The City of Bergen is located in the far north, near the Arctic Ocean and in mountains. It rains or snows about 240 days per year, and the average temperature is less than 8°C (46°F). In the winter when it rains, the Port of Bergen is Norway’s warmest city. It is also one of the country’s most vibrant cultural centers.
With a love for music, the Port of Bergen is home to the Bergen International Festival, the Nattjazz, and Bergenfest. The city’s local symphony has been operating since 1786, making it one of the world’s oldest orchestras. Home to composer Edvard Grieg and playwright Henrik Ibsen, the Port of Bergen is truly a cultural incubator.
Most visitors to the Port of Bergen are not looking for the traditional “sights.” Rather, they find the local culture fascinating. There are many things to see and do beyond the orchestra and festivals.
The Port of Bergen’s outdoor fish market is the historic center for the fish trade. While it is not the bustling place it was at one time (due to modern shopping habits), you can get a good idea of local foods by taste sampling along your way. In addition to fish, you can find vegetables, fruit, crafts, souvenirs, and flowers.
Floibanen is an inclined railway that climbs the mountains to arrive at the Floien plateau, where you can get fantastic views of the city. The Floibanen has become the most popular tourist activity in the Port of Bergen. The rail accommodates wheelchairs.
In the Middle Ages, St. Jorgen’s Hospital treated leprosy victims. It is one of the last preserved European hospitals for leprosy. The Leprosy Museum tells about the disease in Norway and life at the hospital at the time. The modern buildings date from the early 18th Century, and the museum contains a collection outlining the history of medicine and Norway’s role in leprosy research.
The Port of Bergen’s Bergenhus Fort is one of the country’s best-preserved medieval landmarks. Dating to the 12th Century, it is near the Port of Bergen’s ferry terminal. Today, visitors can see the Fort’s 13th Century Royal Hall that is still used today for galas and other royal events. The 16th Century Rosenkrantz Tower has dungeons in the basement. The fort is encircled by a nice park for picnics, play, and relaxation.
Near the city center, the Gamle Bergen (Old Bergen) is a rebuilt town containing some 50 wooden houses from the 18th to early 20th Centuries. Guided tours are available of the houses and neighborhood.
The Port of Bergen’s surrounding mountains offer many opportunities for hiking, whether a short stroll in the sunshine or a long daytrip through steep hills. The Byfjellene (the city mountains) contain many well-posted dirt roads and paths, and the city offers good maps for hikers. The Port of Bergen’s Hiking Association can give advice on the best hiking routes.