EXPLORING BERGEN

by - April 07, 2019

gdpr note; #ad #giftedpartnership #presstrip - bergen trip with visit bergen, visit flam, and fjord tours is a part-gifted collaboration


Bergen is a pretty little Scandinavian city, sitting amongst the mountains and along the fjords of Norway…

Bergen is known as the gateway to the fjords, it’s Norway’s second largest city, and it’s definitely livelier than you would expect from the oodles of Instagram photos you may have seen. It was founded over 900 years ago, and its old Bryggen area is definitely a beautiful testament to its history. I spent just a few days exploring Bergen, and I fell in love with its charming, bustling atmosphere, cobbled streets, and colourful houses.  

Day one was arrival day, and it was a little wet, so a little explore of the surrounding streets was in order, mostly to find the nearest food store. I stayed at a little Airbnb just a short walk from Bergen’s bustling restaurants, fish market, and Bryggen. The cobbled streets around the Airbnb were charming, and every house was as beautiful as the next. There are so many little twists and turns, with new surprises around every corner, it’s easy to lose yourself amongst the beauty of these Bergen streets. In one direction you have wooden homes in whites and pastel shades, and in the other direction you have more colourful stone homes with incredible views of the fjords and endless mountains. It really is a dreamy city.

From all the photos that I’ve seen of Bergen’s Bryggen, I expected a small little town – when I started walking around and exploring I really was surprised at just how large this city was. Bergen definitely has that cosy town feel, but the endless streets of beautiful houses really show its size.


My second day in Bergen was exciting. If you’ve been following along with my previous travel posts, you’ll know that I love staying in a base location and booking lots of day trips, so naturally I had to make sure I picked the perfect day trips for my short stays in each spot around Norway. The Norway in a Nutshell tour hosted by Fjord Tours is ideal if you’re short for time and want to see what Norway has to offer, it’s also ideal if (like me) you don’t have/book your own transport as you travel. You can choose to start the tour from a number of spots around Norway, and leave the tour at a number of spots. As I was in Bergen, this is where my tour started and finished. The Norway in a Nutshell tour is self-guided, and includes a couple of scenic train journeys, one beautiful fjord ride, and a trip on the infamous Flåm railway. It’s very easy to follow once you have an itinerary!

   

I boarded the train in Bergen… be sure to ask the conductor if you’re on the right rain! I almost had a little mishap here thanks to incorrect boards and train listings, and early ended up on the wrong train. Oops! Mini panic moment over, and the journey began. The long train from Bergen takes you to the little town of Voss, and from there you take a beautifully scenic coach ride to Gudvangen. Gudvangen is right on the fjord front and has amazing views of the mountains and the water. It’s a quiet little spot, with a few wooden Nordic houses, and a little shop attached to a coffee shop.

The fjord ride was definitely one of my favourite parts of the day. I’ve taken a fjord ferry once before, on my last trip to Norway in the summer of 2017, but this time I got to see the fjords in all their wintry glory. Snow snow and snow everywhere! This ferry ride takes you across one of Europe’s most narrow fjords – Nærøyfjord; it’s excitingly included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List! The second fjord you venture onto is the equally exciting and picturesque Aurlandsfjord. For a snowy day, it wasn’t too cold of windy on these mountain-encased fjords, and so there were lots of moments for picture taking, and simply enjoying the snow-capped mountain views with a hot chocolate in hand.


The fjord ferry drops you off in the very quiet but scenic town of Flåm. If you do ever stop here, definitely have a little wander around – I found some great spots hidden away behind the initial buildings along the fjord front. There’s also a fabulous bakery, perfect for a quick photo op and another delightful hot choc… pastry and all.  

The infamous Flåm Railway ride was up next, and the train is just a step or two away from the fjord front. You can even see the railway line, and probably the train ready and waiting, from the moment you disembark. The train is that perfect green, older, train, with spacious compartments inside. The whole vibe is that luxurious old train feel, it’s perfect! The ride itself is only around 35 minutes; I definitely wanted it to last a little longer… or maybe go just a tad slower so that I could take it all in for a few extra moments! But it was absolutely worth the experience.

As the journey began, I honestly felt like I’d sat on the wrong side of the train… so many people were oohing and ahhing on the other side, and my view was an incredibly close look at the mountain sides. Do get up and take a peek! Here’s a tip – if all the spots are full, head to the doors. They have big windows, perfect for a solo sight-see. Your time will come though, the views do change and your side of the train will have its day. Everything was covered in layers and layers of untouched white snow, even the mountain peaks were peppered in it… the scenery was one magical fairy tale view of snow and ice.

You are treated to a little stop along the way, at a fabulous but small view point. There is a bit of a gap between the train and the platform’s edge… errr, not for the faint hearted (or maybe I just thought it was bigger than it actually was!) There’s also a little waterfall here, which was hard to spot amongst the snow; definitely a journey I’d love to retake one summer! A few moments to take in the view, or to snap a photo, and then it’s a quick hop back onto the train. I was surrounded by even more endless seas of snowy white backdrops as the train headed towards its tiny station in Myrdal. The snow was falling in Myrdal and it was completely magical, though very windy and cold, but it was such a beautiful sight… a tiny little Nordic station, covered in snow.

From here I caught the train back to Bergen, where my Norway in a Nutshell journey began. There are plenty of stops along the way, or you can even take a train to Oslo and continue your adventures there. But it was back to Bergen for me, for a few more days of exploring cobbled streets and admiring colourful pastel homes. A big thank you to Visit Flåm who were so incredibly helpful in putting an itinerary together.


My last full day in Bergen was spent with a late morning ride on the Fløibanen funicular up to Mount Fløyen. I’m not one for heights, but as the funicular is an enclosed train ride that runs up and down the mountain, I had no problems, phew. The funicular runs every few minutes, and is a quick six minute trip. You can even walk the winding roads up the mountain to reach the top of Mount Fløyen. Lots of people live along the route, with houses covering the side of the mountain.

The view from the top was absolutely amazing. It’s a perfect overview of Bergen below, and you can see how enormous the fjords really are. The viewing area is right next to the entrance, so it is a little busy, but you don’t miss out on seeing the view due to the crowds. There are built-in stone seating areas too, so if you want to sit and admire the views were city meets fjord, you have all the time in the world (well, until it closes at 11pm). I expected to get the train to the top, see the view for a little while, and head back down again, but there is so much more to see and explore!

At the top of Mount Fløyen surprisingly sits a beautiful hotel, a fabulous woodland area, a small restaurant, public toilets, and a souvenir shop. There are even mountain sheep to be spotted every now and again. Everything was a little icy at the top, which proved difficult for walking around the pathways, but it was so much fun to see people tobogganing down the short, snowy slopes. The view of Bergen follows you around the mountain side too, with plenty of benches to stop and stare out over the mountains and fjords below.

From here you can also hike to Mount Ulriken, following the hike route of ‘Vidden’. It takes around five hours to walk it, but think of the views! I decided to head back down on the funicular, and spend the rest of the day exploring Bergen’s Bryggen.


The fjord front of Bergen is called Bryggen (‘the dock’), and it’s been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1979! You can’t miss eye-catching Bryggen. It architecturally takes you back hundreds of years, and surprisingly it’s not just the few buildings that you see on the gram either, you can walk around the many many buildings that make up Bryggen. Most of the buildings are now commercial, housed by little coffee shops, artists, restaurants, and bars. There are a few pricey hotels along this strip too. It’s still a very active dock, with the fish market just a few steps away, and lots of boats moored around the waterfront. A dock to fall in love with! Even in the rain.



I absolutely loved exploring the wonderful, storybook streets of Bergen, and it’s beautiful Bryggen. I felt completely safe in this history-rich city, even with its bustling atmosphere. I’m sure there was so much more to explore too, but I’m thrilled with what I experienced! I’m not usually a city girl, but when there are magical pastel houses and fjords to view, and street after street with that old town vibe, I easily found myself falling in love with Bergen.

Claudia xo



Travel Tip
If you head to the Visit Bergen website, you’ll be able to find their Bergen Card (click here). These little gems earn you discounts in an array of restaurants, discounted or free public transport (including to/from the airport), and allow free or discounted access to lots of great things – such as the Fløibanen funicular up to Mount Fløyen. 



Travel Details
Accommodation: Bergen Airbnb
Fjord Tour: Norway in a Nutshell
Visit Flåm: Flåm Railway
Visit Bergen: Bergen Card




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2 comments

  1. This sounds like a dreamy trip. We were going to visit Norway this summer but settled on the Mediterranean. Maybe next summer!

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    1. Oooh! I am dying to get back to the Med this year! Have a great time!

      Claudia xo

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