Bergen – a city with small town charm and atmosphere
The city of Bergen on Norway’s west coast is often called the “Gateway to the Fjords” and it is certainly possible to use the city as a base for exploring much of Norway’s dramatically beautiful fjord country. A short break in Bergen can be enjoyed in its own right however. This city with its small town charm and atmosphere has plenty to offer the visitor, whatever their interests may be.
The old wharf of Bergen, Bryggen, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and warrants a day’s sightseeing all on its own. The old Hanseatic wharf is architecturally unique and is a reminder of the town’s importance as part of the Hanseatic League’s trading empire from the 14th to the mid-16th century. Here you will find some excellent restaurants, artists’ studios, craftsmen’s workshops and interesting small boutiques. The Hanseatic Museum, housed in one of the old Hansa buildings on the waterfront, illustrates the life of an 18th century merchant. The Bryggen Museum, based on the archaeological excavations of Bryggen, illustrates commerce, handicrafts and daily life in the Middle Ages. Next to the museum lies the twelfth century St. Mary’s Church, the oldest building in Bergen. Bryggen also houses the Theta Museum of the Resistance Movement during the Occupation of Norway during World War II.
Another museum well worth visiting is the Edvard Grieg Museum housed in Grieg’s former home, “Troldhaugen”. Grieg, Norway’s most famous composter (1843 – 1907), lived here for 22 years and composed many of his best-known works in the little garden hut by the shore of Lake Nordås. In 1985, Troldsalen, a concert hall seating 200 people, opened for the performance of chamber music. There are public concerts several times a week during the summer and autumn.
Another day can be spent taking the short ride on the Fløibanen Funicular from the city centre to the top of the Fløien Mountain (320 metres above sea level) Here you can enjoy exceptional views of the city, mountains, fjords and the sea. An easy walk back down through pretty scenery brings you back down to the hustle and bustle of the Bergen Fish Market. The picturesque Fish Market is one of Norway’s most visited outdoor markets. In addition to fish you can find stalls selling fruit, vegetables, flowers, handicrafts and souvenirs.
For the tourist looking for something different on a city break then Bergen has plenty to offer and rarely disappoints.