28 Best Things to Do in Bergen, Norway (+ Local Tips!)

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Norway’s rainy, west coast capital is an incredible place. And it is mind-blowingly beautiful. This is a guide to the best things to do in Bergen, Norway – from culture to food to history!

Are you planning your trip to Bergen last minute?

If youʻre booking your trip to Bergen last minute, we have you covered. Below are some of the top tours, hotels, and more!

Top Experiences and Tours in Bergen:

  1. Osterfjord, Mostraumen, and waterfall fjord tour (#1 bestseller!)
  2. Bergen city private tour with a local guide
  3. Full-day cruise through the Sognefjord (includes Flåm!)
  4. Sognefjord in a Nutshell DIY tour (top-seller!)
  5. Guided Tour To Nærøyfjorden, Flåm, And Stegastein

Top Hotels in Bergen:

  1. Scandic Ørnen (4-star with all basic amenities)
  2. Zander K Hotel (4-star gorgeous hotel)
  3. Hotel Norge by Scandic (5-star luxury)
  4. Citybox Bergen (some of my fave mid-range hotels in Norway)
  5. Comfort Hotel Bergen (hip, 3-star hotel)

When I first moved to Norway, I struggled to adjust because of the rain in Bergen. I eventually moved to Oslo. What a shame (but I loved Oslo). But Bergen was the city that delighted tourists.

When my family came to visit me, I was so eager to drive them from Oslo to Bergen so they could marvel at the city which I swear is one of the most stunning and captivating in the world.

And the city didn’t disappoint. For some odd reason, Bergen couldn’t give me an ounce of sunshine when I lived there. But, it gave my family sun and they fell in love with the city!

Best things to do in Bergen (for first-timers)
Best things to do in Bergen (for first-timers)

This guide contains some of my favorite things to do in Bergen – from the touristy stuff to some of my favorite restaurants and day trips.

If you have any other recommendations for the top attractions in Bergen, please drop them in the comments. Thanks!

Best Things to Do in Bergen

The guide of places to visit in Bergen (and things to do there!) is not comprehensive as there are heaps of things to do there!

But, it is a good start for travelers who want to explore the depths of the Hanseatic city. I also give some insider tips throughout the guide from my time living and traveling there!

The guide also includes quite a few day trips from Bergen for the person who wants to experience Norwegian nature removed from the city.

Feel Like Royalty at Gamlehaugen

Located not too far out of the Bergen city center is Gamlehaugen, a Royal Castle in Norway that belongs to the Norwegian Royal Family.

The farm area itself dates back to the Middle Ages but this home was completed in 1900 and has been the Royal Family’s Bergen home since 1927.

Hanging out at Gamlehaugen back in the day
Hanging out at Gamlehaugen back in the day

My favorite thing about the place is that it sits on a property of beautiful green land that you can actually visit and chill out in.

While this photo is actually from winter there, I did spend a few days throughout the summer sitting with friends at the park chatting and enjoying the sun!

You can visit Gamlehaugen at Gamlehaugvegen 10 in Paradis.

Visit Bergen’s Most Famous Stave Church in Fantoft

In Fana, you will find one of Bergen’s most recognizable sights, the Fantoft Stave Church.

Although reconstructed, it is still mind-blowing knowing that this church dates back to 1150, originally built near the Sognefjord.

Fantoft Stave Church in Bergen
Fantoft Stave Church in Bergen

In 1992, the church was destroyed by arson… of which Varg Vikernes, a Norwegian Black Metal singer, was accused.

He was found not guilty in this particular instance but was convicted of arson crimes on the other churches around Norway.

Nevertheless, Stave Churches are unique to Norway and this is one of the best Bergen attractions! 

You can find the Fantoft Stave Church at Fantoftvegen 38.

Learn About the City’s Seafaring Past at the Bergen Maritime Museum

One of Norway’s oldest specialized museums is the Bergen Maritime Museum.

The place dates back to 1914 and was officially opened to the public on February 18, 1927.

Inside, you can find a lot of detailed info about Bergen’s seafaring past and some of the stories date back 2,000 years! The museum offers guided tours during the high season.

