Fjellveien panorama road and the highest point of Nordnes peninsula are easily available. Sandviksbatteriet just above Sandviken hospital also offers excellent panorama. The Montana residential area likewise gives a nice outlook.
Fjellveien panorama roadaddress: FjellveienRuns for several kilometers between Sandviken and Bellevue, largely horizontal and pedestrian.
Skansen panorama pointaddress: BlekeveienExcellent and easily available panorama point just above the funicular lowest station. Right in front of the old fire outlook, a small white wooden tower, now used by one of the citys buekorps.
Tippetue panorama pointPanorama point on the Tippetue footpath to Mt Floyen
Nordnes panoramaaddress: HaugeveienLovely place on the highest point of Nordnes peninsula, towards the aquarium.
Nordnes parkPleasant park at the very top of the peninsula, towards the sun set late summer evenings.
St Johnsaddress: SydnesplassSt Johns Church (Johanneskirken) dominates the top of Nygaardshoyden, the hill that hosts the University of Bergen. Nice view of the very centre
Traditional wooden architecture
Traditional small wooden houses, often placed in an irregular pattern around narrow streets and passages, dominated most Norwegian cities during the past centuries. Bergen is one of the few major towns where this traditional style still dominates several neighbourhoods downtown. A number of houses have also been relocated to Gamle Bergen (old Bergen) museum. Some of these are merely pockets of cute little houses between stone and concrete structures; others are wider areas of these dollhouse-like buildings. Show respect for those living there while you walk by. These areas are best seen on a relaxed stroll (although the view from Fjellveien gives a birds eye view):
- Nordnes on the slopes on both sides of the Nordnes peninsula, towards the aquarium and Verftet, as well as adjacent Nøstet area.
Fjellsiden neighbourhoodaddress: øvregaten, Lille øvregate, øvre Blekeveien (streets)Traditional neighbourhood on the steep slopes behind Bryggen and around Fløibanen track.
Markenaddress: Marken (street)On the flatland just north of the railway station, pedestrian zone, and also in the hills above, around Skivebakken street.
Ladegården and upper Sandviken neighbourhoodaddress: Ladegårdsgaten, Absalon Beyers gateAn area with more regular and wider streets, highly characteristic style.
Skuteviken neighbourhoodaddress: SkuteviksveienA small traditional neighbourhood around a small bay just east of the fortress.
Sandviken neighbourhoodaddress: Sandvikstorget/SandviksveienIn Lower Sandviken near the small market square, there is a nice collection of traditional white wooden houses.
phone: +47 55 56 80 00address: Rasmus Meyers allé 3, 7 and 9One of the largest art museums in the Nordic countries, with art from the renaissance as well as contemporary art. The museum houses several of Edvard Munch's works.
phone: +47 55 55 20 00address: TorgetBergen's outdoor fish market has a long history, being the historical center for fish trade. Most tourists find their way here, but with locals changing their shopping habits, the fish market today does not compare to what it once was. The fish market is dominated by makeshift souvenir shops and seafood stalls. The seafood is generally of only OK quality as the fishermen no longer deliver their catch directly to the market. Still, you can get a pretty good idea of what the locals eat by having a look at the various fish they sell here, and try some of the stranger ones, if you feel adventurous. Free samples of are usually available of the more common items such as whale, salmon and salmon caviar. Although somewhat crowded, getting around with a wheelchair is fairly easy.
phone: +47 55 33 68 00address: Vetrlidsalmenning 21Fløibanen is a funicular which goes up Fløyen, a plateau in the mountain massif north-east of the city center. From here, you get a great view of the city. Accessing Fløibanen and the plateau on Fløyen with a wheelchair is a piece of cake. More than 1.2 million people rode with Fløibanen in 2007, and it has become the attraction that the most tourists are content with. Expect queues, but don't worry, they move fast. There are no steps where lifts are not available without assistance, and all doors are wide.
phone: +47 55 33 66 33address: Nordahl Bruns gate 9A museum of design and decorative art. Norway's largest collection of Chinese art.
St. Jørgen's Hospitalphone: +47 55 55 20 00address: Kong Oscars gate 59St. Jørgen's Hospital is one of very few preserved leprosy hospitals from the 18th century in Northern Europe. The large wooden building in Kalfarveien 31 (Pleiestiftelsen for spedalske) was the largest institution caring for the many leprosy patients in Bergen. This was where Armauer Hansen discovered the bacteria that causes leprosy in 1873. Hansen's discovery was a major breaktrhough in medicin as he proved that a cronic illness was contagious rather than hereditary. The Leprosy archive was a complete record of all patients and is assumed to be the first patient archive in the world. The Leprosy archive is enscribed on UNESCO list of Memory of the World. The Leprosy Museum tells the story about the disease and its history in Norway, in addition to showing life at the hospital. A visit to the museum is a unique but disturbing experience. The complex in Kong Oscars gate 59 also includes a wooden church.
phone: +47 55 55 71 71address: Nordnesbakken 4The aquarium has a nice selection of aquatic life, especially penguins and seals. Typical Norwegian aquatic life is well documented, and there is also a collection of tropical fish and animals and a shark tank with an underwater glass tunnel. Fun for kids.
phone: +47 55 30 17 00address: usually at Bergen harbor shed 7 – Bradbenken 2A three-masted barque sail training vessel built in 1914, one of the best kept in its kind. Mini cruises (approximately five and a half hours) available a few times a year, at the cost of kr. 425 including food. Tickets should be bought well in advance. For the more adventurous up to week-long cruises to Europe are available where you live and work as a sailor.
phone: +47 55 59 32 70address: Dreggsalmenningen 15The oldest remaining building in Bergen, St. Mary's Church was built in the 12th century. It is the best preserved of the city's three medieval churches and one of the few basilica-shaped churches in Norway. It was originally Romanesque, then enlarged in Gothic style. Having belonged to the German community in Bergen for many centuries, it contains a unique pulpit, one of Norway's most beautiful altarpieces and characteristic twin towers.
The National Theateraddress: Ole Bull's plassThe main theater is a monumental art noveau building in a prominent position on Ole Bull's square. As an institution the theater played a key role. Ole Bull, a major international star on the violin, established the theater and employed the young Henrik Ibsen as instructor. Later Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, another national icon, worked there. Ole Bull also discovered the young music talent Edvard Grieg. This theater made Norwegian, rather than Danish, into the standard language on stage, and it was long the #1 stage in Norway.
phone: +47 55 54 63 87address: BergenhusOnce the seat of the king, Bergenhus fortress is one of the oldest and best preserved forts of Norway. The oldest surviving buildings are from the mid 13th century, but the area was a royal residence from the late 11th century. The fortress is situated close to the international ferry terminal. The royal hall, Håkonshallen, (Haakon's Hall), named for King Haakon Haakonsson, was built some time between 1247 and 1261. It is used today for royal galas, as a banqueting hall for the city council, and other public events. The roof is reconstructed after a blast during World War II. The nearby Rosenkrantz tower has the same appearance as it had in the 16th century. The oldest part of the tower dates back to the 1270s, a few decades after Håkonshallen. It was expanded in the 1560s by the governor, Erik Rosenkrantz, to its present shape. The rest of the medieval buildings in the fortress have been replaced or demolished over the centuries, with some ruins still visible. Among these is the medieval cathedral, the Church of Christ, which was used for coronation and as a royal burial site in the 13th century. A memorial marks the site of the high altar. Guided tours of the royal hall and the tower start every hour between 10:00 and 16:00 every day from 15 May to 31 Aug in the royal hall. From 1 Sept to 14 May tours are only available between noon and 15:00 on Sundays. Entrance fee is kr. 40 for adults, 20 for students and free for children under 16. A small cafeteria with coffee, tea and basic snacks is open from June to August. The fortress grounds serve as a city park; you can hang out here and eat that fish you just bought at the nearby fish market - or just enjoy the sunshine and the view. The park is popular among locals and tourists, but usually not crowded. It is normally not a problem to find a good spot for your picnic or a round of Frisbee. There is a very good view of the bay. The use of open fire, including barbecues, and the drinking of alcoholic beverages are forbidden. Unlike in many other parks, the prohibition of alcohol is enforced strictly here, as the fort is still a military area with occasional military guards on patrol.
