One Day in Bergen, Norway: Your Gateway to the Fjords

You are here Home > Destinations > Scandinavia > One Day in Bergen, Norway: Your Gateway to the Fjords

Enjoy our inside guide to Norway’s second largest city.

Abigail King and daughter exploring the UNESCO area of Bryggen in Bergen

How to spend one day in Bergen

Welcome to Bergen, a city surrounded by stunning fjords and the launchpad for many cruise ships heading to the Arctic. This one-day itinerary will take you through the best that Bergen has to offer, ensuring you make the most of your visit. Let’s begin!

Why visit Bergen

For many, Bergen is a necessity rather than a choice. Or at least that’s how the travel plan begins. It’s the second largest city in Norway and most people pass through en route to adventures in the Norwegian fjords, in particular Sognefjord and Hardangerfjord.

But don’t get the idea that it’s just a dull staging post. We extended our trip to see more of Bergen before we set sail and I’m so glad we did.

First of all, there’s one of Bergen’s most famous attractions: the Bryggen wharf, a UNESCO World Heritage site that dates back to the 14th century.

Another highlight is the funicular up to the top of Mount Fløyen, which offers spectacular views of the city and surrounding fjords.

Then there’s the food, a great introduction to the surprising variety of traditional Norwegian dishes and the untold story of stockfish.

We’re so glad we made time to spend one day in Bergen and here’s an easy to use guide to make the most of your 24 hours in Bergen. Even if you plan to set sail in search of the northern lights.

When to visit Bergen

Bergen is a popular tourist destination that can be enjoyed year-round. However, the best time to visit Bergen is during the summer months, in between June and August.

During this time, the city experiences long days with up to 19 hours of daylight and mild temperatures, which makes it easier for you to make the most of the place. Additionally, this is peak tourist season, so you can enjoy a variety of cultural events and festivals, even though there are a few crowds.

How to get to Bergen

To get to Bergen from the UK or US, the most convenient and popular route is by air. There are several airlines that offer flights to Bergen from the UK and US, including Norwegian, SAS, and British Airways. Most of these flights connect in Oslo, Norway’s capital, before continuing on to Bergen.

You can also take a ferry from various ports in Europe, such as Copenhagen or Amsterdam. However, this option is generally more time-consuming and can be quite expensive.

It’s important to note that Norway is not part of the European Union, so check your paperwork closely before you leave the house.

How to get around Bergen

For the most part you can walk. But if that’s causing you trouble or you’re staying out of town then the city has an excellent public transportation system, consisting of buses, trams, and trains. You can buy tickets from the ticket machines located at various stops throughout the city, and they offer a range of options, including single tickets, day passes, and multi-day passes.

Alternatively, you can rent a bike or a scooter to get around the city quickly and easily.

One day in Bergen Norway cover image

Your One Day Bergen Itinerary

Here’s how much you can see in Bergen in one day.


Start your day with a hearty Norwegian breakfast at one of the many charming local cafés. Look for places offering traditional delicacies like “rømmegrøt” (sour cream porridge), “lefse” (soft flatbread), or freshly baked pastries. Combine with a cup of hot coffee or tea, ready for your one day in Bergen.

Some breakfast recommendations for you:

  1. Godt Brød: Known for its freshly baked bread and delicious coffee, this cafe is a great place to start your day in Bergen.
  2. Kaffemisjonen: This cozy cafe serves up some of the best coffee in the city, along with a variety of breakfast items like croissants, sandwiches, and pastries.
  3. Colonialen: With a focus on locally sourced ingredients, Colonialen offers a range of breakfast options, from traditional Norwegian fare to international dishes.
  4. Baker Brun: This iconic bakery has been serving up delicious breakfast treats for over 130 years, and is a must-visit for anyone in Bergen.
  5. Lysverket: While primarily known for its Nordic-inspired cuisine, Lysverket also offers a fantastic breakfast menu featuring everything from avocado toast to porridge.

A morning in Bergen

Bryggen Hanseatic Wharf replica Bergen
A souvenir from the iconic Bryggen Hanseatic Wharf

Bryggen Hanseatic Wharf

After breakfast, head straight to the iconic Bryggen Hanseatic Wharf, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the key landmark for the city. Stroll through the narrow alleyways and picture yourself in flowing robes as you walk between the colourful wooden houses from the Hanseatic League era.

