Seven lush mountains. Fjords. The sea. Wooden, pastel-coloured houses. Historic Hanseatic relicts. Famous Bryggen and superb seafood.
Add one of Europe’s largest glaciers. Narrow, cobble-stoned streets. International music festivals. Abustling port. Numerous museums and you will end up with a perfect place on Earth.
Wait a minute. I must be forgetting something. We all know there is no perfect city on earth! Oh, Yes. Rain. It rains in Bergen almost constantly. You will quickly learn about the necessity of carrying around a rain jacket and an umbrella. No wonder the world’s first umbrella vending machine was located here.
The scenic set-up between beautiful Hardangerfjord and the awe-inspiring Sognefjord is one of Bergen’s biggest landmarks. Just after the Old Hanseatic Wharf. Popularly known as Bryggen or Tyskebryggen. Architecturally unique, this symbol of cultural heritage has remained unchanged since the 11th century. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A place where Hansa set up one of their four European offices back in the 13th century. Thus proving Bergen port’s significant importance.
Norway’s first capital has always been a highly international city. Packed with history, culture, tradition and art. A big city with small-town allure and charm. A melting-pot of different cultures and mentalities. Spiced up with old timber houses. Winding alleys. Medieval buildings. Great atmosphere and a great number of excellent museums. All that thanks to Bergen’s merchants who had a soft spot for art and culture.
They laid the foundations for a cultural Bergen with one of the world’s oldest symphony orchestras. The country’s first national theater where Ibsen made his first steps as a director and playwright. A whole range of museums and institutions. And music festivals. One of the most unique Edvard Munch collections owes its existence to the generosity of the city’s merchants and industrialists.
When I was visiting the Edvard Grieg Festival was being hosted. Every day over lunch and dinner one could attend concerts in the Troldhaugen Edvard Grieg Museum. Bergen is the birthplace of this hugely popular Norwegian composer. Every summer Bergen is reborn with artistic and youthful energy.
The people of Bergen love their city. They care for their traditions and past, which is a part of their present lives. You can hear it in everyone’s enthusiasm, which is truly infectious. They are very happy to share it with visitors.
It kind of stuck in my mind what one girl said to me. It is raining and gloomy at times, but one beautiful and sunny day will make you forget everything that is bad. I love Bergen. It is a truly awesome city.
And I tend to agree. Bergen is beautiful in the sun. With its dramatic scenery. Colourful and lively harbour. Snowcapped mountains. Picturesque hills and stunning fjords.
Stay in a hotel situated in a 16th-century building in the heart of Bergen. Just right of the Hanseatic Museum. Start your day with breakfast at the Fish Market. I really like this place, Fresh seafood and the first time ever that I tasted whale meat. It tastes quite meaty. More like deer meat. It has quiet a specific and delicious taste. I know, I know. IWC would say shame on me. I love whales as well! One of my biggest dreams is to dive with them in Madagascar. But it was there and I’m always very curious and adventurous so I did it. Sorry.
Explore Bryggen’s narrow streets. Learn about Bryggen’s architecture and reconstructions. Which took place after a big fire to restore buildings back to their original look. Have tea and a delicious apple tart in one of the cafes. When my strength has been restored I could walk up to Bergenhus Festning with the Rosenkrantz Tower and Haakon’s Hall.
Have dinner at Enhjørningen Restaurant. Named after the unicorn that adorns the doorway of the old wooden building in which it is housed. Its history dates back to the Middle Ages. They serve contemporary Norwegian food and are one of the best seafood restaurants in the city.
Take a funicular to Mount Floyen to admire breath-taking panoramic views of the city, the fjords and the ocean, or explore fjords around by bike like my friends did! Hang around in the Klosteret District. Oh, and always have an umbrella handy.