Bergen Travel Guide
Why? 'Norway in a nutshell', the slogan adopted
by one of the fjord tour operators, sums up exactly what one can
expect from a holiday in Bergen, the quaint medieval Norwegian port
city that retains many of the features of its heyday as a major
player as a Hanseatic League trading centre. Apart from its
historic significance, many travel to Bergen for its music
When? The best time to holiday in Bergen, which is a notoriously wet city, is during May, on the brink of summer. If you travel to Bergen at any other time of year a sunny day will be an unexpected bonus. May is also the month when the town hosts its famous jazz festival.
Who for? Culture vultures that enjoy a relaxed break in a historic atmosphere will enjoy a holiday in Bergen, soaking up the atmosphere. Others travel to Bergen as a jumping off point for a cruise around the stunning Norwegian fjords.
More Info: Getting to Bergen is easy with the help of our comprehensive Bergen travel guide, which includes all the information any traveller needs to make the most of a holiday in Bergen, from details of attractions to airport facilities, and a slide show to demonstrate how picturesque this city is.
Bergen Harbour © Matthias Ripp
The historic city of Bergen was medieval Norway's capital, and is today an international tourist centre and gateway to the Fjords. It has a spectacular setting on a sheltered harbour of the North Sea, situated among seven hills that form a delightful backdrop to the brightly painted wooden houses along the waterfront, and is one of Norway's most enjoyable cities.
Bergen's history is closely linked to the sea. It became a major trading port of the medieval merchants of the Hanseatic League, who dominated European trade during the Middle Ages. The hub of the city's social life is around the Torget, the picturesque harbour-side market plaza that is surrounded by an assortment of cafes, restaurants and pubs, and home to the vibrant fish market. Flanking one side of the harbour is a colourful row of old wooden houses, part of the historic wharf area and the remaining influence of the Hanseatics, from where narrow cobbled streets wind their way up between the quaint houses of the picturesque old neighbourhood.
The city centre is divided into two parts: the old Hanseatic town along the wharf area and the modern centre stretching inland from the harbour. It has a pleasant, slow pace and a cultured atmosphere with numerous interesting museums, galleries, an aquarium and surviving medieval buildings. A cable car and a funicular carry visitors to the top of two of Bergen's hills, Mount Ulriken and Mount Fløyen, to enjoy splendid views over the city and coast. Mount Fløyen is covered in forest with a well-marked series of walking trails. Boat trips to the fjords are very popular and the excellent 'Norway in a Nutshell' package tour provides a spectacular glimpse of Norway's scenery in a day, for those short on time.
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