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Bergen, Norway

Bergen is the second-largest city in Norway and the most popular gateway to the fjords of West Norway. The city is renowned for its great location amidst mountains, fjords, and the ocean. Steep mountains and highlands within the city offer excellent hiking opportunities. Having fostered many of Norway's greatest bands and artists, the city is also famous for its cultural life and underground/indie music scene. Bergen's unpredictable weather adds to its quirky, unmistakable charm. Bergen was Norway's main city for centuries, and many patriotic inhabitants believe it still is.

Most characteristic of Bergen is the location among steep mountains. Bergen is surrounded by sea (straits and fjords), and the city itself has a large number of lakes. It is a typical Norwegian wooden town, even downtown there are notable neighborhoods of small wooden houses in various styles. In some... Read more

Bergen, Norway


Bergen is the second-largest city in Norway and the most popular gateway to the fjords of West Norway. The city is renowned for its great location amidst mountains, fjords, and the ocean. Steep mountains and highlands within the city offer excellent hiking opportunities. Having fostered many of Norway's greatest bands and artists, the city is also famous for its cultural life and underground/indie music scene. Bergen's unpredictable weather adds to its quirky, unmistakable charm. Bergen was Norway's main city for centuries, and many patriotic inhabitants believe it still is.

Most characteristic of Bergen is the location among steep mountains. Bergen is surrounded by sea (straits and fjords), and the city itself has a large number of lakes. It is a typical Norwegian wooden town, even downtown there are notable neighborhoods of small wooden houses in various styles. In some areas, wooden houses have been replaced by taller masonry structures giving the city a fascinating mix of old and new.

Bergen has some fine examples of functionalist architecture such as Kalmar House and Sundt shopping center. "Brutalist" buildings include the science building at the university and the city hall.


Founded around 1070 AD, Bergen quickly evolved into one of the most important cities in Norway. It was the country's administrative capital from the early 1200s until 1299, and the largest city in Scandinavia. Bergen was one of the most important bureau cities of the Hanseatic League, interconnecting continental Europe with the northern and coastal parts of Norway, thus becoming a central spot for the vending of stockfish and the commercial hot spot in Norway. It was the largest city in Norway until the 1830s and has a long maritime history in shipping and finance. The city still has relics of its Hanseatic heyday, most notably the old harbor of Bryggen, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Bergen has been ravaged by several fires; the most recent major fire took place in 1917, a fire which destroyed most of the buildings in what is today the central parts of the city center, centered around the large 

square Torgallmenningen

While few medieval buildings remain, the historical center of Bergen is along the eastern shore of the harbor, notably Bryggen (the Wharf), the fortress and the two key churches (Mariakirken/St Marys and Korskirken/Holy cross church). The pattern of settlement is largely unchanged for almost 1,000 years, including Øvregaten/Lille Øvregate − one of Norway's oldest streets.


Bergen is located in the far west of Norway, sheltered from the North Sea only by some islands. It is situated at latitude 60 degrees north, as Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki, Saint Petersburg, and Anchorage. The city is the hilliest and the most mountainous in Norway. The city center is surrounded by a group of mountains and peaks known as the Seven Mountains, a defining characteristic which has given the city its name (berg is an old Norse word for mountain). The geographic conditions of the city are very visible; limited space to build on made it necessary in the 19th century that new city blocks be built on the steep slopes of

Mount Fløyen

Except for the dense city center, which made up the entire city before 1916, Bergen is the least dense of the four largest cities in Norway. Most of the settlement inside the very wide city borders is concentrated in the western part of the municipality. The rest of the municipality is made up of mountains, as well as some farmland and smaller settlements.


Due to the city's northern location, close to the northern sea and surrounded by mountains, special weather conditions occur, resulting in approximately 240 days with precipitation a year and a mean temperature of 7.6 °C (45.7 °F). In January 2007, a record of 85 rainy days in a row was set. Still, local people claim there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. An annual mean at close to 8 °C, with even January on average above 0 °C, makes Bergen the warmest city in Norway. Frost just below 0°C and some snow occurs between December and February, but temperatures colder than -10 °C are very rare. Temperatures above 30 °C are also extremely rare.

For the rest of us, the trick is obviously to choose the time of visit with caution. The infamous rain should not keep visitors away in summer, because when the sun breaks through after a rainy day, hardly any city twinkles and glows like Bergen. If you catch the city on a sunny day, you will find an incredible atmosphere as citizens really know how to appreciate nice weather. City planners have probably had this in mind the latest years, resulting in the creation of open spaces, parks, flowers and lawns that are scattered all over downtown.

July has the highest mean temperature, 14.3 °C (57.7 °F), with August, 14.1 °C (57.4 °F) following close behind. May is usually the month with the least precipitation. Considering the number of local events this month, May is probably the best time to visit Bergen, with the summer months of June, July, and August almost as good. April is also a relatively dry month, although cooler than the summer months. These averages are merely indications as the weather is famously unpredictable and rain does not appear in any regular pattern.


Bergen is one of the most important cultural centers in Norway. The city is the home of the Bergen International Festival, Nattjazz, and Bergenfest, festivals of international renown within their genres. The local symphony orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, was founded in 1786. It is one of the world's oldest orchestral institutions. Bergen was the home of Norway's great composer, Edvard Grieg. Henrik Ibsen, the famous playwright, started his career in Bergen as manager of 

Den Nationale Scene

Around 2000, some artists from the rhythmic music scene in Bergen gained international fame. In the domestic press, this became known as the Bergen Wave. Musicians and bands with roots in Bergen include Annie, Burzum, Enslaved, Gorgoroth, Immortal, Erlend Øye, Kings of Convenience, Röyksopp, Sondre Lerche, and Datarock. Bergen still has a thriving underground/indie music scene.
In recent years, some great international artists have visited Bergen, including Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Foo Fighters, Coldplay, Muse, Bruce Springsteen, Depeche Mode, Kent, and Mark Knopfler. And in the summer of 2011 several artists including Roxette, Mastodon, Avenged Sevenfold, Suzanne Vega, Bob Dylan, Kaizers Orchestra, Kanye West, and Rihanna appeared.

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Bergen, Norway: Port Information

Liners may dock at different locations.
Most vessels arrive at the Skolten or Bontelabo piers. There is just half a mile from the center with its numerous tourist attractions. Enjoy a lovely stroll along the waterfront. Besides, you can get there on a bus or taxi. Sometimes, cruise companies provide shuttle service.
Some liners dock in Jekteviken/Dokken areas. It is a 20-minute stroll to the center from the pier. Besides, you can get there on a shuttle bus (free).

Get around Bergen, Norway


Downtown Bergen is compact and easy to walk for most visitors. Most sights and hotels are located within a few minutes walk within downtown. While the very center is located on a relatively flat piece of land, there are hills in virtually every direction out of the center so heading downhill usually leads to the center. The main square is the east/west Torgallmenningen, a pedestrian zone. The Nordnes peninsula points north from the very center, on the eastern side is the Vaagen, a small bay and once Bergen's main harbor, lined on the eastern side by Bryggen and the Fortress. Overall navigation is generally easy as the summits and the bay provides a clear indication of general direction, Mt Ulriken is a key landmark for large parts of the city, while downtown St John’s Church (Johanneskirken) with characteristic red brick and green roof is another landmark. The sturdy theater building at the top of Ole Bulls place is also a point to note. Precise navigation through many irregular streets may still be challenging. Navigation by car can be equally difficult because of hills, narrow streets and many one way streets, what seems close on the map may, in fact, be a long drive.

Bergen is idiosyncratic in many ways, including layout and names of streets:

  • Allmenning are wide streets or squares, laid out at strategic points to prevent fires spreading through the city, often perpendicular to main streets, the main square is Torgallmenningen
  • Smug/smau are narrow alleys, usually too narrow for cars, some are so steep that there are stairs
  • Smalgang is even more narrow than smug
  • Strede old name for the street (rarely used but note Skostredet - "Shoe street")
  • Gate street
  • Vei/veg, road or street
  • Kai, quay or dock
  • Brygge, quay or wharf
  • Plass, square

In addition there is a handful of specific names without generic suffixes like “−gate”, for instance Bryggen (“the Wharf”), Strangehagen (“Strange's garden”, a street), Klosteret (“the Monastery”, a square), Georgernes Verft (“Georges' Shipyard”, a street), Marken, Engen (“the Meadow”, a square), Arbeiderboligen (“Workers' residence”), Torget ("The Market").

