Bergen is known as the rainiest and wettest city in Europe with an average of 250 days of rain per year, but apparently we got supremely lucky and hardly saw a drop of rain the entire time we were there. The city was thriving with what seemed like a release of pent-up energy by the locals.
See & Do
- Scenic Drive from Odda to Bergen: Driving in Norway on the scenic roads is certainly interesting compared to other European countries. The roads are not quite as nice as other European countries–you have to be prepared to pull off on blind corners when trucks are coming (something that reminds me of driving in India)–but once you get over that, the scenery is just mind-blowing. Driving alongside the fjords is a once in a lifetime experience. On the journey from Odda to Bergen, we took the route serviced by a ferry between Jondal and Torvikbygd. At Jondal, we waited patiently in the rain for the ferry to arrive, paid, and drove onto the boat. There were some clean restrooms and a small cafeteria to get snacks on the 20 minute ride. Once we got to Torvikbygd, it was an easy drive to Bergen (with one stop at Steinsdalsfossen Waterfall as mentioned below). There is an expressway that begins once you get close to the city, and from then on it’s more of a typical urban drive. We used a GPS to navigate, but I’d say that besides the last mile of driving within Bergen itself, the GPS is not completely necessary–there really aren’t that many routes to get lost on when driving in this region. Ferry ride costs 90 NOK for car and driver, 35 NOK for each additional passenger.
- Bryggen: Historic old merchant area in Bergen. This is where the city began, and it’s maintained its historic character by preserving the old uneven wooden structures. Due to the pleasant weather, every bar/restaurant had outdoor seating set up and the indoor areas were almost completely vacant. A nice area for walk, a quick beer and some people watching (if not a bit touristy). The area between Bryggen and the harbor is absolutely packed, but just head one block down for a massive reduction in crowds to really be able to appreciate the wooden architecture.
- Steinsdalsfossen Waterfall: A waterfall that we spotted on the drive between Tyssedal and Bergen. Definitely worth spending a bit of time to check out — there’s a small little path where you can walk behind the waterfall without getting too wet. A few little shops that sell ice cream and souvenirs at the entrance of the falls–this is probably your last chance to get cheap gifts to bring home! Once you get to Bergen the price of the same stuff increases dramatically.
Torgallmenningen: The main square in Bergen, located right in the heart of the city. Good place to grab some food and people-watch. I’d suggest a beer as well but drinking in public is technically illegal in Norway.
- Fish Market: This is a fairly small but lively fish market. The fish seems pretty fresh, but you kind of get the impression that it’s mainly just geared towards tourists, as the prices are a bit high and they also sell a ton of souvenirs. It’s pretty nice to walk through, and it’s very centrally located so you’ll probably end up walking through here a few times eventually if you spend any significant amount of time in the Bergen city center.
Eat & Drink
- SamrabThai: We were craving some Asian food for lunch so we stopped by SamrabThai. The food was very reasonably priced and of pretty good quality, if you’re into Thai food. Maybe not the best Thai we’ve ever had but it was not bad at all. What I found pretty strange is that they have an entire parallel menu with food like pizza and pasta, and people seemed to be ordering from it — maybe for extremely picky eaters whose friends forced them to come?
- Baker Brun We had Skillingsboller(26NOK) and latte(38NOK). According to the sign outside, this bakery right in the middle of Bryggen is the original home of the Skillingsboller (Norwegian cinnamon bun).
- Sjøboden Nice place to sit and enjoy the atmosphere of the Bryggen area, especially on a rare sunny day. The only downside is that this place is a bit hard on the wallet, at 84 NOK ($10 USD) for 330ml of beer (significantly less than a pint).
- UNA: We saw a few people enjoying a flight of beer out in front of this bar called Una, so we decided to stop by to try it out for ourselves. Right next to the Bryggen area. A bit pricy for four small beers, but it was a nice way to enjoy (more) beer alongside the energy of the city on a sunny day.
- Naboen Pub : Decided to pop in here for a beer and some dessert at night. Upstairs is a restaurant and downstairs is a bar. They have their own beer, fairly reasonably priced by Norwegian standards. The dessert was served like ice cream but was some kind of crushed sugar substance that was very sweet. Beer: Naoben Bayer 72 NOK Dessert: 88 NOK
- AirBnb (no longer listed): We stayed a 5 minute walk from Johanneskirken. Unfortunately, it was at the bottom of the hill that Johanneskirken was on, and the easiest way to get to the city was to climb up and then back down. Which means that we had to literally go uphill both ways just to get home (like in the good old days). This AirBnb was nothing special compared to other places we’ve been, but at least it was somewhat convenient to be able to walk to the downtown area.