Bryggenaddress: BryggenBetween 1350 and 1750, this area used to be a Hansa dock, trading and processing area. The wooden houses at Bryggen today were built after the devastating city fire of 1702, but are probably very similar to the buildings that were there before. Despite neglect and fires (Norwegian cities had a habit of burning down because everything is made of wood), a considerable number of buildings have survived and are now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you enter some of the alleyways between the storefronts, you really get a feel of what Bergen must have been like in the Middle Ages. There are a few museums on the history of Bergen and of Bryggen, but the most interesting aspect is probably that almost all of the buildings are still in use. One example is the restaurant Bryggen Tracteursted, serving food and drinks in a building first opened for this purpose in 1708. Wandering about on Bryggen is possible with a wheelchair, but getting in and out of buildings can be very difficult.
phone: +47 55 58 80 10address: Dreggsalmenningen 3After the fire in 1955, when a lot of Bryggen burnt down, remains of the first settlement on Bryggen were discovered. The museum is built over these up to 900-year-old wooden building foundations, giving a unique insight in Bryggen's architectural history. It contains the world's largest collection of medieval runic inscriptions, mostly inscribed on wooden items, but only a small number of these are on display. It also hosts themed exhibitions. If you are not a student, and would like to also visit the Hanseatic museum, it is cheaper to buy a ticket for the guided tour (and skip it if you want).
phone: +47 55 54 46 90address: Finnegårdsgaten 1 A and Øvregaten 50The Hanseatic Museum and Schøtstuene are the only places on Bryggen where the original interior is preserved or restored. A tour of The Hanseatic Museum gives you a good introduction to the Hanseatic Bergen and the Hansa life, as you walk around an authentic Hanseatic merchant's house from the early 1700s. The building was in use until the late 19th century, when it was converted into a museum. In Schøtstuene, buildings from other parts of Bryggen are rebuilt to show where people ate, celebrated and held meetings. Neither the museum nor Schøtstuene is accessible for those using a wheelchair.
Theta museumphone: +47 55 31 53 93address: Bredsgården 1 DDuring the first half of World War II, the Theta group, formed by people between the ages of 19 and 22, established radio contact with London and reported movements of the German fleet in Norway. The group headquarters and radio station was located in the heart of occupied Bergen, but remained active for two years before it was discovered and raided by the Nazis. In the 1980s, the small room was reconstructed to its original state by orders of the Directorate of Cultural Heritage. It is now probably the country's smallest museum, displaying radio equipment and the Theta group's own security system. Not accessible with a wheelchair.
Nygårdshøyden and Møhlenpris (southern downtown)
phone: +47 55 58 31 40address: Haakon Sheteligs plass 10Bergen Museum is a part of the University of Bergen, and is in the heart of campus. It is divided in two collections, the Cultural History Collections and the Natural History Collections, located in two different buildings. The Cultural History Collections include archeology, anthropology and art- and culture studies sections. Among other things, the museum has a large collection of Norwegian folk art and national costumes. It is notable for its unique exhibition of Norwegian medieval church art, including painted altarpieces, crucifixes and portals from demolished stave churches, all in wood.
phone: +47 55 58 29 20address: Muséplass 3The Natural History Collections include botany, geology and zoology. The zoology exhibitions is preserved more or less as they were when they were put up almost a hundred years ago. Enormous whale skeletons suspended from the ceiling in the exhibition halls are visible through the windows from the outside. The geology exhibition is modern and varied and contains samples from most part of the world, in addition to a nice local collection. Around the museum is a garden which is at its finest in spring and summer. There is also a green house where you can enjoy tropical plants.
phone: +47 55 59 45 00address: Thormøhlensgate 51Sponsored by the state and the city in addition to some of the largest industrial companies in Norway, this all new science center features interactive exhibitions of science, technology and mathematics. It targets children and young people with the intention to inspire the to learning more about science, but is popular also among the adults. It has special exhibitions about the weather, the ocean and energy, with altogether 75 different interactive machines and experiments.
phone: +47 55 54 96 00address: Haakon Sheteligsplass 15This traditional maritime museum is in the middle of the campus of the University of Bergen. Exhibitions of maritime history, shipping history, the Vikings, naval warfare, maritime archeology, and more.
NygårdsparkenThis is a very nicely landscaped park laid out in the late 1800s after English patterns. The park is a popular picnic place for families, and in the summer there's always several groups of students and young people having barbeques. You are very welcome to step on the grass and it's a nice place to play frisbee, kubb or croquet. If you want to save a few kroner on food and drink stop by a local grocery store to pick up some ingredients to a picnic, bring along a blanket and a few beers and spend a cheap and relaxing afternoon in this park. It's highly unlikely that the police will bother you for drinking in public in this park as long as you behave. It's also one of the places where it's rather easy to get in contact with the locals. There's no public toilet here, but pop over the road to Vilvite and use their facilities for free. The upper part of the park is now rejuvenated, with a nice play area for children, occasional outdoor exhibitions and – some weekends – a café with restroom in the new Pavillion.
South of the city center
Fantoft Stave Churchphone: +47 55 28 07 10address: Fantoftveien 46Stave churches are built in a distinctive style using the logs of trees as pillars, by the early Christians. This is a reconstruction of a church originally built in Fortun, by the Sognefjord, around 1150. On the 6 Jun 1992, the church was totally destroyed by arson, but a perfect copy has since been constructed. The inside of the stave church has no wall paintings and the altar is quite austere. If you have seen the stave church in the Norsk Folkemuseum in Oslo, then save yourself a few kroners and skip this one.
Gamlehaugenphone: +47 55 92 51 20, +47 55 11 29 00 (reserve tickets)address: Gamlehaugveien 10The villa at Gamlehaugen, built to resemble a castle, was the home of Christian Michelsen, former prime minister who helped free Norway from the Swedish rule through the peaceful dissolution of the "union" in 1905. Nowadays, the villa is the royal family's residence in Bergen. There is a large and very popular park around the villa. Bathing possibilities.
phone: +47 55 92 29 92address: Siljustølveien 50The home of the composer Harald Sæverud, famous for late romantic and neo-classicist works now houses a museum with occasional concerts. The somewhat mystic park around the house is open for the public.
phone: +47 55 92 29 92address: Troldhaugveien 65This is the house of the famous composer Edvard Grieg, who wrote the Peer Gynt suite and the Piano Concerto in A Minor and is Norway's national composer. His country house (just outside the town center of Bergen) has been preserved in the state it was in when he died in 1907. You can also see his grave; he was buried on his own estate. There is a museum devoted to Grieg and his work, and a concert hall with daily concerts from 1 May - 30 Sep.
address: Ulriken 1Cable car to the top of Mt. Ulriken, the highest of the mountains surrounding the city. There is a restaurant at the top.
North of the city center
phone: +47 55 39 43 00address: Nyhavnsveien 4A reconstructed town with about 50 wooden houses from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. It is a beautiful place to stroll on a sunny day. The more cultural traveler will enjoy a guided tour of the area and the houses.
phone: +47 55 25 10 80address: Salhusvegen 201Located in the buildings that used to house the first fully mechanized knitwear factory in Norway. The machinery is still in working condition and is used. Guided tour, exhibitions and film.
