Bergen is one of Norway's true gems, a laid-back coastal city that serves as the gateway to the western fjords. Here, between its historic wharf and vibrant markets, you'll discover a city as charming as it picturesque.
Surrounded by seven mountains, which frame a harbour that's been one of northern Europe's key trading posts since the days of the Hanseatic League, Bergen is both pretty and intriguing. Indeed, the city's old Bryggen wharf, characterised by colourful wooden and stone warehouses, dates back to that very era. Be sure to take a stroll among its timber buildings – some now converted into galleries, souvenir shops and restaurants – before settling down to an alfresco seafood lunch on the sun-kissed quayside. You can also choose to take it all in from above with a trip on the Floyen funicular.
Bergen old town
Dotted among its centuries-old buildings, and indeed along the quayside, are a seemingly endless array of restaurants. With its famous fish market and location on the coast, seafood is often the star of the show, but there are plenty of other options, too, some which trace the city's heritage, right back to its Hanseatic roots. Our favourites include 1877, whose five-course evening menus showcase the finest local flavour and cooking techniques. Or, for something really rustic, head to the excellent Bryggen Tracteursted where traditional dishes are delightfully paired with some of the city's finest beers. There's even a courtyard for al fresco dining right in among the wharf's warehouses.
Bergen fish market
Gateway to the fjords
While Bergen is a superb destination in its own right, you'll also want to head out to explore. And, with some of Norway's most spectacular fjords right on the doorstep, there's much to enjoy beyond the city. If you're short on time, a Norway in a Nutshell tour pairs scenic boat rides along Aurlandsfjord and Næroyfjord with trips on the Bergen and Flåm railways. And, between May and September, you'll also take a bus trip through the mountains, driving the the steep hairpin curves of Stalheimskleiva.