The first rule of Bergen is… you do not talk about Bergen. Secret bars and clubs are what take this average Norwegian city and turn it into a traveller’s paradise. So befriend a local and get the lowdown on life in the city.
The underground music scene is bustling and visitors can hear the sounds spilling onto the streets. There are lots of sights to see by day as well, with a visit to the two University Museums,theBergen Cathedral and theWaterfront Fish Marketa definite must.
The dark sends band members and foodies into their hidey-holes, where they’ll wait until you delight in finding them. Get out of the main blocks of the city and you’ll find the best indie bands and local produce in Bergen, and feel very in the know that you did.
Bergen's Top 10
10. Bergen Aquarium Seals and penguins chill out in the outdoor tank. Push in that annoying tourist in front of you who’s blocking your view!
5. Railway Museum Take the steam train out to get the whole package!
9. Rosenkrantz Tower Worth it for the great harbour views and sexy spiral staircases.
4. Fantoft Stave Church Burned down by a Satanist in the ’90s, this landmark has now been beautifully reconstructed.
8. Bryggens Museum With 800-year-old foundations, it’s best not to do too much jumping up and down. Consider skipping lunch before you test it out…
3. Hanseatic Museum Explore the world of the Hanseatic traders. Take a peek into the summer bedroom (dirty burghers!).
7. Håkonshallen During the summer, take the worthwhile guided tours. They run every hour.
2. Siljustøl The old home of Norwegian composer famous for his protest songs against the Nazi occupation in WWII.
6. Damsgård Manor Check out the Baroque garden, which includes sculptures, ponds and plants that were common 200 years ago.
1. Lysøen Estate 20km outside of Bergen lies Lysøen Island. Take a ferry out and see what the fuss is about.
- Damsgård Manor – Europe’s most wonderful example of rococo timber architecture from the 1700s with a baroque garden.
- LysÃ¸en Estate - Built as the summerhouse of the well-known violinist Ole Bull with architecture that takes on that of Moorish Granada.
- Fantoft Stave Church - This lovely setting in Bergen was built in the mid 1100s, also known by the name “Paradise”.
- Siljustøl - Home to a well-known Norwegian composer who wrote protest music against the occupation of the Nazis in WWII.
- Håkonshallen - Large ceremonial hall built in the 1200s by King Håkon Håkonsson for his son’s coronation and wedding.
Bergen Art & Culture
- Hanseatic Museum - Housed in a building from the early 1700s made out of rough timber.
- Railway Museum - From the months of June through September, you can take a Sunday tour on the veteran steam train.
- Bryggens Museum - Archaeological museum built at the site of Bergen’s first settlement.
- University Museums - Includes the cultural history collections with artefacts from the vikings, medieval ages, Inuit and Aleut cultures and natural history.
- Old Bergen Museum - Open-air museum with a wonderful collection of 300-year-old buildings.
- Gitarmaker - Makes high-quality handcrafted acoustic guitars.
- Torget Fish Market - Hard to beat this place for prices and atmosphere. Find a wide assortment of fish, smoked whale meat, chips, fish cakes, local caviar and even elk and reindeer.
- Kvams Flisespikkeri - Lovely gallery with Bergen-themed art, with a wide range available for all budgets.
- Juhls’ Silver Gallery - Exquisite jewellery crafted from silver by Regine Juhls at her workshop that lies above the Arctic Circle.
- Laeverkstedet - One of the most popular shops in Bergen for the softest moose leather and a great assortment of clothing, bags and accessories.
Gay & Lesbian Bergen
- Parodi Grand Prix - Held every year, with old hits performed by new artists and added show and glamour.
- Fincken - Oldest place of its kind in Bergen with a great atmosphere.
- Kremm - Cafe, restaurant and lounge.
- Cafe Opera - Cafe club with an international clientele.
- The Sailor - Local disco bar with shows and entertainment.
- Fløibanen - This funicular takes you up Fløyen, a mountain plateau with a great view of the city below.
- Waterfront Fish Market - Lovely place to take in the bustling vibes and taste some of the great local seafood.
- Statsraad Lehmkuhl - Sailing ship with three masts, one of the best kept today that also offers cruises at certain times of the year.
- Nygaardsparken - Beautiful landscaped park with English patterns and popular place for picnics, a game of croquet or Frisbee.
- Ulriksbanen - The highest mountain in Bergen with a restaurant on top.
- The Brann Stadium offers soccer games.
- The Bergen area has great ski slopes for winter sports.
- For horse races, check out the Bergen Travepark.
- The Bergenshallen Arena is the place to go for ice hockey games.
- The Norges Softball and Baseball Foundation offers regular games.
April and May brings the famous Bergenfest celebrating the music of the city, with concerts popping up all across town.
May 17 is Constitution Day and a public holiday. The streets fill with people dressed to the nines in suits and gowns.
Bergen International Festival hosts about 160 events in two weeks from the end of May. Events include literature, dance, theatre and classical music.
May also brings Nattjazz, a two-week long jazz festival that attracts all the big names.
The Bergen International Film Festival puts out the red carpet every October, screening films from around the world.
When To Go
Summer is mild but pleasant. In July and August, temperatures average around 20°C (68°F).
It rains for around 250 days a year in Bergen, so bring a brolly!
Tourists tend to flock to Bergen in May, as it is the driest month and the temperatures are not too cold.
Buses in the city cost around Nkr20 and will get you to the most popular places and attractions.
Travellers can hire bikes for Nkr300 for a weekend or Nkr200 for a single day. It’s a great way to discover the city at your own pace.
Bergen official guide
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