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Bryggen in Bergen, Fjord Norway
Bryggen in Bergen.
Photo: Bergen Reiselivslag / Eivind Senneset /
Travel Trade

Hundreds of thousands of Condé Nast Traveler’s readers have placed the city alongside Vienna, Florence and Barcelona.

Published: 3 November 2017

Hundreds of thousands of Condé Nast Traveler’s readers have placed the city of Western Norway alongside Vienna, Florence and Barcelona.  

Every year the influential travel magazine Condé Nast Traveler, the self-proclaimed “global citizen’s bible and muse”, invites its readers to rank the world’s greatest travel experiences – including their favorite European cities.   

Some iconic big cities such as London, Paris and Rome are featured on the list annually. However, in this year’s survey – based on more than 300 000 reader votes, which is a new record – a few new destinations have made their way into the Top 20.

One of them is Bergen.

“A hotbed for culture”

Here’s how Condé Nast Traveler describes the Norwegian newcomer on the list:

“Norway’s second-largest city, Bergen is known for its pretty harbor, colorful Bryggen quarter, and “seven mountains,” which surround the town. The city is a hotbed for culture: One of Norway’s biggest events, the Bergen International Festival, has been held here every year since 1953, and showcases international and Norwegian music, dance, literature, visual arts, folklore, and more over the course of two weeks every spring.”

Stoltzen, Bergen
Stoltzen, Bergen.
Photo: Bergen Reiselivslag / Espen Haagensen -

The magazine facetiously teases a certain challenger in the East of Norway as well:

“Ten percent of Bergen residents are students, which means — shh — the city often feels livelier and more vibrant than big sibling (and capital) Oslo.”

The snowball effect

“It’s absolutely fantastic that Bergen has made this list,” says Bente Bratland Holm, Tourism Director at Innovation Norway, enthusiastically.

“It’s about time that a Norwegian city is placed on the Conde Nast-list, and it’s not a coincidence that that city is Bergen – after many years of deliberate focus. The fact that the readers themselves have voted Bergen onto the list, makes it even more valuable.

“This is great advertisement for Bergen and Norway – the type you can’t buy for money,” says Holm.

The Ulriken cable car in the foreground with Bergen city, Fjord Norway, in the background with the surrounding fjord and mountains.
Ulriken in Bergen.
Photo: Bergen Reiselivslag / Espen Haagensen /

Photo: Sónia Arrepia Photography /

Ole Warberg, the general manager of the Bergen Tourist Board, is – perhaps unsurprisingly – happy about his home city’s inclusion among the top European destinations.  

"Here in Bergen we have a history of doing well in surveys such as these. What separates this particular one from many others is that it’s based on votes from readers and travelers, which makes it interpretable as slightly more objective and true than the ones based on editoral choices," he says.   

Warberg believes the ranking could affect the flow of foreign visitors – not the least from the United States.

"With direct flights between Bergen and several American cities we’ve more than doubled the number of American tourists the last year. This might further contribute to a snowball effect."

Bergen ahead of Stockholm

At the very top of Condé Nast Traveler’s list we find Vienna, with Florence, Italy and Bruges, Belgium in the second and third place, respectively.  

The Scandinavian cities are ranked as follows: Copenhagen is number 16 on the list, with Bergen as number 19 and Stockholm last among the 20 cities.

While Oslo, as mentioned previously, is the subject of some good-natured teasing from Condé Nast Traveler this time around, there’s little reason for the Norwegian capital’s inhabitants to bow their in shame. In fact, recently Oslo was featured among the Top 10 cities for 2018 by another travel giant – Lonely Travel.  

Ole Warberg from the Bergen Tourist Board certainly has no intention of fuelling any rivalry between the two Norwegian cities.

"We’re happy for Oslo when they excel in surveys like these. Sometimes they do, and sometimes we do. But the better one of us do, the more it benefits all of us," he says.



Nordic Choice Hotels - a different hotel company

Thon Hotels - with fantastic breakfast

Hurtigruten -  "The World’s Most Beautiful Sea Voyage"

Widerøe - the largest regional airline in Scandinavia

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