The coastal city of Bergen is synonymous with breathtaking fjords, and the former capital of Norway has now become the European destination of choice for intrepid explorers, culture vultures and families alike. The port especially is a joy to explore on foot, its wharf lined with quaint wooden buildings in rich reds and dazzling yellows, and a funicular ride to the top of Mount Fløyen offers panoramic views over the city centre. A holiday to Bergen from Aberdeen Airport can also include whale watching or, if you’re lucky, the aurora borealis (or northern lights), one of the greatest displays of earthy wonders in existence.
Known as the city of seven mountains, Bergen has long been a gateway to the world-famous fjords of Norway. Sognefjord, often referred to as ‘King of the Fjords’, extends more than 200km to the foot of the Jotunheimen mountains and is the longest and deepest of its kind in Europe. It’s accessible by both road and rail, but the ultimate way to travel there from Bergen is on one of the daily boat services that stop at a string of quaint villages along the way, such as Vikøyri and Balestrand.
Culture on the high seas
Few visitors expect a small seaport to be culturally rich and defiantly diverse, but Bergen’s burgeoning music scene, best represented through Kings of Convenience, Röyksopp and black metallers Ancient, is forever bubbling away just under the surface. The city was notably visited by Banksy back in 2000, inspiring a generation of local graffiti artists – keep one eye out for the designs and stencil signatures of homegrown superstar Dolk. Heading indoors, art galleries and museums number in double figures; an essential stop is KODE (Rasmus Meyers allé 9), a complex of seven museum buildings housing more than 43,000 artworks.
If you're an adrenaline junkie, or simply would like to explore the fjords from a different angle, why not try sea kayaking in one of them? You can do this on the Hardangerfjord in the beautiful Hardanger region.
Bryggen – The Hanseatic Wharf
Bryggen, the old wharf of Bergen, dates back to the 14th century and is an excellent reminder of the town’s business history. Since 1979, it has been on UNESCO's list of World Cultural Heritage sites. Today, Bryggen houses museums, shops, restaurants and pubs, and remains one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area.
Mount Fløyen is one of the seven mountains that surround the city of Bergen. A funicular system takes visitors to the top of the mountain to enjoy the incredible views of the city, and also to access further surrounding walking and hiking trails.
Enjoy hiking in the mountains? Be sure to walk up to Trolltunga, one of the most spectacular rock formations in Norway. Experience a breath-taking and unique atmosphere on an 11 km walk through untouched nature while crossing impressive remains of industrial history.
Various museums in and around Bergen provide fascinating insights into the history of Norway. There are also museums covering other topics such as the maritime industry, knitting, North Sea traffic, science, and many more.