20 Things To Do In Bergen

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Bergen is one of the most beautiful cities in Norway for its location and its architecture. Fjords, mountains and forests surround the city. Bergen has always been a popular fishing port, with its traditional wharf area now transformed into a trendy neighbourhood filled with culture and restaurants. Considered Norway’s second city, there are plenty of things to do in Bergen and like the capital Oslo, it is an ideal destination to combine a city break and a natural retreat.

Explore Bryggen, a small city with houses dating back to the 13th century, for a sense of history. Here you will find many independent shops, hidden cafes and picturesque views over the water and of the colourful buildings. The site is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so take your camera and enjoy a day exploring. However, the city’s architecture is much more than 13th-century buildings, as Bergen seamlessly transitions between the ancient and modern. This combination, offering preservation to narrow cobbled streets lined with wooden houses to glistening glass structures, gives Bergen a great atmosphere.

While in Bergen, celebrate its fishing history at the fish market or by ordering fresh and locally caught seafood dishes at one of the city’s many excellent seafood restaurants. There are exciting things to do in Bergen City and the surrounding mountains to make your trip to Bergen extra special.

Bergen, Norway

Top Tours

Bergen: Sightseeing Cruise of Bergen's Historic Landmarks
Bryggen – Hanseatic Wharf in Bergen in winter.

20 Things To Do In Bergen

1- Wander Along The Hanseatic Wharf

view across the water of colourful buildings
Wandering along the Hanseatic wharf is one of the fun things to do in Bergen County for adults who love shopping.

Bergen’s Hanseatic Wharf is a must-visit destination during your city break.

The area, known as Bryggen, is the oldest part of the city, with some buildings dating back to the 13th century.

The wharf area was once an important part of the city’s Hanseatic League trading centre, with many boats arriving here to offload their catches.

Today the area has been extensively rebuilt following fire damage to transform it into a site of historical importance and one of the coolest areas in the city to visit.

The wooden buildings are brightly coloured, with many finished in vibrant yellow and orange paints, with some overlooking the water.

Stroll along the water’s edge to admire the views before settling in a cosy cafe with a cup of coffee and something sweet.

Bryggen is an area of Bergen.

Recommended tours:

2- Enjoy The View From Mount Fløyen

Mount Floyen View Bergen
Enjoying the stunning view from Mount Floyen is one of the best things to do in Bergen to get your bearings.

Another of the seven mountains overlooking Bergen to visit is Mount Fløyen, where you will find the best panoramic views across the city, over the other mountains and out towards the fjord.

The summit is accessible following a short ride on the scenic Fløibanen funicular.

Once at the top of the mountain, make the most of the views and take plenty of pictures of the panorama.

A restaurant at the top serves a range of delicious local dishes, a cafe for coffees, cakes and light bites, and a shop offering a range of souvenirs.

A playground for young children is also available, with a large troll sculpture perfect for fun photo opportunities.

Mount Fløyen can be accessed from the Fløibanen funicular stop at Vertrlidsalmenning 23 A, 5014 Bergen.

Recommended tour: Bergen: City Sightseeing, Fjord Cruise & Mt Fløyen Funicular

3- Visit Bergenhus Fortress

Bergenhus Fortress is one of the most impressive historical buildings in the city and a key landmark to visit.

King Haakon IV built the fortress during the 1200s, with only King Haakon’s Hall remaining from the original structure.

The fortress spans three floors, with the most impressive being the large hall on the top floor, offering excellent views over the water.

In an old storehouse next to the fortress is the Bergenhus Fortress Museum, where a range of exhibits documenting the fortress’s history are displayed.

Here you will find artefacts from the fortress when it was actively used as a defensive post for the port, as well as exhibitions documenting Bergen’s WWII Resistance and the role women played in the city’s defence.

Bergenhus Fortress is at 5003 Bergen.

Recommended tour: 24-Hour Bergen Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour

4- Take To The Water On A Fjord Tour

One of the best things to do when visiting a Norwegian city on the edges of a fjord is to take a guided cruise across the waters.

Set sail from Bergen, explore the Osterfjord, Mostraumen strait, and see beautiful waterfalls cascading over the cliffs.