To get to the Bergen Maritime Museum, you will need to get the bus to Møhlenpris stop or walk there from the city center (it is around a 15-20 minute walk). 

You can find it at Haakon Sheteligs Plass 15 in Bergen.

Visit Edvard Grieg’s Former Home at Troldhaugen

Bergen’s pride and joy is Edvard Grieg, one of the most famous composers in the world.

In Bergen, you can visit his former residence, Troldhaugen, where you will find the Edvard Grieg Museum, his villa that overlooks Nordås Lake, the hut where he composed his music, and his gravesite alongside his wife’s gravesite.

The house-museum is open Tuesday-Sunday from 1000-1700 from May 1 until September 30.

Visiting Troldhaugen in Bergen during the winter
Visiting Troldhaugen in Bergen during the winter

During the winter (Oct 1-April 30), it is open Tuesday-Friday from 1100-1600 and weekends from 1100-1700. It is part of the KODE Art Museums and Composer Homes and a ticket is 130 NOK for adults.

You can visit Edvard Grieg’s former home at Troldhaugen by going to Troldhaugvegen 65 in Paradis.

Do the Vidden Hike from Fløyen to Ulriken

You can do this hike either way as it is an out-and-back trail and I did it from Fløyen to Ulriken when I did the entire thing.

This is one of the best city hikes I have ever done and one of the most popular things to do in Bergen during the warmer months.

Photo from autumn on the Vidden trail
Photo from autumn on the Vidden trail

The entire hike is 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) and takes anywhere from 5-8 hours (depending on your stamina and the number of stops you make).

The best time to do the Vidden hike is from May until October but you can actually go up there and ski during the winter months.

The hike is well-marked and is considered moderate (although I would say it is easy-moderate if you hike frequently).

Ride the Fløibanen to Fløyen for the Famous View Over Bergen

One of the essential things to do in Bergen for any visitor is to take a ride up the Fløibanen funicular to that ‘iconic’ view of the city! Built in 1918, it takes you up to the top of Fløyen Mountain.

Up there, you will get a chance to see the city from above, enjoy a coffee at the cafe, eat at the restaurant, or even start a hike to Ulriken.

Fløibanen in Bergen, Norway
Fløibanen in Bergen, Norway

Be sure to also go a bit to the left (if facing the city) up there as there are goats wandering about!

The ride is short and the funicular leaves every 10-15 minutes, so you won’t have to wait too long! A return ticket is currently 150 NOK (about $15) and there are student discounts (and dogs ride for free).

The Fløibanen runs until 11pm every night all year round and is wheelchair and stroller accessible.

Stroll Through Bergen’s Largest Urban Park

If you’re looking to get a little outside of the city center but still kind of be there… head to Nygårdsparken.

This gorgeous and spacious public park is in between the Nygård and Møhlenpris neighborhoods and has a large lake in its center.

As the largest urban park in the Western Norwegian city, it dates back to 1880 and is especially beautiful in the autumn.

Bergen is really safe, but I would avoid this park in the evenings and at night and I would avoid the northern part of it (around Nygårdshøyden) at all hours. However, the southern end is nice for a daytime stroll!

Photograph the Beautiful Byparken

Another popular park in Bergen is Byparken. This park is super centrally-located and smaller, but it is definitely one of the most popular places to visit in the city.

Now, despite living in Bergen, I don’t really know if Byparken is just the small little area where the gazebo is or if Festplassen and the large lake behind it are considered Byparken, too… but check it all out! 

Byparken in the sun
Byparken in the sun

You will see events hosted around here, as well as the KODE Art Museum.

And, if you head to the left (if you’re facing the lake away from the city), you will eventually run into Marken Street, which is worth a stroll down.

Hang Out on the Quiet Nordnes Peninsula

A favorite part of Bergen for me is the Nordnes peninsula. This area is SO close to the city center but many people miss out on seeing it unless they spend a bit more time in the city (and away from Bryggen).

Nordnes is also home to Nordnesparken, one of my favorite parks in the city that overlooks the sea. 

