This week I start a blog series about some of the highlights from my recent trip around Scandinavia. In Part One I let you know about Bergen.
My train adventure around Scandinavia started in Norway. Oslo has been high on my list of must visits for years so initially I was starting there. As I sat and researched the trip though one of the things that kept popping up was the train trip between Oslo and Bergen. There is a special tour you can take from Oslo called “Norway in a Nutshell” which takes as many days as you want it to and includes that train journey. But I wanted to do it my way and I wanted to feel like I wasn’t going in the wrong direction, I wanted the journey to flow. So I found a flight with Norwegian straight into Bergen.
Bergen:- Up on the west coast of Norway, about level with the top of Scotland, Bergen is a well known Norwegian city with UNESCO status because of the merchant sheds overlooking the water. The city is the gateway to the fjords and is a cruise ship stop on a massive scale, about 300 ships a year stop here mainly carrying Brits and Germans. It remains one of the largest cities in Norway. The wharf buildings, referred to as Bryggen, or the dock, are now a World Heritage site though currently filled with souvenir shops and restaurants they have housed merchants and traders for centuries with some of the buildings dating back to the early 1700’s. Earlier buildings have been destroyed by fire and the wooden buildings remain under constant threat. The weather here features a lot of rain because of its geographical position so pack your mac!
I decided to spend a few nights in Bergen to take in the sights but also to have a bit of a holiday. I found a perfect first floor Airbnb apartment in one of the historical parts of the town which was situated perfectly to explore on foot.
Highlights in Bergen included:-
The old wharf buildings in Bryggen. These are well worth a walk around and as well as stretching along the front by the water they are packed in behind as well and you can find shops, pubs, restaurants and a really interesting museum.
The Fish Market was a visual treat! This is located between the tourist information office and Bryggen and is at a very central point on the water. It is a busy place with plenty of stalls and places to sit and eat.
The street where I stayed was beautiful and quiet as it did not allow vehicular access. Every time I looked out of the window I saw tourists taking photos of the prettiness! The listing for the apartment where I stayed is here
House hunting is a must in Bergen! Just walking and exploring. I particularly enjoyed the afternoon I spent exploring the hills behind Bryggen. Houses to dream of and views to savour!
The summer house of composer Edward Grieg. This was a bus trip from town which took about 15 minutes. I arranged the ticket at the tourist information, right next to the fish market. The trip includes a lunch time concert. The website for the house is here and the website for the tourist information is here
The Fløibanen which is a railway up to the top of one of the seven mountains that surround the town. Try to get on the train as soon after it opens as you can to avoid the crowds on the train and up top. I had the viewing platform to myself. Their website shows the operating times.
There are plenty of museums in Bergen and I spent a morning exploring the Edward Munch exhibition in the Kode. The Kode museums are located around a large lake where I sat and had lunch and was able to look up at the viewing platform reached by the railway. There were crowds of people there.
The train journey between Bergen and Oslo is indeed spectacular, quite spectacular! The journey travels across the centre of Norway from coast to coast and traverses stunning landscapes. I saw lakes, mountains, towns and waterfalls. It definitely is the trip they said it was!
I used this website to book all of my train travel on this trip and I have long been a fan of it. It gives advice on train journeys all over the world and helps you book the cheapest tickets in the best way. So many sites I found during my research were just middle men and took extra money for the privilege. It is just as easy to book direct. All the Scandinavian train sites had an English setting.
Bergen is a perfect location for a weekend break particularly because it only takes a few hours to get there from London. The city is about 30 minutes from the airport and I booked the airport bus via the tourist information which was by far the cheapest option and very straightforward. It stops at a couple of major places in the town and you just get off at the closest point to your accommodation. My accommodation was about a ten minute walk from the nearest stop which was fine particularly bearing in mind that there is no vehicular access to the street anyway. But bear in mind that Bergen is all about hills and cobbles! It is well worth booking a fjord trip before you set off and bear in mind that these tend to take up about a day, setting off first thing in the morning and returning about 8pm. Bergen isn’t in the fjords and it takes a few hours to get to them, by boat. Without a fjord trip there is plenty to do in the city to fill a few days with lovely exploring!
Next week I travel to Oslo but don’t forget that as part of my bookshops challenge series I blogged about my trip to Fjaerland, the Norwegian book town, and you can find that blog here