“Imagine a city filled with experiences and high-level culture. Think of a city that is the perfect combination of nature, culture, and urban life. A city that is the heart of one of the world’s most popular attractions, the beautiful Norwegian fjords. In this city, you can easily move back in time, yet the city is vibrant and innovative. It’s also a European cultural city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a food city. Bjørgvin, the city that was once just a green meadow between the mountains when Olav Kyrre laid its foundation in 1070, has become the city of experiences. This is Bergen! Bergen in Norway, Visit Norway
The city surrounded by the seven mountains
We travel there, taking the train from Oslo over the mountain, an attraction in itself. Spring is budding as we leave Oslo, full winter in Finse, and the most beautiful weather we can imagine in Bergen. The hotel is located on Bryggen with its own tower and all, we quickly realize that it will be a short distance to most things, yet it will be impossible to see everything. The most important thing is that the capital of Western Norway, surrounded by the seven mountains, is in a good mood. When we stroll along Bryggen for the first time this weekend, it tingles in our stomachs, after all, Bergen was once the largest city in the Nordic region until the 1600s and Norway’s largest until the mid-1800s. Bergen in Norway, Visit Norway
The last Hanseatic League member left Bryggen in 1899
Bryggen shines as we step out after a hearty breakfast on the first day. We have already been up in the hotel tower and gained some perspective. Now it’s Bryggen, or Tyskerbryggen, that matters. This is where the first settlement in Bergen was built, constructed in wood and repeatedly ravaged by fire, but the Hanseatics didn’t give up easily. This German merchants’ association landed here in 1360, and the last Hanseatic League member left Bryggen in 1899. Here, they could combine residence and trade, and at the top of the Norwegian shopping list was dried fish from Northern Norway, which was further shipped down to Europe.
And we wander back in time on Bryggen…
We move back in time on Bryggen, or so we thought. But it turns out that what was once warehouses and Hanseatic offices have now been renovated into passageways with small shops, art galleries, and studios for innovative industries. Dried fish has been replaced by textile design, jewelry, and photography art. We stroll and gawk through the alleyways, transported several hundred years back in time, and end up at an empty table at Kaf café. The sun smiles through the narrow streets, Kaf offers waffles and wine, and the people at the neighboring table offer themselves and all they know about the city. A perfect place to spend an hour before we venture out and embrace Bergen.
Fløyen – 320 meters above in 6 minutes
We head straight to Fløyen. We haven’t gone further than the innermost part of the bay before we realize there’s no time to waste. Two cable cars take us 320 meters up in just 6 minutes, and there’s a spectacular view. We look and look, the cameras are clicking away, and there’s a shop, a café, a restaurant, a magical forest, and beautiful nature trails. One of them leads us to Skomakerdiket, where you can paddle and enjoy yourself before crossing the mountain to Ulriken.
We skip Ulriken, but use our feet to descend, zigzagging down towards the beauty, passing an old fire station where a local Bergen resident on a bench claims that this is precisely where you have the very best view. Perhaps he’s right, we think, and lose ourselves in an idyllic area of beautiful, old wooden buildings, narrow and authentic, close and lively. The entire slope is filled with beautiful photo opportunities. These houses must be at least a couple of hundred years old, right?
Magnificent quayside full of bubbles and sunshine
“You must visit Verftet,” Linn said when I called VisitBergen for tips. She sounded wise, so here we are in the blazing sun. We’ve strolled up the grand Torgallmenningen, admired a blue stone and statues of the city’s great sons, circled Den Nationale Scene, walked along Skottegaten and been at the edge of Nordnes and the lovely seaside pool. Suddenly we find ourselves sitting at a quayside full of Crémant and sunshine and Skagen herring or whatever the friendly waiter had up his sleeve. The Hurtigruten sails into Puddefjorden, and if Nordnes is to the right now, then Sydnes must be right across the fjord, right?
