Updated February 2019.
We’ve broken down everything into a list of free & unique things to do in Bergen, Norway for your next visit. So you can be sure to find plenty to do without breaking the bank.
Just because somewhere is expensive, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be explored. Especially when the place is as beautiful as Bergen in Norway. Often known as the gateway to the Fjords, Bergen is an Instagram photo without the filter kind of place.
- Unique Things To Do In Bergen Norway
- Free Things To Do In Norway
- Paid Things To Do In Norway
- Save Money With The Bergen Card
- Other Things To Do In Bergen, Norway
Unique Things To Do In Bergen Norway
Free Things To Do In Norway
When you search for photographs of Bergen, one of the most common images you’ll see is that of Bryggen. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is absolutely breathtaking.
While Bryggen is free to explore – It’s a street after-all. If you do have some money spare then we suggest getting a guide to take you around this area for around 200NOK per adult so you can learn more about the history and the events that made Bryggen what it is today.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for something a little more fixed then consider visiting the newly refurbished Bryggen Museum for 100NOK per adult, 50 NOK per student and free for children.
While we weren’t planning on making any meals while we were there we enjoyed walking around the Fish Market. This has been described by many as food art and a must on a list of things to do in Bergen. The market itself has moved from the outside to inside and is located at the harbour.
The fish market is worth a walk around to really appreciate the long-standing tradition and skill of the fishermen. You can get tasters and try out a few different recipes and types of fish if your looking for something more. The staff are all very friendly and welcoming.
The lake is located near the city centre and is a great place to visit. It is located approximately a 10-minute walk from the Fish Market. No matter the weather the lake provides beautiful views and a lovely walk around. There is also the lovely garden scene to walk around and look at the beautiful flowers.
The park has lots of statues and pieces of artwork to look at and admire. It is also home to a gazebo where it is used for special occasions. The gazebo itself was donated by a German konsul in 19 century. This connects the statues of Ole Bull and Edvard Gried, who both are looking towards the pavilion.
Built in 1240, Bergenhus Fort in Bergen is a great attraction for the savvy traveller with entrance being completely free for both adults and children. Set over three floors the museum inside sees an exchange in exhibitions throughout the year.
The building was destroyed in WWII and has since been restored to its former glory. Alongside the exhibitions there’s also a self-serve café where you can grab a coffee and reflect on what you’ve learnt.
Paid Things To Do In Norway
Take The Train To Oslo
I’d encourage everyone to at least try to take the train journey between the capital of Norway, Oslo and Bergen. The journey takes 7 hours and has been labelled Europe’s greatest train journey. It is a must, must, must when visiting Oslo and Bergen as it is the most stunning and comfortable way to get around. It had to be my number one on my list of things to do in Bergen.
I’m actually sat writing this from the train as we plough through the mountains of Norway towards Oslo, so honestly… I can see why it’s called Europes greatest train journey! Check out the photo spam below…
You can book the train journey online via the nsb.no website. You’re allocated a seat, and even in economy, the seats come with adequate facilities such as vast legroom, free WIFI and access to plug sockets in every seat. I would even count this as one of the things to do in Bergen as it is so amazing.
While the train journey itself may not be cheap. Flights to and from the capital of Oslo to the UK are often available for as little as £5 one-way with Ryanair. You may not think it is for you but we loved it, there were plenty of opportunities to get some amazing pictures and take in the view.
The seats are very spacious and you have plenty of leg room, there is a fold-down table to rest your laptop or food on. There was plenty of space above to store your luggage and a small food cart selling hot drinks, snacks and sandwiches.
Håkonshallen (Haakon’s Hall)
Built between 1247 and 1261 Håkon’s Hall was named after it’s creator Håkon Håkonsson. During the 13-th Century Bergen was the policital centre of Norway and as a result Håkon’s Hall was the site of major national events, such as the drawing up of Norway’s first complete set of laws.
Our flight into Bergen Norway was delayed which meant we arrived later than planned. This significantly reduced the number of things to do in Bergen. Especially as we decided to visit in winter where the opening times of many of the museums are very short.
However, one thing I insisted on making time for was the Fløibanen Funicular. This is the number one tourist attraction in Bergen and I can see why. While we were planning out our time we made sure that this was on our things to do in Bergen. It was something we both instantly wanted to do. Even at the time of year, we went with the mist blocking some of the view, it was amazing.