Cloudy day at Bergenhus Fortress, Bergen
Bergenhus Fortress is one of the best-preserved in Norway

Bergenhus Fortress

Take a short walk to the Bergenhus Fortress, one of the oldest and most well-preserved fortresses in Norway. Explore the medieval halls, bastions, and towers, and don’t miss the Rosenkrantz Tower and Håkon’s Hall. If you feel pressed for time, you can miss the inside and it’s still worth walking along to see the exterior and the views of Bergen.

Interior of Tracteursted in Bergen a cosy restaurant for lunch
Seafood is an institution in Bergen

Lunch in Bergen

Lunch with a View: For a delightful midday meal, head to one of the local restaurants offering a panoramic view of Bergen’s waterfront. Enjoy a range of options, from freshly caught seafood to traditional Norwegian dishes prepared with locally sourced ingredients.

We absolutely loved the Tracteursted for its cosy atmosphere and huge range of tapas tasting dishes. You can fly through the new flavours with this style of eating.

Here are four other recommended places for lunch in Bergen:

  1. Bryggeloftet & Stuene – Located in the famous Bryggen area, this restaurant serves traditional Norwegian food with a modern twist. Try the fish soup or the Bergen platter for a taste of local cuisine.
  2. Bien Bar – This cozy and trendy restaurant offers a variety of dishes, including tapas, burgers, and salads. Their outdoor seating area is perfect for sunny days.
  3. Pingvinen – A Bergen institution, Pingvinen has been serving traditional Norwegian food since 1929. Try the fish cakes or the meatballs for a taste of history.
  4. Lysverket – For a more upscale lunch experience, head to Lysverket. This Michelin-starred restaurant serves innovative dishes made with local ingredients. The lunch menu changes daily, so you’re sure to find something new and exciting.

Fløibanen Funicular

After lunch is the time to head to Mount Fløyen via the Fløibanen funicular. The funicular ride offers awe-inspiring vistas of Bergen and its surrounding fjords. Apparently. We have to confess that Bergen was shrouded in fog when we were there, so we couldn’t even see the funicular, never mind the peak.

However, if the weather is playing along then you can explore the hiking trails or simply drink in the beautiful scenery. If the weather is awful, then head to one of the museums mentioned below.

Bergen fish market seafood platter in Norway

Fish Market

Bergen Fish Market is a fun stop, with a great view of the UNESCO Bryggen just across the water. Sample some of the freshly prepared seafood delicacies or just browse around.

Troldhaugen Museum

For a touch of culture, take a short trip to Troldhaugen, the former home of renowned composer Edvard Grieg. The museum offers insight into Grieg’s life and work, and you can enjoy classical music concerts or stroll through the beautiful gardens overlooking Lake Nordås.

How to spend an evening in Bergen

Street art Bergen Old Town, Norway
Some of the street art found in Bergen’s Old Town

Explore the Old Town

As the day winds down, meander through the charming cobblestone streets of Bergen’s Old Town. Look at the statue of remembrance, the street art and the hot dog stands.

Bergen is a lovely place to drif around when the weather is right.

Cruise the Fjords

If you’re not in Bergen to start or finish a cruise, then try to squeeze in a fjord cruise to your visit. Norway is famous for its fjords, after all, and the ever-changing light during the evening creates an unforgettable atmosphere.

Platter of Norwegian tapas
Dinner is the highlight of any day in Bergen

Make dinner an event

For some, Norwegian food is an acquired taste. But it’s full of character and flavour and I always live by the motto that you should try everything once.

Choose from a wide range of options, including traditional dishes with a modern twist, or international fare.

The key things to try are the local specialties like “klippfisk” (dried and salted cod) or “rakfisk” (fermented fish) for a true taste of Norway.

