The Weather in Bergen

What's the weather like in Bergen, Norway?

View of Vagen Harbor in Bergen from the Top of Mount Floyen
••• Linda Garrison

Bergen is located in more temperate southwestern coast of Norway, and occupies the peninsula of Bergenshalvøyen. It is thanks to this position on the peninsula that Bergen boasts the warmest temperatures in the country. The city is sheltered by the North Sea by the islands of Askov, Holsnoy, and Sotra, and is the climate is largely mitigated by the warming influence of the Gulf Stream.

The weather in Bergen does not have any extremes.

The local climate is mostly oceanic, with mild winters and pleasant cool summers. Despite its northern latitude, the weather in Bergen is considered mild, at least by Scandinavian standards. The weather in Norway as a whole is still colder than most other European countries, though.

Aptly nicknamed “The City of Rain” you will not find a city with more plentiful rainfall in Norway. It rains often in Bergen, and it rains a lot. Bergen is surrounded by mountains that in a sense “trap” rainclouds. The city is making the most of these of these conditions, even marketing the frequent showers as their claim to fame. The average annual rainfall is impressive at 2250 millimeters, and rainfall is a part of the daily lives in Bergen. At a time umbrella vending machines could be found scattered all over the city, but it was not a successful enterprise. Umbrellas don’t have much effect at any rate, as the wind blows the rain sideways.

Because of it’s proximity to the North Sea, the weather is always changing, so you can often catch a glimpse of sun on rainy days. When the rain stops, smiles break through as quickly as the sunlight, when locals take to the streets and parks.

The summer months of July and August are warm enough for tourists to don summer shorts and T-shirts.

It is the "hottest" time of year with temperatures climbing to a pleasantly mild 21 degrees Celsius. Temperatures can scale a little higher, but this is not the norm. Rainfall in Bergen throughout the season is still relatively high at 150 millimeters per month but is still considered low in comparison to precipitation in upcoming winter months.

During winter, temperatures in Bergen will usually remain just above freezing point, but the Gulf Stream’s influence can even increase temperatures to a bearable 8 degrees. However, it is not all smooth sailing. Windy conditions in high humidity will make the city feel much colder than it actually is, so come prepared with an arsenal of winter warmers. Snow falls in Bergen every odd day or so, but hardly accumulates more than 10 centimeters. Compared to the rest of the country, the snowfall is nothing to get excited about.

Needless to say, Bergen is a popular destination in the summer months, but do consider visiting the city in May. When it comes to Bergen's weather, this is the driest month of the year with only 76 millimeters of rainfall. The precipitation is considerably low when you compared to summer and winter. Should the rain get on your nerves, fear not.

Bergen is an interesting city with plenty of shops, intimate restaurants, contemporary art galleries and museums to keep you entertained when you wish to escape the gloom.

Like most of the world, Bergen has also been the survivor of a series of natural disasters. Rainfall and heavy winds are steadily on the increase, and in 2005, shower storms caused several floods and landslides within the city limits. Due to climate changes, severe storms will only become more powerful, not only in Bergen but in surrounding countries in years to come. As an immediate response to the 2005 disaster, the local municipality created a special unit within the fire department. The 24-man rescue team was formed to respond to any landslides and natural disasters as they arise.

Bergen is still not home free, however.

It still faces another threat. The city is regularly flooded at extreme tides, and it is speculated that as the sea levels rise, flood intervals will increase as well. Suggestions to prevent this from happening have been laid out, including the possibility of a erecting a retractable sea wall outside the Bergen harbor.

Regardless of the weather-related dangers, Bergen might face in the future, it is a unique city of almost unsurpassable beauty and unique weather conditions. The contrast between the mountains, the city and sea will take your breath away.