West of the city center
phone: +47 55 58 80 10An old and picturesque former industrial community situated on the west coast of the Bergen peninsula. The manor building at Alvøen has been converted into a museum with several exhibitions.
phone: +47 55 94 08 70address: Alléen 29This 18th-century manor is the most splendid of the many country retreats built by Bergen's aristocracy in the past centuries. The roccoco main building is surrounded by several beautiful gardens.
phone: +47 55 30 72 50address: Georgernes verft 12Jazz club with focus on modern jazz. Norwegian Jazz Club Of The Year 2008.
Bergen LiveProducing most of the larger pop, rock and hiphop concerts in Bergen.
address: Grieghallen, Edvard Griegs plass 1The Bergen philharmonic is one of two national orchestras and was originally established in 1765 - now regarded as one of the oldest orchestras in the world.The program is varied, but the repertoire is usually quite easy listening. The orchestra plays of course a lot of Edvard Grieg's works.
address: Olav Kyrresgate 49, 5015 BergenPopular student venue, usually hosting concerts several times a week except during holidays and the summer.
phone: +47 55 23 22 35address: Nøstegaten 54BIT (Bergen International Theater) presents Norwegian and international contemporary stage art productions of high quality.
phone: +47 55 54 97 00address: Engen 1The national theater in Bergen. In a beautifully restored building, the theater presents a variety of plays on three different stages, from traditional Ibsen to contemporary plays. The largest stage (Store scene) is where most mainstream plays are played, while the two smaller stages features more alternative plays, often the most interesting ones. The plays are in Norwegian.
phone: +47 55 21 61 20Although Bergen does not have its own opera house, it does have its own opera company. Den Nye Opera (The New Opera) usually put on a few productions throughout the year. Summer performances are often at the Bergenhus Fortress while other productions are performed at Den Nationale Scene or at Grieghallen. Tickets are available online. Tickets usually range from kr. 200 to kr. 550 depending on seating and availability. Bergen does not attract the top performers, and the quality may vary a bit, usually anywhere between superb and a bit below average.
Hanging out by the ocean can be one of the best ways to spend a hot summer day in Bergen, although Bergen is hardly a sun and sand destination. The temperature in the ocean around Bergen is warmer than most places on the west coast because of the outer islands protecting the area from the constant flow of cooler water from the North Sea, and allowing the water to heat in smaller bays in the area. Temperatures can rise to after consecutive days with good weather. The water is clean and fresh. There are sandy beaches at Arboretet at Milde (Hjellestad), Kyrkjetangen at Nordåsvannet and Helleneset, "bathing houses"/beaches at Nordnesparken and Elsero situated in Old Bergen in Sandviken. After a day hiking in the mountains, Skomakerdiket above Mount Fløyen has a sandy fresh-water beach.
Nye Sydnes Sjøbadaddress: NøstegatenPublic seawater "pool".
address: approcah through HaugeveienOutdoor swimming pool 25 meters, heated saltwater taken from the fjord
The mountains surrounding Bergen offers great hiking possibilities, and unlike most cities the first hiking trail starts downtown and no need for transport out of town. There are options for anyone from those just looking for a fifteen-minute stroll in the sun to the more adventurous interested in daytrips and steep hills. Byfjellene (lit. "the city mountains") have good networks of dirtroads and paths, usually well signposted. Good maps are available in most bookstores – look for Tur- og friluftskart Bergen (1:25 000) from the Norwegian Mapping and Cadastre Authority (Norwegian: Statens kartverk).
For advice on hiking, as well as hiking opportunities elsewhere in Norway, you should consult Bergen Turlag (Bergen Hiking Association), the local branch of Den Norske Turistforening (Norwegian Trekking Association), located in Tverrgaten 4-6. The Norwegian right to access entitles you to hike in all uncultivated areas.
Mount Fløyen is the most central of the mountains. It is easily accessible by the funicular running from downtown, but the better fit will probably choose the 40-minutes walk up. A good compromise can be to take the funicular up and walk down. The way is well signposted, so you won't get lost. In the steep slope towards Fløyen (right above the city) there is the popular Fjellveien, a long, gentle, horizontal pedestrian road with a perfect panorama of the city. From Fjellveien, there are several alternative roads to the top.
From the top of Mount Fløyen, the 1.8 km (1.1 mi) walk in relatively flat terrain to Brushytten (lit. "the soda cabin") is ideal, if you have kids. Brushytten is a kiosk usually open on Sundays. There are several ways to get there, if you follow the signs, you're on the safe side and will walk on dirtroads all the way (easily accessible with both a wheelchair or a pram).
From Brushytten, you can walk up the hill to Mount Rundemanen and get a beautiful view. From Mount Rundemanen, a good choice for a not-so-long hike will be to walk to Sandviksfjellet, and from there down to Sandviken, where you can get on a bus or walk back to the city center. Another possibility is to cross the Vidden plateau and walk to Mount Ulriken, the highest mountain in Bergen, a hike which takes about five hours. You should be somewhat fit to take this trip, and also be prepared for bad weather. The trip across Vidden is among Norway's most popular hiking trips.
For both kids and adults, a popular activity on snowy days is to take the funicular to the top of Mount Fløyen and toboggan to the city center.
FjordsThere are frequent boat trips to some of the more scenic fjords from the city centre. There are trips all year round, but many are only available in season, from May to September.
The islands, fjords and lakes surrounding Bergen provide excellent conditions for both saltwater and fresh-water fishing. Fishing from fresh water lakes usually requires a local rod permit, even permition from the land owner. Pay attention to signs marking lakes used for drinking water.
Coast and deep sea fishing is free and there is no need for any license. However, no more than 10 kilos of fish fillets or fish products can be exported from Norway per person. If you have fished under the auspices of a registered tourist fishing camp, the export quota is a maximum of 20 kilos, provided that the organized fishing can be documented. Note some important regulations concerning the minimum size of most fish. Consult the web site of The Norwegian Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs for more information.
Fishing in the city centre (Bryggen, Vågen, Bontelabo, Dokken) is possible, but there are some concerns about traces of mercury in white fish fillet and liver. A new report may indicate that the situation is better than expected, but a good advice is to avoid fishing in Vågen, from old ship yards and the Åstveittangen and Eidsvågen areas.
A general, very cautious advice could be not to eat liver from fish caught in areas close to the city centre - and pregnant and breast feeding women should not eat this fish at all.
BergenfestMusic festival from the end of April to start of May. A number of concerts in most rhythmic music genres (pop, rock, hip hop, blues, soul) all over town.
phone: +47 55 30 08 40BIFF is a week-long film festival held in October every year at Bergen kino (the Magnus Barfot multiplex cinema). In 2007 BIFF had 40,000 visitors.
Constitution DayOn 17 May, every business in town, except restaurants downtown, is closed as the citizens dress up in their finest clothes and celebrate all day long. You will be stunned by the number of people in the streets – one can hardly move around – and by the beautiful national costumes every second person you meet will wear. This is the day people will look oddly on you if you wear anything less than a suit or dress. At 7AM, there is a twenty-one-gun salute from Skansen, half way up Mount Fløyen, as the morning parade starts from Dreggen. At 10:30AM, the main parade starts at Torgalmenningen, goes around town and ends up at Festplassen. The parade is formed by children and organizations such as sports teams, and only a very few military troops, unlike in many other countries. The level of nationalism can perhaps be a bit overwhelming for foreigners, but try to say gratulerer med dagen (literally "congratulations on the day") to anyone you meet, and you will probably get the same in response, even if you're not Norwegian at all.
16 MayThe night before Constitution Day is the definite party night in Bergen.
Bergen International FestivalWith about 160 events in two weeks from the end of May to start of June, Bergen International Festival is the largest festival of its kind in the Nordic countries. The festival presents literature, dance, theater and classical music. The latest years, focus has been on art from the Nordic countries.
