This is the place to be in the Norwegian city of Bergen, where it often rains, but that shouldn’t spoil the fun

Statue Joost Stokhof

Bergen is located between the mountains. The Norwegian city is wedged between seven mountains that are an integral part of the city. ‘Walking is a constant interval training, it always goes up or down,’ says Akkelies van Nes. ‘The Bergenser have very good buttocks and thighs.’ Van Nes (54) is a professor civil engineering, specialized in spatial analysis methods, at the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences and has lived in Bergen for eight years. She says: ‘I think this is such a beautiful season, when the blossoms come out and there is still snow on the mountain tops. It is also spectacular around midsummer, when fires are lit on the beach and the sunset turns into the sunrise with a golden glow. But to be honest, Bergen is a rain city, it often rains. The weather forecast is so exact that you know exactly whether a few shower-free hours are coming up to spend some time outside. The time between downpours even has a name: flatten

Historic Fishing Port

Akkelies van Nes: ‘Bergen, Norway’s second largest city, on the west coast, has a natural harbor and used to be an important Hanseatic city. Bryggen, the quay with the colorful wooden houses, is the historic heart of the city, along with the fish market. Bergen has had a fish market since the 13th century, which is now surrounded by fish shops, seafood restaurants and a fish hall with a huge choice.’

Fisketorget, Torget

26 percent

‘A few hundred meters from Bryggen starts the funicular, the Fløibanen, which climbs to the top of Fløyen, one of the seven mountains, in a few minutes at a gradient of 26 percent. On top of Fløyen you have a beautiful view of the city, with the sea in the distance, one of the most beautiful views ever. From there there is a walking route back to the center. There is a map with walking routes. I know a cosy, white coffee shop, just about next to the funicular, for before or after a walk: Det Lille Kaffe Kompaniet. It’s tiny. For cinnamon rolls and coffee and cake with love.’

Fløibanen, Vetrlidsallmenningen 23A

Det Lille Kaffe Kompaniet, Nedre Fjellsmauet 2

reindeer hot dog

‘A typical Norwegian snack is pølse med lumpy/brød, sausage with a tortilla or with bread, available at the famous red sausage stall Trekroneren, which means three Norwegian kroner. They sell all kinds of sausage, lamb sausage, chorizo, bratwurst and I highly recommend the reindeer hot dog.’

Trekroneren, Kong Oscars gate 1

Fish, champagne, organic bread

‘Restaurant 1877 is a fantastic restaurant with a cozy appearance, with a lot of wood and stone, and where Scandinavian cooking is done at a high level. And they serve a champagne lunch with green asparagus and caviar. The center of Bergen is only small and almost next to Restaurant 1877 is a bakery with delicious organic bread, sandwiches, sweet rolls and excellent coffee.’

Restaurant 1877, Vetrlidsallmenningen 2

Godt Brod Floyen, Vetrlidsallmenningen 19

Karaoke bar

‘I myself live on the edge of the center, but I can be in the city in no time with the Light Rail. When the lockdown was lifted and we were allowed to go outside again, there was loud singing in the train, everyone participated. I lived in Oslo in my youth, but there the people are more closed, the people of Bergen are open, in for a chat and also very urban, while this is only a small city. Zachariasbryggen, in the center, is a building with several floors, where there is plenty to do in the evenings. There is a piano bar, a country saloon and a karaoke bar. I sing myself, opera, a favorite hobby of mine, and also like karaoke. On the weekends, I kind of feel like part of the furniture in the karaoke bar.’

Zachariasbryggen, Torget 2

Literature and dinner

‘The Literature House, the Litteraturhuset, kills two birds with one stone: there are always interesting literary evenings, often with well-known writers, and there is a good, highly regarded restaurant.’

Litteraturhuset i Mons en Colonialen Brasseriet, Østre Skostredet 5-7

Perfect Grieg

‘Composer Edvard Grieg was born in Bergen and the concert hall named after him, built as a kind of fan, with a room with a bright red ceiling inside, has a perfect sound. I like going to an opera or a concert here, not just classical.’

Grieghallen, Edvard Griegs plass 1

warm rocks

‘The Oude Bergen Museum is a nice open-air museum with wooden houses, such as those built here in the past centuries. Also in this part of town is the Sandviken Sea Bath, a jetty with a diving board and an old seaside bathhouse. Because the sun is often low in the afternoon, the rocks warm up and you can sit here, even early in the season.’

Gamle Bergen Museum, Elsesro, Nyhavnsveien 4

Sandviken Sjobad, Elsesro 56

The City and the Seven Mountains

‘Once a year in Bergen, a day on which all seven mountains are climbed, is quite an event. The Ulriken is the highest mountain, 634 meters. A stone sherpa staircase has been built against it by Sherpas from Nepal. 1300 steps up or down, then you feel that you are alive, especially the next day. There are many well-marked hiking trails around the mountains of Bergen, also for newbies, as I always call my friends who have never hiked at altitude. The views along the way, over peaks and valleys, are wonderful.’

Oppstemten Ulriken Stairs, Johan Blytts veis

To the fjords

‘Bergen is the closest town to the big well-known fjords, the Sognefjord and the Hardangerfjord. I would definitely go there one day on a mini cruise. These kinds of boat trips often leave from the harbor, next to the fish market. The west coast of Norway, with its fjords, is a jewel. Rain or not.’

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