Plan Your Trip to Bergen: The Complete Guide

View from the top of Fløyen

Introduction to Bergen

Bergen is the second-largest city in Norway after the national capital Oslo. The city centre and northern neighbourhoods are on Byfjorden, ‘the city fjord’, and the city is surrounded by mountains; Bergen is known as the “city of seven mountains“.

The city is an international centre for aquaculture, shipping, the offshore petroleum industry and subsea technology, and a national centre for higher education, media, tourism and finance.

Bergen Port is Norway’s busiest in terms of both freight and passengers, with over 300 cruise ship calls a year bringing nearly half a million passengers to Bergen.

Top Activities in Bergen

Find below the best things to do in Bergen.

Take the Fløibanen Funicular

Hiking trail downhill from Fløyen

The Fløibanen is a funicular railway that connects the city centre with the mountain of Fløyen, offering magnificent views of the city and many hiking opportunities.

It is one of Bergen’s major tourist attractions and one of Norway’s most visited attractions. The line is 844 m (2,769 ft) long, covers a height difference of 302 m (991 ft), and carries over one million passengers a year.

How long does it take? Depending on speed and stops, the journey takes between 5 and 8 minutes. Bear in mind that besides being a tourist attraction, many people living on the way to the peak of the mountain take it as well.

Tickets are available on the official website and cost Kr 160 (~USD16) for a round trip and Kr 85 (~USD 8.5) for a single. There are discounts for children and also family tickets.

There are at least 10 hiking trails in the area. Find more information about them in our Fløibanen post.

Take a tour of the fjords

Tour to Mostraume

The municipality of Bergen covers an area of 465 square kilometres (180 square miles). Most of the urban area is on or close to a fjord or bay, so you will be facing a fjord most of the time. However; many other fjords are nearby, some of them also surrounded by towns.

So I don’t think any tourist in Bergen will avoid doing a fjord tour. The question is just which one. Tours vary in duration, distance and, of course, price. Some of the longer ones go all the way to the popular town of Flam.

We took the Scenic Fjord Cruise to Mostraumen and really enjoyed it. It is a 3.5 hours tour that departs from Zachariasbryggen Pier by the Fish Market and takes you to Mostraume. Expect to admire mountainsides, waterfalls, and the Mostraumen strait.

Other popular tours are the following:

Visit Bryggen World Heritage Site


Bryggen (the dock), also known as Tyskebryggen is a series of Hanseatic heritage commercial buildings lining up the eastern side of the Vågen harbour in Bergen. Bryggen has been on the UNESCO list of World Cultural Heritage sites since 1979.

The city of Bergen was founded around 1070 within the boundaries of Tyskebryggen. Today, Bryggen houses museums, shops, restaurants and pubs.

A stroll by the fjord admiring the colourful houses of Bryggen is one of the must-do in Bergen. If you are lucky with the weather (as we were) you can enjoy a drink outside overlooking the fjord. We did it just outside the popular Enhjørningen Fiskerestaurant.

Go to the Fish Market and try some Norwegian food

Bergen Fish Soup (Bergensk Fiskesuppe)

The Fish Market (Fisketorget) in Bergen is a vibrant and bustling marketplace that has been a central hub of trade and commerce since medieval times. Situated along the picturesque Bergen Harbor, the market is one of the city’s top attractions offering an authentic taste of Norway’s maritime culture.

Visitors can find the following:

  • Fresh Seafood: A selection of freshly caught seafood straight from Norway’s waters. From the finest Atlantic salmon to succulent shrimp, crab, and a variety of fish. The seafood is displayed and visitors can select anything to be cooked and served.
  • Traditional Norwegian Delicacies: The Fish Market also offers a tempting range of traditional Norwegian delicacies. Some of them are gravlaks (a marinated salmon dish), fish cakes and various elements produced from reindeer such as sausages, meat cuts and even burgers.
  • Seafood Restaurants and Street Food: While wandering through the market, visitors will find several seafood restaurants and stalls. Many eateries provide outdoor seating with scenic views of the harbour.
  • Local Produce and Handicrafts: A selection of fresh fruits, vegetables, and other local produce from the surrounding areas are also available in the market; together with artisanal crafts, souvenirs and authentic Norwegian gifts.
  • Events and Festivals: Throughout the year, the Fish Market hosts various events and festivals that celebrate the local culture and culinary traditions. From seafood-themed festivals to cultural performances and live music, these events add an extra layer of excitement to the market’s vibrant atmosphere.

Other attractions

If you still have time for more, try the following spots:

  • Bergenhus Fortress and Rosenkrantz Tower. One of the oldest and best-preserved stone fortresses in Norway.
  • Gamlehaugen Royal Residence. The official residence of the Norwegian Royal Family in Bergen.
  • Troldhaugen – Edvard Grieg’s Home. The former home of Norway’s beloved composer, Edvard Grieg
  • Fantoft Stave Church. A stunning wooden structure that epitomizes Norway’s medieval past

Best traditional food in Bergen

Traditional Skillingsboller (cinnamon bun)

When you think of Norway you probably think about salmon, cod, and mackerel, plus some traditional bread and pastries like cinnamon buns. But there are several other dishes and sweet pastries that should try in Bergen, as follows:

