24 Fun-filled Hours in Bergen, Norway
November 02, 2016
“November is the pearl-grey month, the changeling between warm crimson October and cold white December, the month when the leaves fall in slow drifting whirls, and the shapes of the trees are revealed, when the earth imperceptibly wakes, and stretches her bare limbs and displays her stubborn unconquerable strength before she settles uneasily into winter. November is secret and silent.”
– Alison Uttley (British Writer)
I’ve always enjoyed reading such paragraphs but I can never come up with such a descriptive writing, with wonderful usage of words, making you imagine and play the entire scenario in your head. We’re almost nearing 2017 and it’s the time to take life easy and relax a little bit, a good excuse to plan for holidays too! I’ve previously shared about how you can spend a wonderful weekend in Bergen, so today, I’ll be giving you more information on how you can make the best out of 24 hours in Bergen!
I booked my Bergen accommodation with AirBnb and was very lucky to have been hosted by a friendly and helpful lady, Tamara. She’s from Canada but she knows Bergen at her fingertips. Thanks to her, I managed to see Bergen from a different angle as she brought me to the less touristy places and accompanied me to two different hiking trails. She has an amazing accommodation where you can catch the sunset and chill on the big hammock on her balcony that’s overlooking the fjords. The best part of this accommodation is the stunning view from the bedroom – believe me, you wouldn’t want to fall asleep! Without further ado, here’s what I did in Bergen in 24 hours!
10.00 am – Breakfast at Bergen Fish Market
Since the 1200s, Bergen Fish Market has attracted fishermen and merchants due to its accessible location right in the heart of the city. There are vendors selling super fresh fish, seafood, fruits and vegetables. I noticed many customers buying freshly boiled shrimps and eating by the waterfront, perhaps this is one of life’s simple pleasures.
Besides being famous for seafood, the vendors also sell meat, especially sausages of all sizes. You will find unique sausages, made from whale meat and reindeer meat. Don’t be surprised if you hear vendors crassly calling out, “Free Willy!” as they offer you a thick slab of whale sausage. The Norwegians have been whaling since Stone Age to the Middle Ages and they hunt the Minke Whale, a relatively small baleen whale which is not endangered, according to the International Whaling Commission and abundantly thriving in the Norwegian waters. Personally, I still don’t feel comfortable trying whale meat so I went for the reindeer sausage. It doesn’t taste that different from our usual sausages but I found it to be more flavoursome!
Here’s some advice
The Fish Market is usually very crowded so take good care of your belongings and sling your valuables in front. Although the Fish Market draws many people, you’ll come to realize that very few locals patronize this place. Bergen Fish Market’s products are highly priced as it’s the Number 1 tourist trap in Bergen today. You can get similar products in regular stores at a cheaper price. If you want to experience the genuine Bergen and its historic heritage, the Fish Market shouldn’t be on your list of places to visit. Do note that during winter season, there are very limited stalls open at the Fish Market.
Address: Strandkaien 3, 5013 Bergen, Norway (Fisketorget)
Telephone Number: +47 5555 2000
1 January to 30 April Mon-Sat 9am to 9pm and Sun 11am to 9pm.
1 May to 30 September 7am to 9pm daily.
During Winter Season, the open air fish market is open only on Saturdays from 9am to 3pm.
How to get there
Bergen Airport Bus stops in front of the Fish Market.
11.00 am – Explore Bryggen and The Hanseatic Museum
Since 1979, Bryggen has been on the UNESCO list for World Cultural Heritage site. This old wharf is a reminder of Bergen’s importance as part of the Hanseatic League’s trading empire from the 14th to the mid-16th century. The Hanseatic League established a total of 4 overseas Hanseatic Offices and Bryggen is the only one preserved today. Bryggen has been damaged by many fires, the last in 1955, and has been rebuilt after every fire, closely following old property structure, patterns and methods. Therefore, its main structure is preserved – a relic of ancient wooden urban structure that was once common in Northern Europe.
Walk down the different alleys along Bryggen and you’ll see artistic designs and wooden architecture that was re-built after the fire to resemble, as similar as possible, to how the structure once looked like in the past. Bryggen has many museums and restaurants to offer and if you walk further down the road, you’ll come to the Hanseatic Museum.
The Hanseatic League was a German trading company that operated in the North and Baltic Sea regions for several centuries. Between approximately 1360 and 1761, Hanseatic merchants from Northern Germany were running an office in Bryggen district and traded mainly with stockfish and grain. The Hanseatic Museum is one of the oldest and best maintained trading houses at Bryggen and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. It was constructed in 1704 in the style of the previous houses and most of its original furnishings have been preserved.
