Beautiful Bergen

Bergen is permanently salted with robust cobbles and a rich sea-trading heritage. Norway’s capital in the 13th century, Bergen’s wealth and importance came thanks to its membership in the heavyweight medieval trading club of merchant cities called the Hanseatic League. Bergen still wears her rich maritime heritage proudly. Here are some snapshots of my latest visit.


bergen-viewBergen’s popular funicular climbs 1,000 feet in seven minutes to the top of Mount Fløyen for the best view of the town, surrounding islands, and fjords all the way to the west coast.


Bergen-tall-shipsProtected from the open sea by a lone sheltering island, Bergen is a place of refuge from heavy winds for the giant working boats that serve the North Sea oil rigs. (Much of Norway’s current affluence is funded by the oil it drills just offshore.) Bergen is also one of the most popular cruise-ship ports in northern Europe, hosting about 300 ships a year and up to five ships a day in peak season. Each morning is rush hour, as cruisers hike past the fortress and into town. During my recent visit, it was the Tall Ships Festival — which added color and crowds to the mix.


bergen-legosPart of the joy of travel is seeing local families out just enjoying their city and spending time together. A classic scene anywhere in Scandinavia is blonde tots playing with colorful Legos (made by a Scandinavian company, of course). Here in Bergen’s main square, kids were in Lego heaven with giant tables full of parts to piece together.


4 Replies to “Beautiful Bergen”

  1. We want to visit and certainly take the train from Oslo to Bergen. We also cycle. Have you seen many road cyclists or bike paths or is it basically mountain biking? (A big clue is that the international company we travel with offering European tours doesn’t do Scandinavia at all.)

  2. There are not too many cyclists in Norway. Lots of hills and distances between towns are huge. That being said though there are a number of great long distance paths. Since the eighties oil money has been spent making roads safer. That has meant digging lots of tunnels, many 1.5km long. Well bikes are forbidden in these tunnels and you wouldn’t want to go there anyway because of the fumes. That means that often the old road is reserved for bikes and walkers. Also outside the Oslo area traffic is sparse so main roads aren’t scary on a bike.

    The train is certainly worth taking. It is a beautiful route especially between the tunnels, 180 of them between Bergen and Oslo.

    Do come see Norway it is beautiful.

    Working for Norwegian Guide Service in Bergen

  3. By coicindence, this article was on the BBC today about why Norway has avoided the spending binges and corruption that all too often end up afflict fossil fuel exporters:

    Since the US is now on the cusp of joining this club, I hope that we can follow the positive example set by Norway, and avoid the mistakes of the Middle East, Russia, Venezuela, and… well, virtually every member of OPEC.

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