NattjazzNattjazz is a two-weeks long jazz festival from the end of May to the start of June, the longest jazz festival in Northern Europe. All concerts take place at Verftet USF, a former sardine factory located at Nøstet, with a capacity of over 4000 guests. With a day-pass, you get access to all concerts that night for a fair price. Usually, there are six or seven concerts every night, some simultaneously on the various stages. The festival's musical profile ranges from traditional jazz to world music. Some of the artists that previously has played on Nattjazz are Gotan Project, Ahmed Jamal, Jan Garbarek, Stan Getz, Art Blakey, Herbie Hancock, Van Morrison and James Brown.
Institutions of higher education in Bergen include the University of Bergen, The Norwegian School of Business and Economics, Bergen National Academy of the Arts and Bergen University College. The university is Norway's second largest and covers most areas of education, though the educations in law and in medicine are probably considered the best. The Norwegian School of Business and Economics is considered the best education within these fields in the country. All the aforementioned institutions are members of the Nordplus and Erasmus exchange programmes and offer courses in English.
Bergen has a number of shopping centers, and international chains are well represented. As prices are rather high in Norway, regular shopping is probably not the most interesting thing to do in Bergen, even if you get a VAT refund (see the Tax Free shopping section below). But if you know where to go, you can find rare and unique items, both traditional crafts and stuff made by local designers - and some other fun stuff. Keep in mind that with a very few exceptions, Bergen shuts down completely on Sundays and holidays.
Apollonphone: +47 55 31 59 43address: Nygårdsgaten 2 ACombined bar and music store, sells CDs, vinyls and band merchandise in addition to a decent selection of beers.
Blonder og stasphone: +47 55 31 83 81address: BryggestredetA small shop selling beautiful Norwegian handmade textiles, such as tablecloths and napkins.
address: Vetrlidsallmenningen 2This market hall built in 1877 was once the only one in its kind in Norway. Nowadays it houses Bergen's finest gourmet food stores, the most interesting for tourists being Havets Grøde and Sesong. Havets Grøde has a large selection of top quality seafood, with fresh deliveries every day. The quality is usually much better than at the fish market. Sesong offers the season's food directly from local farms and producers.
phone: +47 55 54 47 40address: Vågsallmenningen 3Husfliden is a chain of stores throughout Norway with focus on traditional Norwegian crafts. The most interesting things for tourists found in these stores are traditional jewelry and tableware. Husfliden also sells beautiful national costumes (Norwegian: bunad).
phone: +47 55 56 39 75address: Christies gate 9Expensive, but cool clothes and shoes for both men and women
Bryggen Husflidphone: +47 55 32 88 03address: Bryggen 37Handknitted pullovers, cardigans and accessories from the brand Norsk Håndstrikk. The sweaters are made by hand in Norway, knitted by Norwegian ladies in their homes. Rare and unique products. The shop also carry a great selection of other Norwegian made products, in addition to other souvenirs like trolls, soft toys etc. The prices are very good compared to other shops at Bryggen.
Robotaddress: Skostredet 16Robot features a range of hip clothes for men and women, a small but excellent selection of music on CD and vinyl, and a large selection of books on pop culture, art, comics, music and design.
phone: +47 55 31 41 11address: Vetrlidsalmenning 5Unique, fun and stimulating toys for kids and adults.
phone: +47 454 04 157address: Småstrandgaten 3 (Xhibition)Store for Norway's largest brand of outdoor wear.
Søstrene Hagelinphone: +47 55 90 20 13address: Strandgaten 3Søstrene Hagelin has been a tradition in Bergen since 1929. Famous for their traditional fiskekaker, fish-burger. There are some tables in the shop where you can eat the fish-burger, or their fish soup.
Tilsammansphone: +47 55 32 55 55address: Kong Oscars gate 26Trendy clothes.
phone: +47 55 55 80 37address: Skostredet 9 AExtremely stylish menswear.
Twistedphone: +47 55 96 01 87address: Nygårdsgaten 1 BIndependent fashion store for men and women with brands such as IVANAHelsinki, Moods of Norway, Namso, GTP, Birna, Pernilla Svenre, Maria Weterlind, El Naturlista, William Rast, Gabba, Scotch&Soda, Minium, Insight, Pace and Pour. Voted Bergen's best clothing store in 2010.
phone: +47 930 69 578address: Holmedalsgården 1Sweet and handmade clothing for girls from 2–11 years of age.
Bryggen Husflidphone: +47 55 32 88 03address: Bryggen 37Handknitted pullovers,cardigans and accessories from the brand Norsk Håndstrikk. The sweaters are made by hand in Norway, knitted by Norwegian ladies in their homes. Rare and unique products. The shop also carry a great selection of other Norwegian made products, in addition to other souvenirs like trolls, soft toys etc. The prices are very good compared to other shops at Bryggen.
VAT (value added tax/sales tax, Norwegian: mva. (merverdiavgift) or moms. (merverdiomsetningsavgift)) is 25% for most items in Norway. It is included in the retail price, which makes the VAT content 20% of the price you pay. As Norway is not a member of the European union, all foreign citizens (apart from those of Sweden, Denmark and Finland) are eligible for a refund of the VAT if the goods purchased are brought out of the country at the latest one month after the purchase. The prerequisites for such a refund is that the goods are not used or consumed, even in part, within Norway, and that you spend at least kr 315 in a store.
Look for stores with a Global Blue/tax free flag or sticker. You need only to ask the shop assistant for a global refund check, and provide documentation of your citizenship. When leaving Norway, go to a Global Blue refund office with the goods, the check and your passport, and you will receive up to 19% of the sales price in cash. In Bergen, the only Global Blue refund office is at the airport, but there are also information desks on a couple of the ferries leaving from the city.
Unlike in many other countries, the customs authorities are not involved in the VAT refund process in Norway.
There is a great variety of restaurants and cafes in Bergen, but you should expect to spend some time looking for the best places. In the most central parts of the city, many of the restaurants are all the same. Move a block away from the most central parts of downtown to find lower prices and better food. Kitchens usually close at 11PM at the latest.
Waiters and other restaurant staff have good wages. You are not required to leave any money to cover the service, but many people choose to tip the waiter if he or she has been helpful and nice, and if the food was good. If you choose to leave a tip, rounding up or adding about five to ten percent will be appreciated. A rule of thumb would be that the more expensive the food is, the more are you expected to leave a tip.
Keep in mind that tap water is safe to drink and (usually) free of charge. To save money, ask for tap water to drink.
Many cafe's and restaurants serve "raspeballer" on Thursdays. Raspeballer are local potato dumplings, in Bergen usually served with bacon, sausages, salted meat from sheep, melted butter and mashed rutabaga. You can get takeaway raspeballer at Kjøttbasaren (kr. 50), cheap ones at Lido, excellent ones at Pingvinen and Bjellands Kjøkken. You can get reasonable take-away fish soup, fish-balls, "plukkfisk" and fish-gratin at Madam Bergen.
In November, December and January, traditional Christmas food is served in many restaurants. Look for "pinnekjøtt" (cured, dried and sometimes smoked meat of lamb or mutton), "lutefisk" (lit. "lye fish", dried cod prepared with lye) and "ribbe" (oven-baked pork ribs). For a very special experience, try smalahove (sheep's head). It is a traditional dish from Voss not far from Bergen.
Bergen Kebabphone: +47 55 23 00 17address: Christian Michelsens gate 7Though selling the cheapest kebabs in town, Bergen Kebab manages to maintain a decent level of service and quality. Serves an ok pizza as well.
Bjellands Kjøkkenphone: +47 55 90 02 44address: Strandgaten 201Bjellands Kjøkken is a tiny cafe at Nordnes, run by 76 year old Randi Bjelland which is worth the walk herself. She does everything by herself in a tiny kitchen, makes everything from scratch. Serves a great variety of traditional food depending on season; huge flesh-pancakes, homemade fish-cakes, meatballs, cooked cod, salted meat, whale-meat etc. 6 tables, good portions and reasonable prices.
