Hey all! With already one month passed since my trip to this lovely country, it’s time to start writing more detailed posts about the places I visited. And no better way to get to know Norway than starting in Bergen, which seems, from what I read, one of the most authentic cities with the wooden houses everywhere and the beautiful natural setting, surrounded by mountains and in the shores of a fjord. Let’s go?
I arrived in Bergen airport at 8AM. The previous night had been quite terrible because it involved sleeping in Oslo airport. At first didn’t seem a bad idea, but when we got kicked off our couches and had to sleep on the floor everything got worse. The positive is that you can board at 4AM and the chairs in the boarding area are very comfortable and I could rest a bit 😉 So, I was afraid I would be too tired to explore and would need massive amounts of coffee (which I don’t drink btw) to stay awake. No need and visiting was perfect!
We paid 95 NOK for the Express Bus from the airport to Bergen (Already expensive Norway prices, come on!) and before we could check in in our AirBnB left the luggage at a locker in the train station for an all day price of 25 NOK. Ready to go! The first stop was Grinegutten park, a nice one with a lake and surrounded by the KODE museum complex.
Heading straight towards Markevein, one of the main shopping avenues, we turned left when we saw a church. Not a wooden one on the outside, but wooden inside. Johanneskirken is the church you must see in Bergen if you only visit one. It is super beautiful with all the wooden walls and numerous vitrals. Taking photos inside is forbidden.
We carried on a relaxing stroll towards the fish market and got distracted by the wonderful Nordnes peninsula filled with colorful wooden houses to the right of the Hurtigruten terminal. I could stroll here all day and photograph every house! I want to live in one of those (I could do with a little less rain than the usual Bergen standards however).
Ok, enough with the love for wooden houses and narrow alleys. After wandering, we got to the Fisketorget (Fish Market), one of the main tourist attractions of Bergen. It’s right in front of the Brygge quarter and it is a contemporary building whose shape makes me think of a codfish. Don’t buy anything there, everything seems so expensive, no wonder it’s a tourist trap. I saw shark heads and crab kings that cost about 1250 NOK/Kg, it’s truly insane!
Right outside the Fish Market, when crossing the harbour to reach the Bryggen neighborhood, a lot of street food is available at also quite jarring prices. The things that caught my eye the most were the whale steak, the moose and reindeer sausages, and the “bolinhos de bacalhau” (Portuguese cod cakes) that also exist there but look completely different to ours.
The next point was the unmissable tourist attraction, Bryggen. This neighborhood with old wooden houses serving as warehouses from the Hanseatic League period (since the 14th century) is an UNESCO World Heritage site and the reconstruction of the houses with traditional techniques is still undergoing, with a predicted conclusion date in 2019. The buildings suffered a huge fire in 1702 that destroyed most of the houses and some houses were built after this fire. Today the neighborhood has lots of fancy shops in the old houses and even hotels, composing a maze of narrow alleys through the wood that is quite charming and unique.
At around mid-day there was a free organ concert at the Domkirke, the Cathedral. It is undergoing construction works and the inside is not so astonishing as Johanneskirke but still worth taking a look. However, so tired I was, I was falling asleep during the concert. After the concert, in order to wake up, we walked to the Bergenhus Fortress, with a pleasant park with a medieval wall and defense tower. Having had lunch here is was incredible to watch the cruise boats in the harbour and how gigantic they are! Also extra points in the fortress for having the only non-paid bathroom I saw in Bergen (be prepared to pay 10 NOK almost everytime you wish to go to a public bathroom).
The next activity was taking the funicular to the Mount Floyen, the Floibana. We only took a one-way ticket since we planned to go down by foot and this cost 450 NOK. The funicular is quite fast going up to 320 meters above sea level and the views over the city are stunning! Bergen really has a unique urban organization shaped by the sea and the mountains like I never saw before.
The area of Mount Floyen has several hiking trails and a lake we didn’t go to, but we managed to go to the Troll Park. The trolls are supernatural creatures of the Norse mythology and were assumed to live in mountains or caves and were not nice to humans. However, in Frozen they were depicted as quite nice and I am curious for the new Dreamworks movie, Trolls, they are so cute! Actually my favorite song of Frozen is “Fixer-upper”, the one where the trolls appear, so I was quite curious to hang around the statues. Some are a bit creepy and with all the fog the scenery was more daunting but it was quite fun!
The weather was perfect to hike down to the city center and the hike was awesome! It took about 45 minutes to reach the city and we passed through wonderful viewpoints and lots of ferns, reminding me of Sintra, Portugal, where I come from. I strongly recommend you save 450 NOK on the way down in the funicular to make this hike!
It was already 5:30 PM and we were incredibly tired so we headed towards our AirBnB. It was 30 minutes walking from the train station and it is located in the south part of the city. You can check the place here, I totally recommend it for your stay in Bergen! It was super useful to cook, within a 10 minute walking distance to the closest supermarket. While the host wasn’t there, she provided us with all the instructions for a great stay!
We got back to Bergen for a night and a morning about 3 days later and stayed in a different AirBnB but also with a great host then. I will talk about it in a later post. I have to say we were incredibly lucky in our day in Bergen because there was not a single drop of rain despite the cloudy weather! In the other days in Norway we were not that lucky as you can see in my next post about it next Tuesday 😉
Curious to go to Bergen? What would you like to see the most? Would you recommend any place not featured in this day plan?
Liked it? Pin it!