It consists of storage and processing rooms as well as offices, common rooms and bedrooms. The beds look super small as compared to our Queen or King sized beds nowadays and it makes me wonder how people managed to squeeze themselves and sleep so uncomfortably without being able to stretch out in bed. Better count ourselves lucky to be living in the 21st century! Each trading house was inhabited by a merchant, one journeyman and up to eight apprentices. Due to the considerable fire hazard the houses contained neither lights nor a heating system or kitchen. The museum has preserved this authentic atmosphere in many of its rooms.
Ticket Pricing is as follow: 100 NOK ($16.83 SGD) per adult, 70 NOK ($11.78 SGD) per student and kids 16 years old and below enter free of charge.
Here’s some advice
I recommend you to avoid this museum if you’re afraid of the extremely strong pungent fishy smell coming from the preserved stockfish. It’s quite dark in the museum so be careful when navigating around, especially when you’re climbing up and down the wooden stairs.
Address: Finnegarden 1a, 5003 Bergen
Telephone Number: +47 5300 6110
1 January to 30 April 11am to 3pm daily
1 May to 31 May 9am to 5pm daily
1 June to 31 August 9am to 6pm daily
1 September to 30 September 9am to 3pm daily
1 October to 31 December 11am to 3pm daily
How to get there
Bergen Airport Bus stops in front of Bryggen.
01.00pm – Lunch at Bryggeloftet & Stuene
Bryggeloftet & Stuene is perhaps the oldest family restaurant in Bergen that was started in 1910 when the property Bryggen 11 was built. This traditional local restaurant has a lot of character and stepping in brings you back to the olden days. If you prefer dining al fresco, you’ll get to enjoy views of Bergen’s Fish Market, a view towards Vagen and do some people watching. There’s even a fireplace that will be lit during winter so imagine the cozy ambience, especially when you have blankets and a cuppa hot coffee. Their menu is extensive with seafood and meat dishes, based on Norwegian traditions.
Try their Thursday afternoon specials – Saltkjott & Raspeballer – if you want a taste of local tradition. It is a dish of salted meat with potato dumplings. Through decades, this dish has become a classic and is a welcomed diversion for many of Bergen’s inhabitants. They also serve lamb fillet, rib-eye steak, venison fillet, whale steak and reindeer fillet. As mentioned above, I would never try whale steak so I went for the Reinsdyrfilet (365 NOK / $61.41 SGD). I try not to indulge in expensive meals when I’m travelling but when it comes to traditional restaurants, it’s once-in-a-lifetime for me! The fillet of reindeer is accompanied by asparagus, mushrooms, red onion chutney and game sauce. It was well-marinated and cooked medium-rare and so tender. I like dipping my reindeer fillet in the savoury game sauce before giving it a sweet finish by pairing with the berries. If you don’t have a budget to stick to, I would recommend Bryggeloftet & Stuene for their high standard of traditional Norwegian food.
Here’s some advice
Their menu has English translation so don’t worry about ordering strange food.
Address: Bryggen 11, N-5003 Bergen
Telephone Number: +47 5530 2070
Opening Hours: Mon-Thu 11am to 11.30pm. Fri&Sat 11am to 12am. Sun 1pm to 11.30pm.
03:00pm – Hike Up Stoltzekleiven
Hiking in Bergen is a must and the most convenient and easily accessible trail is Stoltzekleiven as it is located in the city centre. It might be a short hike but really tough as you have to ascend approximately 722 steps to get to the top! This trail is a popular training route among the locals and you’ll notice many locals running up and down the stairs while you’re taking your own sweet time up. There are two parts to this hike, beginning from an easy navigation along steep stone stairs. The higher you go, the better view you get. From the top of Stoltzekleiven, at an elevation of 313 meters, you get a gorgeous panoramic view of Sandviken and Byfjorden. Bring some snacks up and you can just enjoy the scenery while waiting for the sunset. Or, if you’re more adventurous, you can continue your hike to Mount Floyen.
Here’s some advice
Wear sportswear and weather-appropriate clothes with comfortable, good quality shoes, or waterproof hiking boots if you have. Bring a raincoat or waterproof jacket as the weather in the mountainous regions or Bergen changes within minutes. Apply sunscreen and bring more along to re-apply later on. Bring a cap/hat and sunglasses. Make sure you have sufficient food and water in your backpack. You should also obtain a map of Bergen’s mountain hiking trails, just in case. Lastly, remember to check the weather before you plan your hiking trip in Bergen. Stoltzekleiven trail is quite narrow and is a one-way street going up so be courteous and allow the locals who are training to pass by. It’s not recommended to hike Stoltzekleiven during winter as it can get slippery.
How to get there
You will find the start of Stoltzekleiven by Fjellveien 13, about 30 minutes’ walk from the city centre.
That’s how I spent 24 hours exploring Bergen. I usually avoid scheduling too many activities into a day so as to get as much time as possible at one spot and take in as much as possible. Hope my guide will be useful if you’re travelling to Bergen soon!
I am regular reader, how are you everybody?
This post posted at this site is genuinely good.
Aww, thanks for being so supportive! (: