A Wonderful Weekend in Bergen, Norway

A Wonderful Weekend in Bergen, Norway

October 05, 2016

Since spending one semester of my student life in Germany 5 years ago, I’ve always wanted to return to Europe. There are so many places around Europe to explore and this June, I finally made it to the Scandinavian countries. I love Bergen so much because of its lush, green mountains and gorgeous fjords surrounding the city. Bergen is Norway’s second largest city, but I’m enchanted by its small-town charm and atmosphere. The locals are generally friendly and happy to direct you to their favourite local attraction or eatery. With numerous museums, art galleries, cultural events and dining options in Bergen, this is a vibrant city that will never bore you. Read on if you’ll like to know what you can do in Bergen over the weekend!


10:00am on a Saturday Morning – Bergenhus Fortress, Haakon’s Hall and Rosenkrantz Tower


bergen-fortress

bergen-fortress-dungeon-basement

bergen-fortress-grand-hall-basement

bergen-fortress-stairwell

bergen-fortress-weapons-war

Bergenhus Fortress was completed in 1261 and stands as one of the oldest and best preserved castles in Norway. Haakon’s Hall, built in Gothic style, is a surviving part of the royal palace built by King Haakon IV Haakonsson, which served as one of two banqueting halls in Bergenhus Fortress. It was used during the wedding of King Magnus Haakonsson and Danish princess Ingebjorg Eriksdatter on 11 September 1261. The hall was unfortunately, hit by several fires, the first one as early as 1266. In 1429, it was captured and burnt by the pirates – Victual Brothers and underwent rebuilding. The most severe damage was done on 20 April 1944 when a Dutch ship in the service of German navy, carrying over 120 tons of dynamite, accidentally exploded whilst docked on the harbour outside the walls of Bergenhus Fortress. Restoration took place in the 1950s and the hall was reopened on 11 September 1961, the 700th anniversary of its first use. It is now occasionally used for concerts and official banquets.

The other building that survived in Bergenhus Fortress is the Rosenkrantz Tower – a massive 13th century tower that was completely restored in the 16th century. This building contained dungeons on the ground floor, governor’s residential rooms on higher floors and positions for cannons on the top floor. The tower was converted to a magazine for gunpowder between 1740s to 1930s but serves as a tourist attraction that has been opened to the public since 1966.

Haakon’s Hall is priced at NOK80 ($14SGD) (adult) and NOK40 ($7SGD) (student) while Rosenkrantz Tower is also priced at NOK80 ($14SGD) (adult) and NOK40 ($7SGD) (student). You get free admission with the Bergen Card.

Here’s some advice
Due to uneven terrain and lots of climbing up steep steps, there are no pathways for wheelchair and baby pram users so visitors are advised to bring a baby carrier for younger children. Do watch your steps as the spiral stairs are very narrow. Do crouch down while navigating your way in the dungeon as it is quite dark and the ceiling isn’t high.

Details
Address: Vagen, 5003 Bergen, Norway
Opening Hours: Depends on the Season. Haakon’s Hall opens from 12pm to 3pm daily from 1 January to 14 May and from 10am to 4pm daily from 15 May to 15 September. Rosenkrantz Tower opens from 12pm to 3pm only on Sundays from 16 September to 22 December.

How to get there
It’s hard to miss this huge attraction which is about 10 minutes walk from Bryggen.


12:00pm on a Saturday Afternoon – Stroll along Bryggen before having lunch at The Fish Market


bryggen-houses

bryggen-shophouses

bergen-fish-market

bergen-fish-market-paella

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. Bryggen has many museums and restaurants to offer and if you walk further down the road, making a right turn at the end, you’ll arrive at Bergen’s 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. I was recommended to try a local dish, “Bacalao Stew”. Bacalao stew consists of salt, dried cod, bathed in rich tomato broth and nestled amongst broken tomatoes and chunks of potatoes. Some people might find this stew pungent but I love the rich flavours which finish with a spicy kick.

Here’s some advice
Bryggen and The Fish Market are usually very crowded so take extra 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.

Details
Address: Strandkaien 3, 5013 Bergen, Norway (Fisketorget)
Telephone Number: +47 5555 2000
Opening Hours:
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 Bryggen, as well as, the Fish Market.