Zen Cafe Barphone: +47 55 32 14 38address: Strømgaten 26A fantastic place to eat. The prices are cheap, and the food and service are excellent. It is definitely worth trying at least once.
phone: +47 55 21 85 88address: Vestre Torggaten 1Good-quality Chinese food freshly cooked in the open kitchen. Service is fast, and the prices are low. This is a place with many regular customers, especially between 16:00 and 18:00.
phone: +47 55 32 58 50address: Nygårdsgaten 29The Thai equivalent of Hot Wok, although with slightly smaller portions. Service is usually fast, and the staff is friendly. Can often be full, so take-out can be a good plan B. There is also a Kroa Thai restaurant with the same menu in Åsane senter, a few miles outside of the town center. Multiple options for vegetarians.
phone: +47 55 96 00 37address: Vestre Torggate 5-7Cheap but decent pasta and pizza for students and budget travellers alike. Pasta Sentral has been an institution in Bergen since its opening in 1990. Provides a take-out service as well.
phone: +47 55 32 33 60address: Nedre Korskirke Allmenning 4Organic restaurant situated in the heart of Bergen. Featuring live concerts and art exhibitions.
Thai Curry Housephone: +47 55 31 11 99address: Nedre Korskirkeallmenningen 11Affordable thai restaurant. Interior decoration may look a little tacky, but don't let it put you off. The food is good and freshly prepared, however, service can be a little slow. The place is very small, yet quite popular so you may want to have a plan B before going here.
phone: +47 55 55 81 14address: Nordahl Bruns gate 9Soups and salads – tasty, cheap and big portions.
address: Kong Oscars gate 2 ATraditional fishfood, as well as creative such as fishburger with taco. Eat there or take home. Corner of Kong Oscars gate and Vetrlidsallmenningen.
Kafe Spesialaddress: Christies gate 13Value for money, particularly pizza. Wide selection of beer. Situated on the slope towards the university area so clientel is largely students. Basic service (order at the counter).
phone: +47 55 32 11 45address: Øvre Ole Bullsplass 3One of the most popular restaurants in Bergen, probably most due to its location. It has an exciting interior and decent food, but is a bit overpriced.
phone: +47 55 23 03 15address: Engen 18An institution on one of the best corners in Bergen. Great food for the money. This is a place with many regular customers. During the day they serve lunch and cakes. Early in the evening it is a place for dinner and beer. Late night is for dancing.
phone: +47 55 90 04 60address: Håkonsgaten 17Fresh, tasty and fast sushi at the cheapest prices in town. Primarily take-away, but you can also eat in if you don't mind the complete lack of atmosphere.
Kafé Kippersphone: +47 55 30 40 80address: Georgernes verft 12The café serves a variety of meals, from sandwiches to dinners. The view is extraordinary. If you are lucky enough to catch a sunny day, you can observe a range of activities that happens in the bay. Indoors the café has a quiet atmosphere. There are large panorama windows facing the water giving you a romantic view even on rainy days. In connection with the restaurant, there is a changing art exhibition. Accessible with a wheelchair.
La Bottega Italianaphone: +47 55 31 81 10address: Strandgaten 80Run by a Sicilian, La Bottega Italiana serves Sicilian-style pasta dishes, salads, a few main courses and Tiramisu for Dolce.
Ma Ma-Thaiphone: +47 55 31 38 70address: Kaigaten 20Delicious Thai cuisine.
phone: +47 55 90 02 90address: Sigurds gate 4Open from 16:00 every day. An informal restaurant with two price ranges: You can get the best priced gourmet food in town, or you can go for the cheaper "Swedish" menu. Regardless of what you choose, the food is prepared from first class local ingredients, and you get to enjoy the freshly baked bread and white table cloths. One of the best restaurants in town. For dinnertime dining you need a reservation. If you don't have reservations, try the rather crowded pub downstairs - they serve the "Swedish" menu there too. Main courses from the Swedish menu are from kr 80-150, main courses from the gourmet menu are from kr 180-280.
Pingvinenaddress: Vaskerelven 14A very nice, but usually crowded bar where you can also get a good portion of Norwegian food. Recommended by Time Magazine. Food available throughout opening hours. One of very few venues where genuine Norwegian homecooking – and large bowls of popcorn – are available. Nice prices on food and drink, main courses from kr 80-140.
phone: +47 97 63 62 37address: Marken 32A refreshing cafe/restaurant run by two young women, which is reflected in the interior and menu. Try out the fried Smil-chokolate with caramel icecream.
phone: +47 55 33 69 99address: Bryggestredet 2Bryggen Tracteursted offers a modern kitchen inspired by Hanseatic and local traditions, served in historic surroundings. A hidden treasure with its somewhat anonymous appearance. The restaurant can in principle fit up to about 200 guests, but the kitchen is very small, and expansion is not allowed by the cultural heritage authorities. This forces the restaurant to accept a relatively low number of patrons at a time – giving a peaceful atmosphere. A reservation is recommended.
phone: +47 4000 3713address: Hotell NorgeBergen's latest and perhaps best (according to local newspaper BT) restaurant. Very ambitious but more reasonably priced than Colonialen and Cornelius. Located at Hotell Norge, Søtt+Salt leaves you with the option of 3-, 5- or 7-course meals. Reservations are recommended.
phone: +47 55 32 17 19address: BryggenBergen's most traditional – and expensive – fish restaurant. Located in a building restored to its 18th century appearance, Enhjørningen is well reputed for its excellent food, served in classical manners. A reservation is required. Ask for a window table if possible, as you will have a beautiful view of Bergen harbor.
phone: +47 55 32 00 70address: Kong Oscars gate 1APartially situated in a medieval basement, Potetkjelleren offers gourmet food in very special surroundings. The place is often crowded and a reservation is required.
Most places require that you are 20 years of age (look in the list for details) and that you can provide a valid ID, even if you are much older. Valid IDs are Norwegian bank cards, European standard driver's licenses and ID cards and passports. Drinking in public is illegal. Emptying a can in front of a police officer on a Saturday night will earn you a kr. 2500 fine. If you stroll through a park a bit outside the city center on a sunny day you will still see a lot of people having a beer or a glass of wine with the picnic. The police usually won't mind as long as everything passes in an orderly fashion.
Prices vary great from place to place, ask at the door if you need to know. In the weekends, there is usually a cover charge from kr 50 to kr 100 at night clubs.
Almost all night clubs and some bars have a dress code. The required attire varies; look in the list for more information (when the listing indicates "no dress code" normal, nice clothes are accepted). Supporter gear is generally not accepted even in sports pubs.
Remember that smoking in all indoor areas where people work is strictly prohibited by law in Norway. Most restaurants, bars, night clubs etc. will require you to leave if you try to smoke indoors.
Nightlife is largely concentrated in the central downtown (streets Vaskerelven, Engen, Torgallmenningen, Ole Bulls plass, Nygaardsgaten) and Bryggen area (streets Bryggen, Rosenkrantz gt, Vetrlidsallmenningen, kong Oscar gate).
address: Vaskerelven 1A fancy café during the day, a hot bar/night club at night. The place to be if you were young in the 1980s and make good money now. Dress code: Smart casual. Age limit is 24 years.
address: Øvre Ole Bulls plass 3The place to be for a very pretentious night out. Bergen's most arrogant club scene features a bar, a club and a lounge. Full of people who want to show off their money & people pretending to be important. Dress code: Smart casual. Age limit is 24 years on Fridays and Saturdays, 20 years on Thursdays and Sundays.
phone: +47 55 55 93 10address: Rasmus Meyers allé 5A cafe and club usually visited by the alternative crowd. Popular among art students. The stylish locale is almost cube-shaped, and often has video installations projected on one of the walls. Usually has DJs playing electronic music on weekends, although most punters tend not to arrive before around 01:00 on Saturdays. Only accessible with a wheelchair when assisted. No dress code.