The journey up to Fløyen (320 m above sea level) takes about 5–8 minutes. There are 60 seats per cart, and a cart departs every 15 minutes.
Once at the top of Fløyen you’re provided with the most magnificent views of Bergen city. In peak season there’s plenty going off up here including a variable number of hikes, cafés and playgrounds for the children.
Did you expect to be learning about Leprosy on your trip to Bergen? – Probably not, but while you’re here why not right?
The Leprosy Museum is hosted in the preserved 18th century St. George’s Hospital which is both a memorial to those who lost their lives to the decease and a research facility to help continue fight the battle against Leprosy worldwide.
Inside the museum you can look to learn about how Bergen and Norway as a whole battled to fight Leprosy. Which is particularly fascinating considering that Bergen had the largest concentration of patients for the decease in Europe during its peak.
Fantoft Stave Church
Situated 8km inland from Bergen town is Fantoft Stave Church. Originally built in Sogn back in 1150, it was moved in pieces by its new owner Fredrik Georg Gade to Fantoft in 1883.
While the church burnt down on 6 June 1992. Fantoft Stave Church has been rebuilt exactly as it was before the fire and reopened in 1997.
Entrance to the Fantoft Stave Church is currently 60 NOK for adults, 30 NOK for children and 45 NOK for students. For the latest opening times we suggest visiting the Bergen Tourism Board website.
KODE Art Museums
KODE is currently one of the largest art museums in any Nordic country. Set across four characteristic buildings in the centre of Bergen. It’s a must, for the art or museum enthusiast.
KODE has a number of long-term and short term exhibitions throughout its four buildings. At the very core of the exhibitions you’re going to learn about Bergen throughout the years. This really helped us to further appreciate the beauty of our surroundings during our time in Bergen and learn more about what the city has been through since it was founded in 1070.
The cost of entrance is 130NOK for adults, 60NOK for students and 90NOK for those with a Bergen card. Entrance is free for children under the age of 18. As the opening times vary from summer to winter we suggest checking the KODE website before you travel.
Attend The Bergen International Festival
Established back in 1953 the Bergen International Festival is the oldest and most important festival of the arts in Norway. Running for 15 days every year, the festival has played host to a number of world premieres and performances and is a ‘must-do’ for those with a passion for the arts.
Tickets to each item from the programme will need to be purchased in advance online from the Bergen International Festival website.
St Mary’s Church
It’s very rare that I put two churches on any ‘to do in a city list’ however, St Mary’s Church is extra special being that it is the oldest existing building in Bergen. Based on its architectural style, researches believe that it was built between 1130 and 1170.
Children under the age of 16 are free to enter the church however, adults have a 50NOK entrance free while students and senior citizens are to pay 40NOK. During the Bergen Organ Festival there’s a concert in the St Mary’s Church every Tuesday at 19.30 tickets are set at 100NOK per person.
Tour The Norwegian Fjords
Back in the introduction I mentioned that many class Bergen as the gateway to the Norwegian Fjords so what better place to set out on an experience of a lifetime to see them.
We suggest booking a tour on the Bergen Tourism Board website or at the Bergen Tourism Board information booth in the centre of town. By doing so you’ll benefit from the most reputable companies, and the highest variety of tours from day trips to days at sea.
Visiting the Bergen aquarium is a great family or rainy day activity. Home to a wide variety of animals and the largest aquarium in Norway you’ll find that Bergen aquarium is very interactive with scheduled feeding times and demonstrations throughout the day.
Entrance to the Bergen Aquarium costs 230NOK for adults and 170NOK for children, although there are discounts for families, students and Bergen Card holders.
Save Money With The Bergen Card
The easiest and cheapest way to visit the many attractions of Bergen for free or at a discount is by using the Bergen card. You purchase the Bergen card for a set amount of time; either 24, 48 or 72 hours.
Depending on the time of year (season) and attraction will depend on the amount of discount available.
If you’re looking to save money on your trip to Bergen, or Norway in general then check out our review of CityBox Hotel. This was the cheapest hotel in both Bergen and Oslo – we stayed in both and only have great things to say about the place.
Other Things To Do In Bergen, Norway
We’ve only covered 5 of the fantastic things to do in Bergen, Norway. Rest assured there are loads more you can do in and around this city. We’ve included a list of different tours and activities on offer from Get Your Guide below;