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The best things to do in Bergen on a winter's day

Robin-Ivan Capar
Robin-Ivan Capar - [email protected] • 21 Jan, 2023 Updated Sat 21 Jan 2023 10:22 CEST
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In this article, we will offer an overview of some of the best things Bergen has to offer in wintertime. Photo by Sharon Christina Rørvik on Unsplash

While Bergen's climate is somewhat mild because it is located on the coast and surrounded by mountains, it gets some serious snowfall every now and then. If you're strapped for ideas on what to do in the winter in Norway's second-largest city, we've got you covered.

Bergen residents rarely wake up to a thick snow cover in this coastal city, nestled between seven mountains.

However, this does tend to happen now and then during the winter months, leading to both locals and tourists looking into things to do on chilly winter days in Bergen.

If that's you, we've got you covered. In this article, we will offer an overview of some of the best things Bergen has to offer in wintertime.

Head for the mountains

Bergen is famous for its mountains. It's surrounded by seven of them, but two, in particular, are quite popular with both locals and tourists – Mount Fløyen and Ulriken mountain.

The two mountains offer breathtaking views of the city and its surroundings, and you can reach their summits without risking falls and bruises.

The Mount Fløyen funicular offers a comfortable and short ride (less than ten minutes) to the top of Fløyen from Bergen's Old Town. Once you reach the summit, enjoy the fantastic views and grab a hotdog or a cup of warm coffee (there are several places where you can get coffee or baked products on top of Fløyen as of the time of writing).

Ulriken is the highest of the seven mountains surrounding Bergen, so you'll be awarded with an even more magnificent winter view of the city if you decide to head for its summit. Once again, in snowy weather, it is recommended to take the cable car.

Once you successfully reach the top of Ulriken, grab a hot beverage to go at one of the on-site venues, and you'll be ready to enjoy one of the multiple scenic walking routes that are just a stone's throw away.

Enjoy a slow day at a café in the city centre

While Bergen's city centre is usually bustling with life, snowy winter days can make people more hesitant to roam about the streets, leading to a calmer city life vibe. 

Days like these offer the perfect opportunity to invite a friend for a cup of coffee in the centre. There are multiple places where you can meet friends at Torgallmenningen, Bergen's main square.

Espresso House is one of them. Its huge two-floor facilities often guarantee you'll find a free table. If you prefer something less crowded, Dromedar Kaffebar might be a better fit.

Just make sure to plan ahead for the famously high prices – for example, a custom coffee drink or iced coffee at Espresso House might cost you up to 90 kroner.

Treat yourself to a winter cruise through the fjords

Cruising Norway's pristine fjords during the winter is a fantastic way to spend a winter day in Bergen, so it's no wonder that fjord tours are among the most popular tours in the city.

Just imagine the scenery – forests and mountains covered in snow, coupled with the majestic silence that amplifies the raw natural beauty of western Norway as your ship glides through the deep fjord waters.

At the moment, there are multiple tours you can take from Bergen, including the "Norway in a nutshell" tour, the "Experience Bergen from the fjord" tour, a guided tour and fjord cruise to Nærøyfjorden, Flåm and Stegastein viewpoint, and several others.

You can find more tour information listed on the state-funded Visit Bergen guide's webpage, here.

Pssst! Make sure to wear warm clothes, including a hat and scarf, as the wind and low temperatures can quickly chill you to the bone. 

Explore the harbour, the Old Town, and the Fish Market

Bergen's Old Town has enough monuments and attractions to keep even the most demanding visitor busy for an entire day.

From the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bryggen to the Bergenhus fortress, from the Rosenkrantz tower to King Håkon Håkonsson's Hall, there is almost no chance that the rich history and culture surrounding the city's harbour will leave you unimpressed.

The best part? All of these monuments are only a few minutes away from each other, which means that you can see them all – even in a guided history and culture tour – during a nice one or two-hour walk.

Once you're done exploring the Old Town's history, head for the famous indoor Fish Market

The Fish Market boasts a long and proud tradition, as it has been open since the 13th century. To this day, it remains a vital venue, usually filled with tourists admiring deep sea fish, live lobsters, and other premium seafood that can be found on display.

While it has a bit of a reputation for being a "tourist trap" due to its high prices, it's definitely worth visiting.

Visit a museum (or two)

Bergen is a city of culture, and on any given winter day, you will have a host of museum exhibitions that you can visit.

Visitors usually include the KODE museum's galleries on their bucket list, especially if they're fans of craft and design.

Arguably, one day is not enough to fully appreciate KODE's vast collections – the museum is spread out through seven buildings, housing more than 50,000 items – but that shouldn't stop you from enjoying a lovely afternoon browsing a gallery of your choice. 

You can find out more about the current exhibitions at KODE on the museum's website, here.

If crafts and art aren't your jam, you can visit the Fisheries Museum of Bergen, the Maritime Museum, or the Troldhaugen museum – all excellent choices for spending the day enjoying Norwegian culture.

The Troldhaugen museum, located only 10 kilometres from the city centre, is the former house of the famous Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg, which has been converted into a museum that showcases Grieg's life. You can find more information about the museum here.

If you're into maritime history, then the Bergen Maritime Museum is the museum for you – it houses a number of objects (such as archaeological finds and ship models) related to the maritime history of both the city and Norway as a country. You can find out more about the Bergen Maritime Museum here.

The modern fisheries industry in Norway is second only to the oil industry – but that wasn't always the case. Fisheries have sustained Norway for centuries, and they have a long and rich past – especially when it comes to coastal communities. 

In the Fisheries Museum of Bergen (closed until January 17th, 2023), you will learn more about Norway's pre-oil industrial history and see exhibitions that showcase fishing techniques and tools that Norwegian fishermen of old used in times past. Want to know more about the museum? You can find its website here.

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Robin-Ivan Capar 2023/01/21 10:22

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