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Bergen life hacks: Five things that make life in the city easier

Robin-Ivan Capar
Robin-Ivan Capar - [email protected] • 23 Nov, 2022 Updated Wed 23 Nov 2022 15:19 CEST
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We look at a few simple hacks that can make your life in Bergen less stressful. Photo by Alan Bowman / Unsplash

Life in Norway's second-largest city can be challenging at times. We've put together a list of life hacks to help you acclimate to day-to-day life in the "rain capital of Norway."

There are a lot of good reasons to move to Bergen. It's a dynamic but safe city with a thriving international community. It has fantastic and easily accessible nature, and the food – especially the seafood – is globally revered for its quality.

That being said, some elements of life in the city can present a challenge to newcomers. In this article, we look at five simple hacks that can make your life in Bergen – and the transition to the city – less stressful.

Managing food expenses

Norwegian cities are notoriously expensive – and Bergen is no exception. Eating out in Bergen is particularly costly, so if you want to save money, you need to start cooking your meals at home.

Make a habit of shopping at the Bunpriss, Extra, and Kiwi supermarket chains – higher-end chains, such as Meny, tend to be pricier, so avoid them if you're trying to live in Bergen on a budget.

Keep eating at restaurants and pubs at a minimum, as a dinner for two (with drinks included) can quickly end up costing you more than 1000 kroner, especially in the city centre.

If you want to treat yourself, consider going to a restaurant earlier in the day, preferably during lunchtime, as many places have more affordable lunch offers.

If you're renting a flat, try to get one that has a kitchen, and prepare your meals at home in advance. You'll end up saving a fortune.

Avoiding crowds

The locals know that many of the most beautiful spots in the city become overcrowded during the tourist season, which usually spans from May to August.

Therefore, if you want to enjoy the Old Town, the city centre, and the prettiest parks, make sure to make the most out of April and September when the tourist pressure subsides (at least to a certain degree).

Don't worry about missing out on the best weather – both early Spring and Autumn often provide locals with an abundance of lovely days without (or with minimal) rain.

One of the advantages of living in Bergen is that it offers excellent possibilities for day trips to islets and fjords where you'll almost certainly be able to enjoy some quiet and peaceful time in nature.

Austevoll, Osteroy, and Fensfjorden are all great options to escape the city buzz!

Always pack an umbrella or raincoat

Bergen is called the "rain capital of Norway" for a reason – it's the wettest city in the country! Due to its position – it's surrounded by seven mountains and situated on the coast – the city gets an obscene amount of rain every year.

According to some estimates, Bergen experiences more than 230 rainy days a year, making it virtually impossible to "wait out" the bad weather. Therefore, the locals have adapted a "rain can't stop me" attitude to life.

In order to avoid being stuck indoors all the time, you'd be well advised to do the same. Make sure to always pack an umbrella or a raincoat if you're heading out, as the Bergen weather can change multiple times in a single hour.

At a certain point – some people say it's after the first year of life in Bergen – you'll start to ignore the bad weather to a certain extent.

As the locals say, a bit of water and wind can't stop you if you're well dressed, so invest in water-resistant clothing, start wearing multiple layers of clothes, and you'll be well on your way to becoming a real bergenser (Bergen local) very soon.

Don't try to experience the city's nightlife before 10pm

Bergen's residents tend to take their time "warming up" at house parties before hitting the streets and enjoying the city's nightlife.

This makes sense as most (young) people are also looking to save money, and drinks in bars and pubs can be ludicrously expensive.

Partygoers in Bergen tend to arrive at popular nightlife venues after 10pm. So if you're there before 10, don't be surprised to find clubs half empty.

However, remember to make reservations for your group if you want to get a chance to spend the night in some of the more popular venues, especially on weekends. By 10.30pm, most places tend to be packed.

Pssst! Most venues close at 2 or 3am, so plan accordingly.

Get a dog and you'll be flocked with new friends

On sunny days in Bergen, you'd be forgiven for thinking that everyone in the city has a dog. While that certainly isn't the case, the city has a number of beautiful parks where dog owners routinely take their four-legged friends for walks.

Even if some Norwegians come off as reserved, you'll be amazed at how many locals will approach you if you're walking a dog.

So, if you're a dog owner or thinking about getting a dog, Bergen might be an amazing place for you to expand your social circle.

Whether it's getting to know the neighbours a bit better or meeting new people in local dog owner groups, having a dog can be your ticket to establishing new connections with people that share your love of animals.

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Robin-Ivan Capar 2022/11/23 15:19

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