This is journal entry 7, our sixth day in Norway a Bergen city break. Here we’ve highlighted places to eat, things to do and how to get around for a successful afternoon in this colorful Norwegian city.
My six-year-old son and I have embarked upon a 14-day Eurail trip from Oslo, Norway to Bodo in the Arctic Circle. We started in Oslo for 2 days then to Stavanger where we had a city break and explored Vikings. Yesterday we explored Haugesund, the homeland of the Viking Kings. Follow our Daily Journal Entries on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram with #VisitNorwayUSA.
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Exploring Bergen, Norway’s Little Big City
Bergen is situated on the west coast of Norway, on the peninsula of Bergenshalvøyen. The city was established before 1070 AD and is home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Bryggen, the old wharf of Bergen. As it stands today, in all its colorful splendor, it paints a memory of the town’s importance as part of the Hanseatic League’s trading empire from the 14th to the mid-16th century.
Up until today, I had only seen this city in photos. Its colorful pointed rooftops against a clear blue sky made me want to one day visit this waterside city. Finally we were here. It was freezing, but we were in here. My first snapshot impression of this popular Norwegian destination was how pretty it was, wrapped in layers around the harbor and reflecting into the water as if a giant mirror were on the ground.
Getting There by Bus Via Haugesund
You can easily get to the city by bus via Haugesund which is exactly what we did. It was under two hours and just as scenic as all the other trips through Norway. Like our trip to Haugesund, our bus was loaded onto another ferry which lent scenic views of the surrounding mountains and hills. There’s no shortage of beauty on this ride.
The first thing that caught my eye about Bergen when we arrived were all the tiny mountainside homes layering over the city like a collection of pretty boxes. Before we knew it we were at the bus station. Our Radisson Blue Royal Hotel was a short five minute taxi ride from the bus station. An easy walk in the summer.
Our Afternoon Adventure
The Old Hanseatic Wharf
By the time we settled into our hotel and freshened up it was about 1:00. We were starving and ready to seize the afternoon. The sky was clear and the colors of the Bryggen Wharf were far too pretty to ignore. So we set off to meet our guide at the Hanseatic Wharf of Bergen, listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List and a major inspiration for Arendelle/Frozen.
The site is literally twenty something feet from the hotel, and a perfect place to start an afternoon adventure. We walked and listened to the history of the wharf while we meandered in and out of shops, through crooked alleys, and up and down narrow steps. We were smitten by the story book feel of this heritage site. It was like something that popped out of Diagon Alley from the Harry Potter series. I can see why the creators of Frozen, chose this as a reference.
Our next stop was Bergenhus fortress located at the entrance to the harbor. This is one of the oldest and best preserved castles in Norway, and just a five minute walk from the wharf. As we approached Haakon’s Hall, a medieval stone hall located inside the fortress, I could immediately see the resemblance to Frozen (despite not having been mentioned as a reference). Though it may not look that big now, in medieval times it was the largest building of the royal palace in Bergen, then the capital of Norway.
Some Helpful Travel Tips
This destination is totally worth a few days visit, but if you only have a few hours, here’s some tips on getting a taste of this colorful city. You can use the Visit Bergen tourism site to plan it out for yourself.
- Head straight to the Old Wharf as a starting point via taxi from the station. You can work you way back walking.
- You can easily go from the Bergenhus Fortress, to the Old Wharf, to the Ulriken Cable Car, to the Bryggens Museum in a couple hours taking time for photos along the way.
- Once you’ve reached the end of the harbor, you will have a few dining options. There’s an Egon’s (family friendly and reasonably priced) or a Mcdonalds if that’s you’re thing. There’s also a killer ice cream spot on the waterside.
- If you walk just around the bend to the other side of the harbor, there’s an AWESOME fish market that sells lunch and fresh seafood. You can sit by panoramic windows and enjoy the view of the city.
- From this point it’s about a ten minute walk to the main bus station.
For more information check out their tourism site. For trip planning to Norway VisitNorway.com! Check out my Yonderboxes for the cheapest hotel booking exclusive to my readers!
Special thanks to Visit Norway USA. While they and the local tourism offices are funding all air, hotels and meals, this in no way shapes my opinion of my journey through Norway. An additional thank you to Visit Haugesund for guiding us during our stay.
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