Mount Fløyen Funicular

    If this is your first time in the city, you'll want to take in the breathtaking view from this funicular. You'll ascend over 1,000 feet as you travel from the center of Bergen to the top of Mt. Fløyen. Along the way you will have spectacular views of the surrounding islands and mountains. Once at the top of the mountain, there are numerous trails to explore the surrounding lakes and woodlands on foot. There are nice playgrounds for children in the forest behind the station/souvenir shop.

You can also eat at a restaurant at the top of the mountain, open daily during the summer. A souvenir shop is open year-round.  Cars depart from the Lower Station in the center of Bergen near the fish market every half hour beginning early in the morning and ending at 11 pm during the winter, and midnight during the summer. Round-trip prices are 85 NOK for adults, and 43 NOK for children.

Tip: Walk at least one of the ways (up or down), there are several gentle pathways through the lovely forest on the steep slopes. About half  hour easy walk.

For wider views of the city and the surrounding fjords go to the Ulrikken cable car, entrance near the hospital. Ulriken cable car is temporarily closed (until 2009) for renovation.

You need to pick your day and moment to do either of these trips, on a misty, rainy day there is little point!

Bergen Fish Market

    Check out the fish market to get an idea of the city's roots as a center of fishing. Here you'll find all varieties of fresh fish, from oysters fresh from the sea to smoked salmon. Some vendors sell food you can eat as you wander around looking at all the different stalls, the vendors and their wares. The fish market is slightly overrated, do not have high expectations.

Explore the Town

Give yourself time to walk around this delightful town.  Bergen is one of Europe's most charming towns and, like many charming European towns, the best way to explore is on foot.  The Bryggen warf is a good place to start but don't stop there.  There are lots more little alleyways with cobblestone streets and charming storefronts.  Try exploring near the train station and up towards Kong Oscars Gate or near the Mt. Floyen funicular.  Unlike the warf area, the storefronts you'll find are not all dedicated to tourist kitsch.  At the far end of Bryggen (near the cruise terminal) you will see the old castle area including Rosenkrantztårnet (tower) and Håkonshallen (Royal Reception Hall). This was Norway's first capital. The castle area is surrounded by thick stone walls and the area itself is a nice park open to the public.

Walk between the small wooden houses beneath Mt Fløyen. Continue to the old fire station at Skansen (white wooden tower above lower station), then continue along the pathway and up stairs through a small park until you are on Fjellveien - the popular horizontal pathway right above the houses. From Fjellveien there various pathways uphill to Mt Fløyen. For a long walk: continue north until Sandviken hospital and from there short walk uphill to the fort (artillery base, "Sandviksbatteriet") with a perfect panorama of Sandviken and downtown.

Walk from the main square Torgallmenningen along the ridge of the Nordnes penninsula, at the highest point of this ridge there is perfect view of the city. At the tip of Nordnes there is a small park with the perfect view of the Bergenfjord. Also consider visiting the small acquarium in front of the Nordnes park, popular with kids as they can see penguins and seals close range.

Bergen is well known as a rainy city - make sure you have a showerproof or umbrella with you -but don't be concerned - there's plenty to do in all weathers. Try the Art Galleries on the side of Lille Lungegardsvann lake - they are really excellent and you can lose yourself for a day or more in them alone! There are great concerts to go to at the Grieg Hall, and recitals held at Grieg's former house at Troldhaugen and in the Radisson SAS Hotel; and there are many good museums - Bryggen - The Hanseatic Museum - Hakons Hall and Rosencrantz tower to name a few. The Tourist office by the fish market is excellent and you can get lots of information there.

Nygårdshøyden, the ridge on the western edge of the centre, is the University campus. There you will find Bergen Museum and the imposing and elegant Johanneskirken (church in red brick) at the top of stairs climbing the short steep hill from Torgallmenningen.

There are some terrific restaurants in town and prices really are no more expensive than other European cities.

One tip - if you are in town for a day or two check out the savings that can be made with the Bergen Card, sold at the Tourist office and a number of other locations. For a fee of 170NOK (one day) or 250NOK (two days) you get free local bus transport and free or reduced admission into many tourist attractions (for example: free return on the Floyen funicular, free entry to most museums and galleries, discounts off of concerts etc). Do work out your savings first however - the card is quite expensive and unless you plan to be very busy, or travel out of the town, the card is mainly a convenience: there is a detailed book showing the discouts that are available, from the tourist office and most hotels (and on the net).

Warning: if you are only planning to be in Bergen for a day--as is the case for many who use Bergen as a jumping off point for a tour of the fjords--you may regret not budgeting more time to spend here.