The best way to start a day in Bergen is with a freshly baked cinnamon bun from the bakers. Coated in a sweet, crunchy, sugary topping, giant cinnamon buns became a staple breakfast food for our Norwegian adventures, a taste and smell I’m sure never to forget.
After catching the overnight train from Oslo, we arrived in Bergen in the early hours of the morning, while the streetlights still twinkled and the sky was a deep blue. Cinnamon bun and hot chocolate in hand we wandered the quiet streets, the shops not yet open and the city not yet awake.
The air was cold and damp. They say it rains an average of 165 days a year in Bergen and I very much believe them. Everyone carries an umbrella.
Our first morning was short but sweet. Early morning wandering felt casual and at ease. We didn’t hold a tourist map or stick to any schedule, we just walked, knowing we would return to explore again later in the week.
The water was an icy grey and the birds looked sad. They don’t have umbrellas.
From Bergen, we then hired a car and took a drive out to the fjord scape outside the city, visiting Panorama Hotell and Resort for one night, then Solstrand Hotel & Spa for another, before returning for our day of adventuring.
We set out in sunshine to be hit by a snowstorm minutes later. At least it wasn’t rain. From the hotel, we wandered the cobbled streets adorned with pastel, wooden-clad buildings to Bryggen.
Bryggen is one of Bergen’s and Norway’s main attractions. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bryggen adorns many a postcard and is recognised as a vibrant and important area of the city. Built in 1702 after the great fire, Bryggen sits on the historic remains of Bergen’s original city and remains very much unaltered today, despite the passing centuries.
From Bryggen we enjoyed the narrow alleyways, historic wharf, passing fishing boats and famous fish market, taking in the cultural heritage, unique sights and sounds.
From historical Bryggen, we aspired to greater heights, to see Bergen from above. The Fløibanen funicular is a hillside train that takes you up the picturesque Bergen topography to an amazing viewing platform at Fløyen.
From Fløyen you can see out across Bergen and beyond. As we reached the top, glowing, golden sunlight broke through the clouds; a break from the drizzle and snow showers, revealing the city below in all its glory.
From Fløyen the view was magnificent, looking out to the ocean. A must-see sight to behold. We sat a while watching cruise ships and fishing boats come and go, cars start and stop, and people, like ants, wandering the city below.
Travelling in the winter, we opted for a return ticket on the funicular rather than brave the icy winding route down, although I expect this 3km route is beautiful in warmer months.
Descending back into Bergen via Fløibanen, we then headed back to the harbour and enjoyed lunch at Italian restaurant, Olivia Zachariasbryggen, with beautiful decor, minimalist Scandi interiors, cosy fires, large glass windows and views out to Bryggen.
Unapologetically the skies turned grey and rain descended from the sky. Everyone in Bergen carries umbrellas. Except us.
Despite the melancholy weather, we spent our time in Bergen with smiles on our faces. The culture, history, heritage and views prove for an enjoyable day of exploring. I’d particularly recommend the Fløibanen funicular.