On foot

Within the city center, walking is the best way to get around. You can walk across the downtown in 20 minutes in any direction. The most central streets of the city are relatively flat and generally have good accessibility for the disabled, sidewalks have rounded corners to allow access by wheelchair. The characteristic alleys and narrow streets (often with stairs rather than ordinary streets) on the slopes are however not available by wheelchair and may be difficult to walk for the disabled. The most important pedestrian crossings have sound signals and are indicated by tactile paving. They are also accessible with a wheelchair. Although cobblestone is a popular material in the streets, it is rarely used in pedestrian areas. A map with more information on this subject is available from the municipality's website.

By bus


Bus schedules can be a bit difficult to understand. Ask a local or a bus driver; both will usually be able and happy to assist you. There are information desks at the bus station and off Torgallmenningen providing information on all local bus and train lines free of charge. Calling 177 will also put you in contact with the information center (if you call from a cell phone, be sure to ask for the information center for Hordaland county, as this is a national service).
Schedules and outline maps of the services are available online from the Skyss website together with an online travel planner. There are schedule and travel planner apps available for Android and iOS mobile phones and tablets. Printed schedules can be picked up from any bus, but are only available in Norwegian.
For a few major stops, the bus may have a fixed departure time, and will not leave before schedule. At other stops though, a bus may leave a few minutes ahead of schedule. During periods of high traffic, the bus may be several minutes late. Rush hour traffic is sometimes accounted for in the schedule by greater time allowances, but busy Saturday shopping is often not.


Tickets can be bought from the driver, from ticket machines at major stops, from many grocery and conveniences stores, from the information desks at the bus station and off Torgallmenningen, or via the "Skyss billett" app for iOS and Android (available free of charge on Google Play and the App Store).
The driver only accepts cash payment. Tickets are more expensive when bought from the driver.
If you purchase your ticket in advance, you will be given a receipt and a grey card that is actually your ticket. The ticket must be validated when you enter a bus by holding it close to the electronic card reader until you get a green light. Tickets purchased via the apps do not require validation.

Senior citizens (67 years or older), children (15 years or younger) and disabled persons are entitled to discounts on all tickets. Students are entitled to discounts only on season tickets.
One child (between the ages of 4 and 15) can travel free of charge together with an adult traveling on a single ticket. Children under the age of four travel free of charge.
Groups of ten or more get a discount on single journeys.
A person accompanying a disabled person who can present a companion/escort card travels free of charge on single tickets. The companion/escort must present the companion/escort card to the driver when embarking or in the event of a ticket inspection. The companion/escort does not need a separate ticket.
If you are caught without a valid ticket or fare card, you will be kicked off the bus and get a stiff fine. Controls are common and performed by both uniformed and plain-clothes personnel.
Fare cards in the form of the electronic "Skysskort" can be obtained at the customer service desks at the bus station and off Torgallmenningen.

Lines and services

Regular bus services operate throughout the day, major trunk routes running through downtown run with a 20-minute frequency or better. In the suburbs, there are smaller lines, generally operating from a local terminal, with less frequent services. There are not so many buses between the city center and the southern neighborhoods of Fana and Ytrebygda, instead the light rail runs from the city center to the regional terminal at Nesttun, where feeder buses bring passengers onwards.
Most major lines operate seven days a week, including all holidays (usually a regular Sunday schedule with a few exceptions), but some of the lesser lines may have little or no service in the weekends. During the school vacation (mid-June to mid-August), buses are less frequent, so make sure you have an updated bus schedule. On Christmas Eve (December 24), there are no buses after about 4 PM. On Constitution Day (May 17), the parades and celebrations shut down the downtown streets, though buses do run to and from downtown, they will generally not run through downtown on that day.
After about 1 AM, regular bus services cease to run. In the weekends, there are a few night bus lines available. Tickets are more expensive than on the regular lines, and travel passes can not be used.


The process of replacing old buses with newer ones accessible for people using wheelchairs is ongoing. Most buses on central lines have low floors and a built-in ramp. On the new buses, that are now a majority, the stops are announced on a display. The bus driver will usually be able to assist you in English if required.

By light rail

A light rail line runs between the city center and southwards towards Nesttun. This is the primary means of public transportation to southern parts of Bergen. The line passes the railway station, the bus station, Brann soccer stadium, and the student homes at Fantoft along the route. The line operates from 6 AM to 1 AM, seven days a week, generally with a 10-minute frequency (a bit more often during rush hours, 15-minute frequency on Saturday mornings, 30-minute frequency on Sunday mornings). The entire journey takes about 25 minutes.
Night lines operate all Friday and Saturday night with departures every 30 minutes.
You need to buy your ticket from the ticket machine at the station before you board. Apart from that, the ticket and fare card system is the same as for buses, see the Get around by bus section for more details. It's possible to change from bus to light rail and from light rail to bus within the time of validity of a ticket. Tickets for the night lines must be bought on board. Fare cards cannot be used.
The light rail is accessible with a wheelchair. All stops are announced and displays also show the name of the next stop.

By train

There is one local commuter train service, between downtown Bergen and the suburb of Arna in the east (schedules are available from the Norwegian State Railways' web site). If you are going to Arna, the train is by far the fastest option from downtown since the roads run around the mountains while the railway line runs straight through them; it is an eight-minute train ride, running every half hour during most of the day. Tickets should be purchased beforehand in the office at the downtown station or in the machines both downtown and in Arna.

By bicycle

Getting around by bike can be difficult in Bergen. Many central streets are paved with cobblestone, and there are only a few roads with designated cycling lanes. Cycling in such lanes can even be dangerous, as car and bus traffic may cross the lane. It is, however, legal to cycle on the sidewalks as long as you do not disturb pedestrians. Front and rear lights are mandatory after dark. Bicycle theft and vandalism are common, so be careful where you leave your bike and always use a lock.

By car

It is an expressed goal of both local and national authorities to reduce car traffic in the city center. Thus, the speed limit downtown is very low, and most streets are one-way streets. If you plan on getting from one part of downtown to another, walking is often faster than driving, even for locals who know their way around. Furthermore, parking in the streets is reserved for the handicapped and for residents that possess a special permit with only a very few exceptions. If you plan to drive to the city center from outside of it, unless you have any special needs, park your car in a garage, such as Bygarasjen (very large, at the bus station) and Klostergarasjen (at Nøstet, northern downtown), Bygarasjen being the cheaper. There are also several smaller (and more expensive) garages around town. If you take the chance to bring your car further downtown, be sure to read all signs – most streets are one-way streets and some are for buses and taxis only.

To park in a spot reserved for the disabled, you need a standard European "blue badge", a special parking permit (generally, handicapped parking permits from most countries will be accepted). It must be placed on the inside of your car's front window, clearly visible from the outside.

The municipal parking authorities provide a brochure with some information on the general rules of parking along with a map of parking spots, including parking spots for the disabled.

Driving in the area outside the city center is quite convenient, with expressways going in most directions. The roads are well sign-posted, but a map will probably come in handy anyway. Mind the speed limits; traffic controls are common and fines are stiff. Do also keep in mind that a lot of the roads are toll roads. All toll stations are automated. When approaching one, keep driving and do not slow down. A photograph of your license plates will be taken, and you will receive an invoice per mail. During rush hours (07:30-09:00 and 15:00-17:00) traffic is jammed many places, but it's nothing compared to larger cities in Europe.

Between 1 November and 31 March, the use of studded tires is legal. Within Bergen municipality, you have to pay a fee to use such tires. You can pay at automated payment stations on the main roads into Bergen (Norwegian: oblatautomat), Statoil gas stations or by visiting the municipal parking authorities in Bygarasjen or Vincens Lunges gate 3 (directly south of the railway station).

