Of all the destinations on my map for my first visit to Norway, Bergen was the one I was most excited for. Having seen oodles of colourful photographs of what looks like a small coastal town (but is actually the second largest city in Norway), I was convinced this was reason enough to travel so far North (around 30 hours of flying and transit from Australia). Once here, I had just one day in Bergen to explore all this city has to offer – from incredible views to one of the most picturesque harbours, here is everything you must see and do in Bergen!
The historical harbour of Bryggen (translation: North side of the bay) is as pretty as a postcard and indeed, one of the main drawcards for tourism to Norway’s coastal cities and towns. The wooden houses that line the harbour today were actually rebuilt following a devastating fire in 1702, however are considered to be like those used as far back as 1350, when this area was created for trade purposes.
Step behind the pretty facades and make your way through the small alleyways of Bryggen to get a feel for what this area would have been like during the Middle Ages. If you chance a visit before the crowds arrive (before 9:00am), you will have a great opportunity to experience what life must have been like centuries ago.
Here in Bryggen you will also find many souvenir shops, local handicrafts and art galleries. One of my favourite finds was Julehuset, a year-round Christmas shop on the upper levels of the first building along the strip. This is a great little shop to visit if you’re after a cute little trinket to take home that will actually get more use (ahem, as opposed to say, a fridge magnet!!!)
Wander the Streets behind Bryggen
One of the best pieces of advice I received on the day was from a local man who pointed us in the direction of the residential streets behind Bryggen (away from the water), which were filled with wooden houses in their traditional state. These streets were full of charm at every turn and it was a great way to spend an hour or so soaking up local life (plus, everyone was super friendly!)
As we arrived in town on a Sunday morning, we had the chance to wander through fresh, local produce as we inspected the offerings at the harbour market. While seafood was the primary offering, there was also a great selection of fresh berries (how delicious do these look!?) and even a smoothie bar.
I visited Bergen on the Norwegian Fjords cruise with Celebrity Cruises. This cruise runs twice per year and if you’re after the sunshine, I’d suggest taking the August cruise at the end of summer!