03:00pm on a Saturday Afternoon – Discover Bergen on foot and Relax with some Shopping


bergen-pond

bergen-stroll

bergen-museum-pond

bergen-shopping-city

bergen-shopping

Lille Lungegardsvann Lake, with its fountains surrounded by the tranquil greenery and pretty flowers, lies in the centre of Bergen. There are numerous galleries lining this picturesque lake and offers visitors permanent and changing exhibitions throughout the year. Different galleries feature different collections of unique Norwegian and international art treasures ranging from the classical to the contemporary. Check which museum fees are included in the Bergen Card so you can make full use of your purchase.

Bergen also has lots of offer when it comes to shopping! If you hop off a bus at Olav Kyrres Gate, Festplassen or Torget, you’ll be smacked right in the heart of Bergen’s major shopping district. There are large and fashionable shopping malls like Galleriet, Bergen Storsenter and Kloverhuset with stores within all categories.

Here’s some advice
Make sure you don’t overbuy and end up paying extra at the airport for your overweight check-in luggages but besides this, shop till you drop!

Details
Galleriet
Address: Torgallmenningen 8, 5014 Bergen, Norway
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 9am to 9pm. Sat 9am to 6pm. Closed on Sundays.
Website: http://galleriet.com/

Bergen Storsenter
Address: Stromgaten 8, 5015 Bergen, Norway
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 9am to 9pm. Sat 9am to 6pm. Closed on Sundays (check website for a few selected shops that are open).
Website: http://www.bergenstorsenter.no/

Kloverhuset
Address: Strandgaten 13-15, 5013 Bergen, Norway
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 10am to 8pm. Saturday 10am to 6pm. Closed on Sundays.
Website: http://www.kloverhuset.no/


06:00pm on a Saturday Evening – Dinner at Harbour Café


bergen-harbour-cafe-mussels

Harbour Café offers a fusion of American-Bergen inspired dishes but the atmosphere is more towards American-style. Somehow, it reminded me a little of Hardrock Café. There are both indoor and al fresco dining so of course, I went for al fresco since you get the view of Bergen’s magnificent coast. There’s also a bar on the ground floor. I had the mussels soaked in white wine sauce and it was superb, one of the freshest and tastiest mussels I’ve ever devoured.

Here’s some advice
You don’t have to tip the waiters and waitresses as the locals explained that people working in the service industry in Bergen gets paid a lot.

Details
Address: Torget 9, Bergen, Hordaland
Telephone Number: +47 5530 0900
Opening Hours: Mon-Thu 11am to 12.30am. Fri&Sat 11am to 2.30am. Sun 1pm to 12.30am.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/harbourcafebergen/

How to get there
This restaurant is located at the intersection of Bryggen and the Fish Market.


09:00am on a Sunday Morning – Hike up Mount Ulriken before lunching at the restaurant at the top


bergen-mount-ulriken-hike-view-from-top

bergen-mount-ulriken-hike

bergen-mount-ulriken-climb

bergen-mount-ulriken

Hiking in Bergen is a must and Mount Ulriken is the highest of the seven mountains surrounding Bergen. There are a couple of different routes to the top of Ulriken, mainly starting either from Montana or Ulriken Cable Car. Using Montana as my start and end point, I took the easier path up and the scenic path (which is more challenging) down. Take Bus Number 12 from the city centre to Montana and just follow the signs to Montana Hostel. Turn right at the hostel and follow the gravel road uphill. There are a few different paths you can take up to Mount Ulriken at the end of the gravel road. The path on the right has a steep climb so I wouldn’t recommend this if you have children tagging along.

If you want to begin from Ulriken Cable Car, you can take a bus to Haukeland Hospital from the Exhibition Shopping Centre in the city centre. Upon alighting, walk across the footbridge and follow the signs to Ukriksbanen. The path to the top of Ulriken begins just behind the cable car. You’ll start ascending stairs before reaching the forested area. Along the way, the path is marked with signs, “Ulriken Up”. Make a left turn upon reaching the first plateau before the red house. If you keep to the right and cross a small bridge, you’ll arrive at Montana’s parking lot and the rest of the route is similar to what I’ve explained above.

