As the second largest city in Norway, there is a ton to do in and around Bergen. Back in May, Aaron and I spent 3 days there before we sailed off to a dive resort for a few days, and then my sister and I spent a couple more days there before heading off to Oslo. Since I had so much time in Bergen, I made sure to find a ton of stuff to do. Thankfully, this was really easy. One of the best resources I found was to stop in at the Visitor's Center, right across from the world-famous Bryggen. They had tons and tons of brochures - from horse back riding to hiking to fjord cruises to museums and tours. There really is something for everyone, whether your idea of a vacation is shopping or hiking or somewhere in between. Read on to learn about things to do in Bergen!
It goes without saying, but you must visit the 600 year old Hanseatic wharf. The brightly colored buildings are the poster child for Bergen. They lean up against one another, arching over narrow alleys that house everything from restaurants to art galleries. Spend some time exploring the area and taking in the view. The best place to get a view of the entire area is actually across the harbor, right in front of the Visitor's Center
2) The Bergen Aquarium
Situated a 20 minute walk outside of the main downtown Bergen area is their aquarium. There you can see local wildlife, reptiles, penguins, and more. They even have a tide pool tank where kids (or big kids) can reach in and touch the invertebrate aquatic life.
3) Eat an Exotic Hot Dog
The Scandinavians love their hot dogs. In Reykjavik, Gothenborg and, now, Bergen, people recommended local hot dog stands as one of the things we "had to eat." There is one right near the harbor, not far from the McDonald's, called Trekroneren, that serves amazing hot dogs. These aren't your ordinary, beef or pork hot dogs, you can get reindeer, lamb, wild game, or more traditional beef/pork ones flavored with things like cayenne pepper, cheese, or chili. We stopped here a couple of times to try different ones. I particular liked the reindeer one (and how many other places in the world can you eat reindeer?!).
4) Go on a Fjord Cruise
Without a doubt, Norway is known as a land of Fjords. These long, narrow, deep valleys plunge into the sea and create some breathtaking scenery. There are lots of tour operators to choose from, but we went with one that traveled up Osterfjorden to Monstraumen. It looked like a less-touristy one (if that's possible), and it didn't disappoint. The pinnacle of the cruise was pulling up to a waterfall and using a bucket to catch the water for a taste. Let me tell you, that was some of the best tasting water I've ever had.
5) Get a Bird's Eye View of the City from Mount Fløyen or Mount Ulriken
There are two ways to get up into the mountains around Bergen. One is located near the city center while another is a little ways outside of town. The former is reached by taking a funicular up to the top of Mount Fløyen. At the top is a small cafe, a gift shop, and steps to take in the view over Bergen. The latter you must take a bus (which also has a stop not far from the Fish Market) to get to a cable car. There, you can get to the top of Mount Ulriken. I preferred this one since there were fewer people and we got to see more the Norwegian wilderness.
BONUS: Hike Vidden Trail
And if you're the hiking type, you could hike between the Fløyen and Ulriken along the Vidden Trail! It's a 15km hike that, they say, will take about a 6 hours to complete. Not being so much of the hiking type, and with a 4 month old in tow, we thought it was a better option to skip this.
6) Eat Local Fish
I'm not a huge fish person, so the stuff I do eat, I like it to be fresh and delicious. I got both in Bergen. You can buy fresh fish at the fish market one of two ways - cooked to eat right there, or raw to take home and cook yourself. Warning, there is a price difference between the two. If you're staying in a place that has a kitchen, you can easily buy a filet of fresh salmon (my personal fav), and cook it up yourself for about half the cost of buying it already cooked. There are also a couple of sit-down, more formal, restaurants inside, under the visitor's center. You can't go wrong whichever way you decide to eat the fish.