If visiting in winter, the surrounding mountains will be covered in snow and ice, creating a magical and beautiful landscape with still mirrored waters.

Many cruises departing from Bergen have open decks offering crisp and welcoming fresh air, better views of the surrounding landscape, and onboard cafes with a range of drinks and snacks to purchase.

Fjord tours depart from the Bergen Express Boat Terminal, Strandkaien, 5013 Bergen.

Recommended tours:

5- Soak Up History While Wandering The Gamle Bergen Museum

Bergen: City Tour on Foot
Exploring the Hanseatic Museum is one of the top things to do in Bergen.

Gamle Bergen Museum is the perfect family-friendly destination to explore the old streets of Bergen and become immersed in the city’s history.

Located inside the historic UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bryggen, Gamle Bergen Museum transports visitors back to the 19th century in an outdoor museum filled with buildings from the time.

There are 50 buildings within the museum, including homes, a dentist’s office and a schoolhouse, with many of the buildings open to explore inside.

As you walk around, costumed guides will share tales of the old city with you, with some live performances throughout the day showing what life would have been like.

Gamle Bergen Museum is at Elsesro, Nyhavnsveien, Bergen.

Recommended tour: Bergen: City Tour on Foot

6- Climb Mount Ulriken

Mount Ulriken
Climbing Mount Ulriken is one of the top things to do from Bergen Norway.

Mount Ulriken is the highest mountain surrounding Bergen and is perfect for exploring the city’s natural surroundings, enjoying a hike or seeing the city’s beauty from another angle.

The mountain is 643m (2109ft) above sea level, with its summit reachable following a hike or using the Ulriksbanen cable car.

The cable car is a great way to begin your journey up the mountain, as each car has large glass windows offering excellent views over the area below.

Once you arrive at the summit, there are impressive views over the city below and a restaurant serving seasonal dishes.

The cable car station to reach Mount Ulriken is at Haukelandsbakken 40, 5009, Bergen.

7- Grab A Bite At The Fish Market

Bergen: Guided Fishing Tour with Outdoor Cooking
Eating fresh seafood in the fish market is one of the top things to do in Bergen county today.

For the best fresh fish and seafood meals in Bergen, visit the Fish Market.

The market is highly popular with locals and visitors and is one of the most visited outdoor markets in the country.

As well as selling a range of freshly caught fish, the market also has stalls where local fruit and vegetable sellers sell their produce.

Inside the market are many street food stalls and restaurants specialising in fish.

The inside market is open year-round, while the outside market is open during summer.

Fish Market is at Torget 5, 5014 Bergen.

Recommended tour: Bergen: Guided Fishing Tour with Outdoor Cooking

8- Visi Troldhaugen

Troldhaugen In Bergen
Visiting Troldhaugen is one of the things to do today in Bergen county.

Hire a car or book a local tour and take the short journey from Bergen to Troldhaugen, a magnificent villa with an important musical history.

Built in 1885, Troldhaugen became the home of renowned Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg.

The villa houses the Edvard Grieg museum and documents the 22 years he spent living at the house, with rooms set up from the time, a shop and cafe, and a concert hall that holds regular performances featuring Grieg’s music.

When visiting, explore the garden hut where many of Grieg’s best-known works were composed.

Troldhaugvegen 65, 5232 Paradis.

9- See The KODE Collections

KODE is the first museum in Norway to be dedicated to an extensive art collection.

Wilhelm F.K. Christie established the museum in 1825 to display works of art and artefacts of cultural significance.

The museum was expanded over the years to include four buildings located close together within Bergen and a collection of homes belonging to composers across the surrounding area.

Within Bergen, Lysverket, Rasmussen Meyer, Stenersen and Permanenten are KODE museums dedicated to the arts.

Each museum offers something different, whether focusing on a particular period with art history, rotating temporary exhibitions from local and international artists, or being dedicated to the works of one particular culture.

Exploring KODE’s variety of art is a great way to spend a day in Bergen.

  • KODE Lysverket is at Rasmus Meyers allé 9, 5015 Bergen.
  • KODE Rasmus Meyer is at Rasmus Meyers allé 7, 5015 Bergen.
  • Kode Stenersen is at Rasmus Meyers allé 3, 5015 Bergen.
  • Kode Permanenten is at Nordahl Bruns gate 9, 5014 Bergen.

