Bergen is an international city full of history and tradition, a city with small-town charm and atmosphere. Bergen offers you the ideal combination of nature, culture and exhilarating city life.
Bryggen - the Hanseatic wharf
Bergen's first buildings were erected along the old, Hanseatic wharf, Bryggen, which has been a lively and important part of the city through the centuries. This site, which features on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, comprises the remains of the old harbour buildings and is one of the best known medieval city settlements in Norway.
The Hanseatic merchants dominated Bryggen for 400 years. The area has been ravaged by fire repeatedly. Walking through the narrow alleyways and dark external galleries is like travelling back in time. At Bryggen the Hanseatic Museum and Schøtstuene, the Hanseatic assembly rooms, give an intimate picture of the life of a Hanseatic merchant.
Bryggens Museum based on the archaeological excavations of Bryggen, illustrates commerce, handicrafts and daily life in the Middle Ages. Next to the museum lies the twelfth century St. Mary’s Church, the oldest building in Bergen. Bryggen also houses the Theta Museum of the Resistance Movement during the Occupation of Norway during World War II.
Watch this video from Bergen:
The Royal Residence
The Royal Residence and banqueting hall, Håkon’s Hall, was built by King Håkon Håkonsson from 1247 and 1261. It is situated adjacent to the Rosenkrantz Tower, which dates from the 1270s. The tower has been extended several times to act as a fortification and display of power vis-à-vis the headstrong Hanseatic merchants.
Fløibanen Funicular and the Fish Market
By taking the short ride with the Fløibanen Funicular from the city centre to the top of the Fløien Mountain (320 metres above sea level), you have a golden opportunity to view the city, the mountains, the fjords and the sea.
You may then take an easy walk through delightful scenery to bring you back down to the hustle and bustle of the Bergen Fish Market.
The old wooden houses which still survive and happily snuggle into the hillside, make wandering along the narrow passageways called "smau", a truly Bergen experience.
Bergen has several valuable and impressive art collections, housed in a string of galleries facing the central Lake Lille Lungegårdsvann. The galleries display international paintings and art treasures ranging from the classical to the contemporary. In this the gallery street you will find Bergen Art Museum which includes unique collection of Edvard Munch’s paintings, Bergen Contemporary Art Centre, and West Norway Museum of Decorative Art.
The Edvard Grieg Museum
Visit the Edvard Grieg Museum Troldhaugen, the home of Norway’s most famous composer, Edvard Grieg (1843-1907). Grieg lived here for 22 years and composed many of his best-known works in the little garden hut by the shore of Lake Nordås. Also visit the cliff-hewn tomb where he and his wife Nina are buried.
The house is now a museum filled with mementos of the composer’s life and its 1907 interior as Grieg knew it. In 1985, Troldsalen, a concert hall seating 200 people, opened for the performance of chamber music. A museum building with a multimedia room and cafeteria opened in 1995. Private concerts can be arranged, both in Grieg’s villa and in Troldsalen. There are public concerts several times a week during the summer and autumn.
Fantoft Stave Church
Close to Troldhaugen you will find Fantoft Stave Church. The old stave church, originally built in Fortun in Sogn in 1150 and moved to Fantoft in 1883, burnt down in 1992. Fantoft Stave Church has now been rebuilt just as it was before the fire.
Old Bergen Museum
Old Bergen Museum is an open air museum with more than 40 wooden houses representing Bergen architecture in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Bergen has two delightful eighteenth century manors now turned into museums:
- Damsgård Manor – the most splendid in the city – a unique example of wooden rococo architecture.
- Alvøen Country Mansion - the nucleus of the old industrial village of Alvøen.
In Bergen, you can also visit the aquarium to admire the seals and penguins, and to get a close view of all the remarkable creatures that live below the surface of the sea. In the tropical section, you can meet crocodiles, snakes, tortoises and marmosets.
Bergen Science Centre
The newest attraction in Bergen is Bergen Science Centre VILVITE. VILVITE is a natural science and technology visitor centre where you can go on a journey of exploration among 100 different apparatuses and experiments. Here you can feel the force of gravity as you cycle 360 degrees around a big ring, drill for oil, steer a ship or a submarine, forecast the weather in a weather studio and create today’s weather forecast.
Attractions suitable for children
- Barnas hus - a centre for children in Bergen city centre, activities every Saturday morning
- Bergen Aquarium
- Bergen Fish Market
- Bergen Museum
- Bergen's Museum of Technology
- City sightseeing by train
- Fløibanen Funicular
- Old Bergen Museum
- The Railway Museum and Steam Railway
- Vannkanten Waterworld
- VILVITE - Bergen Science Centre
The Bergen Card
With the Bergen Card, you can enjoy free bus travel within the city limits, free admittance to most museums and attractions and discounts on a variety of cultural and sightseeing attractions and parking. Learn more about the Bergen Card.
Attractions around Bergen
Bergen is the gateway to the fjords of Western Norway. Whether you only have time for a short sightseeing trip, or whether you want to see the area in more detail, there are plenty fjord tours & round trips from Bergen to provide you with unforgettable memories.
Tickets for sale at the tourist information centre.
Ole Bull's summer residence
Ole Bull’s beautiful villa, dating from 1872/73, lies on the island of Lysøen, approximately one hour from Bergen. The villa was the summer residence of this violin virtuoso. Popular concert venue. Transfer boat in regular service. Café.
The Coastal Museum in Øygarden
45 minutes west of Bergen lies the Coastal Museum. This is a cultural history museum of coastal life in the county of Hordaland, with an emphasis on resource- and energy use. The museum also presents a maritime environment with traditional buildings, boats and tools. Groups can book guided tours to the gas plant of Kollsnes and the salmon visitor centre of Øygarden.
Glesvær Trading Station
At Sotra in Sund municipality, 35 minutes from Bergen, you can visit Glesvær Trading Station which dates back to the seventeenth century. The building which now houses Glesvær Kafé was built in 1925 and is furnished with the original fittings from the old shop from around 1900.
Langøy Coastal Culture Centre
At Langøyna on the west side of the island of Sotra, sheltered from the wind and open sea, you will find Langøy Coastal Culture Centre, where you can learn about traditional livelihoods along the coast: Fishing and farming, with trading, postal and telephone services as extra means of income.
The Museum of the Norwegian Knitting Industry
Twenty kilometres from Bergen city centre you will find the Museum of the Norwegian Knitting Industry. Here you can take part in a guided tour of the old factory. You can visit the old carding, reeling, knitting and sewing rooms and see the old machinery in action. You can also watch a film about Salhus in which former employees recount what it was like to work at the factory. Salhus Tricotagefabrik was founded in 1859, and shut down in 1989. In 2001 the Museum of the Norwegian knitting industry opened in the old factory’s premises.
The Heathland Centre
On the way north, fifty kilometres from Bergen city centre, you will find the Heathland Centre at Lygra in Nordhordland. The Heathland Centre is an information and knowledge centre about the cultural landscape. Here, you can follow trails through the historical landscape that have existed along the coast for 5,000 years. Traditional food, including the speciality wild sheep, is served in distinctive premises. In 2001, the Heathland Centre was awarded UNESCO’s cultural landscape prize for its work on preserving the heathland landscape and in 2004 it received EuropaNostra’s cultural heritage prize.
Read more about all the exiting Bergen attractions, and get further tourist information at visitBergen's own site.