By taxi

Taxis are generally expensive in Norway. Throughout Bergen, there are a number of taxi stalls where taxis are parked waiting for customers. During the day, taxis will usually not pick up customers nearer than 300 meters from the stalls, except when called to an address. During the night on the weekends, taxi queues can be very long (up to one hour), and all customers are therefore required to go to the stalls. It is possible to order taxis to addresses also at this time of the week, but you shouldn't really expect the taxi to arrive.

The places where the taxis are stationed changes from time to time because of the renovation of the city streets, but usually you will find them at the bus station, the railway station, Festplassen, Ole Bulls plass, Torget and in Torggaten and Vetrlidsalmenning. Look for signs saying "Taxi". Some taxi stalls are only open during the night, and vice versa. Information about this is printed on a separate sign below the taxi sign. If no taxis are available at the taxi stall, call 07000 (Bergen Taxi), 08000 (Norgestaxi), +47 55 70 00 00 (Taxi 1) or +47 55 70 80 90 (Bryggen Taxi). There is usually a fee associated with calling a taxi. Taxis may also be ordered in advance by calling one of these numbers, which is recommended if you are able to.

Fares are approximately the same regardless of the taxi company. All companies are regarded as reliable and safe. If several taxis are available at a taxi station, you may pick the one you want from the line.

It can be added that taxi drivers rarely expect or receive any tip.

What to see in Bergen, Norway

There's a number of attractions in Bergen and the surrounding areas. Surveys do, however, show that most tourists in Bergen find the atmosphere, cultural landscape, and architecture more compelling than the typical sights, so pick a few things to see and spend the rest of your time in Bergen sitting down in a park or café, strolling around the city, enjoying a concert or hiking the mountains. On sunny summer days, stay downtown until late to enjoy the sunset in the north.

Panorama points

Because of its rugged landscape, Bergen has an abundance of panorama points and these give an intense feeling of space, notably Mt Fløyen and Mt Ulriken served by funicular and cable car respectively but also available hiking for the sporty. At lower altitudes, the Fjellveien panorama road and the highest point of Nordnes peninsula are easily available. Sandviksbatteriet just above Sandviken hospital also offers excellent panorama. The Montana residential area likewise gives a nice outlook.

  • Fjellveien panorama road, Fjellveien (Uphill from city centre). Runs for several kilometers between Sandviken and Bellevue, largely horizontal and pedestrian.
  • Skansen panorama point (Skansen brannstasjon), Blekeveien (Uphill from funicular station). Excellent and easily available panorama point just above the funicular lowest station. Right in front of the old fire outlook, a small white wooden tower, now used by one of the city's buekorps.
  • Tippetue panorama point (Hike uphill from city, or downhill from Mt Floyen). 24 h. Panorama point on the Tippetue footpath to Mt Floyen.
  • Nordnes panorama, Haugeveien. Lovely place on the highest point of Nordnes peninsula, towards the aquarium.
  • Nordnes park (Tip of Nordnes peninsula, beyond aquarium). 24 h. Pleasant park at the very top of the peninsula, towards the sunset late summer evenings. 
  • St Johns (Johanneskirken), Sydnesplass. St Johns Church (Johanneskirken) dominates the top of Nygaardshoyden, the hill that hosts the University of Bergen. Nice view of the very center.

Traditional wooden architecture

Traditional small wooden houses, often placed in an irregular pattern around narrow streets and passages, dominated most Norwegian cities during the past centuries. Bergen is one of the few major towns where this traditional style still dominates several neighborhoods downtown. A number of houses have also been relocated to Gamle Bergen (Old Bergen) museum. Some of these are merely pockets of cute little houses between stone and concrete structures; others are wider areas of these dollhouse-like buildings. Show respect for those living there while you walk by. These areas are best seen on a relaxed stroll (although the view from Fjellveien gives a birds-eye view):

  • Nordnes on the slopes on both sides of the Nordnes peninsula, towards the aquarium and Verftet, as well as adjacent Nøstet area.
  • Fjellsiden neighborhood, øvregaten, Lille øvregate, øvre Blekeveien (streets). Traditional neighborhood on the steep slopes behind Bryggen and around Fløibanen track. 
  • Marken, Marken (street). On the flatland just north of the railway station, pedestrian zone, and also in the hills above, around Skivebakken street. 
  • Ladegården and upper Sandviken neighborhood, Ladegårdsgaten, Absalon Beyers gate. An area with more regular and wider streets, highly characteristic style. 
  • Skuteviken neighborhood, Skuteviksveien. day time. A small traditional neighborhood around a small bay just east of the fortress. 
  • Sandviken neighborhood, Sandvikstorget/Sandviksveien. In Lower Sandviken near the small market square, there is a nice collection of traditional white wooden houses. 


  • KODE Art museums (Kunstmuseene), Rasmus Meyers allé 3, 7 and 9 (by Lille Lungegårdsvann), ☎ +47 55 56 80 00, fax: +47 55 56 80 11, e-mail: 15 May–31 Aug: daily 11:00–17:00. 1 Sep–14 May: Tu–Su 11:00–16:00. One of the largest art museums in the Nordic countries, with art from the renaissance as well as contemporary art. The museum houses several of Edvard Munch's works. 
  • The fish market (Fisketorget), Torget, ☎ +47 55 55 20 00, e-mail: Jun–Aug: daily 07:00–19:00, Sep-May: M–Sa 07:00–16:00. Bergen's outdoor fish market has a long history, being the historical center for fish trade. Most tourists find their way here, but with locals changing their shopping habits, the fish market today does not compare to what it once was. The fish market is dominated by makeshift souvenir shops and seafood stalls. The seafood is generally of only OK quality as the fishermen no longer deliver their catch directly to the market. Still, you can get a pretty good idea of what the locals eat by having a look at the various fish they sell here and try some of the stranger ones if you feel adventurous. Free samples are usually available of the more common items such as whale, salmon and salmon caviar. Although somewhat crowded, getting around with a wheelchair is fairly easy.
  • Fløibanen, Vetrlidsalmenning 21, ☎ +47 55 33 68 00, e-mail: M–F 07:30–23:00, Sa–Su 08:00–23:00. Fløibanen is a funicular which goes up Fløyen, a plateau in the mountain massif north-east of the city center. From here, you get a great view of the city. Accessing Fløibanen and the plateau on Fløyen with a wheelchair is a piece of cake. More than 1.2 million people rode with Fløibanen in 2007, and it has become the attraction that most tourists are content with. Expect queues, but don't worry, they move fast. There are no steps where lifts are not available without assistance, and all doors are wide. 
  • The West Norway Museum of Decorative Art (Permanenten), Nordahl Bruns gate 9 (by the music pavilion), ☎ +47 55 33 66 33, fax: +47 55 33 66 30, e-mail: Tu-Su 12 noon-4 PM. A museum of design and decorative art. Norway's largest collection of Chinese art. 
  • St. Jørgen's Hospital (The Leprosy Museum), Kong Oscars gate 59, ☎ +47 55 55 20 00, e-mail: 21 May–2 Sep: Daily 11 AM–3 PM. St. Jørgen's Hospital is one of very few preserved leprosy hospitals from the 18th century in Northern Europe. The large wooden building in Kalfarveien 31 (Pleiestiftelsen for spedalske) was the largest institution caring for the many leprosy patients in Bergen. This was where Armauer Hansen discovered the bacteria that causes leprosy in 1873. Hansen's discovery was a major breakthrough in medicine as he proved that chronic illness was contagious rather than hereditary. The Leprosy archive was a complete record of all patients and is assumed to be the first patient archive in the world. The Leprosy archive is inscribed on UNESCO list of Memory of the World. The Leprosy Museum tells the story about the disease and its history in Norway, in addition to showing life at the hospital. A visit to the museum is a unique but disturbing experience. The complex in Kong Oscars gate 59 also includes a wooden church. Kr. 40.
  • Bergen Aquarium (Akvariet i Bergen), Nordnesbakken 4 (indoor parking available, but usually full in the summer season; walk for 20 minutes from the city center or use bus line 11), ☎ +47 55 55 71 71, e-mail: Daily 10:00–18:00. The aquarium has a nice selection of aquatic life, especially penguins and seals. Typical Norwegian aquatic life is well documented, and there is also a collection of tropical fish and animals and a shark tank with an underwater glass tunnel. Fun for kids. 
  • Statsraad Lehmkuhl, usually at Bergen harbor shed 7 – Bradbenken 2 (at the end of Bryggen, across the street from Bergenhus fort), ☎ +47 55 30 17 00, fax: +47 55 30 17 01. A three-masted barque sail training vessel built in 1914, one of the best kept in its kind. Mini cruises (approximately five and a half hours) available a few times a year. Tickets should be bought well in advance. For the more adventurous up to week-long cruises to Europe are available where you live and work as a sailor.
  • St. Mary's Church (Mariakirken), Dreggsalmenningen 15 (behind Bryggen), ☎ +47 55 59 32 70, fax: +47 55 59 32 89, e-mail: Closed for renovation. The oldest remaining building in Bergen, St. Mary's Church was built in the 12th century. It is the best-preserved of the city's three medieval churches and one of the few basilica-shaped churches in Norway. It was originally Romanesque, then enlarged in Gothic style. Having belonged to the German community in Bergen for many centuries, it contains a unique pulpit, one of Norway's most beautiful altarpieces and characteristic twin towers.
  • The Theater (Den Nationale Scene), Ole Bull's plass (centre). The main theater is a monumental art nouveau building in a prominent position on Ole Bull's square. As an institution, the theater played a key role. Ole Bull, a major international star on the violin, established the theater and employed the young Henrik Ibsen as an instructor. Later Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, another national icon, worked there. Ole Bull also discovered the young music talent Edvard Grieg. This theater made Norwegian, rather than Danish, into the standard language on stage, and it was long the #1 stage in Norway.