10- Step Back In Time At The Hanseatic Museum

The Hanseatic Museum informs visitors about the Hanseatic merchants’ role in Bergen’s port areas from the 13th century.

The Hanseatic Merchants arrived in Bergen from Northern Germany during the 13th century and traded in the port area of Bryggen for more than 400 years.

Inside the museum is a range of exhibits documenting the life of the merchants, their daily working tasks, and how they helped develop and transform the Bryggen area.

Guided tours of the museum are available and are led by knowledgeable guides.

After exploring the museum, head out into Bryggen itself to get a feel for the area, which still includes the narrow cobblestone streets and traditional wooden buildings built during the time of the Hanseatic merchants.

Hanseatic Museum is at Øvregaten 50, 5003 Bergen.

11- Get Hands-on At VilVite Science Museum

VilVite, Bergen’s science centre and museum, is the place for a hands-on and exciting science-filled family day out.

The exhibitions inside are hands-on, creating a great interactive day out for adults and children alike.

The exhibits offer a look at the bottom of the ocean, allow you to feel physics in action in their 360-degree looped cycle track and participate in a range of daily experiments and tests in the workshops.

One of the museum’s latest exhibits focuses on how nature is interconnected and how people can positively impact the environment by supporting the plants and living creatures that help create our ecosystem.

VilVite Science Museum is at Thormøhlens Gate 51, 5006 Bergen.

12- See The Fantoft Stave Church

Stave Church
Admiring the architecture of Fantoft stave is one of the things to do in Bergen Norway.

Stave Churches can be found across Norway and are traditionally built using wood.

Fantoft Stave Church is a beautiful example of this architectural style and is surrounded by trees in Bergen.

The church was built in 1170 in nearby Fortun before being moved to Fantoft in 1883.

A fire destroyed much of the church in 1992, however, extensive renovations and repairs have allowed it to return to its former glory.

The church is only open during the summer months for guided tours and visits, however, it can be visited externally at any time of the year.

The church is one of the most Instagrammed locations in the city.

Fantoft Stave Church is at Fantoftvegen 38, 5072 Bergen.

13- Enjoy A Michelin Star Dinner at BARE

Enjoy dinner at the Michelin Starred BARE for the ultimate luxury dining experience in Bergen.

BARE prides itself on serving western Norway’s best dishes, all using locally sourced organic ingredients.

BARE serves a varied tasting menu, with carefully paired wine packages as an extra.

Their tasting menu includes a variety of small dishes, including their popular Oscietra Caviar, fresh scallops and sea crayfish from nearby Bøvågen, and sweet offerings, including rhubarb, waffle ice cream and coffee snaps to complete the meal.

Each dish is artfully, thoughtfully presented and served in a modern and pristine setting.

The restaurant is set inside the former Chamber of Commerce, with its dining areas preserving many of the building’s original features.

Tables must be booked months in advance as the restaurant gets incredibly popular, however, it is possible to book a place on their waiting list.

BARE is at Torgallmenningen 2, 5014, Bergen.

14- See The Royal Residence, Gamlehaugen

A must-visit landmark in Bergen is Gamlehaugen, the official residence of the King of Norway.

Jens Zetlitz Monrad Kielland designed the home in 1899 in the late medieval style.

Due to its design style, the royal residence is often mistaken for a castle and a fortress as it has turrets and high towers.

Surrounding the home is a park filled with a wide variety of plants, trees and shrubbery and is open to the public throughout much of the year.

Only the ground-floor state rooms are open to the public during summer.

Gamelhaugen is at Gamlehaugvegen 10, Bergen.

15- Get Up Close To Aquatic Creatures In Bergen Aquarium

Explore life under the sea at Bergen Aquarium for the perfect family day out.

There are more than 60 large tanks in the aquarium filled with various fascinating sea creatures.

There are even tanks dedicated to the natural aquatic life from Norway’s coastal and fjord waters, including cod.

At the aquarium, you will find sea lions, penguins, tropical fish, rare fish and other creatures from various habitats.