Views from the Nordnes Peninsula in Bergen
Views from the Nordnes Peninsula in Bergen

Seattle is a sister city to Bergen and in 1970, the Washington city sent a totem pole to Bergen as a gift for its 900th birthday. This totem pole stands in Nordnesparken today. 

Indulge in Hanseatic History at Bryggen

If you’ve seen one photo of Bergen prior to traveling there, you have likely seen a photo of the charming, wooden harbor buildings called Bryggen.

These colorful buildings are a historic masterpiece of the city and are even listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Bryggen - one of the main landmarks in Bergen
Bryggen – one of the main landmarks in Bergen

The Hanseatic buildings mark some of the origins of the city (founded in 1070) and now are home to museums, shops, and some of Bergen’s best restaurants, bars, and cafes.

These iconic buildings and area sit on the harbor and will undoubtedly be one of the first places you visit when you arrive in the city!

Learn About the Battle of Vågen at Bergenhus Festning

As if Bergen couldn’t get more idyllic and perfect… it has a fortress located directly on its harbor.

Bergenhus Festning is one of the best-preserved stone fortifications in all of Norway and it is definitely worth a visit and one of the essential things to do in Bergen if you’re there.

The fortress dates back to the 1240s and despite being the main Bergen attraction, you can find peace and quiet within its walls.

It is one of my favorite places to visit in Bergen, actually. Mainly because I love strolling through the gardens around it.

You can find it a bit further down from Bryggen going toward Sandviken.

Go Back to the 13th Century at Rosenkrantz Tower

Okay, so this is kind of part of the Bergenhus Festning, but it definitely deserves its own place on this guide as it is a really cool place to visit in Bergen.

The Rosenkrantz Tower was built by Erik Rosenkrantz, the governor of the Bergen Castle, in the 1560s.

Rosenkrantz Tower in Bergen
Rosenkrantz Tower in Bergen

The tower is considered one of the most important renaissance monuments in all of Norway and you can climb its narrow stairs and get an impressive view over the Bergen harbor.

There is a fee to visit the Rosenkrantz Tower and the hours vary depending on the season.

If you’re into history, this is one of the best attractions in Bergen!

Peruse the Streets of Gamle Bergen

Perhaps Bergen’s most charming quarter, Gamle Bergen is the city’s ‘open-air’ museum and area where you can explore the history of the city.

Bergen was the largest wooden city in Europe in the 1900s and Gamle Bergen boasts 55 wooden houses from various eras and decades showcasing this history.

Gamle Bergen
Gamle Bergen

While it is a bit further away from the city center than many Bergen sights, it is still worth the drive or walk there (it is in Sandviken). 

You can find Gamle Bergen and the open-air museum at Elsesro, Nyhavnsveien 4.

Explore the Ruins of a Cistercian Monastery at Lysekloster

I legitimately have no idea how I first discovered or heard about Lysekloster Monastery in Os Kommune. But, it is a super off-the-path place to visit near Bergen if you’re interested and have a car!

The monastery is actually in ruins but is worth a Sunday stroll as you can rock up to it without a fee or anything and chill out.

Lysekloster Monastery
Lysekloster Monastery

The Cistercian monastery was named ‘Lysekloster’ for the fjord it was situated on, the Lysefjorden.

You need a car to get here, but if you have one rented and are looking for a hidden gem in the area that is unknown to nearly everyone (even some locals), take a trip there.

Lysekloster can be found in Os Kommune a bit outside of Bergen.

Where to Eat in Bergen (& Drink!)

Experience Bergen’s Amazing Seafood at the Fish Market

A can’t-miss spot in Bergen is the Fish Market. Existing since the 1200s, it is definitely worth a stroll through and is even a great place to have a beer if the weather isn’t too shabby (but don’t worry, they have covering and blankets if it is).

In 2012, an indoor fish market opened right beside it (called Mathallen). It is located right beside the outdoor one and below the tourist information center.

There are cheaper (and tastier) close to the Fish Market
Bergen Fish Market

While I don’t suggest eating lunch or dinner there (I just think there are better options), it is a great place to walk around and take in the atmosphere of one of the top attractions in Bergen.