Bergenhus fortress

  • Bergenhus fortress (Bergenhus), Bergenhus (past bryggen), ☎ +47 55 54 63 87. Once the seat of the king, Bergenhus fortress is one of the oldest and best-preserved forts of Norway. The oldest surviving buildings are from the mid 13th century, but the area was a royal residence from the late 11th century. The fortress is situated close to the international ferry terminal. The royal hall, Håkonshallen, (Haakon's Hall), named for King Haakon Haakonsson, was built sometime between 1247 and 1261. It is used today for royal galas, as a banqueting hall for the city council, and other public events. The roof is reconstructed after a blast during World War II. The nearby Rosenkrantz tower has the same appearance as it had in the 16th century. The oldest part of the tower dates back to the 1270s, a few decades after Håkonshallen. It was expanded in the 1560s by the governor, Erik Rosenkrantz, to its present shape. The rest of the medieval buildings in the fortress have been replaced or demolished over the centuries, with some ruins still visible. Among these is the medieval cathedral, the Church of Christ, which was used for the coronation and as a royal burial site in the 13th century. A memorial marks the site of the high altar. Guided tours of the royal hall and the tower start every hour between 10 AM and 4 PM every day from 15 May to 31 Aug in the royal hall. From 1 Sept to 14 May tours are only available between noon and 3 PM on Sundays. A small cafeteria with coffee, tea, and basic snacks is open from June to August. The fortress grounds serve as a city park; you can hang out here and eat that fish you just bought at the nearby fish market - or just enjoy the sunshine and the view. The park is popular among locals and tourists, but usually not crowded. It is normally not a problem to find a good spot for your picnic or a round of Frisbee. There is a very good view of the bay. The use of open fire, including barbecues, and the drinking of alcoholic beverages are forbidden. Unlike in many other parks, the prohibition of alcohol is enforced strictly here, as the fort is still a military area with occasional military guards on patrol.


  • Bryggen, Bryggen (north side of the bay). Between 1350 and 1750, this area used to be a Hansa dock, trading, and processing area. The wooden houses at Bryggen today were built after the devastating city fire of 1702, but are probably very similar to the buildings that were there before. Despite neglect and fires (Norwegian cities had a habit of burning down because everything is made of wood), a considerable number of buildings have survived and are now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you enter some of the alleyways between the storefronts, you really get a feel of what Bergen must have been like in the Middle Ages. There are a few museums on the history of Bergen and of Bryggen, but the most interesting aspect is probably that almost all of the buildings are still in use. One example is the restaurant Bryggen tracteurste, serving food and drinks in a building first opened for this purpose in 1708. Wandering about on Bryggen is possible with a wheelchair, but getting in and out of buildings can be very difficult.


  • Bryggens Museum, Dreggsalmenningen 3 (by St. Mary's church and Radisson SAS Royal Hotel), ☎ +47 55 58 80 10, e-mail: M-F: 11 AM-3 PM. Sa: 12-3 PM. Su: 12-4 PM. After the fire in 1955, when a lot of Bryggen burnt down, remains of the first settlement on Bryggen were discovered. The museum is built over these up to 900 years old wooden building foundations, giving a unique insight in Bryggen's architectural history. It contains the world's largest collection of medieval runic inscriptions, mostly inscribed on wooden items, but only a small number of these are on display. It also hosts themed exhibitions. If you are not a student and would like to also visit the Hanseatic Museum, it is cheaper to buy a ticket for the guided tour (and skip it if you want).
  • The Hanseatic Museum and Schøtstuene, Finnegårdsgaten 1 A and Øvregaten 50 (museum: the first building on Bryggen when walking from the fish market, Schøtstuene: the street behind Bryggen, a little bit towards Bergenhus from the Hanseatic Museum), ☎ +47 55 54 46 90, fax: +47 55 54 46 99, e-mail: The Hanseatic Museum: 15 May–15 Sep: Daily 9 AM–5 PM. 16 Sep–14 May: Tu–Sa: 11 AM–2 PM. Su: 11 AM–4 PM. Schøtstuene: 15 May–15 Sep: Daily 10 AM–5 PM. 16 Sep–14 May: Su: 11 AM–2 PM. The Hanseatic Museum and Schøtstuene are the only places on Bryggen where the original interior is preserved or restored. A tour of The Hanseatic Museum gives you a good introduction to the Hanseatic Bergen and the Hansa life, as you walk around an authentic Hanseatic merchant's house from the early 1700s. The building was in use until the late 19th century, when it was converted into a museum. In Schøtstuene, buildings from other parts of Bryggen are rebuilt to show where people ate, celebrated and held meetings. Neither the museum nor Schøtstuene is accessible for those using a wheelchair. Schøtstuene is closed until December 2014. 
  • Theta museum, Bredsgården 1 D (entrance from the front of Bryggen, by Enhjørningsgården), ☎ +47 55 31 53 93. Tu Sa Su 2 PM-4 PM. During the first half of World War II, the Theta group, formed by people between the ages of 19 and 22, established radio contact with London and reported movements of the German fleet in Norway. The group headquarters and radio station was located in the heart of occupied Bergen but remained active for two years before it was discovered and raided by the Nazis. In the 1980s, the small room was reconstructed to its original state by orders of the Directorate of Cultural Heritage. It is now probably the country's smallest museum, displaying radio equipment and the Theta group's own security system. Not accessible with a wheelchair.

