When we visited Oslo in 2017 we had an amazing trip. You can read all about it here. From the scenery to the people, from the food to the history Norway has plenty to offer. Having explored the biggest city last time we wanted to try something different this time and headed to the gateway of the fjords – Bergen!
Honestly our trip had so many highlights that we highly recommend visiting Bergen. We arrived on Friday evening having flown Birmingham to Amsterdam, Amsterdam to Bergen on KLM (highly recommend this airline unlike Brussels Air). Each flight was just over an hour. We had 3 days exploring the city and flew back Tuesday afternoon. It was a perfect amount of time and even though the weather was changeable we had plenty of time to see everything we wanted.
Bergen is a UNESCO world heritage city and European city of culture – check out Visit Bergen here.
1) Everything is beautiful. The surrounding scenery is spectacular, the houses nestled into the mountains by the port are adorable and the area is so clean and well laid out. When you arrive (depending on the time of year) at the lake in the centre you are greeted with beautiful blossom trees and the largest tulips in every colour. It’s like a painting of spring.
2) It’s SO family friendly. There was so many families everywhere we went and with Norway encouraging Dads to take parental leave you were just as likely to see a group of Dads with buggies as you were Mums. We were always acknowledged as Mum’s wherever we went and even found an entire LGBT artwork store!
At the airport there were free buggies to use to move around, there were children’s play areas that were free to use (although we are noticing more and more airports doing this now) and when we boarded our bus to the centre there were child seats available. All of these things were amazing as we only travelled with our baby carrier.
3) Bryggen – the old wharf area of Bergen stands on the port side and is a reminder of the trade significance of the area back as far as the 14th century. The wooden buildings have created passageways in a higgley-piggelty way making it interesting to wander around. Most of the buildings are now shops, cafes or art galleries and worth checking out. We spent over an hour seeing what was on offer before enjoying a snack in a cafe.
4) The Floibanen Funicular – this railway takes you to the top of Mount Floyen in 6 minutes and is 125 NOK (£12.50) per person for a return. The views all the way up are magnificent and when you reach the top it is breathtaking. From the station there are a number of hikes based on how far you want to go. We walked to a lake that took half an hour for the round trip. We also explored the troll garden, met some goats and checked out the play area. There were also free, and very clean, facilities to use – always a plus when you have been getting in the steps!
5) Try the food, it’s delicious! Norway does love it’s meat and fish so it made sense to try what was on offer. With the fish market on the port you can smell and taste the fish as soon as you arrive. The stalls are generous with samples and after tasting a variety including whale and the freshest salmon we’d ever had we had to make choices to take back to our Airbnb.
At dinner we tried reindeer sausage that was delicious – very meaty! Fish cakes that looked like hockey pucks but were delicious and meatballs the size of our hands. Everything we got was so fresh, everywhere we went.
We also did the Norwegian thing of having a daily hotdog and ate way too many bollen (bread products) of different types – with cinnamon, with icing, with coconut, with icing and cinnamon, with custard, with custard and cinnamon – okay you get the idea. They were so good we couldn’t resist!
6) Take a fjord tour. We did a day tour on Hardangerfjord to Rosendal. It involved taking a 2 hour cruise through majestic mountains, past fjord-side villages and arriving at the picturesque Rosendal town, where we spent 3 and 1/2 hours. From the time you dock until the time you leave it’s like stepping into a fairy-tale. Going in May the lambs were springing around, the flowers were blooming and the river gushed from the snow topped mountains. We followed one of those rivers to an amazing waterfall and loved every step.
7) The streets. There aren’t many cities where it’s fun to get lost, but Bergen is somewhere getting lost means finding new things. The back streets run up the mountain and you pop up overlooking roofs the higher you go. There is no right or wrong way to turn as every street has a different bar, restaurant, cafe or art gallery to check out.
8) The art work. It’s everywhere. If you like sculptures you wouldn’t be disappointed, they appear everywhere. If you like graffiti there is plenty to check out. If you like paintings you could spend all day enjoying local artists work and never get bored and if you like trolls – well they are everywhere!