The picturesque city of Bergen stands west of Oslo (7 hours by train, to be exact), used to be the capital of Norway in the 13th century, and remains the European capital of rainfall to this day. It’s not easy living in a place that looks so much like a postcard, and travellers may find it hard to leave the city after only 24 hours’ worth of experiences and activities.
Fuel up for the day
Bergen is not very big on brunch—at least not on weekdays. However, the city does take its coffee culture very seriously (as does the whole of Norway), so it’s actually very easy to find a place to sip on great quality coffee while munching on various sweet and savory baked goods. Enjoy a latte with a side of brownies at Blom, or take in the beautiful venue that is Café Opera (where, apart from coffee and brunch options, also houses an art gallery as well as a music venue). There’s also DLK (Det Lille Kaffekompaniet) to grab a cosy cappuccino with a yummy pastry on the side from. Those headed to the Bryggen Wharf next, you are, then there’s no better pit-stop than Kaffemisjonen for some serious brews made by a shop that teaches barista courses.
Blom, John Lunds plass 1, Bergen, Norway, +47 45 05 03 61
Café Opera, Engen 18, Bergen, Norway, +47 55 23 03 15
Det Lille Kaffe Kompaniet, Nedre Fjellsmauet 2, Bergen, Norway, +47 55 31 67 20
Kaffemisjonen, Øvre Korskirkeallmenning 5, Bergen, Norway, +47 45 05 03 60
Take in the views
After coffee, it’s time to step into that postcard and explore. Some of the yellow, blue, and red wooden houses down at the old wharf have remained intact even after fires from centuries ago—Bryggen is, after all, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Spend some time taking in the Instagram-worthy views, but definitely head towards Mt Floyen if the weather permits it. Sure, it’s a two-hour hike, but take a cable car to reach Ulriken’s base camp and shop to stock up on souvenirs before catching the gorgeous views from the top of the fjords.
Enjoy a hearty lunch
After that hike or just spending the morning wandering Bergen’s picturesque streets, it’s time for sustenance. Pingvinen in Vaskerelven is exactly the place to go to wait out the rain. Enjoy authentic Norwegian food like kjøttkaker (meatballs with potatoes and jam) and homemade lammepølse (lamb sausage in stew) in this cosy pub. Of equally carnivorous inclinations is Marg & Bein (their name literally means ‘marrow and bone’). Feast on pork neck that’s been roasting for hours or have some fresh salmon.
Pingvinen, Vaskerelven 14, Bergen, Norway, +47 55 60 46 46
Marg & Bein, Fosswinckels gate 18, Bergen, Norway, +47 55 32 34 32
Immerse yourself in art
Bergen boasts such an impressive collection of museums and galleries, that it easily rivals (if not surpasses) that of Oslo’s. It would probably take several days to visit them all, so see a good mix of the contemporary and the classic makes sense. Stop at the Hanseatic Museum, which explains how the Hanseatic League basically shaped the city of Bergen—and it’s right on Bryggen Wharf. Those up for a bigger trip, then the Edvard Grieg Museum in Troldhaugen is an immersive experience in the life of the famous Norwegian composer. Looking for something more alternative? Visit one or more of the four KODE Museums in the city centre; between them, they host 50,000 objects from paintings, sculptures, installations, musical instruments, furniture, and more. And of course there’s Bergen Kjøtt, an old four story factory building that’s now home to more than 350 artists and musicians.
Hanseatic Museum, Finnegården 1A, Bergen, Norway, +47 53 00 61 10
Edvard Grieg Museum Troldhaugen, Paradis, Norway, +47 55 92 29 92
Treat yourself to dinner
After a healthy dose of art, enjoy a dinner to remember at Bergen’s most revered restaurant, Lysverket (it’s actually located inside KODE 4). Owner and head chef Christopher Haatuft, whom Jamie Oliver calls ‘the punk rock chef’, won’t hesitate to chat with diners about the dishes that are prepared here and fjord-aged (foraged from the fjord areas) locally. Opt for one of the tasting menus to be able to taste seasonal flavors like chanterelle mushrooms and succulent reindeer dishes.
Lysverket, Rasmus Meyers allé 9, Bergen, Norway, +47 55 60 31 00
Have a proper nightcap
Thanks to Bergen’s many universities and the plethora of students the city attracts each semester, Bergen’s nightlife is strong, varied, and it won’t disappoint. Whether in search of a cosy place to hang out (BarKollektiv), a lively venue where things like silent disco and stand-up comedy nights keep happening (Vaskeriet), a place to chug some quality beer (Henrik Øl og Vinstove), or a sophisticated bar to sip on some of the best whiskies in Europe (Terminus), one thing’s for sure: at the end of the day, 24 hours just isn’t enough time to explore the amazing city of Bergen.
BarKollektiv, Vetrlidsallmenningen 4, Bergen, Norway, +47 55 56 00 20
Vaskeriet, Magnus Barfots gate 4, Bergen, Norway, +47 40 55 25 63
Henrik øl og vinstove, Engen 10, Bergen, Norway, +47 55 90 03 84
Terminus Whiskybar, Jernbanebakken, Bergen, Norway, +47 55 21 25 00