Bergen

Quick Facts

Language: Norwegian

Currency: Norewegian Krone

Area Codes: 55

Other Cities in this Region

Bergen is a picturesque city in the gorgeous country of Norway. Located in the western region of this glorious land, Bergen is a beautiful and diverse city. The museums are fantastic, and the Bergen Art Museum in particular is a real gem. The visual splendor of Bergen is remarkable, and you will never tire of this extraordinary city. The fjords are magnificent, and Sogne, the longest fjord in Norway, located just to the north of Bergen. Many of the old buildings in the heart of the city are beautifully constructed and are charming spots just waiting to be explored. The eating and shopping in Bergen are both excellent, as there are a number of high quality restaurants and stores to peruse. The jewelry and clothing in Bergen shops are extremely nice, and in some locations you will discover great hard-to-find items. A combination of natural and man-made beauty makes the Hanseatic Wharf area one of the most spectacular port areas in the world. Wherever you go in Bergen, you are sure to be amazed, and the waterfront of the city is particularly impressive.

King Olav Kyrre established Bergen as a Viking harbor in 1070. It was by far the most important port in all of Norway for import, export, and general usage. In the thirteenth century, Bergen was officially declared the capital of Norway. In 1241, the Hanseatic League was established in order to create monopolies on certain segments of European trade. Bergen joined forces with several German cities and became one of four main trading powers and one of the primary ports for salted fish and timber on the continent, making the area incredibly powerful and prosperous. This rich heritage has survived the centuries, and Bergen continues to be a thriving city. Just recently, it was declared one of the three tidiest cities in Europe, which is quite an honor indeed. If you like cleanliness, crisp air, and an abundance of sights and adventures, then Bergen is a perfect city for you. There is definitely a lot of rainfall in this port city, but you are sure to be cheered up by one of the friendly locals, who will insist that you join in for a laugh and a drink at one of the local hangouts.

Docking & Local Transportation

Cruise ships dock at the Port of Bergen. The port is conveniently located within walking distance of the center of town.

The city of Bergen is efficiently served by bus transportation that can take the tourist to many surrounding destinations. Buses depart from the central station located at Strømgaten 8 (55/32-67-80). Or, you can opt to rent a car from one of several agencies located in the city. Contact Alamo (55/32-42-30) or Avis (55/55-39-55) for more information on rental cars. Finally, you can take a taxi to any destination of your choice. Taxis in Bergen are controlled by a central dispatching office, which can be reached 24 hours a day (55/99-70-10, www.bergentaxi.no).

Local Interests

The Bergen Art Museum is located at Rasmus Meyers Allé 3-9 (55/56-80-00) and is a fabulous collection of galleries that are full of exquisite paintings and artwork. The three primary galleries are the Stenersen Collection, the Rasmus Meyers Collection, and the Bergen Billedgalleri. In the Rasmus Meyers are some of the best Picasso paintings found anywhere. Wonderful works by Miro and Braque can be seen here, as well. Paul Klee's glorious pieces are on display in the Stenersen Collection, and Norwegian greats such as Munch and I.C. Dahl are featured in the Bergen Billedgalleri. The Bergen Art Museum is a splendid establishment full of visual wonders, created by the masters..

The Bergen Aquarium can be found at Nordnesbakken 4 (55/55-71-71) and is a wonderful place for the whole family to enjoy. There are nine glass tanks that surround the indoor hallway, full of marine life that is sure to dazzle you. The forty-two small aquariums are fantastic, as well, and being only a pleasant fifteen-minute walk from the heart of Bergen makes visiting the aquarium an absolute must. Among the thousands of animals and plants on display, you will see penguins, seals, piranhas, and giant lobsters.

Troldhaugen is located at Troldhaugveien 65 (55/91-17-91) and was the home of composer Edvard Grieg. The ornate Victorian architecture is extraordinary. During the Bergen festival, the house is used as a gathering place, and Grieg's grand piano can be heard once again. Inside, Grieg's paintings, personal items, and furniture remain.

Activities

Dining

Finnegaardstuene is located at Rosenkrantzgate 6 (55/55-03-00) and serves extraordinary French and Norwegian cuisine. Construction of this great restaurant first began in 1400, and it was first used as a warehouse. Some of the woodwork on the present day establishment dates all the way back to the 1700s. There are four comfortable dining rooms, all of which are all elegant and inviting. The ambiance is wonderful, and the service is top notch. The menu matches the season to some degree, and the ingredients used in the majority of the dishes are distinctly Norwegian. However, the entrees are prepared in the classical French style. The combination is dynamite, and every morsel is wonderful. The turbot is splendid, marinated in lime and served with a caviar sauce. Duck breast with fig and lime sauce is heavenly, and the venison filets with berry sauce are divine. The desserts will never disappoint, especially the cloudberries with ice cream. Wessel-Stuen is located at Engen 14 (55/55-49-49) and is designed to resemble an old 18th century tavern. The dinners are great, and this is where you will find the best steak in Bergen. The duck and catfish are also very good, and the fun décor can't be beat. Fiskekroen is located at Zacchariasbryggen 50 (55/55-96-55) and features excellent fresh fish and venison. This restaurant certainly has the best view of the harbor, and you'll definitely need reservations for this exclusive spot. The salmon, reindeer, and halibut are delectable.

Nightlife

The Den National Scene is located at Engen 1 (55/54-97-00) and is a fabulous theater constructed in the middle of the 19th century, which features performances that range from plays to opera. The Night Spot can be found inside the Hotel Norge, at Ole Bulls Plass 4 (55/57-30-00). It is a lively dance bar with a great sound system and a slightly older and refined crowd.

Shopping

For clothes and other merchandise, visit Sundt & Company at Torgalmenningen 14 (55/32-31-00). Galleriet is found at Torgalmenningen 8 (55/30-05-00) and is a great mall complex with over seventy stores.