Buy Bergensk Fiskesuppe by the Harbor

When in the city, I often had a hankering for something cheap and delicious. I never had to look far and would always end up with a cup of Bergensk Fiskesuppe, or Bergen fish soup.

There are so many places you can find this, but I love buying around the harbor at Søstrene Hagelin and taking it to go and sitting by the harbor (or sitting outside of their eatery).

Fiskesuppe and a fiskekake at Søstrene Hagelin in Bergen
Fiskesuppe and a fiskekake at Søstrene Hagelin in Bergen

The soup is creamy, hearty, and thick and comforts you well on the dreary and chilly Bergen days.

Inside the soup, you will usually find potatoes, leek, and various types of fish (salmon and cod, most notably). This is one of the foods I really miss when away from Western Norway!

Find the Best Coffee in Bergen

Bergen has some exceptional cafes and one of my favorite things to do is to hunt them down and enjoy a cup of coffee with a sweet, Norwegian pastry.

Black coffee at BKB
Black coffee at BKB

On my last trip to the city, I had the chance to check out several fantastic Bergen cafes and some of my favorites were:

  • Bønner
  • BKB (Bergen Coffee Roastery)
  • Blom
  • Kaffeemisjonen

One thing to note is that Norwegians drink a lot of coffee and many love a typical, black-filtered coffee. If you opt for this at a cafe, chances are you can get a half-priced refill (called a påfyll).

Support Local and Visit the 7 Fjell Tap Room

Norway’s craft beer scene is honestly one of the best things about the country (and that says a lot). And 7 Fjell is proof of this.

‘7 Fjell’ means ‘Seven Mountains’ which is the symbol of Bergen (okay… that and rain… but it keeps those mountains green and luscious). The Bergen craft beer was named after this famous feature of the city!

7 Fjell being sold at Løvetann Cafe
7 Fjell being sold at Løvetann Cafe

They have a tap room that exudes Scandinavian minimalism and intelligent design.

I highly recommend taking a trip out to Bønes and visiting the 7 Fjell Tap Room on your trip to Bergen if you’re a beer enthusiast. You can find 7 Fjell’s Tap Room at Fjellsdalen 5 in Bønes.

Enjoy Bergen’s Best Restaurants

If you’re a foodie and happen to be traveling to Bergen, don’t worry… you’re in good hands! You will find plenty of tasty restaurants in Bergen and some of my favorites are as follows:

  • Bryggeloftet & Stuene Restaurant: super touristy but locals love it too. You can find local food here and if you go on Thursdays, you can enjoy raspeballer! Located around Bryggen. 
  • Trekroneren: some of the most delicious hotdogs you will ever taste! Located near Fløibanen.
  • MOON: French techniques with Norwegian ingredients. Exquisite! Located at Marken 33.
I booked Enhjørningen Restaurant as they opened for later in the evening
Enhjørningen Restaurant in Bergen

Click here to check out some of my other top restaurants in Bergen!

Have a Hot Chocolate at Fjåk Chocolate Shop & Cafe

Norwegians are never lazy when they produce a product and you can almost assure yourself that it will be high-quality. Fjåk Chocolate Shop & Cafe is located not far from the harbor area and they are the first bean-to-bar chocolate maker in the country.

You will find the highest quality ingredients combined with organic and ethically-traded chocolate.

Hot chocolate at Fjåk
Hot chocolate at Fjåk

Their factory is located in the Hardangerfjord area but you can step inside their cozy cafe and try some… or opt for a hot chocolate as I did!

They offer a regular hot chocolate (as Americans know it) or a Spanish-style one (which I, personally, don’t like as it is thick and tastes more like pudding). I had a milky hot chocolate with a large marshmallow in it and it was simply divine!

You can find Fjåk Chocolate Shop & Cafe at Skostredet 5

Take a Day Trip to Extreme Sports Capital, Voss

The city of Voss is likely a familiar one for people around the world all as a result of a certain famous water that comes from there. Well, sorry to spoil things, but Voss water isn’t actually from Voss (but who cares?).

Voss is one of the best places to visit on your Norway trip and is Western Norway’s capital of adventure and extreme sports.

The city is insanely beautiful and if you’re an American football fan, you might be interested to know that Knute Rockne was born here.

