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A weekend in Bergen: Everything you should see and do

Robin-Ivan Capar
Robin-Ivan Capar - [email protected]
A weekend in Bergen: Everything you should see and do
The view of Bergen from Fløyen mountain. Photo by Mikhail | luxkstn on Unsplash

As the country's second-largest city, Bergen has more than enough to offer anyone planning a weekend getaway to this coastal gem in western Norway.


Bergen, is one of Norway's most powerful tourist magnets – and with good reason. With a mix of its vibrant city, rich culture and history, and ample nature, it has something for everything.

It's proximity to Norway's most picturesque fjords also makes it a great starting point for cruises. 

READ MORE: 24 hours in Bergen: Everything you should see and do

While navigating the city's many attractions can be daunting, fear not!

Day 1: Making the most out of the city centre

The city's most prominent attractions are generally located centrally, so it's a great use of your time to spend an entire day making sure you don't miss any of the key landmarks and experiences that you'll find in the very heart of the city.

From Bergen's main square, Torgallmenningen, head towards the harbour just a couple of minutes away on foot.

Fish Market

The Bergen Fish Market showcases some of the fresh and high quality local seafood. Photo by: Robin-Ivan Capar / The Local Norway

The (expensive but popular) fish market

You'll quickly glimpse the city's famous fish market as you approach the waterfront. Depending on the season, you'll also have the opportunity to explore its outdoor iteration.

The indoor fish market is one of Bergen's biggest tourist draws, as it's the place where you'll be able to see – and sample – a fantastic selection of fish and Norwegian seafood.

Be warned, though - it is quite expensive and has a reputation for being somewhat of a tourist trap.


Bryggen, a UNESCO-protected Heritage Site

Once you're done admiring the deep sea fish, lobsters, and king crabs, it's time to head to Bergen's most famous spot – the UNESCO-protected Heritage Site of Bryggen, widely known for its picturesque and colourful wooden buildings.

If you've got some spare time, consider fitting in a 2-3 hour fjord cruise while you're down at the harbour. You'll find the ships docking and departing right from there.

Dating back to the Middle Ages, Bryggen served as a hub for the Hanseatic League's trading activities, particularly in the export of dried fish and stockfish.

These days, Bryggen is mainly home to museums, souvenir shops, galleries, bars, and restaurants.

And make sure to wander through Bryggen's charming narrow wooden alleys – they're like stepping into another time.



The souvenirs on offer in one of Bryggen's many shops. Photo by Stock Birken on Unsplash

The majestic Bergenhus Fortress complex

From the very end of Bryggen, you'll already be able to see the Bergenhus Fortress complex.

The fortress is one of Norway's oldest and most well-preserved strongholds, with a complex history as a royal residence and military stronghold.

The construction of Bergenhus Fortress began in the early 1500s and continued through the 1600s.

Originally consisting of Holmen, Koengen, and Sverresborg, the central area of the fortress was consolidated into a single expansive military fortification during the 1700s.

The ramparts across Koengen, connecting Holmen and Sverresborg, were dismantled in the early 1800s.

Much of the fortress grounds are open to the public and used for various purposes, including events, theatre performances, concerts, and cultural gatherings.

Bergenhus Fortress

Access to the Bergenhus Fortress complex is free of charge. Photo by: Robin-Ivan Capar / The Local Norway


Fløyen: Bergen's city mountain

After exploring the Bergenhus Fortress, head down to Bryggen and go to the Fløyen funicular.

Fløyen is often called Bergen's city mountain, and it's easily accessible from the Old Town both on foot and by funicular.

It offers stunning panoramic views of the city and surrounding fjords and is among the most popular destinations for most people on a city break to Bergen.

The Fløyen funicular, known as Fløibanen, transports passengers from the centre to the summit of Fløyen in just around eight minutes (once you board it).

Once at the top, explore one of the several walking trails, admire the view, and relax in one of the several cafes.

Signpost Floyen

The signpost at the top of Mount Fløyen. Photo by Luah Jun Yang on Unsplash

Dinner at a waterfront restaurant

After you descend the mountain, we recommend ending the day with dinner in one of the several mid to high-end restaurants close to Bryggen.

While there are many great options, the Bryggeloftet & Stuene restaurant is a safe bet if you want to try traditional food, while Enhjørningen is the place to go if you want to indulge in seafood dishes.

If you're travelling on a budget, consider trying the pizza at Olivia Zachariasbryggen or head to the nearby Skostredet district, where you'll find multiple restaurants and bistros (including a pizzeria, trattoria, taperia, brasserie, and more) and a very lively atmosphere on most evenings.


Day 2: A healthy dose of curiosity and culture

Start your second day in Bergen with a hearty dose of culture and visit the famous KODE museum's galleries.

KODE: Bergen's premier cultural institution

Just a few minutes of walking from the Bergen train station and the bus station, the KODE museum buildings are virtually impossible to miss, lined along Lille Lungegårdsvannet - a small lake in the city centre.

While even a whole 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 – it's well worth seeing at least one exhibition while you're in town.

Visit Nordnes Park, and Norway's largest aquarium

Nordnes Park, located on the edge of Bergen's harbour, is a great place to enjoy those (rare) sunny days in Bergen.

READ MORE: Five amazing autumn walks in Bergen

It offers waterfront views, and if the sun is out, it will buzz with great energy and people picnicking in the sun, reading books, barbequing, and relaxing.

You can reach it on foot in 10-15 minutes from Torgallmenningen. It's also located close to the city's aquarium (Akvariet i Bergen).


Outland: The go-to spot for fantasy and game enthusiasts

After (hopefully) soaking up the sun at Nordnes and checking out Bergen's famous penguins at the aquarium, why not make your way towards Outland, Bergen's biggest fantasy and board game shop?

Outland recently moved into a new venue just across the street from the fish market and now offers an even larger display of books, comics, board games, card games, anime merchandise, figurines, and much more.

If you're a Dungeons & Dragons or card game enthusiast, you might even get a chance to sit down and join one of the frequent tournaments and get-togethers that Outland organizes.

In any case, it's a great place to visit if you're travelling with kids.

Whale hall

The ceiling of the Whale Hall at the Bergen University Museum. Photo by: Robin-Ivan Capar / The Local Norway

A visit to the Whale Hall at Bergen's University Museum

Another must-see item on a well-rounded 48-hour trip to Bergen bucket list includes a trip to the University Museum.

The museum's whale skeleton collection, housed in a spacious hall covering approximately 300 square meters, is an awe-inducing sight that leaves a lasting impression on visitors.

The display showcases the skeletal remains of various whale species. Eleven of the skeletons exceed 5 meters in length, with the largest specimen being a 24-metre-long blue whale.

As you wander through the exhibit, you'll be part of a truly immersive experience that highlights the importance of marine conservation.

The museum's Whale Hall alone justifies the ticket price of 150 kroner, and there is much more to see while you're there.


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