After we had a complete day of the sea on our cruise ship AIDAsol yesterday, today was the first stop of our 10-day trip through the Norwegian fjords: we went to the beautiful city of Bergen. 🙂
Table of contents
Things to know & facts about Norway
– Norway ranks 8th in terms of area in Europe
– Norway with its only 5.3 million inhabitants is rather sparsely populated
– Norway has 150,000 islands
– The capital is Oslo (670,000 inhabitants)
– Other Norwegian cities are Bergen (280,000 inhabitants), Trondheim (192,000 inhabitants) and Stavanger (132,000 inhabitants)
– Norway borders Sweden to the east and Finland and Russia to the northeast
– Norway has the second longest coastline of all countries with more than 80,000 km after Canada
– Norway is not a member of the European Union (EU), but a member of the European Economic Area (EEA)
– Norway is considered one of the most developed countries in the world
– Norway is considered the most democratic state in the world
– Gross domestic product is the third highest in the world (2016)
– The country also has one of the most generous and best welfare systems
– 26 peaks are over 2,300 meters
– The highest elevation is the Galdh piggen with 2,469 meters
– Norway has 46 national parks
– There are eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Norway
– The Norwegian language is strongly influenced by middle-lower German
– “Kos” is Norwegian and stands for a good time
The drive through the Byfjord to Bergen
From the relatively quiet North Sea we went early in the morning to the Byfjord on the west coast of Norway. Our captain had already announced the night before that we would reach the Acety Bridge at 8 a.m., so that we stood on the upper deck with our camera at 7.45 a.m. The Adoy Bridge is a 1,057-metre-long suspension bridge that crosses the Byfjord between bergen and Asky. At 8 o’clock we reached the bridge and went down. That was quite impressive.
Things to know about history
Bergen was once Norway’s capital and is now the second largest city in the country with a population of about 280,000. The port city is also called the “gateway to the realm of the fjords” and is surrounded by seven hills – one of which we have looked at a little closer today. The port of Bergen is one of the most important seaports in Europe, from which the ships of the Hurtigruten also depart. A slightly less beautiful fact is that Bergen has 248 rainy days a year and is therefore the rainiest big city in Europe – and it is precisely this award that the city unfortunately honoured when we arrived: today was a cool and rainy September day. But luckily, at least from time to time the sun came out.
Around 9 o’clock in the morning we arrived at the Bergen harbour and couldn’t wait to be one of the first to leave the ship. With us there were three more ships in the harbour, so we already suspected that the city would be very crowded. And there was a special surprise right next to us: AIDAdiva was also in the city – a meeting of sisters of a special kind 🙂
The AIDA Port Info of Bergen
AIDA Port Info: Download
location: Skolten North
Lying time: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
All on board: 5.30 pm
Map of bergen attractions
In the following map we have mapped the main sights of the city of Bergen, which can be explored relatively well on foot, by tram or by bus:
The funicular to the mountain Fléyen
For the city exploration of Bergen we had organized in advance at the excursion counter tickets for the AIDA excursion “BER08: Bergen on our own“. In principle, this is not an organized tour, but you walk independently through the city, but when booking the tour you get a ticket for the Fléi-Bahn and for a fish roll. The advantage we saw during the excursion is, on the one hand, that you get a city map in which the most important sights are marked, but on the other hand, the time savings, because we do not have to queue at the Fléi-Bahn.
The first thing we did was walk towards the city centre to the Fléi-Bahn, because we had already read in online forums in advance that it was best to be there in front of all the tourist crowds, because otherwise you would be waiting here for a very long time. Luckily, there weren’t that many guests when we arrived here around 10 a.m., so we sat in the next train within 5 minutes and were on our way up to the 320-metre-high mountain of Flayen. The 848-metre-long route takes about six minutes. The cost of the round trip is 95 Norwegian kronor,which is about 10 euros. Arriving at the top of the visitor’s platform, we enjoyed the view of the city – and it was really great: we had a beautiful view of the city, the fjord, the surrounding mountains and of course the harbour, where aidAsol and AIDAdiva were also located. For a few minutes we enjoyed the view, took a few photos and then walked to a small forest lake, which is about 10 minutes away from the train station. And suddenly the sun came out and accompanied us – Bergen means it well with us 🙂
Over time, more and more people have come up on the flayen – not surprisingly, with four cruise ships and a Sunday with locals on the way. Since we still had a tight sightseeing program in front of us, we went down to the city after a short queue. And also from the train you have a great view of the city. Small tip: Be sure to sit at the front if you can do it despite the crowds!
When we arrived by train back down at the valley station, we were glad that we rode up the Fli-Bahn early in the morning. The queue had increased tenfold in that time…
The Hanseatic Quarter of Bryggen (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
Our next port of call was probably the most famous sight of Bergen: the Hanseatic Quarter Bryggen, which has been on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1979. The colourful historic merchant’s houses,which were built in the past directly at the harbour basin for better loading and unloading of the ships, stand close together. Today, the old Hanseatic houses are home to small boutiques, souvenir shops and restaurants.
