Bergen Is the Gateway to the Fjords of Norway

Sunset over Bergen city in Norway.
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Bergen - Marvelous Port of Call on Western Norway Cruises

Reflection of houses on river in Bergen Norway
Arne Halvorsen/Getty Images

Bergen is a charming and historical city, and its old Hanseatic buildings along the waterfront are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Cruise ships sailing the Norwegian fjords of western Norway almost always include Bergen as a port of call. Ships with northern European itineraries also stopover since Norway's second largest city has much to do and see for visitors. Hurtigruten, a Norwegian cruise/ferry/freight company, sails one of its coastal liners every day from Bergen. These ships make the roundtrip voyage to Kirkenes above the Arctic Circle, returning 12 days later. Cruise passengers can stay on for the entire voyage or disembark to spend more time in some of the quaint villages or towns where the coastal liner stops. 

Cruise ships dock either at Skuteviken near Bryggen on the main Vagen Harbor or at Jekteviken near the business district. Passengers can walk into town from either port, although some ships provide a shuttle from Jekteviken. 

Although ships offer many shore excursions in Bergen, those who like to walk might want to just explore on their own. Many of the historical buildings are on Bryggen Wharf, and the Torget (market) on Fish Square at Vagen Harbor is not to be missed. If it's a beautiful day, be sure to ride the Floibanen Funicular to the top of Mount Floyen. The views of Bergen and the harbor below are spectacular, and the hiking trails are well marked and interesting.

Those with more time might want to venture a little outside of Bergen to visit the home of Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg. Afternoon piano concerts of his music are often held in a concert hall on the grounds. Tours are sold at the Tourist Office near the Fish Market on Vagen Harbor.

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Rosenkrantz Tower in Bergen, Norway

Rosenkrantz Tower
Linda Garrison

 Rosenkrantz Tower, which is a 16th-century fortified tower and castle, greets visitors at the Jekteviken Harbor. Rosenkrantz Tower sits next to Haakon's Hall and is also on the grounds of Bergen's old fortress. It was built of stone in the 1560's and survived many fires.

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Hakonshallen or Haakon's Hall in Bergen, Norway

Hakonshallen in Bergen, Norway
Linda Garrison

The first recorded party in Haakon's Hall was the 13th century, 3-day, 1000-guest celebration for the wedding of King Magnus Haakonsson and Princess Ingeborg of Denmark.

Like nearby Rozenkrantz Tower, Haakon's Hall is built of stone and survived the numerous fires that plagued the wooden buildings of Bergen over the centuries. However, during the 5-year occupation of Norway by Germany in World War II, Haakon's Hall was extensively damaged in 1944 when a Dutch ammunition ship exploded in the harbor. It has been reconstructed.

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Bergenhus in Bergen, Norway

Bergenhus in Bergen, Norway
Linda Garrison

This large grassy park is near Hakonshallen, Bergen's old fortress. Cruise ships dock along the pier or Bryggen Wharf.

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Bryggen - Bergen's Hanseatic District

Bryggen - Bergen's Hanseatic District
Linda Garrison

The Bryggen is the old wharf running alongside the harbor in Bergen. Many of the original buildings were destroyed by fire but have been reconstructed. 

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Bryggen Wharf in Bergen, Norway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Bryggen Wharf in Bergen, Norway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Linda Garrison

Bryggen is the site of the historical Hanseatic merchant's warehouses. Today the reconstructed buildings are filled with shops, restaurants, and bars.

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Hanseatic League Houses

Bergen Hanseatic League Houses
Linda Garrison

Narrow alleyways like this one break up the row of 14th to 16th century Hanseatic houses on the waterfront in Bergen, Norway

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Downtown Bergen, Norway near Fish Square

Downtown Bergen, Norway near Fish Square
Linda Garrison

Near Fish Square, these quaint old buildings sit on the waterfront and have Mount Floyen behind them. 

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Torget Market (Fish Square) in Bergen, Norway

Torget Market (Fish Square) in Bergen, Norway
Linda Garrison

Be sure to take time to explore this daily fish, fruit, flower, vegetable, and tourist market at the end of Vagen Harbor in Bergen.

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Fish Market in Bergen

Fish Market
Claire Johnson Cline

 It's fun to see all of the different fish, vegetables, fruits, and souvenirs for sale at the Torget Market.

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Lille Ovregate - Oldest Street in Bergen, Norway

Lille Ovregate - Oldest Street in Bergen, Norway
Linda Garrison

The city of Bergen dates back to the 11th century. It was once a Hanseatic League port and the capital of Norway. Today, Bergen is Norway's second largest city.

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City Square

Bergen City Square
Linda Garrison

The main square of Bergen is on the opposite side of the Torget Market from Bryggen and the funicular to Mount Floyen. 

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Seafarer's Monument in the City Square

Bergen - Seafarer's Monument in the City Square
Linda Garrison

The figures on the Seafarer's Monument all had something to do with the sea.

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Mount Floyen Funicular

Mount Floyen Funicular
Linda Garrison

Riding the funicular is the easiest way to climb up Mount Floyen. Riding the Floibanen Funicular to the top of Mount Floyen is a great way to see the city and to hike in some amazing countryside. The station is near Bryggen.

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Maasdam of Holland America at the Dock

Maasdam of Holland America at the Dock in Bergen
Linda Garrison

The views from the top of Mount Floyen in Bergen are gorgeous, including this one of the Maasdam.

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View of the Bergen Harbor from Mount Floyen

View of the City of Bergen from Mount Floyen
Linda Garrison

Isn't this view of Bergen from the top of Mount Floyen spectacular? 

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Forest at the Top of Mount Floyen

Forest at the Top of Mount Floyen
Linda Garrison

The top of Mount Floyen is crisscrossed with miles of walking trails. Most are circular and less than two miles. The forest is beautiful.

Walking through the forest at the top of Mount Floyen is a fun way to spend the day. It looks a little spooky, and you might expect to see a troll!​

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Forest at the Top of Mount Floyen

Forest at the Top of Mount Floyen
Linda Garrison

Bergen is very green because it gets lots of rain. Be sure to carry along a raincoat when walking the city or on Mount Floyen. 

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Skomakerdiket Lake on Mount Floyen

Skomakerdiket Lake on Mount Floyen
Linda Garrison

This lovely lake is near the funicular station and features a wooden shelter, barbecue and campfire facilities, and swimming and boating.

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Rocky Hill on Mount Floyen in Bergen, Norway

Rocky Hill on Mount Floyen in Bergen, Norway
Linda Garrison

Some hikers climb up this high rocky outcropping, but the less adventurous hikers can choose to hike the rolling hills along the top of Mount Floyen.

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Troll in Bergen, Norway

Troll in Bergen, Norway
Linda Garrison

Trolls are one of the symbols of Norway, and statues of them are frequently found in front of souvenir shops.

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