Nygårdshøyden and Møhlenpris (southern downtown)

  • Bergen Museum – The Cultural History Collections (Kulturhistorisk museum), Haakon Sheteligs plass 10, ☎ +47 55 58 31 40, e-mail: Tu–F: 10 AM–3 PM, Sa Su 11 AM–4 PM. Bergen Museum is a part of the University of Bergen and is in the heart of campus. It is divided into two collections, the Cultural History Collections, and the Natural History Collections, located in two different buildings. The Cultural History Collections include archeology, anthropology and art- and culture studies sections. Among other things, the museum has a large collection of Norwegian folk art and national costumes. It is notable for its unique exhibition of Norwegian medieval church art, including painted altarpieces, crucifixes, and portals from demolished stave churches, all in wood. 
  • Bergen Museum – The Natural History Collections (Naturhistorisk museum), Muséplass 3, ☎ +47 55 58 29 20, e-mail: Closed for renovation. The Natural History Collections include botany, geology, and zoology. The zoology exhibitions are preserved more or less as they were when they were put up almost a hundred years ago. Enormous whale skeletons suspended from the ceiling in the exhibition halls are visible through the windows from the outside. The geology exhibition is modern and varied and contains samples from most part of the world, in addition to a nice local collection. Around the museum is a garden which is at its finest in spring and summer. There is also a greenhouse where you can enjoy tropical plants. 
  • Vilvite (Bergen Science Center), Thormøhlensgate 51, ☎ +47 55 59 45 00, e-mail: Tu-F 9 AM-4 PM, Sa Su 11 AM-6 PM. Sponsored by the state and the city in addition to some of the largest industrial companies in Norway, this all-new science center features interactive exhibitions of science, technology, and mathematics. It targets children and young people with the intention to inspire them to learn more about science but is popular also among adults. It has special exhibitions about the weather, the ocean, and energy, with altogether 75 different interactive machines and experiments.
  • Bergen Maritime Museum (Bergens Sjøfartsmuseum), Haakon Sheteligsplass 15, ☎ +47 55 54 96 00, fax: +47 5 554-9610, e-mail: All week 11 AM-3 PM. closed on holidays, Christmas eve, new year's eve and the 17th of May. This traditional maritime museum is in the middle of the campus of the University of Bergen. Exhibitions of maritime history, shipping history, the Vikings, naval warfare, maritime archeology, and more. 
  • Nygårdsparken. Always open. This is a very nicely landscaped park laid out in the late 1800s after English patterns. The park is a popular picnic place for families, and in the summer there are always several groups of students and young people having barbeques. You are very welcome to step on the grass, and it's a nice place to play frisbee, kubb or croquet. If you want to save a few kroner on food and drink stop by a local grocery store to pick up some ingredients to a picnic, bring along a blanket and a few beers and spend a cheap and relaxing afternoon in this park. It's highly unlikely that the police will bother you for drinking in public in this park as long as you behave. It's also one of the places where it's rather easy to get in contact with the locals. There's no public toilet here, but pop over the road to Vilvite and use their facilities for free. If you arrive from Nygårdshøyden, don't be scared by drug addicts hanging out in the upper part of the park, just walk past them, and you will find the lower and beautiful part after a few meters. 

South of the city center

  • Fantoft Stave Church (Fantoft stavkirke), Fantoftveien 46 (about 6 km (4 mi) from the city center, bus line 2 from the front side of the exhibition shopping center, or light rail ("Bybanen"). Get off at the Fantoft stop and walk.), ☎ +47 55 28 07 10. Stave churches are built in a distinctive style using the logs of trees as pillars, by the early Christians. This is a reconstruction of a church originally built in Fortun, by the Sognefjord, around 1150. On the 6 Jun 1992, the church was totally destroyed by arson, but a perfect copy has since been constructed. The inside of the stave church has no wall paintings and the altar is quite austere. If you have seen the stave church in the Norsk Folkemuseum in Oslo, then save yourself a few kroners and skip this one.
  • Gamlehaugen, Gamlehaugveien 10 (about 10 minutes by car from the city center, southbound bus lines 525, 60 over Fjøsanger, 20–24, 26, 560 and 620–630 from the bus station), ☎ +47 55 92 51 20, fax: +47 55 92 51 33, e-mail: Villa open for guided tours only. Guided tours Tu-Su at 12 PM, 1 PM and 2 PM in Jun-Aug. Tour at 12 PM will be given in English if necessary, other tours will be given in Norwegian only. The villa at Gamlehaugen, built to resemble a castle, was the home of Christian Michelsen, former prime minister who helped free Norway from the Swedish rule through the peaceful dissolution of the "union" in 1905. Nowadays, the villa is the royal family's residence in Bergen. There is a large and very popular park around the villa. Bathing possibilities. 
  • Siljustøl Museum, Siljustølveien 50 (about 20 minutes by car from the city center, southbound bus lines 23 and 26 from the bus station), ☎ +47 55 92 29 92, fax: +47 55 92 29 93. Museum open 24 Jun-23 Sep: Su 12 noon-4 PM. The home of the composer Harald Sæverud, famous for late romantic and neo-classicist works now houses a museum with occasional concerts. The somewhat mystic park around the house is open for the public.
  • Troldhaugen, Troldhaugveien 65 (about 15 minutes by car from the city center, southbound bus lines 20–24, 26, 560 and 620–630 from the bus station), ☎ +47 55 92 29 92, fax: +47 55 92 29 93, e-mail: May-Sep: Daily 9 AM-6 PM. Oct-Nov: M-F 10 AM-2 PM, Sa Su 12 AM-4 PM. Dec: Closed. Jan-Mar: 10 AM-2 PM. Apr: M-F 10 AM-2 PM, Sa Su 12 AM-4 PM. This is the house of the famous composer Edvard Grieg, who wrote the Peer Gynt suite and is Norway's national composer. His country house (just outside the town center of Bergen) has been preserved in the state it was in when he died in the late 19th century. You can also see his grave; he was buried on his own estate. There is a museum devoted to Grieg and his work, and a concert hall with regular concerts.
  • Ulriksbanen, Ulriken 1 (southbound bus lines 2, 31 and 50 from the front side of the Xhibition shopping center to Haukeland hospital). Cable car to the top of Mt. Ulriken, the highest of the mountains surrounding the city. Re-opened May 2009 with a new restaurant at the top.

North of the city center

  • Gamle Bergen (Old Bergen), Nyhavnsveien 4 (half an hour by walking; a few minutes by bus or car from the city center, northbound bus lines 9, 20-29, 50, 71, 80, 90, 280, 285), ☎ +47 55 39 43 00, e-mail: A reconstructed town with about 50 wooden houses from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. It is a beautiful place to stroll on a sunny day. The more cultural traveler will enjoy a guided tour of the area and the houses. 
  • The Norwegian Knitting Industry Museum (Norsk Trikotasjemuseum), Salhusvegen 201 (by car, drive north on the motorway E39/E16 until Åsane senter. when you're off the motorway, drive west and later north-west on RV 564. eventually, the signs should start pointing to Salhus. by bus, take northbound line 280), ☎ +47 55 25 10 80, fax: +47 55 25 10 99. T-Su 11 AM-4 PM (June 1 - August 31); T-F 11 AM-3 PM and Su 12 PM-4 PM (September 1 - May 31). Located in the buildings that used to house the first fully mechanized knitwear factory in Norway. The machinery is still in working condition and is used. 

West of the city center

  • Alvøen (twelve kilometers west of the city centre by road; follow the signs towards Sotra, and then to Alvøen a while after the end of the dual-lane carriageway, westbound bus line 42), ☎ +47 55 58 80 10, e-mail: An old and picturesque formerly industrial community situated on the west coast of the Bergen peninsula. The manor building at Alvøen has been converted into a museum with several exhibitions.
  • Damsgård Hovedgård (Damsgård Manor), Alléen 29 (just across the fjord south-west of the city center, walk or drive across the Puddefjord bridge, then turn right and keep going for a kilometer, the manor is visible from the road on your left hand side), ☎ +47 55 94 08 70, e-mail: This 18th century manor is the most splendid of the many country retreats built by Bergen's aristocracy in the past centuries. The roccoco main building is surrounded by several beautiful gardens. 

What to do in Bergen, Norway


Hanging out by the ocean can be one of the best ways to spend a hot summer day in Bergen, although Bergen is hardly a sun and sand destination. The temperature in the ocean around Bergen is warmer than most places on the west coast because of the outer islands protecting the area from the constant flow of cooler water from the North Sea and allowing the water to heat in smaller bays in the area. Temperatures can rise to 20 °C (68 °F) after consecutive days with good weather. The water is clean and fresh. There are sandy beaches at Arboretet at Milde (Hjellestad), Kyrkjetangen at Nordåsvannet and Helleneset, "bathing houses"/beaches at Nordnesparken and Elsero situated in Old Bergen in Sandviken. After a day hiking in the mountains, Skomakerdiket above Mount Fløyen has a sandy fresh-water beach.

