Norway's second largest city and the Gateway to the Fjords
Due to its unique harbor setting Bergen was the cultural, financial and political center of Norway during the Hanseatic period. Bergen of today is still an interational city, a center of commerce and as a university city a center for academic activities. With its small-town charm and atmosphere, Bergen moreover offers an ideal combination of nature, culture and interesting city life.
City of culture
The old parts of the town are living history, and museums and galleries keep both art and ancestral heritage alive. The Hanseatic wharf Bryggen, the Fish Market, the composer Edward Grieg's home at Trollhaugen, Rasmus Meyer's art collection and Old Bergen are just a few of many reasons why Bergen was selected to be one of Europe's cities of culture in the year 2000. Bergen offers a wide variety of cultural activities covering concerts, ballet, an exciting jazz and blues scene, art exhibitions and more.
Bergen's first buildings were erected along the old, Hanseatic wharf, Bryggen, which has been a lively and important part of the city throughout centuries. Strolling through the narrow alleyways and dark external galleries is like travelling back in time. At Bryggen, the Hanseatic Museum and Schøtstuene, the Hanseatic assembly rooms, gives an intimate picture of the life of a Hanseatic merchant. Bryggen has, with its remains of the old harbor buildings, gained place on UNESCO's World Heritage list.
By taking a short ride with the Fløibanen Funicular from the city centre to the top of the Fløien Mountain (320 meters above sea level), you have a golden opportunity to view the city, th mountains, the fjords and the sea. Mount Fløien is a beautiful nature area with many lovely walks to choose from. There is also a restaurant, café, souvenir shop and a play area for children.
The Bergen Aquarium offers a large collection of North Sea fish and invertebrates in its more than 70 Aquariums. Here you can take a closer look at seals and penguins in the outdoor ponds, or meet crocodiles, snakes and marmosets in the tropical section. The aquarium also has an extension containing realistic nesting cliff and a multi- screen film.
Attractions around Bergen - The Fjords
The fjords are nature's own work of art, formed when the glaciers retreated, and sea water flooded the U- shaped valleys. There is a broad selection of excursions to the fjords, and "Norway in a nutshell" is probably the most popular. The tour takes one day, and includes the famous Flåm Railway and the UNESCO protected Nærøyfjord.