Velkommen til Norge
After visiting Iceland for an extended layover in May of 2018, we hopped over to Bergen, Norway on a short flight – officially one of my favorite cities in the world. During our travels in Hordaland, we spent 3.5 days there, one of which we rented a car and headed out to the fjord region. Bergen was the city that I would move to. It had charm, great energy, gorgeous architecture, and delicious food. I had spent a couple years learning Norsk, and was excited to practice (and just understand and read) while I was there. It ended up being very helpful! Here’s my list of top things from our trip:
STAY LOCAL IN THE HISTORIC BUILDINGS
Our Airbnb that we rented could not have been more perfect. It was located in the Nordnes peninsula, and was walking distance to everything, but a little outside of the bustle of the streets. It was in the one of the historic wooden buildings, off a pedestrian-only cobblestone street, so it was super quiet, with AMAZING views of the Bergen fjord. Seriously, the sunset from the living room was stunning. It was great staying in a traditional building but that’s been modernized (those heated bathroom floors were a score). Highly recommend if you’re looking for a great spot with good views, historic vibes, and close to everything – here’s the link!
If you visit Bergen, you have to swing by the Bryggen area at some point. It contains the iconic charming colorful buildings over the port and is a huge tourist spot. I loved getting a snack and walking around this spot, both the main area and down the different streets. When you think of Bergen, you think of these specific rows of buildings, but you’ll also find tons of white wooden buildings too that are also super cute. My advice for this spot: don’t eat within the touristy area, as you’ll pay a bit more for food. Check out restaurants “off the square” – Google is your friend. I have a list of recommended spots we ate at while in town that we’d recommend!
TOP OF THE CASTLE
This is a secret spot where you’ll find locals picnicking, reading a book, etc. It has amazing city and harbor views, and is very quiet from the bustle of town. We learned of this spot from locals and had plenty of people hanging out and enjoying the nice spring weather.
We rented an Audi at 7 in the morning, and head outside of the city to the infamous fjords. Combine the twisty countryside roads with a zippy car, and you feel like you’re in a movie scene. The views were absolutely stunning – it was about a 3 hour from the city, and a scenic one at that. We stopped at many different spots along the way before our “end destination” Vøringfossen in Eidfjord. We took the more “direct” route back to the city, where we discovered even more waterfalls including Skjervsfossen (which has the most pleasant public restrooms you’ll ever experience in your life). We were the only ones there, and it was one of the most stunning set of waterfalls I’ve ever seen. It was a day trip that was totally worth it.
Things I loved:
- The Bergen airport is super clean and easy to navigate.
- The community is safe and open – children are out and about using public transit.
- Everyone’s fashion sense – it was refreshing not seeing yoga pants.
- Crooked buildings and tight alleys – all day, every day.
- Ham & Cheese sandwiches and open faced salmon sandwiches.
Tips for Norway:
- Visit the Bergen tourist center. We were originally planning on taking the direct train from Bergen to Oslo – and stopped in for a quick trip to the tourist center where they helped us book a scenic tour with a boat ride through the fjords and an old train ride through Flam.
- You don’t need cash. Credit cards are accepted everywhere.
- Take the metro from the airport to town. It’s cheap and easy.
- Use Airbnb for your stay. There are so many cute homes and it’s worth it to live like a local.
- Restaurants did NOT stay open late. Keep this in mind if you tend to be a late eater.
If you ever need a portrait or wedding photographer in Bergen, check out Wide in Wonder – they are amazing.