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What to see in 2 days Bergen, Norway

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Bergen, a perfect city for a weekend break in Norway

Bergen for a perfect weekenf break
Bergen, from the Floivan, a perfectly walkable weekend break
Bergen is a small, compact city. Easily walkable with plenty to see and a friendly place to visit for a weekend trip. Our flights were also perfect for a 2 day (or 3 night) visit - we flew out after work on Friday having enjoyed a very quiet dinner in the 1903 Lounge and returned first thing Monday morning.

Getting between the airport and the hotel was very easy and felt very safe plus was amazingly cheap - not a word often used in Bergen. You can read more about Bergen Airport to the center of Bergen by tram in that post along with why we ruled out taxis and buses.

And for your reference, this is basically exactly what our itinerary from the carefully planned weekend so I know it fits in perfectly!

First morning in Bergen, Bryggen

Bryggen, the traditional fishing building
The traditionally built wooden buildings of the Bryggen waterfront
Wander out of your hotel and head to the harbour. We were staying by the Busstajion which is a little out of town, but even from there and in the snow the harbour wasn't a long walk. Keep the harbour to your immediate left and you should see the attractive building of the Bryggen waterfront and if you look to your right you'll see the road leading up the hill to the Floibanen, where we'll see later.

As you reach the traditional wood built fishing buildings feel free to explore them. There's an all year round 3-storey Christmas Decorations shop. This was excellent to visit on 1st December, maybe a little more quirky had we been 6 months later.

There are plenty more shops to explore and it's well worth wandering up and down some of the narrow alleys, even if just to get some photos.

Kaf Kaffee

Kaf Kaffee for a quick coffee
A treat hidden in Bryggen is Kaf Kaffe
I found in my research a couple of little hidden gems in the back of Bryggen and they are well worth looking out for. The first was the Kaf Kaffee (crazy.evening.tanks). As you wander through the alleyways suddenly this one widens up a little and hidden away in the corner is an unremarkable door, which hides a very friendly cafe to get a early morning coffee.

Bergen Fort

After you've seen enough, for now, of the Bryggen shops keep following the harbour road and eventually, well quite quickly, you will reach the medieval fort. You can wander around the gardens first before then it's worth popping into the fort. For 2 people it cost us NOK 280 (about £21) to get in and wander around this interesting building with a few displays and a view back over the harbour to the entire waterfront.

Drink Time in Bryggen Tractursted

Bryggen Tractursted, a bar in the traditional buildings
Also hidden in the narrow alleys is Bryggen Tractursted
After the fort we wandered back into Bryggen and off to our next port of call. We were too late for lunch, but not hungry (huge hotel breakfasts) but we found our way to Bryggen Tractursted (warmers.card.stumpy) where we sat indoors and sampled the local firewater - Aquavit. This comes in many flavours, including a seasonal Christmas offering, so after a chat with the lady behind the bar we chose 2 different aquavits so that we could each try a different drink.

Much warmed we then left the bar, finding our way to the street behind the old buildings which also has it's photo stops and walked to the Floibanen station.


The view of Bergen from the top of the Floivan
Don't miss this stunning view of the city of Bergen from the top of the Floibanen funnicular
Your trip up the Floivan starts at the Floibanen - the funicular that runs up the mountain at very regular intervals. Purchase your ticket at the bottom from the machine (credit cards expected for the NOK 240 - under £18 for 2) and then jump on the next train up the mountain.

The glass roof allows everyone to see out, but if it's your first experience then the last car, looking backwards, gives an amazing view of the city and harbour getting smaller as you venture up the mountain.

Once at the top the crowd exits and turns right. Don't follow! Although if you are waiting for a train later maybe go there then. Instead turn left out of the station, and follow the path for a couple of minutes up the hill. There you'll see a bench and a few trees and a much better and photogenic view of the city below.

Likewise the crowds tend to follow the person in front into the cafe at the station. Instead take a 15 minute walk through the woods and enjoy nature at it's finest. This will take you to a much nicer walker's cafe, where hot drinks and pancakes await you before the walk back.

If you've got time, or you want to wait for sunset, an excellent spot to wait is back at the viewpoint bench or the main viewing area.

Dinner in Bergen, FishMe

It would be a shame to spend a weekend in Bergen and not to see one of the fish restaurants. We had a booking in FishMe in the fish market, but if fish food is not your thing then there's plenty of options. The food is quite pricey though compared to UK prices.

Magic Ice Bar

Magic Ice Bar, a fun, cold treat all year
Enjoy a cocktail or two in the Magic Ice Bar, freezing any day of the year.
After dinner, and this combined well with FishMe, we had about a 15 minute walk along the other side of the harbour to what we'd seen in the morning heading to the Magic Ice Bar (drops.trumpet.support). Sub zero even in the height of summer, they insist on providing warm cloaks and gloves before you enter basically a freezer, where everything from seats, tables, artwork, bar and even the drinks glasses is made of ice.

We paid NOK 770 (circa £52) for 2 and this covered entrance (unlimited time) and first 2 drinks (cocktails). I have no idea what the first drink was, but it was tasty - I think it was a traditional local cocktail. The second was a choice of regular drinks which was consumed at an ice table and chair, with a fur covering over the seat and ice carvings looking down on us.

As one of those 'I've always wanted to do this' for my wife it was a good way to spend an hour before finishing for the night.

Day 2 - Fjord tour

View of the Fjord from the boat from Bergen
Don't miss the cruise along the fjord for some really spectacular scenery.
What trip to Bergen would be complete without a trip up the Fjord with so much dramatic scenery to see? An early start from the harbour (bumping.veered.lookout) to wait for our boat to arrive. Get there well before it it booked so that you can get on early and find a seat - the boats do get completely full.

Words really can't describe the journey up and down the Fjord, where we could see dramatic snow brushed landscapes, frozen waterfalls, small water side villages and more. The Fjord was frozen over at the very end so we didn't quite make it all of the way, but the frozen water just made for the drama of the day.

Sadly, once we turned around nearly every other passenger on the boat dashed in doors and sat, ignoring the scenery, whilst they added filters and posted to Instagram. This did mean I had a lot of the outer deck to myself for even more photos, but do take a very warm coat, hat and gloves in winter as it's well below freezing and the wind chill is a huge factor.

Godt Brodt

A popular chain of bakeries and a good stop for a takeaway or an eat in of some local delicacies and a hot drink. There are several about the city so take your pick and grab a suitable snack.

Sauna Time

Heit Bergen Sauna to warm up
A traditional Norwegian past time is to sauna then jump straight in the fjord
We booked in advance for Heit Bergen Sauna, which was certainly an interesting treat at the end of our break. These saunas are available at a couple of locations and we chose the one nearest the city (broads.tickles.tech) where they have 2 saunas. The smaller one facing the bridge and the slightly larger one facing away. There are changing facilities 'on land', else you walk along a jetty to your chosen sauna and there's a tiny changing room there, from which you take a few steps into your private sauna which you have exclusive use of for an hour.

When you get too hot you can jump into the Fjord, but with snow on the jetty and not being used to the cold water experience we weren't brave enough and simply stood in the 2c air taking in the amazing evening view of the city.

Dinner in Bergen II

We'd booked into a local restaurant / pub type place for another delicious but pricey meal with more aquavit to complete our weekend. Then it was back to the hotel, pack and up very early for our return flight - we were home for lunch time.