Bergen on the west coast of Norway is the second largest city in Norway. Bergen was the first capital of Norway until Oslo took over. Bergen has the charm of a town with narrow alleyways lined with cobblestones and it is Norway’s busiest port with over 300 cruise ships visiting every year.
The heart of Bergen which is the main harbour square is called Torget. This has been a fish market since 1276 and is now a daily fish, flower, vegetable and fruit market area. There are also shops selling handicrafts and souvenirs.
Bergen can be explored mostly by walking or you can ride on the Bergen Express, a little red train takes you on an hour-long ride through the city’s old districts.
One thing to be prepared for in Bergen is rain as Bergen is famous for having at least 200 days of rain in a year. I was exceptionally lucky to find blue sky during my visit as you can see from the photos.
Bryggen – UNESCO World Heritage
Bergen is famous for it’s world-famous wharf with the series of wooden buildings in different colours. This area, the Hanseatic Wharf, the oldest part of the city is on the east side of the fish market, known as Bryggen. Lots of these wooden buildings in Bryggen was destroyed in the great fire of 1702 and most of these were rebuilt and are now one of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites.
Bryggen has shops, galleries, a museum and restaurants. When you walk along these buildings, do take notice the narrow closes. One place to visit here is the Bryggen Museum which has lots of treasures found during the excavation after the fire in 1955.
The city centre is on the city fjord, Byfjorden, and the city is surrounded by mountains; Bergen is also known as the city of seven mountains. It is a city of mountains, lakes and of course the fjords.
From the city centre, you can take the Floibanen funicular, Scandinavia’s first cable railway, to Floyen, Bergen’s beautiful mountain top which is 320 metres above sea level. The funicular ride takes approximately 6 minutes and offers panoramic views of Bergen city.
Since weather was excellent, I opted to hop onto the lowest carriage, which provides the best views of Bergen. Once you reach the top station, there is a cafe, restaurant and souvenir shop. The views from the top of Bergen’s islands and peninsulas leading to the North Sea are breathtaking.
Walks on the Floyen
There are guided walking trails on the Floyen of around 15 miles. These are colour coded in maps. The trails comprises of woods, lakes, forests. You can a walk along the mountainside, or further into the mountains. And don’t miss the city views when you take the funicular back to the city.
Bergen is situated between the two of the biggest fjords in Norway, the Hardangerfjord and the Sognefjord, so this is an ideal starting point for fjord cruises. Fjord Cruises starts from the White Lady pier which is next to the fish market.
I had booked a half day fjord cruise which lasts about 3 hours and can be booked online. Just enjoy the views and tranquility of the surroundings whatever the weather. It is one of the best way to experience the Norwegian landscape, with narrow fjords, glaciers, snow capped mountain, beautiful islands and waterfalls.
Naeroyfjorden – UNESCO World Heritage
The Fjord cruise takes you on a journey to one of the world’s most popular tourist attractions Naeroyfjorden, which is an UNESCO World Heritage List. This is one of the narrowest fjords in the world and is only 250 metres wide in some places.
Bergen Line – The rail journey from Bergen to Oslo
From Bergen I travelled to Oslo on the Bergen Railway. Bergen Station is the terminus of the Bergen Line, which runs 496 kms (308 miles) to Oslo. Though the Bergen Line or the Bergen Railway is a 371 kms (231 miles) long scenic standard gauge railway line between Bergen and Honefoss, the entire route from Bergen to Oslo via Drammen is called the Bergen Line.
The Bergen Line is the highest mainline railway line in Northern Europe and has 182 tunnels, which is around 73 kms in total (45 miles). Ten of these tunnels are over 2 kms (1.2 miles) long.
This journey from Bergen to Oslo takes around 8 hours and has been voted as one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world. The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation televised the journey of the Bergen Line for the entire journey duration and it has since become famous among travellers from Oslo to Bergen or the other way round.
Many people stop at Myrdal station and transfer to experience the world-famous Flam Line, which is about an hour-long ride through one of Norway’s most spectacular sceneries. The Flam Line has a vertical descent of 864 metres (2,835 ft) along the 20 kilometres (12 mi) route from Myrdal to Flam.
The Bergen Line traverses through spectacular Norwegian landscapes along the way covering fields, rivers, fjords, forests, mountains, glaciers and lots of snow, of course.
The ride takes you through Norway’s highest point on a railway line. Finse Station is the highest station at 1,222 metres (4,010 ft), while the highest point on this train journey is the Finse Tunnel at 1,237 metres (4,058 ft). The Hardangerjokulen glacier is also along this railway route.
I was in Oslo just for a day so just managed to visit a few places. As you walk of the Oslo central station, you will notice the most photographed object of Oslo, The Oslo Tiger. Oslo is also known as the Tiger City.
The other sights I visited are the Oslo Cathedral which is the main church for the Church of Norway Diocese of Oslo and the the Royal Palace in Oslo which was built as the residence of the French-born King Charles III John of Norway.
- You’ll definitely need a comfortable pair of shoes for walking.
- Warm clothes is also good as weather can vary between regions.
- Rain wear is a must as rain is very common in Bergen.
- Bergen card offers free entry to museums, bus travel and also includes the funicular ride.
- There is a bus service from Bergen airport to City Centre. Tickets can be purchased online before you travel.
- Find details about Fjord Cruise here
- You can find details about Oslo’s Top 10 attraction here
- One of most famous tour ‘Norway in a Nutshell’, takes you through Norway’s UNESCO-protected fjord and mountain scenery
Not sure when we all can travel again safely in the future, until then it is best to remind ourselves of past travels and the wonderful memories associated with those.
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