  • Nye Sydnes Sjøbad, Nøstegaten (close to the Hurtigruten terminal, just beside the Nøsteboden pub). Public seawater "pool." Free.
  • Nordnes outdoor pool (Nordnes sjøbad), approach through Haugeveien (Nordnes park near Aquarium). M to F 07.00 - 19.00, S and S 07.00 – 14.00 (flexible in good weather). Outdoor swimming pool 25 meters, heated saltwater taken from the fjord.


The mountains surrounding Bergen offers great hiking possibilities, and unlike most cities, the first hiking trail starts downtown and no need for transport out of town. There are options for anyone from those just looking for a fifteen-minute stroll in the sun to the more adventurous interested in day trips and steep hills. Byfjellene (lit. "the city mountains") have good networks of dirt roads and paths, usually well signposted. Good maps are available in most bookstores – look for Tur- on friluftskart Bergen (1:25 000) from the Norwegian Mapping and Cadastre Authority (Norwegian: Statens kartverk).
For advice on hiking, as well as hiking opportunities elsewhere in Norway, you should consult Bergen Turlag (Bergen Hiking Association), the local branch of Den Norske Turistforening (Norwegian Trekking Association), located in Tverrgaten 4-6. The Norwegian right to access entitles you to hike in all uncultivated areas.

Mount Fløyen

Mount Fløyen is the most central of the mountains. It is easily accessible by the funicular running from downtown, but the better fit will probably choose the 40-minutes walk up. A good compromise can be to take the funicular up and walk down. The way is well signposted so that you won't get lost. In the steep slope towards Fløyen (right above the city), there is the popular Fjellveien, a long, gentle, horizontal pedestrian road with a perfect panorama of the city. From Fjellveien, there are several alternative roads to the top.
From the top of Mount Fløyen, the 1.8 km (1.1 mi) walk in relatively flat terrain to Brushytten (lit. "the soda cabin") is ideal, if you have kids. Brushytten is a kiosk usually open on Sundays. There are several ways to get there, if you follow the signs, you're on the safe side and will walk on dirt roads all the way (easily accessible with both a wheelchair or a pram).
From Brushytten, you can walk up the hill to Mount Rundemanen and get a beautiful view. From Mount Rundemanen, a good choice for a not-so-long hike will be to walk to Sandviksfjellet, and from there down to Sandviken, where you can get on a bus or walk back to the city center. Another possibility is to cross the Vidden plateau and walk to Mount Ulriken, the highest mountain in Bergen, a hike which takes about five hours. You should be somewhat fit to take this trip, and also be prepared for bad weather. The trip across Vidden is among Norway's most popular hiking trips.
For both kids and adults, a popular activity on snowy days is to take the funicular to the top of Mount Fløyen and toboggan to the city center.


The islands, fjords, and lakes surrounding Bergen provide excellent conditions for both saltwater and fresh-water fishing. Fishing from fresh water lakes usually requires a local rod permit, even permission from the land owner. Pay attention to signs marking lakes used for drinking water.
Coast and deep sea fishing are free, and there is no need for any license. However, no more than 15 kilos of fish fillets or fish products can be exported from Norway per person, and there are some regulations concerning the minimum size of the fish.
Fishing in the city center (Bryggen, Vågen, Bontelabo, Dokken) is possible, but there are some concerns about traces of mercury in white fish fillet and liver. A new report may indicate that the situation is better than expected, but good advice is to avoid fishing in Vågen, from old ship yards and the Åstveittangen and Eidsvågen areas.
A general, very cautious advice could be not to eat liver from fish caught in areas close to the city center - and pregnant and breast feeding women should not eat this fish at all.


There are frequent boat trips to some of the more scenic fjords from the city center. There are trips all year round, but many are only available in season, from May to September.

What to eat and drink in Bergen, Norway


There is a great variety of restaurants and cafes in Bergen, but you should expect to spend some time looking for the best places. In the most central parts of the city, many of the restaurants are all the same. Move a block away from the most central parts of downtown to find lower prices and better food. Kitchens usually close at 11 PM at the latest.
Waiters and other restaurant staff have good wages. You are not required to leave any money to cover the service, but many people choose to tip the waiter if he or she has been helpful and nice and if the food was good. If you choose to leave a tip, rounding up or adding about five to ten percent will be appreciated. A rule of thumb would be that the more expensive the food is, the more are you expected to leave tips.
Keep in mind that tap water is safe to drink and (usually) free of charge. To save money, ask for tap water to drink.

Local food

Finding local food might take some effort, but there are some options. There aren't that many local dishes available at restaurants. "Norwegian" food is the food of the husmann (cottager) – nutritious and cheap, not what you usually find in a restaurant. The Bergen fish soup might be the most important, as well as raspeballer and cooked cod. If you want to get that Norwegian taste and have a gourmet meal at the same time, look for dishes that use "local" ingredients (such as reindeer, stockfish, and cod) with a twist, such as Bryggen Tracteursted's filet of reindeer farced with goat cheese.
Many cafe's and restaurants serve "raspeballer" on Thursdays. Raspeballer is local potato dumplings, in Bergen usually served with bacon, sausages, salted meat from sheep, melted butter and mashed rutabaga. You can get takeaway raspeballer at Kjøttbasaren, cheap ones at Lido, excellent ones at Pingvinen and Bjellands Kjøkken. You can get reasonable takeaway fish soup, fish-balls, "plukkfisk" and fish-gratin at Madam Bergen.
In November, December and January, traditional Christmas food are served in many restaurants. Look for "pinnekjøtt" (cured, dried and sometimes smoked meat of lamb or mutton), "lutefisk" (lit. "lye fish," dried cod prepared with lye) and "ribbed" (oven-baked pork ribs). For a very special experience, try smalahove (sheep's head). It is a traditional dish from Voss not far from Bergen.


  • Bergen Kebab, Christian Michelsens gate 7, ☎ +47 55 23 00 17. M–W, Su 11:00–00:00, Th–Sa 11 AM–3 AM. Though selling the cheapest kebabs in town, Bergen Kebab manages to maintain a decent level of service and quality. Serves an ok pizza as well. 
  • Bjellands Kjøkken, Strandgaten 201, ☎ +47 55 90 02 44. Closes around 18:00. Bjellands Kjøkken is a tiny cafe at Nordnes, run by 76-year-old Randi Bjelland which is worth the walk herself. She does everything by herself in a tiny kitchen, makes everything from scratch. Serves a great variety of traditional food depending on the season; huge flesh-pancakes, homemade fish-cakes, meatballs, cooked cod, salted meat, whale-meat, etc. 6 tables, good portions, and reasonable prices.
  • Zen Cafe Bar, Strømgaten 26 (close to the city center, 200 meters from the bus station), ☎ +47 55 32 14 38. A fantastic place to eat. The prices are low, and the food and service are excellent. It is worth trying at least once.
  • Hot Wok City, Vestre Torggaten 1, ☎ +47 55 21 85 88. M–Sa 12:00–23:00, Su 14:00–23:00. Good-quality Chinese food freshly cooked in the open kitchen. Service is fast, and the prices are low. This is a place with many regular customers, especially between 16:00 and 18:00. 
  • Kroathai, Nygårdsgaten 29, ☎ +47 55 32 58 50. M–Sa 11:00–22:00, Su 13:00–22:00. The Thai equivalent of Hot Wok, although with slightly smaller portions. Service is usually fast, and the staff is friendly. Can often be full, so take-out can be a good plan B. There is also a Kroa Thai restaurant with the same menu in Åsane senter, a few miles outside of the town center. Multiple options for vegetarians. 
  • Pasta Sentral, Vestre Torggate 5-7, ☎ +47 55 96 00 37. M–Sa 11:00–23:00, Su 13:00–23:00. Cheap but decent pasta and pizza for students and budget travelers alike. Pasta Sentral has been an institution in Bergen since its opening in 1990. Provides a take-out service as well.
  • Pygmalion Økocafe, Nedre Korskirke Allmenning 4 (near the fishmarket and tourist information), ☎ +47 55 32 33 60. Daily 09:00–23:00. Organic restaurant situated in the heart of Bergen. Featuring live concerts and art exhibitions. 
  • Thai Curry House, Nedre Korskirkeallmenningen 11, ☎ +47 55 31 11 99. Affordable Thai restaurant. Interior decoration may look a little tacky, but don't let it put you off. The food is good and freshly prepared. However, service can be a little slow. The place is very small, yet quite popular so you may want to have a plan B before going here.
  • Zupperia, Nordahl Bruns gate 9, ☎ +47 55 55 81 14. Soups and salads – tasty, cheap and big portions. Tu–Sa 11:00–00:00, Su 12:00–22:00.
  • Søstrene Hagelin (Hagelin Sisters), Kong Oscars gate 2 A. Traditional fish food, as well as creative such as fishburger with a taco. Eat there or take home. Corner of Kong Oscars gate and Vetrlidsallmenningen.
  • Kafe Spesial, Christies gate 13. Value for money, particularly pizza. Wide selection of beer. Situated on the slope towards the university area, so the clientele is largely students. Basic service (order at the counter).


