A city that has stood proud for nearly 1,000 years, Bergen echoes with a romantic charm thanks to its wooden houses perched over sparkling waters, old fortress and colorful café culture. Located along Norway’s western coast, the UNESCO city sits in a ring of seven mountains and seven fjords – making for a great base of exploration to some of the country’s most spectacular nature.
Norway’s second-largest city has been an important seaport (and briefly served as the nation’s former capital) for centuries – and its rich maritime heritage can still be felt to this day. Between the show-stopping views and stunning natural beauty, this captivating town offers something for everyone – whether you prefer to enjoy the buzzing bar scene, dine at wonderful restaurants that take advantage of the Norwegian landscape, or your receive a dose of culture at local art museums.
Where to Stay
Situated on the shores of Bjørnefjorden just 30 km from downtown Bergen, the Solstrand Hotel & Bad boasts a unique setting immersed in the local environment. The hotel was built in 1896 as a holiday resort for the Bergen merchant-princes – and this tranquil feeling carries over to this day.
Set to the backdrop of sparkling waters, the light, airy and spacious accommodation let you experience the outdoor elements up-close. Open your windows wide to enjoy the fresh Norwegian air and gorgeous views of the fjord, or head to the peaceful garden and historical main house to soak up the atmosphere.
There’s also a magnificent spa that reflects local Scandinavian bathing traditions. Take in the natural beauty from the comfort of a heated outdoor pool, or take a dip in the fjord at the bathing pier, which is open all-year-round. In addition to the facilities, you can also unwind with a long list of treatments, including massages, body wraps and facials.
Be sure to check out our Bergen Hotel Guide for a complete list of recommendations.
Where to Dine
There’s no better place to take a dip into authentic Norwegian food culture than Restaurant 1877. The space itself is located within the city’s Kjøttbaseren (meat bazaar), which dates back to 1877. The restaurant maintains the building’s heritage and original details – creating an atmosphere that’s perfect for cozying up and enjoying the culinary heart of Bergen. The menu is built on the establishment’s close relationship with local suppliers and is committed to using the best raw ingredients from around western Norway.
Bergen is known for its wet climate and ever-changing weather – meaning the region harbors a variety of exciting flavors and local ingredients. As such, the culinary offerings are constantly rotating as the seasons change. Spring brings about green sprouts, asparagus, tomatoes and cucumbers, followed by strawberries, catfish, salad leaves and mackerel in the summer. Autumn flavors consist of lamb, apples, pears, plums and crab, while during the winter months, the creative staff make use of the best the water has to offer – shellfish, lobster, prawns and cod.
Our Bergen Destination Guide also includes a comprehensive restaurant guide with a full list of eateries.
What to Do
Take a stroll along the harbor and breathe in the salty tang of the fresh fish strung up. The charming city has narrow cobbled streets winding between old wooden buildings, shops dating back to the Hanseatic period, and modern tower blocks. Don’t forget to head through Bryggen to see Bergen’s most iconic sights. The city’s oldest district consists of colorful wooden buildings, which date back to a great fire in 1702, lining the waterfront – now recognized as an important part of Bergen’s heritage and UNESCO World Heritage site.
Stop by the Kode Art Museum to admire works from Picasso and Munch, and as the evening light dwindles, take the cable car up Mount Ulriken and finish up at the restaurant for a three-course catch of the day dinner with fairytale views across the fjords. Fløyen is the closest mountain to the city center, which is accessible by a funicular that will take you to the top in less than 8 minutes.