The aquarium regularly holds feeding demonstrations of its creatures, educational films and other hands-on experiences for visitors to get close to the marine life.

Bergen Aquarium is at Nordnesbakken 4, 5005 Bergen.

16- Explore the Troll Forest

While Mount Fløyen is popular for its funicular and incredible views, many miss out on one of its greatest attractions: spending time in the Troll Forest.

The pathway through the Troll Forest is gentle and downhill, making it perfect for families with younger children.

As you stroll through the Troll Forest, pause in its clearings, admire the plants, and, most importantly, look out for trolls.

The forest is filled with carvings of trolls, with some hidden away, making for a great day of searching the trees for these elusive creatures.

Inside the forest, you will also uncover hidden waterfalls, trees perfect for climbing, and plenty of picturesque spots.

Troll Forest is accessible after reaching the summit of Mount Fløyen.

Take the funicular to the top and look out for the signposts.

17- Shop in Marken

Marken is a long cobblestone street in the city’s centre that is perfect for a day of shopping.

Marken is easily accessible as the street leads directly from the train station.

The street has many old and architecturally interesting buildings transformed into cosy cafes, inviting restaurants and plenty of shops.

The shops are mostly independent, offering a variety of items including clothing, jewellery, handcrafted items and homeware.

After enjoying the shops and purchasing a range of interesting souvenirs from your trip, look for a cafe with a window or, if visiting in summer outdoor seating, to sip coffee while watching the world go by.

Marken is at Marken, Bergen.

18- Check Out The Fløibanen Funicular

The Floibanen Funicular with city at the bottom of the hill
Riding the Floibanen Funicular is one of the fun things to do in Bergen.

Despite Fløibanen Funicular taking many visitors up and down Mount Fløyen each day to see the sights from the top, the funicular itself is a popular tourist attraction and worth a visit in its own right.

The funicular has ferried interested visitors to the top of the mountain for over 100 years, offering spectacular views over the city and the fjord as you ascend.

The funicular also makes the mountain more accessible, as hikes to the top are a little more strenuous and require good physical health.

Fløibanen Funucular is at Vetrlidsalmenning 23 A, 5014 Bergen.

Recommended tour: Bergen: City Sightseeing, Fjord Cruise & Mt Fløyen Funicular

19- Get ready for Christmas at Julehuset

Every day is Christmas at Bergen’s Christmas specialty store, Julehuset.

The shop is open year-round, offering a large selection of Christmas decorations for your tree and around your home to add Norwegian magic to your celebrations.

Julehuset also has an extensive collection of ‘Nisse’, the Norwegian Santa Claus, and more globally typical Christmas decorations such as lights, tree stands and baubles. 

The store is set inside a beautiful traditional wooden building painted a festive red in the historic Bryggen district.

Julehuset is at Holmedalsgården 1, 5003 Bergen.

20- Meet Local Vendors In Kjøttbasaren Market

While Bergen is primarily known for its fish, one of its most iconic buildings is the city’s old meat market.

Founded in 1872, the market is set inside a vast, ornate building with a beautiful white crenellated roof contrasting against the rich red brick exterior.

Stalls sell meats, vegetables, fish, and bakery inside the market. 

On the first floor, there are a variety of restaurants and food stalls offering a wide variety of tasty dishes, including some Norwegian specialities.

Kjøttbasaren Market is at Vetrlidsallmenningen 6, Bergen.

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Sarah Hyde was born and raised in Auckland, New Zealand. Now based in Innsbruck, Austria, she is getting out to experience Europe every chance she gets. When Sarah was in high school she spent a year living in Toronto, Canada, and hasn't stopped travelling since. She has explored India, Sri Lanka, Singapore, and spent several months of 2020 in Covid lockdown in the village of Sidi Kaouki, Morocco. After hiking Te Araroa, New Zealand, in 2022 she developed a love for solo-hiking and thinks it's one of the best ways to really get to know a new country! Since then, she has gone on to hike Rota Vicentina in Portugal, and Haute Route from Switzerland to France, two incredible adventures. When she's not travelling, you’ll find her writing or reading. Sarah has a Bachelor of Communication Studies from the University of Waikato in New Zealand, as well as a law degree.