I took approximately 1.5 hours up but calculate a little more time if your children are tagging along. Although the climb is steep and exhausting, I felt accomplished and satisfied after being rewarded with impressive views along the way and not to forget, the most photogenic spot at the top of Mount Ulriken where you get incredible panoramic views of Bergen. Take a break and enjoy the food and scenery at the restaurant at the top of Mount Ulriken before making your descend. You can choose to hike back down or take the Cable Car back or if you’re still feeling energized and adventurous, continue across the Vidden trail to Mount Floyen, which takes about 5 hours.

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.


02:00pm on a Sunday Afternoon – Bergen Aquarium (Akvariet i Bergen)


bergen-aquarium

bergen-aquarium-seal-performance

bergen-aquarium-penguin-swimming

bergen-aquarium-penguins

bergen-aquarium-crocodile

bergen-aquarium-reptiles-enclosure

bergen-aquarium-fishes

bergen-aquarium-finding-nemo

bergen-aquarium-threat-to-ocean

Opened in 1960, Bergen Aquarium is home to many different land and sea animals in more than 50 large and small enclosures. Besides creatures that live along the Norwegian coasts, you can meet animals like crocodiles, snakes, lizards and common marmosets in the aquarium’s tropical section. There’s a touch pool where you get to feel the skin texture of starfish and other fishes. There are some performances by animals like penguins, sea lions, seals, just to name a few. I really liked the design of each aquarium and there’s even a section to educate visitors about the importance of saving our ocean. Get ready to be mesmerized by the colourful underwater world when you visit Bergen Aquarium!

Ticket price from 1 May to 31 August is NOK250 ($43SGD) for adults and NOK175 ($30SGD) for children between the ages of 3 to 13 years old. Ticket price from 1 September to 30 April is NOK200 ($35SGD) for adults and NOK150 ($26SGD) for children between the ages of 3 to 13 years old. With the Bergen Card, you get a 25% discount on your entry from 1 March to 31 October and entry is completely free from 1 November to 28 February.

Here’s some advice
Families with children, do note that knocking on the glass windows of the enclosures/aquariums are prohibited. Check the show times and plan your trip beforehand in order not to miss any performance or exhibit. Check the opening hours before visiting as it depends on the season.

Details
Address: Nordnesbakken 4, 5005 Bergen, Norway
Telephone Number: +47 5555 7171 / +47 9224 4511
Opening Hours:
1 September to 30 April Mon-Wed & Fri 10am to 4pm. Thu, Sat & Sun 10am to 6pm.
1 May to 31 August 9am to 6pm daily.
Website: http://www.akvariet.no/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Akvariet
Email: post@akvariet.no

How to get there
Bergen Aquarium is about 20 minutes’ walk from the Fish Market. You can walk along the coast till the end. You can also take the Hop On/Off buses from Bergen city centre from May to September or take shuttle bus number 11 to Akvariet.

There you have it – a wonderful weekend in Bergen! My heart will always be with this city and I hope you will enjoy Bergen as much as I did.

Related posts

Cauayan Resort Restaurant – Indulge in a Feast of the Island’s Unique Flavours (Promo Code Available!)

Besides sharing about my resort and spa experiences, I’m going to entice you with the delicious cuisine at the Cauayan Resort Restaurant.

Read more
5 Amazing Places to Visit in Southern Cebu – Fly with Cebu Pacific Air to Make the Most out of Your Trip

Southern Cebu boasts refreshing waterfalls, beautiful underwater life, incredible hills and other breathtaking sights and experiences!

Read more
Cauayan Resort Spa – Pamper Yourselves with Signature Island Massages (Promo Code Available!)

Look forward to rejuvenating yourselves with signature massages that soothe your entire body, relax the mind and invigorate the soul at Cauayan Resort Spa.

Read more

4 Comments

Leonor Fundora

February 08, 2018 at 10:38 am. Reply

I am extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Anyway keep up the excellent quality writing, it’s rare to see a great blog like this one these days..

    alexis

    February 09, 2018 at 7:25 pm. Reply

    Hi Leonor, thanks so much! It really means a lot to me. The theme is paid but mostly designed by me. I’ll keep improving, and I hope you’ll continue to follow my adventures around the world (:

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hi! I’m Alexis!

I’m a true-blue Singaporean who loves travel, photography, and food. I left my career in accountancy in 2014 to become a globetrotter. Since then, I’ve travelled to over 20 countries and have checked many adventures off my bucket list. I hope my readers will benefit from my first hand perspective of the trips.

Read more

Follow my adventures

Join my email list and get exclusive updates and news straight to your inbox.