Baranaddress: HåkonsgatenSmall and nice pub with an excellent selection of reasonably priced beers, and a small selection of cheap food. A bit run-down, but rather cozy. Clientele between 20-35. The staff wants to appear very knowledgeable and might tell you which beers are similar to which (e.g., "Marston's Oyster Stout is similar to a Guinness and not at all watery"). Being sceptical to this advice will keep you from being disappointed.
Biskopenaddress: NeumannsgateA nice pub that caters mostly to people between 25 and 40. Nice selection of beers. If it looks crowded, check the basement.
phone: +47 55900384address: Engen 10A bar that possibly has the widest selection of beer in Bergen with over 40 beers on tap, and a large selection of bottled beer. It has a quiet, friendly atmosphere and the bartender is extremely knowledgeable and personable.
address: Vaskerelvsmuget 7The place to be if you like metal. Cheap beer, long hair and rock. Excellent burgers. No dress code, but a band t-shirt is recommended.
address: Øvre Ole Bulls plass 6A bar where actors from the repertory theatre and intellectuals of every stripe meet over beer and drinks. There is a strict no-music policy, which leaves room for conversation. Frequently houses roaming exhibitions of visual art, often ones of astounding quality. Inaccessible with a wheelchair. No dress code.
phone: +47 55 60 46 46address: Vaskerelven 14A very nice, but often crowded, bar where you can also get a good portion of Norwegian food. Recommended by Time Magazine. One of few places where genuine traditional Norwegian food is available. Nice prices both on food and drinks.
phone: +47 55 55 31 31address: Veiten 3A large complex featuring among other things a scene, a disco, a bar and an Irish pub, most popular among people between 30 and 40 years. If you are a woman, expect sleazy guys in the disco. Age limit is 24 years in weekends.
Bryggen and Dreggen
BaklommenBryggen (Enhjørningsgården). Probably Bergen's smallest bar. A place to sit down and relax with a coffee or a drink. Only accessible with a wheelchair when assisted. Age limit is 23 years. No dress code.
phone: +47 919 00 923address: Bryggen 7A bar with a large variety of beers, which change all the time.
Bar Baristaaddress: Øvregaten 12Laid back and weird bar/cafe. Good coffee and selection of beers. Good choice of retro music. Quiet back yard for smokers.
Nordnes and Nøstet area
- USF Verftet, Georgernes verft 12 (Nøstet). Formerly a sardine factory, USF Verftet is a very large venue with different stages for concerts, theatre and dance. Intimate jazz concerts every Friday except around Christmas and in the summer. Home of the Nattjazz jazz festival. Kafé Kippers is a café with a beautiful view of Puddefjorden. The best place for a beer outdoors in the summer, but also family friendly. The café is open every day. Check the program on the venue's website or in the local newspaper Bergens Tidende (BT) for events. Student discount on beer and wine. The café and the two largest stages are accessible with a wheelchair. Access to the remaining stages is possible with assistance. Age limit is 18 years. No dress code.
phone: +47 55 30 40 00C. Sundts gate 22 (Entrance through Hotel Augustin or from Gågaten). The only bar/restaurant in Bergen with Wine Spectators Best of Award of Excellence. Excellent selection of wines, nice atmosphere.
- Trikken 106, Nøstegaten 45B. Cozy, small pub and bar with a tramway theme. Nice selection of not too expensive beers and good cocktails. Also seating outside, with a view over the harbour and fjord. Classic rock, metal and postpunk will be played all the time, but never loud. Trikken 106 is a popular meeting place for people living in the neighbourhood. Expect some quizzes and a lot of talking. A place for tourists to meet the locals.
Nygårdshøyden and Møhlenpris – the University Area
address: Olav Kyrres gate 49The student culture house recently re-opened after a long period of renovation and expansion. It is one of the largest venues in Bergen with two large stages and one smaller, a pub, a café and a few other bars. Often popular club concepts and concerts in the week-ends. A very popular place among most people in the 20s. Age limit is 20 years unless you have valid student ID, in which case the age limit is 18 years. No cover charge (except Saturdays after 21:00, kr 50, and for special events) or dress code. Completely accessible with a wheelchair.
FinckenNygårdsgaten 2 A. W-Th 19:00-01:30, F-Su 19:00-02:30. Traditionally the center of gay nightlife in Bergen, these days Fincken is a mixed crowd with plenty of straight men. No dress code.
FotballpubenVestre Torggaten 9. Live football from every corner of the globe, except Trondheim, as locals have a rather difficult relationship with the city. Nightlife starts at 23:00 and people usually get very drunk by the end of the night. Expect a fight and expect the bouncers to go hard on anyone involved. Age limit is 18 years. Inaccessible with a wheelchair. No dress code.
h-barAllégaten. Fridays 19:00-01:00. A small bar run by physics students, situated in the bomb shelter of the University's Department of Physics and Technology. Also a popular place for the math-student neighbors of the department, if particle physics and algebraic geometry is your idea of a fun discussion on a night out, this should be right up your alley. No dress code.
HulenOlaf Ryes vei 48. Th-Sa 21:00-03:00 (closed during summer). Established in 1969, Hulen is the oldest running rock club in Northern Europe. Hulen can be tricky to find, but with its unique atmosphere it is well worth a visit. The somewhat concealed location is a good buffer against the hords of drunk morons that frequent more central bars. Hulen is situated in a cave (an old bomb shelter), and is run by students with two bars and a stage. Good concerts (Fridays), cheap drinks and the best rock disco in town (Saturdays). Beer costs kr 36 before 23:00 and kr 44 after. The turnout varies greatly. No dress code.
- Legal, Christies gate 11. A small and very popular 50s style drinking den with brilliant music and ambiance. No dress code.
Outside the city center
phone: +47 55 59 11 00address: Fjøsangerveien 30This great neighborhood pub used to be a pharmacy. Wooden drawers with labels for bandages and hemorrhoidal cream still line the walls, as the art deco interior is protected by the local cultural heritage authority. Bien has a friendly staff and a good atmosphere. In addition to classic drinks you can also get very good food both for lunch and dinner here. Try "Bien spesial", sausages from a local slaughterhouse served with lentils. Quiz every Wednesday at 20:30 and regular jazz concerts with free entrance. No dress code, accessible with a wheelchair.
Outside the summer season, getting a hotel room is usually not a problem, although it can be quite expensive unless you have a reservation. In the summer season (from May to Sept) a reservation well in advance is required. Breakfast is normally included in the price except at hostels and camping sites.
phone: +47 55 20 80 70address: Johan Blytts vei 30Situated on the hillside of Mount Ulriken. Bus connections are good. For families this typical hostel is an excellent choice for those traveling on a budget, with decent and clean facilities in a quiet area. Its location is however not ideal if you plan to enjoy the nightlife of Bergen. Free Wifi, two well equipped guest kitchens and free parking for guests. Member of Hosteling International receive 10% discount. Breakfast included. Linen and towels not included.
phone: +47 55 60 60 55address: Nedre Korskirkeallmenning 4Decent youth hostel right in the center of town, with a rooftop terrace where you can sit and look out over the old town center. Reservations essential. Bed linen included, no breakfast. Reception: 1 Apr–31 May: 08:00–21:00, 1 Jun–31 Aug: 07:00–00:00, 1 Sep–2 Nov: 08:00–21:00, 3 Nov–31 Mar: 08:00–15:30.
phone: +47 815 22 742address: Håkonsgaten 27
phone: +47 55 30 04 00address: Kalfarveien 8A Christian hostel 40-bed dormitory with probably the lowest prices in town. Norwegian evenings every Monday and Thursday with traditional cakes and waffles, free of charge. Open from mid-June to mid-August.
phone: +47 55 31 44 04address: Kong Oscars gate 45A 73-bed hostel located close to the railway station. Lockable closets in all rooms. No mixed sex dormitories. Breakfast not included. Reception: May–Sep: 09:00–23:00, Oct–Apr: 09:30–16:30.