  • Bergen Fish Soup (Bergensk Fiskesuppe). A creamy and flavorful broth made with a medley of fresh fish, shrimp, mussels, and vegetables. The soup is often enriched with cream and seasoned with herbs and spices and served with bread.
  • Gravlaks. A Norwegian delicacy consisting of thinly sliced, cured salmon. The salmon is typically marinated in a mixture of salt, sugar, dill, and sometimes other herbs and spices.
  • Rakfisk. It is made from fermented fish, usually trout or char. The fish is preserved by salting and fermenting it for several weeks or months.
  • Reinsdyrpølse (reindeer sausages). They are made from finely ground reindeer meat, which is blended with traditional seasonings and spices, such as black pepper, juniper berries, and allspice. The most popular place to have it is a street stall called Trekroneren.
  • Klippfisk. While not exclusive to Bergen, klippfisk (dried and salted cod) is a dish with historical significance in Norway’s coastal regions. The cod is dried and salted, making it a durable food source during long sea voyages.
  • Rømmegrøt. A Norwegian porridge made from sour cream, flour, and butter. It’s a rich and hearty dish, often served with a sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar.
  • Raspeballer. Commonly known as “klippfisk balls,” raspeballer are hearty dumplings made from grated potatoes and klippfisk, boiled until tender. They are typically served with bacon, butter, and a side of cooked carrots and rutabagas.
  • Skillingsboller. Soft and buttery Norwegian cinnamon buns are generously sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar and often adorned with pearl sugar on top.
  • Kanelknuter. Similar to Skillingsboller with a twisted, knotted shape.
  • Solboller (Norwegian sun buns). Sweet rolls filled with a variety of fillings, including vanilla cream, custard, or jam. They are usually covered in powdered sugar, resembling a glistening sun.
  • Vafler (Norwegian waffles). Just waffles with a Norwegian twist.

Best restaurants in Bergen

Trekroneren‘s reindeer sausage

This section is interesting. Like many touristic cities, Bergen is full of great restaurants but also mediocre. But given that Norway is still one of the most expensive countries in the World, better to do some research and avoid surprises. This is our selection of eateries in Bergen.

  • Trekroneren. One of the most popular and cheapest street halls you will find. Enjoy their delicious and traditional Reinsdyrpølse (reindeer sausages).
  • Moon. Arguably one of the best off-the-beaten-path restaurants in Bergen. Not cheap but tasty. It is known for its modern French cuisine using locally-sourced ingredients. The menu changes seasonally, but you can always expect to find dishes like roasted cod with celeriac puree, grilled lamb with mint pesto, and chocolate soufflé. They offer both set and a la carte menu.
  • Daily pot. Ideal for modern healthy food, whatever that means :). It is a vegan and vegetarian restaurant known for its healthy and affordable bowls, which are made with fresh, seasonal ingredients such as brown rice, quinoa, or lentils.
  • Enhjørningen Fiskerestaurant. Located in the charming Bryggen, this popular touristic restaurant specializes in fresh seafood and traditional Norwegian dishes.
  • Bare Vestland. Modern and creative dishes with a local twist, reinventing traditional Norwegian recipes with a contemporary touch.
  • Spisekroken. Presents a range of dishes that showcase a blend of international flavours with Norwegian influences in a refined yet unpretentious atmosphere
  • Colonialen Litteraturhuset. Features a sophisticated menu with a diverse selection of dishes inspired by European and Mediterranean cuisine.

I would also like to clarify that we did not like the food we had in one of the most popular restaurants: Bryggeloftet & Stuene. We felt it was too touristic and the food was below average.

Up for a drink? Our favourite spot was Vinyl – Plater & øl. Great variety of beers on tap plus all kinds of cocktails. Moreover; male toilets have urinals playing It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia on a small screen. Never seen this!!! Look at the last section for a picture.

Accommodation in Bergen

We stayed in a good value-for-money hotel called Citybox Danmarksplass and we liked it. Although I have to clarify that it was not in the city centre so we had to walk and take the light train. However; the same chain has one with a great location called Citibox Bergen City.

Other good but affordable hotels in Begen include the following:

And if you are looking for better and more expensive hotels there are also many options:

Transport in Bergen

Bergen is a city with a well-developed public transport system. The operator is Skyss, which offers a variety of services, including buses, light rail, and ferries.

The Light Rail, also known as Bybanen, is a more efficient way of travel than regular city trams and even more convenient than buses. It has two lines, one from Byparken in the city centre to Bergen Airport Flesland, and the other from Nesttun to Lagunen.

Are you arriving at the airport? This is probably the first transport you will need. If you don’t get the app or ticket in advance, buy the ticket on the machine which is in the platform, the ticket will be available on the card you use to pay. No paper is needed.

Buses cover a wider area of the city and the surrounding region and can reach most places in Bergen and its surroundings.

Ferries are also a popular option for getting around Bergen. They connect the city centre with the surrounding islands and the mainland.

Tickets for public transport in Bergen can be purchased at ticket machines, in kiosks, or on board some of the buses. There are a variety of tickets available, including single tickets, day tickets, and weekly tickets. A fast en quick alternative is the official Skyss App.

If you are staying in Bergen for a longer period of time, you may want to consider getting a Bergen Card. This card gives you unlimited travel on all public transport in Bergen, as well as discounts on attractions and activities.

More Pictures

View arriving in Bergen by boat
Bryggen from the fjord
Leaving Bergen by boat
Traditional Solboller (Norwegian sun buns) and coffee
Small waterfall during the fjord tour
urinals playing It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia on a small screen

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