We have a full day to explore Bergen, Norway’s second largest city located on the west coast of the country. While quite large, the downtown (and touristy) area is easily walkable. Even from our hotel (CityBox), a 5 minute walk from the training station, the main sights include the fish market and Bryggen UNESCO world heritage area, all within a few minutes walk. The city centre and northern neighborhoods are on the city fjord (Byfjorden). The city is surrounded by seven mountains and many suburbs are on islands.
Unbeknownst to me, Bergen has quite the music scene. Just outside our hotel is the Grieghallen concert hall named after Bergen-born composer Edvard Grieg and built in modernist architecture style. We pass by Lille Lungegårdsvann, a small lake in the centre of Bergen. The octagonal lake is a natural lake that was historically connected to the nearby bay via a short strait, which got filled in back in 1926. Along the Torgallmenningen pedestrian zone we reach the harbor which includes the tourist information center (can’t miss that), fish market (closed in winter months, except for the restaurants inside) and a first glimpse of Bryggen across the water.
Bryggen (the dock), also Tyskebryggen, is a series of Hanseatic commercial buildings lining the eastern side of the Vågen harbor. It has been on the UNESCO list for World Cultural Heritage Sites since 1979. The city of Bergen was founded around 1070 within the original boundaries of Tyskebryggen. Around 1350 a Kontor of the Hanseatic League was established there and Tyskebryggen became the center of the commerical activities in Norway. Today Bryggen houses museums, shops and restaurants.
We grab lunch at a Food Truck (me) and a small fish restaurant called Søstrene Hagelin (for Kirk). Afterwards we head out back to the lower station of the Fløibanen. The funicular brings us up to the top of Mount Fløyen from where we enjoy a spectacular view of the entire city of Bergen. It may be cold and windy today, but the air is clear and we see all over the city and the fjords. There are several walking and hiking trails and we pick one to Skomakerdiket, a little lake in the middle of the woods. Also not to be missed – the Troll Forest near the station.
It is time to warm up again with some hot chocolate after we come back down on the funicular before exploring some more of Bryggen. As it is getting dark, we take the long way back towards the hotel past the Rådhus and the train station. We then scope out the bus terminal where we will be leaving from in the morning. Don’t want to miss the bus!
As it gets to be time to head back out for a later dinner, we bring the tripod along for Kirk to get some night shots. After Fishcake and Meatballs we explore Johanneskirken up the hill before heading back towards the Vågen harbour for photos of Bryggen at night. The little alleyways are already closed off as it is past 11pm, so we circle around and pass Fløibanen station, Domkirken, the Railway Station and Lille Lungegårdsvann before returning to the hotel past midnight.