phone: +47 55 31 90 80Small and cosy, with only seven rooms. Located near the funicular. Reservations are necessary.
phone: +47 938 74 907address: Stølesmauet 9Situated behind Bryggen, the guesthouse consists of two houses, one with a two bedroom apartment and one in which four rooms are available. All rooms can be fitted with a baby bed free of charge. Some of the bedrooms can also be rented and used as living rooms or offices on request.
phone: +47 467 79 604address: Ytre Markeveien 6-8A small flat close to the city center: a bedroom, a living-room, a kitchen-corner (without stove), a bathroom. There is Wi-Fi in the flat. Suitable for 2 persons, but can be also used by four.
phone: +47 55 31 25 00address: Nygårdsgaten 31, 5015Self-service check-in, comfortable rooms with a desk, chair, kitchen, space for hanging clothes. Laundry room, TV/lounge downstairs. Very close to the station.
phone: +47 55 30 42 00address: Strandgaten 190A little bit outside the center of downtown, but still no more than a few minutes walk from the fish market, this hotel is probably one of the lesser known accommodation options in Bergen. The hotel is quite new and modern. With facilities in the typical mid-range class, it might however be a bit pricey compared to its competitors. About kr 1500 per night for a standard double room.
phone: +47 55 21 25 00address: Zander Kaaesgate 6The hotel built in 1928 is elegant and has a classical style. Wide central staircase leading up to renovated rooms, and down to an old-fashioned lounge bar area downstairs, with free tea and coffee for guests.
phone: +47 55 23 16 13address: Øvre Ole Bulls plass 3Large and comfortable rooms with kitchenette and broadband internet. Hotel, restaurant, bar, night club and theater under same roof.
phone: +47 55 54 41 60address: Kong Oscars gate 44Decent apartments with bathroom and kitchen, close to the railway station. The apartments vary in size, the largest can hold up to seven people.
phone: +47 55 36 29 00address: Christiesgate 5-7A business hotel with good facilities and a central location. Wi-Fi in all rooms. About kr 1500 per night for a standard double room.
phone: +47 55 30 90 80address: Håkonsgaten 2A reasonably priced conference hotel, also a good option for tourists due to its relatively central yet quiet surroundings. There is a gym and bath close by, and a cinema across the street. From kr 1100 per night for a standard double room.
phone: +47 55 30 87 00address: Bradbenken 3An ok hotel situated in the historic part of Bergen, though not very historic itself.
phone: +47 55 30 14 00address: Rosenkrantzgate 7Hotel Rosenkrantz is a comfortable hotel located just behind Bryggen. The hotel serves an evening buffet included in the room price every night except in the summer season. There are nightclubs in the vicinity.
phone: +47 55 30 68 00address: Valkendorfsgate 8Central hotel recently incorporated into the Scandic chain. Good-sized standard rooms with two beds, bathtub, and tea/coffee maker. Breakfast buffet, serviceable wireless internet, and Norwegian newspapers are supplied. Several restaurants on-site.
phone: +47 55 30 40 00address: C. Sundts gate 22Augustin Hotel is Bergen's oldest family-run hotel, owned by the same family for three generations. It is the only hotel in the city center that is not member of a hotel chain, giving room for the management to create a unique atmosphere. The hotel has undergone extensive modernization the latest years. The restaurant and the wine bar are both highly recommended. The hotel is often fully booked, so a reservation well in advance is recommended.
phone: +47 55 60 11 00address: Slottsgaten 1This luxurious hotel opened in the beautiful neo-classical building which used to house the Port of Bergen harbor company in May 2006. The hotel is situated on historical ground between Bryggen and Bergenhus fort. Hotel facilities include a gym and a sauna.
phone: +47 55 23 64 00address: C. Sundts gate 9A traditional high-class hotel with a view of Bergen harbor.
phone: +47 55 30 48 00address: Finnegården 2AFinnegaarden 2 A. Situated in the very heart of the historic Bergen, the hotel building was rebuilt after the great fire in 1702, but is mentioned in texts dating back to the beginning of the 15th century. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Bryggen. With 37 rooms, the hotel opened in May 2006 and has quickly gained renown for its historic atmosphere.
Bergen has, as the rest of Norway, a generally low crime rate. The most likely crimes for tourists to experience is car break-ins and bicycle theft. Pickpockets do also tend to be an increasing problem in the summer season, but it's still nothing like in larger cities in Europe. It is always a good idea to look after your belongings, this includes never leaving valuable objects visible in your car and locking your bike safely.
There are no particularly unsafe areas in Bergen. The upper part of Nygårdsparken used to be the hang-out place for drug addicts. The lower part of Nygårdsparken is a beautiful place popular among the locals. To make the whole park family friendly the upper part was closed down and renovated for two years forcing the drug addicts to disperse. As a consequence they are now spread across the city. The drug addicts are usually completely harmless, but nevertheless not fun to be around.
Buying sex is illegal in Norway.
People party hard on Friday and Saturday night, and hoards of drunk people will appear in the central areas from around midnight, singing, carousing, and just hanging around. Some foreigners may perceive this as threatening, but they are mostly harmless, even all-male groups chanting football songs. If approached, just smile and stay friendly, but uneasy visitors should avoid groups of drunk young after midnight. Summer evenings has daylight until 23:00 or 24:00, adding to the safety for visitors.
There is an emergency and accident ward at Solheimsgaten 9. The ward is open all day all week, and provides examination and treatment in case of accidents and acute diseases. The ward is located together with a life crisis assistance center, a psychiatric emergency ward, a reception center for rape victims and a dental emergency ward. All services may be reached at . If you should be in need of immediate medical assistance, do however call 113.
The police station downtown is in Allehelgens gate 6, across the street from the old town hall.
Emergency Medical Services (Ambulance)phone: 113
- If you are unsure which emergency number to call, is the central for all such rescue services and will put you in contact with the correct department.
- The hearing impaired using a text telephone can reach the emergency services by dialing .
Emergency Medical Servicesphone: 113 (Emergencies only)
phone: +47 55 56 87 00, 116 117 (in country only)address: Solheimsgaten 9For minor injuries and illness (emergency room/physician seeing patients without appointment).
Vitusapotek Nordstjernen Bergenaddress: Bergen Storsenter, Strømgt. 8Has extended opening hours.
As in the rest of Norway, it is customary to take your shoes off when entering a home. This in particular done as a practical matter, due to the wet weather (slush and salt in winter).
People from Bergen have a reputation for being more loud and direct than many other parts of Norway. Locals are perhaps the most patriotic in Norway.
Getting around by foot is easy, and free maps are available everywhere. If you need a better map, you should buy one of the local newspapers' (Bergens Tidende) maps. Maps are sold from the paper's reception in Krinkelkroken 1, close to the blue stone, and in various bookstores. The city map costs kr 50.
VISA and MasterCard are normally accepted in any restaurant, taxi and store, except grocery stores, some kiosks and McDonald's. Many places, American Express, JCB and Diners Club are also accepted. ATMs accept all major credit and debit cards and are available in English language. The currency is Norwegian kroner (crowns), but euros may also be accepted at some tourist destinations (you should, however, avoid paying in euros as the exchange rates may be stiff). Currency exchange is available in all banks. Exchange is usually associated with an incredible fee, so you should use your credit card or withdraw cash from an ATM unless you have a good reason not to. You will also find that most shops don't handle change manually. A grey machine by the till accepts your change in the top (and counts it for the shop assistant) and provides your change in a hopper at the bottom. Don't feed a large number of coins in at once: put them in one at a time or the machine may jam.
