4 Bergen
Some things to do in Norway's second largest city
Bergen has a lot to offer. It is worth spending extra time there if you can. We travelled by sea from Newcastle so usually had a few days in Bergen on each trip.

Main attractions are easily walkable from most hotels. The town centre is compact - and flat! We used the First Hotel Marin on Rosenkrantzgaten as it is very close to Bryggen, Torget and the funicular.

Bryggen - Hanseatic Bergen
This World Heritage Site of wooden buildings is the site of the Hansa settlement, now mainly gift shops and eateries. The main road along the quay in front is busy, but you can wander through the alley-ways. From Øvregaten, the old main street behind Bryggen, you get good views of the medieval plots.

The Hanseatic Museum near the town centre end of Bryggen shows what the buildings would have been like around 1770. Good, but buy a guidebook as you go in - there are no information signs inside. Bryggens Museum at the far end is a fascinating archæological museum. Exhibits include foundations of the earliest buildings of 1150 and trace development of the area. Nearby is Schøtstuene, one of the stone assembly roomsand kitchens where fires were allowed.

Beyond Bryggen with Håkonshallen (C13th royal residence) and Rosenkrantztarnet (C16th), both rebuilt after WW2 explosion. Adjacent park contains few remains of first cathedral.

Just to the north is Sverresborg, a large star shaped fortification with good views towards Fløien. It is best reached from Nye Sandviksveien and a footpath runs past it towards the Fishery Museum.

Torg means market place. Bergen's is at the head of Vågen and is a natural focus. In addition to the fascinating fishmarket (Fiskertorget) there are fruit and gift stalls. The Information Centre is over the road. There's even an umbrella vending machine!

In Vetridsalmenningen (towards the funicular from Torget) on the right you will find an excellent baker and a splendid toyshop where play is encouraged!

On the opposite side of Vågen to Bryggen is Nordnes (North headland). Originally the property of a monastery at Klosteret from the C17th it developed with a large number of building plots. It retains a wide range of old houses and is well worth exploring. There is a detailed link. (Other pleasant areas of old housing are to be found on the slopes of Fløien behind Øvregaten and the Cathedral.)

The Aquarium at the end of Nordnes is good, and there is a pleasant walk around the tip of the peninsula. If you walk anti-clockwise around Nordnes from Torget you can continue to the museum and university area beyond Johanneskirken, where there are pleasant parks.

Opening hours are limited. Pride of place must go to Mariakirken, the C12th church on Øvregaten originally near the quay. It is an excellent Romanesque building with a fine Baroque pulpit. Johanneskirken (1894) near the University is excellent neo-Gothic.

Leaving Torget on on Kong Oscars gate you will come to Korskirken, a large church mainly dating from C17th. Further along is Domkirken (the Cathedral) with an interesting C13th tower, but its interior is unexciting.

The stave church at Fantoft is well worth a visit. It is one of the few remaining stave churches following a spate of arson attacks by Satanists a few years ago. Fantoft, dating from 1150, was one that was destroyed but it has been rebuilt. It is about ten minutes walk from a very frequent bus service which takes about twenty minutes from the centre.

Gamle Bergen
Old Bergen Museum is an interesting collection of old buildings - when the museum is closed you can see them from the outside. It is about two miles from Torget (in theory a short bus ride but our driver forgot us and had to turn round to take us back!). You can walk there along the shore road from Sandvik.

Horda Museum
This is a sort of rural version of Gamle Bergen with old buildings set around a bay. There is a new building with permanent exhibitions on various themes. It is open all year, but the old buildings are only open in summer, though you can see them from the outside. It is at Fana some way south of Bergen and about 20 minutes walk from the bus stop.

Everyone goes up Bergen's mountain, so click here

Bergen Card
The Bergen Card give free/discounted entry to a number of attractions and free travel on all Bergen buses (check area). You also get a free trip on the funicular, but only when the booking office is open. The bus service is very good with frequent services and it is possible to get out to see some of the area around the city. Check with the driver that you don't have to change buses as some services go through interchange points and the transfer is not always shown in the otherwise clear timetable. Every driver we spoke to had excellent English and was very helpful to strangers.

Norway in a Nutshell
For thoughts about this excellent day-trip from Bergen click here

More information and pictures
See external links Page L2 for Bergen Information Centre, which will be willing to send you maps and guides, also other relevant websites some with map downloads. Try Page L3 for internet map sites to help you find your way round.



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Updated 07 May 07