  • Bocca Restaurant, Øvre Ole Bullsplass 3, ☎ +47 55 32 11 45, e-mail: M Tu 11:00–22:00, W–Sa 11:00–23:00, Su 12:00–22:00. One of the most popular restaurants in Bergen, probably mostly due to its location. It has an exciting interior and decent food but is a bit overpriced.
  • Café Opera, Engen 18 (by the theater), ☎ +47 55 23 03 15. M Tu 10:00–00:30, W–F 10:00–03:30, Sa 11:00–03:30, Su 11:00–23:30. An institution on one of the best corners in Bergen. Great food for the money. This is a place with many regular customers. During the day they serve lunch and cakes. Early in the evening, it is a place for dinner and beer. Late night is for dancing. 
  • Ichiban, Håkonsgaten 17 (close to the university campus), ☎ +47 55 90 04 60. Fresh, tasty and fast sushi at the lowest prices in town. Primarily take-away, but you can also eat in if you don't mind the complete lack of atmosphere.
  • Kafé Kippers, Georgernes verft 12 (Kulturhuset USF), ☎ +47 55 30 40 80. M–Th Su 11:00–23:00, F Sa 11:00–00:00. The café serves a variety of meals, from sandwiches to dinners. The view is extraordinary. If you are lucky enough to catch a sunny day, you can observe a range of activities that happen in the bay. Indoors the café has a quiet atmosphere. There are large panorama windows facing the water giving you a romantic view even on rainy days. In connection with the restaurant, there is a changing art exhibition. Accessible with a wheelchair.
  • La Bottega Italiana, Strandgaten 80, ☎ +47 55 31 81 10. Run by a Sicilian, La Bottega Italiana serves Sicilian-style pasta dishes, salads, a few main courses and Tiramisu for Dolce.
  • Ma Ma-Thai, Kaigaten 20 (Close to the bus terminus), ☎ +47 55 31 38 70, fax: +47 55 31 91 83. Daily 2 PM-11 PM. Delicious Thai cuisine.
  • Naboen Pub & Restaurant, Sigurds gate 4, ☎ +47 55 90 02 90. Open from 4 PM every day. An informal restaurant with two price ranges: You can get the best-priced gourmet food in town, or you can go for the cheaper "Swedish" menu. Regardless of what you choose, the food is prepared from first-class local ingredients, and you get to enjoy the freshly baked bread and white table cloths. One of the best restaurants in town. For dinnertime dining, you need a reservation. If you don't have reservations, try the rather crowded pub downstairs - they serve the "Swedish" menu there too.
  • Pingvinen, Vaskerelven 14. A very nice, but usually crowded bar where you can also get a good portion of Norwegian food. Recommended by Time Magazine. Food is available throughout opening hours. One of the very few venues where genuine Norwegian home cooking – and large bowls of popcorn – are available. Nice prices on food and drink.
  • Yr Café & Restaurant, Marken 32, ☎ +47 97 63 62 37. From noon. A refreshing cafe/restaurant run by two young girls, which is reflected in the interior and menu. Try out the fried Smil-chocolate with caramel icecream.


  • Bryggen Tracteursted, Bryggestredet 2 (in the middle of Bryggen, towards the rear side), ☎ +47 55 33 69 99, e-mail: Bryggen Tracteursted offers a modern kitchen inspired by Hanseatic and local traditions, served in historic surroundings. A hidden treasure with its somewhat anonymous appearance. The restaurant can in principle fit up to about 200 guests, but the kitchen is very small, and expansion is not allowed by the cultural heritage authorities. This forces the restaurant to accept a relatively low number of patrons at a time – giving a peaceful atmosphere. A reservation is recommended. 
  • Søtt + Salt, Hotell Norge (At Torgallmenningen), ☎ +47 4000 3713, e-mail: Bergen's latest and perhaps best (according to local newspaper BT) restaurant. Very ambitious but more reasonably priced than Colonialen and Cornelius. Located at Hotell Norge, Søtt+Salt leaves you with the option of 3,5 or 7-course meals. Reservations are recommended.
  • Enhjørningen, Bryggen, ☎ +47 55 32 17 19, e-mail: Daily 4 PM-11 PM. Bergen's most traditional – and expensive – fish restaurant. Located in a building restored to its 18th-century appearance, Enhjørningen is well reputed for its excellent food, served in classical manners. A reservation is required. Ask for a window table if possible, as you will have a beautiful view of Bergen harbor. 
  • Munkestuen, Klostergaten 12, ☎ +47 55 90 21 49, e-mail: Tu-Sa 2 PM-11 PM. A small and traditional gourmet restaurant. 
  • Potetkjelleren, Kong Oscars gate 1A, ☎ +47 55 32 00 70, e-mail: Partially situated in a medieval basement, Potetkjelleren offers gourmet food in very special surroundings. The place is often crowded, and a reservation is required. 


There is a great variety of bars, night clubs, concert venues, etc. in Bergen. Night clubs are usually open from 11 PM, but life never starts before 1 AM. Bars open at different hours, some can be open all day. No places are allowed to serve alcohol after 3 AM, and the consumption of alcoholic beverages must cease at 3:30 AM at the latest. Many places are required to close earlier. The establishments are only allowed to let people bring their drinks outside if they have been granted a special permit. A requirement to get this permit is that they have a confined space outdoors for their guests. All drinks must be indoors by 1 AM. People go out all week, but Fridays and Saturdays are the best nights, Saturdays being the clear winner (most places will be a bit too crowded on Saturdays). Some clubs have a 2 for 1 policy on Wednesdays, and Sunday is usually the night for people in the industry.
Most places require that you are 20 years of age (look in the list for details) and that you can provide a valid ID, even if you are much older. Valid IDs are Norwegian bank cards, European standard driver's licenses, and ID cards and passports. Drinking in public is illegal. Emptying a can in front of a police officer on a Saturday night will earn you a kr. 2500 fine. If you stroll through a park a bit outside the city center on a sunny day, you will still see a lot of people having a beer or a glass of wine with the picnic. The police usually won't mind as long as everything passes in an orderly fashion.
Prices vary greatly from place to place, ask at the door if you need to know.
Almost all night clubs and some bars have a dress code. The required attire varies; look in the list for more information (when the listing indicates "no dress code" normal, nice clothes are accepted). Supporter gear is not accepted even in sports pubs.
Remember that smoking in all indoor areas where people work is strictly prohibited by law in Norway. Most restaurants, bars, night clubs, etc. will require you to leave if you try to smoke indoors.
Nightlife is largely concentrated in the central downtown (streets Vaskerelven, Engen, Torgallmenningen, Ole Bulls plass, Nygaardsgaten) and Bryggen area (streets Bryggen, Rosenkrantz gt, Vetrlidsallmenningen, kong Oscar gate).

