On the 15th November 2019, my boyfriend and I flew to Bergen, Norway for 7 days. We chose to visit Bergen for multiple reasons: neither of us had ever visited Norway previously, the flights to Bergen were cheap and we wanted to visit somewhere cold. Since we were visiting out of tourist season, there were several tourist attractions that were already closed for the year but we both still had an incredible time and I would highly recommend visiting Norway.
Where To Stay
We decided to stay in an Air BnB just outside of Bergen in Vaksdal. The Air Bnb itself was located next to a fjord so we had incredible views outside of our window and from our terrace although since it was so cold, we often decided to admire the view from inside the apartment where there was heating. The bed was in a boat which was an interesting idea but it ended up being really comfy and I loved snuggling up with blankets and pillows in the end of the boat to watch TV. There was a 30 minute train to Bergen a 5 minute walk from the apartment or a 50 minute drive to Bergen with free parking outside the apartment. I would highly recommend hiring a car if you visit Bergen as it was cheaper and easier to get around, especially when picking up food from the supermarkets.
Where To Eat & Drink
I would recommend not eating or drinking out whilst in Norway or as little as possible. When people told us prior to the trip that Norway was expensive, we presumed it would be similar to London prices but actually the food in Norway was approximately triple the price of food in London so I would strongly recommend buying food from supermarkets and cooking at the apartment where possible.
What To Do
Hike Mount Floyen
Mount Floyen is located in central Bergen and is 320 metres above sea level, offering an incredible view over Bergen and the Fjords. At the top of Mount Floyen, there is a cafe, souvenir shop, children’s playground and viewing platform as well as multiple hiking pathways. One of the most popular mountain hikes is Vidden which is the name of the 5 hour hike between Mount Floyen and Mount Ulrikken. If you are visiting in late autumn or winter and intend to hike like we did, I would recommend investing in crampons for your hiking boots as the paths can get very icy and slippy.
Hike Mount Ulriken
Ulriken is the highest of the 7 mountains that surround Bergen and hiking to the top of Ulriken is one of the most popular tourist attractions. The hike itself takes approximately 1.5 hours and there are two routes that one can take or there is a cable car that can take you up to the top as well. Unfortunately the cable car was not running the day we decided to visit so we ended up hiking the entire way up and down: we took the steep stairs up and the longer but less steep hiking path down. Again, I would recommend investing in crampons if visiting in the late autumn or winter months as despite wearing these, there were a few times that I slipped and fell onto my bottom!
Hike Folgefonna Nasjonalpark
Folgefonna Nasjonalpark is a national park located in Hordaland county. It is named after Folgefonna, the third largest glacier on mainland Norway, which is at the heart of the national park. There are multiple hiking trails around the park including to Juklavatnet lake or Svelgabrea glacier of various lengths of time. We decided to hike to and around Bondhusvatnet lake which took us approximately 3 hours total. We were actually the only people there since it was outside of tourist season which was pretty cool!
Places To Visit
Bryggen is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is the name given to the series of colourful Hanseatic commercial buildings that line the eastern side of the harbour in Bergen. The buildings make up what used to be the wharf and still stand today despite many fires which have threatened to destroy the wooden houses. I was fairly surprised to find that the buildings are currently used commercially as they seem such an integral part of Bergen’s history and was even more surprised to find that one of them is a nightclub!
Pepperkakebyen is the name given to the World’s Largest Gingerbread City consisting of miniature houses, shops, cars and trains, all made out of gingerbread. It is a yearly tradition that school children within Bergen will construct the city and it will be open to the public in November and December. I was so impressed at the intricate details that were added to some of the pieces and how stable the structure was, especially considering all of the structures were made by school children. It must have taken them a lot of time to complete! My personal favourites were the ferris wheel and Hogwarts.
Have you ever visited Bergen? What was your favourite part?