USF Verftet – From Sardine Factory to Cultural Hub in Bergen
Norway’s largest cultural hub, no less. Once Georgernes shipyard, with roots dating back to 1784, and later a sardine factory, it has now become the city’s most active cultural and performing arts venue. It houses a total of 120 entities and features five stages for music, theater, dance, and film, all within a sprawling 12,000 square meters of space. The journey to this place, through wooden quarters with alleys, cobblestone streets, and old wooden houses, is worth it on its own. We’re told that this is the place for everything from jazz to metal, from tattoos to theater. We look forward to returning here when the world is back on track, and finding the venue is easy – just look for the towering factory chimney when you’re headed to USF Verftet. Bergen in Norway, Visit Norway
Art for all – and we’re charmed
We’re lucky when we’re here, not only is it sunny and cheerful, but the city has just reopened after being trapped in the time of the coronavirus, and everyone is happy. And there lies Lille Lungegårdsvann, inviting us. We walk around and quickly realize that there’s something called KODE here in the city. There’s the Bergen Kunsthall, and here are Munch and Picasso, Tidemand and Gude, Miró and Astrup, Norwegian and international art treasures lined up like pearls on a string. But most of all, we’re charmed by three young individuals who have already started their careers as street singers. We happily send a generous sum to these ambitious young talents. Bergen in Norway, Visit Norway
“I want to rest here forever,” Edvard said
You can’t visit Bergen without going to Troldhaugen. We choose the Bergen Light Rail and enjoy a beautiful walk from Hop station to Troldhaugen. We’re clever enough to come here on May 1st… and it’s closed. But the buildings are still there, the museum building, the villa, the composer’s hut, and the burial site. “Here, I want to rest forever,” Grieg said, and so it was. Edvard spent the last 22 summers of his life here, from when the villa was completed. Bergen in Norway, Visit Norway
“And Troldhaugen was his very best opus”
It’s impossible to describe what it’s like to stroll along the small, gravel paths alone, with Nordåsvannet glistening below us on a beautiful May day. We understand why Edvard said, ‘Where it is more beautiful than most beautiful here at Troldhaugen.’ He found his peace for work in the small composer’s cabin and referred to Troldhaugen as his best opus. Unfortunately, he suffered from tuberculosis and lost his daughter to encephalitis, yet he composed some of the most beautiful classical music. ‘Spring’ trickles down my spine as I sit on the pier, and for a brief moment, I understand how great he was despite being only 152 centimeters tall. And one thing we know: we’ll return here when the world is in balance, and all doors are open. Troll Bergen in Norway, Visit Norway
haugen Experiences Bergen Fløien, Byggen in Bergen, Bergen Experiences Bergen, Travel Tips Bergen.
Almost alone at peaceful Bergenhus Fortress
Not far from our hotel lies Bergenhus Fortress, one of Norway’s oldest and largest, with two stately medieval buildings, namely Håkon’s Hall and the Rosenkrantz Tower. When Bergen became the country’s capital in 1240, King Håkon Håkonsson had a lot on his plate. Håkon’s Hall was erected between 1247 and 1261, and it still stands. We stroll around in beautiful weather; it’s so nice here, with a view of the sea, hardly anyone to be seen, and a lot of useful information on posters here and there; this is like a history lesson! ExperieBergen in Norway, Visit Norway
nces Bergen Trollhaugen Bergenhus Fløien.
A fortress with only one battle: The Battle of Vågen
The writing tells us that in nearly 900 years, Bergenhus Fortress has been in a battle only once, on August 2, 1665. A large fleet of Dutch ships was pursued by English warships and eventually sought refuge in Bergen’s neutral harbor. When the English attempted, Bergenhus put up a strong resistance, the battle was short, and it is known as the ‘Battle of Vågen.’ We know that there are large concerts held here, but today we are alone, trying out the three fine hiking trails created for this peaceful area.
Expences Bergen Trollhaugen Bergenhus Fløien.Bergen in Norway, Visit Norway
Let ourselves be captivated by a hospital for lepers
Our visit to Bergen falls on the May 1st weekend, and on Labor Day, many museums are closed. The Leprosy Museum was high on the list, and it was also closed, but history never closes. We were captivated by St. George’s Hospital, a leper hospital for 500 years until the last leprosy patient died here in 1946. Several fires have ensured that today’s nine protected buildings are “only” from the 18th century, but in return, it is one of the best-preserved leper hospitals in Europe! In fact, the Leper Archives here are on UNESCO’s Memory of the World program! When we leave the small courtyard, we come across something else that fascinates us and never closes, namely street art! Fløien, Bygge
n in Bergen, Bergen Experiences Bergen.
Full focus on cluster headaches in Østre Skostredet
Bergen has street art that the city can be proud of. When museums are closed, it’s extra fun to admire all the fantastic street art in Bergen. An example is ‘Beneath the Surface’ by Nimi in Østre Skostredet, which focuses on cluster headaches, a terrible disease. He’s from South Africa, grew up in London, has been delivering street art since the 1980s, studied at the Bergen School of Architecture, and has inspired countless street artists in the city.
A small selection of great street art that makes Bergen even more colorful.
Bending down in the cobblestones and humming ‘Nystemten’… (Bergens own song)
We should have experienced so much more. Bergen Museum, Bergen Maritime Museum, Old Bergen, The National Stage, Nygård Park, the Aquarium, or how about a great night at Brann Stadium where the reds crush Vålerenga, and of course, we would have loved to soar up to Ulriken, but unfortunately, we didn’t have time for more. But one thing is for sure, two ordinary people from the east agree on when we round the Fish Market on our way to the train station to take the Bergen Line home: we bend down in the cobblestones with delight and hum a few verses of ‘Nystemten’ for a super city full of experiences! Bergen is the city, folks!
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