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The best things to do in Bergen in the summer

Robin-Ivan Capar
Robin-Ivan Capar - [email protected]
The best things to do in Bergen in the summer
These are our top recommendations of things to do (and see) in Bergen in the Summer. Pictured is the outdoors market in Bergen, close to the Fish Market. Photo by Jared Schwitzke on Unsplash

Summer is the time of year when Bergen truly comes alive, thanks to long days and relatively warm weather, so make sure you take advantage of all of the unique seasonal activities that the city has to offer.


Although it is most famous for its moniker of "Norway's Capital of Rain," Bergen tends to show a different side to visitors who make the trip to the western coast in the summer months.

The streets come alive with buzz and activity – this is peak tourist season, after all – and the parks fill up with people enjoying the long and pleasant days, playing sports, picnicking, reading, and laughing.

Summer is also the best time to see some of Bergen's most cherished cultural and historical attractions, as the vibe is completely different when you're not forced to soak up the city's Old Town under a constant cover of rain.

So, without further ado, let's dive into our top recommendations of things to do (and see) in Bergen in the summer.

Get to know the mountains surrounding Bergen

Bergen is surrounded by seven mountains, and there is no better time to familiarise yourself with popular hiking routes and trails than in the summer.

Most trails are well-kept, and you'll meet loads of hiking-loving Norwegians traversing them on any given day – as long as the weather allows it.

If this is your first time in Bergen, or if you're a beginner-level hiker, the best (and safest) choice is to make your way towards Mount Fløyen – this is one of the less demanding and most popular hikes in the city.

Once you've successfully reached the top, you'll be rewarded with spectacular views of Bergen and the surrounding fjords. If you feel tired, you can always take the funicular back down – it's a nice 10-minute ride in one direction.

If you're keen on doing a more demanding hike, just make sure to follow the Mountain Code (Fjellvettreglene in Norwegian) – nine rules that ensure hikers stay safe in the Norwegian outdoors – and you'll be good to go!


Music pavilion Bergen

There is a lot of green space close to the Music pavilion in the City Park. Photo by Jonas Schöne on Unsplash

Picnics and barbecues in the city's parks

Bergen has a wealth of city parks and green surfaces, and its residents make the most of them during the summer. In fact, you could face some difficulties finding a nice spot in the more popular parks to have a picnic on sunny days due to the crowds!

No need to worry, though, as there are enough green surfaces close to the city centre to accommodate everyone.

Some of my favourites include beautiful grass patches around Lille Lungegårdsvannet, the small lake in the city centre, and the City Park (Byparken) close to Festplassen and Ole Bulls Plass, and the park surrounding The National Stage (Den Nationale Scene).

Regardless of the park you settle on, you'll likely see a number of people enjoying a picnic or barbecuing, which is a great way to spend a summer afternoon in Bergen. Single-use barbecues are quite popular in Norway, and you can pick one up in most big stores (Kiwi, Rema 1000, Meny, and others) for around 40 kroner.


Take your pick of summer festivals

Summertime in Bergen is also known as the city's concert and festival season – and for a good reason.

The Bergen International Festival, one of Norway's premiere music and theatre events, Night Jazz, the longest jazz festival in northern Europe, and the four-day open-air Bergenfest festival are just some of the amazing events you should definitely visit if you get the chance.

If festivals aren't your thing, you can also enjoy a host of summer concerts in the city – if you can get a ticket, that is.

Internationally acclaimed artists often visit Bergen as part of their European tours, so don't be surprised if you hear your favourite band is playing at the Bergenhus Festing area in the summer months (2023 concert dates have been confirmed by musicians and bands including Peter Gabriel, Iron Maiden, and Robbie Williams).


Bergen swimming

Even in the summer, the water in Norway can be quite cold. Photo by Aleksei Kolbeshev on Unsplash

Visit the Botanical Gardens

The Botanical Gardens – located in the vicinity of Bergen, on Milde – are open year-round, but they truly come alive in the spring and summer.

They host an impressive collection of unique plants from all corners of the world, including some rare and endangered ones, too.

Bergen's Botanical Garneds also work on preserving endangered plant species and closely collaborates with the University of Bergen.

If you're looking for something different – and also less crowded compared to the major tourist magnets such as Bryggen and the Fish Market – this is a great trip and activity that the entire family can enjoy.

You can reach the gardens by taking the light rail (Bybanen) from Bergen city centre to Birkelandskiftet, and getting on bus number 53. Bus departures and lines may vary depending on the day and season, so make sure to double-check on the Skyss website.

If you leave the bus at the last stop, called Milde snuplass, you'll already be relatively close to the Bergen Botanical Gardens.

Swimming in the fjord (if you're brave enough)

While the water in the fjords rarely reaches a temperature that you'd normally call warm (especially if you're used to Mediterranean sea temperatures in July or August), summer is your best shot at going for a swim without feeling like the cold will turn you into an ice block.

Expect the water in the fjords to be quite chilly (the water temperature is usually around 14 degrees Celsius), and exercise caution – if you feel that it's too cold, there is no shame in turning back after a short dip.

Many locals say that the rush they feel once they exit the cold water makes them feel so invigorated that bearing the cold is absolutely worth it. True or false? Let us know after you try it for yourself.

Popular fjord swimming spots around Bergen include the beaches at Helleneset, Austrevågen close to Krokeide, Gamlehaugen beach near Nordåsvannet, and Melkeviken (south of Stend), and the centrally-located Nordnes.


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