Bergen is Norway’s second-largest city with beautiful scenery. Bergen is situated on the west coast of Norway and surrounded by mountains, hence it’s named “Bergen”, which means “the grassland in the mountains”. You can take a stroll through this modern city and experience the rich history of the city, and explore Norway’s beautiful fjord. Before 1299, Bergen was the capital of Norway. This city that has been built for more than 900 years is known as the “Cultural Capital of Europe”. The Bergen people are proud of their city and traditions, and they focus on the past because that is part of their current life. Many Bergen people like to say that they are Bergen instead of Norwegians when they introduce themselves. Here is the list of Top 10 most popular tourist attractions in Bergen.
1. Bergen Ancient City
The ancient city of Bergen is full of a series of Hanseatic commercial buildings on the eastern side of the Bergen fjord in Norway. The ancient city is very small with about 40 buildings from the 18th to the 19th century. There are ancient stone pavements and colorful detached huts. Exquisite plant or elaborate furnishings decorate at the door of every household. Among these beautiful colored wooden houses are museums, restaurants, silver shops and lifestyle stores. The seafood market on the opposite side of the dock is very lively.
2. Floianen Funicular
Travelers who like to ascend a height to enjoy a distant view can choose to take the Floianen Ropeway from the city center and it will take you to the observation deck of Mount Floianen in a few minutes. The length of the cableway is 850 meters and the altitude between the top of the mountain and the starting point of the mountain is 300 meters. The cable car has celebrated its 100 years in 2018. At the top of the hill you can overlook the panoramic view of Bergen. The harbour, the fjord and the neatly arranged wooden houses throughout the city and the hills surrounding Bergen are all in sight. There are also children’s playgrounds and treasure hunt activities there.
The Fløyen Mountains have a lot of scenic mountains and there are various lengths of hiking trails in these mountains, which are quite suitable for hiking. In the summer, there are hiking tours of 2 hours every day and you are accompanied by local guides. The top of the hill is a great place to overlook the whole of Bergen, and the location of the observation deck can be seen at 270 degrees. There are free drinking springs and seats on the mountain road, and you can take pictures of Bergen on the mountainside or on the top of the mountain. There is a coffee shop, a souvenir shop and the famous Norwegian mountain demon sculpture on the top of the hill. If you have time, you can climb the mountain at night to watch the sunrise the next day. You can see the beautiful scenery of Bergen and the sea and experience the infinite love of the Nordic people for the sea for thousands of years.
When you arrive in Bergen, you have to go to Bryggen. The name literally translated is the pier. In 1979, it became one of the world’s cultural heritages. It has become a business card for travel to Bergen and Norway. It can be always seen in the tourist albums in Norway. Travelers from all over the world gather here. A row of Hanseatic colored wooden houses standing on the east bank of Vågen port is the landmark of the pier. The oldest and tallest building is St. Mary’s Church. Walking a minute or two to the other side, you will see the reflection in the sea in front of the wooden house and the Fløyen Mountain on the green hill behind the wooden house at the same time. It’s instantly recognized as the unique scenery of Norway. It is a great location for shooting whether it is day or night.
For the small town of Bergen, everything is so concentrated. The fish market is connected to the dock. In stark contrast to the serenity of the Nordic tradition, this is Norway’s most noisy open-air market. It’s as if to cross into another world. Its name is fish market, so the seafood is indispensable : Arctic shrimp, lobster, king crab, squid and the most famous salmon. Can you imagine the happiness of a row of hanged salmon like a row of new clothes? In addition to seafood, the stalls also sell fruits and vegetables, flowers and souvenirs.
6. Haakon’s Hall
The King’s Hall, a medieval stone auditorium in the fortress of Bergenhus, was built during the reign of King Håkon Håkonsson in the mid-13th century and is the largest surviving medieval building in Norway. As a Gothic-style church, it is completely made of stone unlike other wooden structures of the ancient city. Nowadays, it has been renovated and it is not only open to visitors but also holds operas and other performances every summer and winter, which are more historical in the old venues and backgrounds.
7. KODE – Art Museums of Bergen
The museum exhibits works of art from the Renaissance to the present. Housed in four buildings on the lakeside of the city center, the museum is a three-story plain white building. There are many Chinese cultural relics and some temporary exhibitions in the KODE Hall 1. KODE Hall 2 hosts some annual temporary exhibitions, including the KODE Contemporary Art Exhibition. The KODE Hall 3 houses Norwegian art works from the 18th to the 19th centuries, including many of the important works of Edward Munch. KODE Hall 4 collects works by Picasso, Klee, Miro and others, as well as a children’s art museum KunstLab.
The Church of St. Mary is said to have been built between 1130 and 1140 and completed around 1180. It is one of the three medieval churches in Bergen and the oldest surviving building. Historically, St. Mary’s Church has experienced two major fires, then the later repair has changed the style of the church. The church mainly made of soapstone is a Romanesque church with two towers and three naves. The oldest part is the high-grade saponite and they decorate the shale. There is a unique pulpit and one of Norway’s most beautiful altarpieces inside.
9. Bergen Cathedral
Bergen Cathedral is a Gothic religious building built in the 12th century. It can accommodate up to 1,000 people. The green roof and white walls are particularly eye-catching. The church has been destroyed by fire and has been rebuilt into its current appearance. The spire above the nave was demolished and replaced by a tower. In the 1880s, architect Christian Christie changed the Rococo style to the original medieval style. The church is surrounded by traditional wooden buildings in Bergen. There are many old bookstores, craft shops and decorative shops around. Organ concerts are held at 12 o’clock on Thursdays from June to August every year, which attracts many people who like music.
10. St John’s Church
St. John’s Church was built between 1891 and 1894 and is located in the center of Bergen. The red-brick cross-shaped church has 1,250 seats and the main tower is 61 meters high. It is the largest church in Bergen and one of the best neo-Gothic churches in Norway. Its outer wall is symmetrical and beautiful in shape. Each spire is towering to the sky and the shape is dignified and light. The red wall and the green spire are more like the main color of the city.