The regular opening hours for grocery stores are 08:00-21:00 on weekdays. Some stores open earlier and close later. Other shops usually have shorter hours, except those in the shopping centers. Almost all shops, including grocery stores, close earlier on Saturdays and are closed on Sundays and public holidays. Kiosks such as Narvesen, 7-Eleven and Deli de Luca, as well as many petrol stations, are open. These do however often have very high prices for normal grocery items.
Some smaller grocery stores are open on Sundays and public holidays, including Bunnpris at Nedre Korskirkeallmenningen (by the Bergen YMCA and the Church of the Cross) and Rimi at Nygårdsgaten 6.
The city's main post office is conveniently located in the Xhibition shopping center, on the 1st floor. Some grocery stores offers limited postal services, and stamps are available from most book stores and kiosks. Post boxes are either red or yellow and are located all over town. Yellow boxes are only for local mail, if unsure use the red box. All post boxes, post offices and grocery stores offering postal services are marked with the emblem of the Norwegian postal service, a stylized red or silver horn, and the word "Posten". For more information on the postal service and to locate post offices and post boxes, see the web site of Norway Post.
The local tap water is fresh, tasty and rich in minerals from the surrounding mountains, and safe to drink.
Public toilets are available for a small fee at shopping centres and at Torget and Bryggen.
Countries with consulates in Bergen are listed below in the consulates section; however, most are only honorary consulates, so their services are limited. You may wish to visit your country's embassy in the Norwegian capital, Oslo.
Area codes are no longer in use in Norwegian phone numbers. Phone numbers are normally eight digits, some special numbers may be three, four or five digits. In any case you should always dial all of the digits to make a call. The country code of Norway is +47. If you are calling abroad from a land line, dial 00 before your country code and phone number.
Cellular phone coverage is very good throughout the city. Three different networks are available, Telenor, NetCom and Network Norway. Check with your local operator to find out which one is the cheaper for you. The difference is usually not big. Norway, like most of Europe, uses GSM 900 and 1800, which means that some cell phones from USA, Canada and countries in Asia will not work. For those in need of mobile data lines, both HSDPA/3G/UMTS, EDGE and GPRS coverage is good on all networks.
There are no telephone centers in the city, and only a very few phone booths. Most hotels have phones in every room, but international calls from these phones are usually very expensive. There are some calling cards available, this is probably the cheapest way to phone home.
Many cafes and restaurants have free Wi-Fi for their patrons. Free Wi-Fi is also available at Bergen Public Library, Strømgaten 6 (by the bus station). Most large hotels do also have wireless Internet access, however access at a hotel may be pricy.
If you are a registered user at an eduroam participating institution, you can connect to a high-speed secure Wi-Fi network on the university campus on Nygårdshøyden, and in other buildings used by the university, the Bergen University College, the Norwegian School of Business and Economics, and the Bergen National Academy of the Arts. For information on how to connect, see UNINETTs website.
There are internet cafes around town. At Bergen Public Library, you may also use a computer with high-speed internet access for free. There is a reservation system, ask at the circulation desk.
- Bergen Bahá'í Center, Sydnessmuget 6, +47 930 00 159 (after 5PM).
- Bergen center of the Karma Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism, +47 971 11 302. Meditation hours every Wednesday from 19:00.
- Bergen Hindu Sabha, Storetveitveien 5, +47 55 28 22 45.
- Bergen Mosque, Nøstegaten 43, +47 55 23 37 10.
- Evangelical Lutheran Church of Norway (state church). Services in Norwegian in most churches every Sunday at 11:00. During the study year the student congregation has short services in Johanneskirken (on the university campus at Nygårdshøyden) every Wednesday at 11:30 and in Domkirken every Sunday at 19:00.
- St. Paul's church (Catholic church), Nygårdsgaten 3, +47 55 21 59 50. Religious services every day of the week. Services are in Norwegian, English, Vietnamese, Tamil, Spanish, Filipino, Polish or Latin.
- Engensenteret chapel (Anglican church), Baneveien 1.
- The Baptist Church, Vilhelm Bjerknes vei 16. Services every Sunday at 11:00.
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Åsbakken 14, +47 55 91 05 10.
- Jehovah's Witnesses, Slåtthaugveien 19/21, +47 55 13 02 18. English speaking congregation.
Canadaphone: +47 55 29 71 30address: P.O. Box 2439 Solheimsviken
Greecephone: +47 55 38 98 00address: Henschien Insurance Services Ltd AS, Ole Landmarksvei 14
Indiaphone: +47 913 25 880, +47 55 54 48 29address: Fortunen 7
HavråtunetA farmstead on a steep slope on the island of Osterøy overlooking a fjord. This Norwegian version of a village consists of 36 buildings bundled together with steep fields and plots around it. During the 20th century 60 people lived there and to this day all the work is done without modern equipment like machines.
- Hellesøy in Øygarden is an island located almost in the North Sea about 1–1½ hours of driving from Bergen. Enjoy the beautiful, harsh nature, go for a hike and rent a fishing rod. Eat your lunch in open air or at the local cafeteria. Boat trips and extreme sports events can be organized, and if you care to stay for a while, you can rent a room, apartment or a sea house. Activities and lodging is provided by Destination Hellesøy.
- Kvamskogen is a popular target for day trips in the winter season, especially among locals. Kvamskogen is a ski eldorado situated between 400 and 1300 m above sea level in the Kvam municipality. Alpine slopes are served by several ski lifts, and endless possibilities for those who favor cross country skiing. Professional ski instructors are available at a fair costfor non-skiers, and so are rental skis and other equipment. There are regular buses to Kvamskogen, call 177 or visit the information desk at the bus station for more information.
phone: +47 56 30 90 77This island belonged to Ole Bull, a famous musician. He bought the island in 1872 and drew the original drawings for the special house he built himself. The island is a great place to go for walks, as well as seeing the extraordinary house, as there are many great paths to walk along. You can attend guided tours at every hour, starting 15 minutes after opening time. To get to the island you must take the ferry from Buena quay. The ferry departs Buena every day at noon, 13:00, 14:00 and 15:00, Sundays also 11:00 and 16:00. It departs Lysøen at 13:30, 14:30, 15:30 and 16:30, Sundays also 12:30 and 17:30. Tickets cost kr 50 for adults and kr 30 for children (free with the Bergen card). The boat has more departures if necessary. Large groups should book in advance. There is a café and museum shop at the island.
- Os borders Bergen to the south. While the south-eastern part of Os municipality is mainly made up of typical Nordic suburb-style settlements and a quiet urban center, the western part consists of a beautiful and popular coastal area with many small islands with cabins.
The North Sea Traffic Museumaddress: Telavåg, Sund municipalityThis museum to the west of Bergen commemorate the Norwegians that fled to Shetland and Great Britain during World War II and the Telavåg tragedy (1942) when the entire village was destroyed and the people were forced to move and most the men were sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp in Germany.
- Norway in a Nutshell, +47 815 68 222. Roundtrip Bergen - Myrdal - Flåm - Gudvangen - Stalheim - Voss - Bergen by train, boat and coach. The tour takes you through some of the most beautiful fjord scenery in Norway. It takes one day, but it is possible to spend more time if you wish. Tickets cost kr 895.
- Voss is a village to the east of Bergen world-known for extreme sports such as paragliding and rafting. Every year in the summer there is a week-long extreme sports festival called Ekstremsportveko. For the little less adventurous Voss is also a great place for hiking and skiing, both cross-country and alpine. One of Norway's largest jazz festivals, Vossa Jazz, is held here in March. Travel to Voss by train (about 1 hr 15 min) or take the E16 road by car.
HardangerRomantic Hardanger with the grand fjord and glaciers. Can be visited by car, bus, or boat from Bergen. Included en route towards Stavanger, Oslo or Kristiansand.
StavangerBergen′s smaller brother to the south.
ÅlesundBergen′s smaller brother to the north.
- Oslo, farther away, but connected via a magnificent and comfortable train line (a ride of about 6½-7½ hr depending on the connection).