There is even a statue dedicated to him in the city. His family later emigrated from Norway to the United States (Chicago) and the rest is history.

things to dEnjoying Voss Watero in bergen norway voss norway drinking voss water
Enjoying Voss Water
Knute Rockne statue
Knute Rockne statue

Nevertheless, Voss is an easy train ride from Bergen and there is plenty to do there (and many places to stay overnight). 

Be sure to ride the gondola to Mount Hanguren (a year-round activity), go skiing at one of the three resorts nearby (in winter, of course), or go skydiving, rafting, or kayaking (in summer).

If you decide to visit Voss as more than just a day trip, you can book a room at the historic Fleischer’s Hotel in the town.

Travel to Folgefonna National Park and See a Glacier

From Os where I lived, I was able to see the Folgefonna Glacier on most days, especially when the weather was clear outside.

Folgefonna Glacier (one of Norway’s most famous glaciers) sits inside Folgefonna National Park in the Odda area and is easily one of the best places to visit in Norway.

The area surrounding the glacier is teeming with aqua streams from glacial runoff and the fjords are magical.

Water from Folgefonna Glacier near Odda
Water from Folgefonna Glacier near Odda

Even if you don’t make it into the park, the drive alone is so ridiculously pretty that you’ll be mesmerized by the scenery. It takes a couple of hours to get there from Bergen, but add it to your list if you’re addicted to nature like I am.

Click here to see our guide to the best Airbnbs in Odda (near Trolltunga and Folgefonna).

Drive Northern Europe’s Steepest Road at Stalheimskleiva

**Please note that Stalheimskleiva is temporarily closed for maintenance. Will update this once it reopens for visitors.

If you continue past Voss, you will come across Stalheim, a village that sits high in the Nærøydalen (Nærøy valley), and right on the E16 highway.

There is a hotel there called the Stalheim Hotel and it has historic WWII ties.

If you continue driving, you will have to drive down into the valley a bit more and you will experience a lot of twists and turns as you’re on Stalheimskleiva, Northern Europe’s steepest road.

Stalheim Hotel in Norway

This Norwegian road was built during 1842-1846 and has 13 narrow turns, making it an adrenaline-rush experience!

At the top of the road, you will find the hotel but keep your eyes peeled on the way down (if you’re a passenger) as you will see waterfalls along the way. The names of the waterfalls are Stalheimsfossen and Sivlefossen.

Cruise the Fjords to Famous Flåm

Flåm is one of the most talked about and visited fjord villages in Norway and its beauty and stillness are the reasons. I have visited several times and it never fails to make my jaw drop. It sits on the Aurlandsfjord (one fjord over from Nærøyfjord).

Many of the ships stop in the fjord and there can be an influx of visitors here and there but I totally deem it worthy of the trip from Bergen even if it is packed during the days.

Cruising to Flåm (through Aurlandsfjorden)
Cruising to Flåm (through Aurlandsfjorden)

If you’re a craft beer fan, you’ll be delighted to know that there is a really awesome brewery there called Ægir.

Some other things to do in Flåm are to ride the world-famous Flåmsbana to Myrdal (one of Earth’s most beautiful train rides!), check out the historic Fretheim Hotel, take an adventure tour (RIB boats go from here… or you can rent a kayak!), and more!

You can reach Flåm on a day trip from Bergen by boat. Below is a top-rated tour from Bergen that you should consider checking out (I did this!).

>> Click here to check rates and availability to Flåm

Take a Stroll Across the Cobblestones on Ytre Markeveien

Ytre Markeveien is one of the most charming streets in all of Bergen and is a great place to take a few photos near the city center.

Ytre Markeveien
Ytre Markeveien

The cobblestone street takes you back in time and you can explore tons of little shops, cozy cafes, and restaurants while walking along this notable Bergen Street!

If you’re in the area, be sure to stop by Løvetann Cafe & Bistro. I had a delicious, homemade kombucha there on my most recent trip.

Swim in a Seawater Pool at Nordnes Sjøbad

Something I never took the time to do was swim in the seawater pool at Nordnes Sjøbad.

