Note that the third building is being refurbished. I love the way they maintain the integrity!
We actually had two days in Bergen, but one was devoted to cruising on a fjord to which I've devoted a separate post. So as not to waste any time, we caught an early SAS flight from Copenhagen and arrived well before noon.
There are several ways to get into Bergen from the airport. We chose the bus; "Flybussen" which takes about 30 minutes and costs about $15 (nothing is cheap in Norway). It dropped us off by the train station and we made the 5-10 minute walk from there to our hotel.
I loved this sign for the restrooms at the Bergen airport. And what's with the question mark? Well, the Bergen sign is the result of a competition won by an Icelandic artist. The letters stand 18 ft. tall and weigh 2.5 tons each. The question mark is intended to invoke a sense of curiosity and of anticipation of what can be experienced in the region. Interesting.
After checking in to our hotel, we spent the day exploring and shopping. I found Bergen to be delightful. Our first stop was the funicular, or "floibanen" which takes you to the top of the mountain for a spectacular, sweeping view of Bergen and the surrounding area.
For some reason, I didn't buy funicular tickets online from home. Probably because if the weather had been bad, we wouldn't have gone. We arrived late morning and the line was monstrous. Fortunately it moved, so we got to the front in about 20 minutes. A round trip ticket is about $11. The funicular line itself is almost 3,000' long and takes you up almost 1,000 ft. Nan and David walked up which I wouldn't recommend unless you're very fit (they are), but the scenery is lovely if you're so inclined. They remarked that there's a funicular stop about halfway up for those who can't or don't want to make the whole trip on foot. Good to know!
The weather in western Norway can be changeable and iffy, even in summer, so we were fortunate to have such a nice day. Don't miss this opportunity!
The funicular passes through several neighborhoods.
And...from above. There are a few hiking trails at the top for those who want to do some more exploration.
The information about the goats is so interesting. I wish we had seen them!
Once back down in Bergen, we had lunch and wandered around the shops at Byrggen and the fish market.
The black "cakes" are whale meat.
Every McDonald's should look like this one right in the center of Bergen!
This photo was taken after 9:00 pm. I love the light in Scandinavia at that time of the evening.
There was a quaint area of narrow, winding lanes on the hill just behind our hotel which I thoroughly enjoyed exploring. Scroll through below to take a walk through this lovely neighborhood.
I dare you to pronounce these street names!
That evening we had a glass of wine at an eclectic little pub called Vagal kaffe with a small outdoor courtyard, then dinner outside at Byrggen. What a nice end to a wonderful day!
They're everywhere in Norway and I fell in love with them. Trolls are a vibrant part of Norse mythology and are usually portrayed as sluggish and dim-witted. They turned up at the entrance to shops, hotels, train stations and I couldn't get enough of them!
The Thon Hotel Rosenkrantz
This was a winner; the location on a quiet street was perfect and the room was spacious and modern. It was just above Bryggen, so out of the tourist rush but a two minute walk down. Breakfast was included and indicated as continental, but there was a huge, full buffet. The rate was about $185 per night. I would stay there again. The photo at the bottom right was the view of the harbor from our room.
➜ Top Tips
One day in Bergen isn't enough, but it's what we had. Plan to spend two days at a minimum.
We didn't have time to visit the Hanseatic Museum. If I have the opportunity to visit Bergen again, it will be first on the list.
You can book fjord tours from Bergen. Given our experience, despite the gorgeous fjord we ended up at, I'd probably just book it from Bergen.
Be sure to go to the top of the mountain if the weather permits.