Shopping in Bergen, Norway

Bergen has a number of shopping centers, and international chains are well represented. As prices are rather high in Norway, regular shopping is probably not the most interesting thing to do in Bergen, even if you get a VAT refund (see the Tax Free shopping section below). But if you know where to go, you can find rare and unique items, both traditional crafts and stuff made by local designers - and some other fun stuff. Keep in mind that with a very few exceptions, Bergen shuts down completely on Sundays and holidays.


  • Apollon, Nygårdsgaten 2 A, ☎ +47 55 31 59 43, fax: +47 55 31 58 08. Combined bar and music store, sells CDs, vinyls and band merchandise in addition to a decent selection of beers.
  • Blonder og stas, Bryggestredet (in the heart of Bryggen), ☎ +47 55 31 83 81. A small shop selling beautiful Norwegian handmade textiles, such as tablecloths and napkins.
  • Kjøttbasaren, Vetrlidsallmenningen 2 (between Torget and Fløibanen). M–W, F: 9 AM–5 PM, Th: 9 AM–7 PM, Sa: 9 AM–3 PM. This market hall built in 1877 was once the only one in its kind in Norway. Nowadays it houses Bergen's finest gourmet food stores, the most interesting for tourists being Havets Grøde and Sesong. Havets Grøde has a large selection of top-quality seafood, with fresh deliveries every day. The quality is usually much better than at the fish market. Sesong offers the season's food directly from local farms and producers.
  • Norsk Flid Husfliden, Vågsallmenningen 3 (near the tourist office), ☎ +47 55 54 47 40, e-mail: Husfliden is a chain of stores throughout Norway with focus on traditional Norwegian crafts. The most interesting things for tourists found in these stores are traditional jewelry and tableware. Husfliden also sells beautiful national costumes (Norwegian: bunad)
  • Pepper, Christies gate 9, ☎ +47 55 56 39 75. Expensive, but cool clothes and shoes for both men and women
  • Bryggen Husflid, Bryggen 37 (in one of the old houses at the charming wharf area Bryggen), ☎ +47 55 32 88 03. Handknitted pullovers, cardigans, and accessories from the brand Norsk Håndstrikk. The sweaters are made by hand in Norway, knitted by Norwegian ladies in their homes. Rare and unique products. The shop also carries a great selection of other Norwegian made products, in addition to other souvenirs like trolls, soft toys, etc. The prices are very good compared to other shops at Bryggen.
  • Robot, Skostredet 16. Robot features a range of hip clothes for men and women, a small but excellent selection of music on CD and vinyl, and a large selection of books on pop culture, art, comics, music, and design.
  • Ruben's skattkammer, Vetrlidsalmenning 5, ☎ +47 55 31 41 11, e-mail: Unique, fun and stimulating toys for kids and adults.
  • Stormberg, Småstrandgaten 3 (Xhibition), ☎ +47 454 04 157. Store for Norway's largest brand of outdoor wear.
  • Søstrene Hagelin (The Hagelin Sisters), Strandgaten 3 (By Torgalmenningen), ☎ +47 55 90 20 13. M-F: 9 AM-7 PM, Sa: 10 AM-5 PM. Søstrene Hagelin has been a tradition in Bergen since 1929. Famous for their traditional fiskekaker, fish-burger. There are some tables in the shop where you can eat the fish-burger or their fish soup.
  • Tilsammans, Kong Oscars gate 26, ☎ +47 55 32 55 55, e-mail: Trendy clothes.
  • T Michael, Skostredet 9 A, ☎ +47 55 55 80 37. Extremely stylish menswear.
  • Twisted, Nygårdsgaten 1 B, ☎ +47 55 96 01 87. Independent fashion store for men and women with brands such as IVANAHelsinki, Moods of Norway, Namso, GTP, Birna, Pernilla Svenre, Maria Weterlind, El Naturlista, William Rast, Gabba, Scotch&Soda, Minium, Insight, Pace and Pour. Voted Bergen's best clothing store in 2010.
  • ZUMM design, Holmedalsgården 1, ☎ +47 930 69 578, e-mail: Sweet and handmade clothing for girls from 2–11 years of age.

Tax-Free shopping

VAT (value-added tax/sales tax, Norwegian: mva. (merverdiavgift) or moms. (merverdiomsetningsavgift)) is 25% for most items in Norway. It is included in the retail price, which makes the VAT content roughly 20% of the price you pay. As Norway is not a member of the European Union, all foreign citizens (apart from those of Sweden, Denmark, and Finland) are eligible for a refund of the VAT if the goods purchased are brought out of the country at the latest one month after the purchase. The prerequisites for such a refund is that the goods are not used or consumed, even in part, within Norway, and that you spend at least kr. 315 in a store.
Look for stores with a Global Refund/tax-free flag or sticker. You need only to ask the shop assistant for a global refund check and provide documentation of your citizenship. When leaving Norway, go to a Global Refund office with the goods, the check and your passport, and you will receive up to 19% of the sales price in cash. In Bergen, the only Global Refund office is at the airport, but there are also information desks on a couple of the ferries leaving from the city. Check the Global Refund website 4 for more information.
Unlike in many other countries, the customs authorities are not involved in the VAT refund process in Norway.

Safety in Bergen, Norway

Bergen has, like the rest of Norway, a low crime rate. The most likely crimes for tourists to experience is car break-ins and bicycle theft. Pickpockets do also tend to be an increasing problem in the summer season, but it's still nothing like in larger cities in Europe. It is always a good idea to look after your belongings; this includes never leaving valuable objects visual in your car and locking your bike safely.
There are no particular unsafe areas in Bergen. The upper part of Nygårdsparken is, however, the hang-out place for drug addicts. They are usually completely harmless, but not fun to be around. The risk of getting into trouble is very low, but families should be aware of the area. The lower part of Nygårdsparken is a beautiful place popular among the locals, but the upper part is, as previously stated, somewhat of a free haven for all the drug addicts in Bergen. The drug trafficking is out in the open, addicts are shooting up in plain sight, and the police is turning a blind eye to the whole area. Although considered harmless by most, there are frequent petty crimes in this area and it should be avoided by tourists.
Buying sex is illegal in Norway.
People party hard on Friday and Saturday night and hoards of drunk people will appear in the central areas from around midnight, singing, carousing, and just hanging around. Some foreigners may perceive this as threatening, but they are mostly harmless, even all-male groups chanting football songs. If approached, just smile and stay friendly, but uneasy visitors should avoid groups of drunk young after midnight. Summer evenings have daylight until 11 or 12, adding to the safety of visitors.
There is an emergency and accident ward at Vestre Strømkai 19, close to the bus station. The ward is open all day all week and provides examination and treatment in case of accidents and acute diseases. The ward is located together with a life crisis assistance center, a psychiatric emergency ward, a reception center for rape victims and a dental emergency ward. All services may be reached at +47 55 56 87 60. If you should be in need of immediate medical assistance, do however call 113.
The police station downtown is in Allehelgens gate 6, across the street from the old town hall.

☎ Emergency numbers

  • Police: 112
  • Fire: 110
  • Emergency Medical Services: 113

If you are unsure which number to call, 112 is central for all rescue services and will put you in contact with the correct department.
For non-emergencies, the police are to be called on 02800.
The hearing impaired using a text telephone can reach the emergency services by dialing 1412.
Roadside assistance is provided by Falck (tel. 02222) and Viking (tel. 06000). AAA members may call NAF on 08505.

Stay healthy

In acute illness or if an accident occurs:

  • Contact Emergency Medical Services ☎ 113 (Emergencies only)
  • Contact Bergen legevakt ☎ +47 55 56 87 00 (Vestre Strømkaien 19) For minor injuries and illness (emergency room/physician seeing patients without an appointment).

There are many pharmacies (apotek) in Bergen that are selling medications and can give you advice on the treatment of injury and disease. Vitusapotek Nordstjernen Bergen (Bergen Storsenter, Strømgt. 8) has extended opening hours.

Language spoken in Bergen, Norway

Norwegian is the main official and the most widely spoken language. English is widely understood.


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