The narrow streets with their many wooden houses and the small courtyards we really liked and were super nice photo motifs.
Attractions in downtown Bergen
After the stomach growled a little around noon, we walked a round over the fish market, which is also located directly at the harbour basin – at the head of the harbour bay. Here we first enjoyed a delicious fish roll, which was not exactly cheap at the equivalent of 10 Euros per piece – but delicious 🙂
On foot we went through the city to the oldest Norwegian theatre, the Den Nationale Scene, which from the outside is not necessarily one of the most beautiful buildings in the city. About 5 minutes walk from here is the inner-city lake Lille Lungegordsvannet, which has the shape of an octagon and in the middle of which there is a fountain. The shore of the lake is lined with a small park on the north-western side with a very beautiful music pavilion,which was adorned with blooming colorful flowers.
What we really liked during our city walk were the small cobbled streets with their wooden houses. We could have walked through the alleys for hours and taken photos – a really great ambience.
The Stave Church Fantoft
Right next to the city park is the end or start stop (‘Byparken’) of Bergen’s light rail. There is currently only one route that runs 20.4 kilometres from the city to Bergen Airport. We used the light rail to visit the Fantoft Stave Church. From the stop ‘Fantoft’ it is only about 10 minutes walk until you reach the stave church.
Stave churches are wooden churches that have mainly occurred in the Scandinavian region. The construction of the churches is a structure of vertically standing masts on which the roof structure is located. Another feature of Stave Churches is that the wooden parts are perceable and not horizontal, as is customary with block buildings. It is definitely worth walking around the church, because on one corner there is a small viewing platform from which you can take good photos. If you want to look at the tiny church from the inside, you have to pay about 7 euros, which was a little too expensive for us.
The open-air museum Gamle Bergen (Alt-Bergen)
Back in the city, we went from the fish market by bus to the Museum Gamle Bergen (german: Alt-Bergen). The open-air museum is only a 5-minute walk from the bus stop. A small part of the site can be visited without admission, but the main part of the site can only be visited against admission. We were quite lucky, because the museum was only open on this one day and will remain closed until the season opens in May. And for this reason, admission was free for all visitors today 🙂
But what can you see here? On the site there is a reconstructed urban environment with around 50 wooden houses from the 18th, 19th and 20th century. The background is that Bergen was Europe’s largest wooden city in the 18th century and one wanted to preserve a part of the cityscape with the streets and squares. There are a variety of shops and craft shops, such as a baker, watchmaker, dentist and hairdresser. You can even go into a part of the houses and meet people (actors) from old times who tell a bit.
The fortress Bergenhus
On the way back from the city centre of Bergen to the harbour, you almost automatically pass the fortress Bergenhus with the Hékonshalle. The fortress is considered one of the oldest and best preserved fortresses in Norway. When Bergen was still Norway’s capital, this royal court was built here. In its early days, the building was mainly used as a royal residence and festival hall; today, concerts, celebrations and state receptions take place here. The Rosenkrantzturm, which used to be built as a fortress and residential tower, was unfortunately fully equipped on our visit day.
Starbucks Global Icon City Mug of MountainsWe are collecting the Starbucks Mugs from the cities and islands we visit on our travels. Unfortunately, not every city that has a Starbucks store with an own mug. But if the city has an own mug we like to collect them as a souvenir. We only collect city mugs from the "Global Icon Series", which was released in 2008. You can see our complete collection here: Starbucks - Our collection of Mugs from the Global Icon Series
Bergen has a Starbucks and also a cup of 🙂
All travelogues from our Norwegian CruiseDie Route Norwegens Fjorde 1 führt uns die Elbe stromabwärts vorbei an den Nordfriesischen Inseln in Richtung Norwegen. Der erste Hafen ist die malerische Stadt Bergen. Die Reise führt uns weiter durch zahlreiche schmale Fjorde mit rauschenden Wasserfällen, wie z.B. der Geirangerfjord mit seinen steilen Felswänden. Der nördlichste Hafen der Reise ist Trondheim, die drittgrößte Stadt Norwegens. Danach geht es wieder gen Süden, nach Ålesund und Eidfjord, bis wir den letzten Hafen der Reise erreichen: Stavanger.
Day 01 Hamburg - 10 days cruise with AIDAsol through Norway’s fjords
Day 02 At Sea
Day 03 Bergen - Tourist Attractions, Things to do & Photo spots (Norway)
Day 04 Hellesylt, Geirangerfjord & Geiranger - Our private tour in Geiranger
Day 05 Åndalsnes - Trolls & the panoramic road Trollstigen
Day 05 Molde - Panoramic Cruise to the Atlantic Coastal Road
Day 06 Trondheim - Tourist Attractions, Things to do & our Kayak Tour
Day 07 Alesund - Aksla Viewpoint & the Strandafjellet Cable Car
Day 08 Eidfjord - Flamsbahn, Bergen Railway & Waterfalls
Day 09 Stavanger - Our hike to the spectacular Preikestolen
Day 10 At Sea
Day 11 Hamburg - Sightseeing