The famous sea bath has been around for over 110 years but didn’t become a sea bath until 1965 and became heated in 1978.

Nordnes Sjøbad
Nordnes Sjøbad

Today, you’ll find a 25m long saltwater pool with changing facilities, a children’s pool, sauna, diving tower, and more! An adult single ticket costs 90 NOK in summer and 80 NOK in winter. You can learn more here.

You can find Nordnes Sjøbad at Nordnesparken 30 in Bergen.

Smell Christmas at the Pepperkakebyen

In 1991, one of Bergen’s biggest traditions started and it takes place during the dark, winter months! In the center of the city (Torgallmenningen), you can find Pepperkakebyen, the world’s largest gingerbread town.

Since it started, young children and local businesses are involved in its annual construction and people come from all over the world to visit it.

Pepperkakebyen - Inspired By Maps - Shutterstock
Pepperkakebyen – Inspired By Maps – Shutterstock

It is open from mid-November until the end of December and all profits made are donated. This is a must-visiting if you’re visiting Bergen during these months!

It really is one of the most unique things to do in the city. You can find the Pepperkakebyen during the Christmas holidays at Teatergaten 30-22.

Rock Out at Bergenfest

Bergenfest has been around for over 25 years and is one of the city’s most popular music festivals.

There are a variety of musicians, bands, and artists that are invited each year and the festival is an absolute blast!

The best thing about the festival is perhaps its location. Bergenfest takes place near Bryggen and Bergenhus Festning- making it one of the most unique music festivals in Europe.

The festival tends to take place in early summer and the next dates for it are June 14-17, 2023. Hope some of you can make it!

Click here for more information.

How to Get to Bergen

There are several ways to get to Bergen even though it may look a bit remote on the map! 

You can fly there or if you’re the type that wants to experience a luxury cruise, there is that option too as the harbor receives a lot of tourists off the boat.

If you do fly, however, you will arrive at the Bergen Flesland Airport. It is super easy to get from Bergen Airport to the city center and it is usually fairly cheap to fly there from within Europe.

The train ride from Oslo is also known to be one of the most gorgeous train rides in the world (I have taken this train so many times).

Flåmsbana
Flåmsbana

And, if you take this train, you can take a day in Flåm between destinations!

Where to Stay in Bergen

If youʻre looking for some of the best accommodation options in Bergen, here are our top picks!

Did we miss any of the best things to do in Bergen Norway for a first-time visitor?

Let us know what to do in Bergen in the comments. Thanks!

More Norway and Bergen Travel Guides

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Are you visiting Western Norway soon? This is an epic guide of the best things to do in Bergen, Norway - from someone who used to live there! Learn more! | Bergen attractions | Bergen museums | Bergen landmarks | Bergen things to do | What to do in Bergen Norway | Visit Bergen Norway | Travel to Bergen Norway | Bergen itinerary | Bergen restaurants | Bergen cafes | Bergen coffee | Bergen day trips

3 thoughts on “28 Best Things to Do in Bergen, Norway (+ Local Tips!)

  1. Jamie says:

    I’m traveling to Norway summer of 2023. This is my first stop on a 14 day trip. I will spend 5 days in the Bergen area and then venture to Denmark. I found your blog very informative and helpful. You mention a hike. Do you feel it’s a safe for a solo female traveler? Thank you

  2. Paul Pedersen says:

    I love Norway! In 2018, I was there twice for a total of a month. Most of the time was spent in the Oslo region, but on my November trip, my cousin arranged for us to take the train from Oslo to Bergen (recommended!) and then fly back. I was only able to spend two days in Bergen, but I enjoyed it tremendously.

    November in Norway is a bit limiting because it was overcast almost all the time. I wish I had been able to see the old harbour buildings with a bit of sunshine to pop the colours!

    Of course, every visitor should take the Fløibanen for a great view of the city. My recommendation is to go twice, once in the daytime and once after dark. The night view over the city is certainly worth the second trip to the top.

  3. Jess says:

    WOW! Bergen looks incredible. Norway is on my list to-visit soon and I think Bergen might be where I head!

    xoxo
    Jess
    The Crown Wings | UK Travel & Lifestyle Blog

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