If you’re looking for a great place to eat in Bergen, Norway, here are some recommendations:

  1. Lysverket – Lysverket is a contemporary restaurant that serves up inventive, Nordic-inspired cuisine. The menu changes frequently to showcase seasonal ingredients, but you can always expect beautiful presentation and complex flavours.
  2. Enhjørningen – For a taste of traditional Bergen seafood, Enhjørningen is a must-visit. This cozy restaurant has been serving up fresh fish dishes since 1962, and is known for its classic Bergen fish soup.
  3. Colonialen – If you’re in the mood for something a bit more casual, Colonialen is a great option. This cafe and deli serves up sandwiches, salads, and baked goods during the day, but transforms into a bustling restaurant at night. The menu features a mix of classic European dishes and modern Scandinavian fare.
  4. Bare Vestland – For a true taste of the region, check out Bare Vestland. This restaurant prides itself on using locally-sourced ingredients to create dishes that showcase the flavors of Western Norway. Don’t miss the lamb shank or the cured reindeer!
  5. Marg & Bein – This trendy restaurant in Bergen’s up-and-coming Møhlenpris neighbourhood is a favorite among locals. The menu is focused on small plates that are meant for sharing, and features a mix of international flavours and Norwegian ingredients. Try the king crab or the bone marrow.

Day trips from Bergen

There are many amazing day trips that you can take from Bergen to explore the region’s natural beauty and cultural heritage. Here are some of the best recommendations:

  1. Fløyen and Ulriken: These are two of the most popular mountains in Bergen, and you can take a funicular or a cable car to reach the top. From there, you can enjoy panoramic views of the city, the fjords, and the surrounding mountains. You can also go hiking, biking, or ziplining on the mountains.
  2. Hardangerfjord: This is Norway’s second longest fjord and is located just a few hours away from Bergen. You can take a scenic drive or a boat tour to explore the fjord and see the stunning waterfalls, glaciers, and orchards along the way. You can also visit the charming villages of Eidfjord and Ulvik.
  3. Sognefjord: This is Norway’s longest and deepest fjord, and it is known for its dramatic scenery and pristine wilderness. You can take a day trip from Bergen to Flåm and take a cruise on the fjord, passing by towering mountains, cascading waterfalls, and historic farms.
  4. Hardangervidda National Park: This is Norway’s largest national park and is located just a few hours away from Bergen. You can go hiking, fishing, or skiing in the park, which is home to reindeer, arctic foxes, and other wildlife. You can also visit the Vøringsfossen waterfall and the Rjukan-Notodden Industrial Heritage Site.
  5. Bergen Archipelago: This is a group of islands located just outside Bergen, and it is a popular destination for boating, fishing, and hiking. You can take a ferry or a tour boat to explore the islands and see the picturesque lighthouses, fishing villages, and seabird colonies.

Where to stay in Bergen

Ideally, I’d say you want to stay within walking distance of the Fish Market and waterfront. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Bergen Harbor Hotel: As you might expect, the Bergen Harbor Hotel offers great views of the waterfront and easy access to Bryggen and other attractions.
  2. Thon Hotel Orion: Also inthe heart of Bergen, the Thon Hotel Orion is a mid range hotel with a complimentary breakfast buffet.
  3. Clarion Hotel Admiral: With a prime waterfront location, the Clarion Hotel Admiral offers stunning views of the harbor and Bryggen. The stylish rooms feature nautical-themed décor, and guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant and bar.
  4. Augustin Hotel: Established in 1909, the Augustin Hotel has a touch of history alongside modern facilities. Its central location makes it convenient for exploring Bergen’s attractions on foot. Guests can relax in the lovely courtyard garden or enjoy a meal at the on-site restaurant, offering traditional Norwegian dishes.
  5. Scandic Ørnen: Located near the city center, this hotel offers stylish rooms with large windows offering beautiful views of the city. Guests can unwind in the sauna or fitness centre after a day of sightseeing.

Remember to book in advance during peak season so that you don’t get caught out.

Child holds a skillingsboller
There’s no such thing as too many Skillingsbollers

What to eat in Bergen

I always love to try something new or something excellent when I travel. Here’s what to look out for in this part of Norway:

  1. Salmon: Indulge in fresh, succulent salmon, a true Norwegian specialty. Whether it’s smoked, grilled, or cured, Bergen’s salmon is renowned for its delicate flavour and buttery texture.
  2. Klippfisk: Experience the traditional dried and salted cod known as “klippfisk.” This staple in Norwegian cuisine has a rich history and is prepared in various mouthwatering dishes.
  3. Fish Soup: Warm up with a comforting bowl of Bergen’s flavorful fish soup. Packed with a mix of fish, shellfish, and vegetables, it’s the perfect dish for chilly days.
  4. Herring: Taste the pickled herring, another classic Norwegian delicacy. With various marinades and flavors, it offers an unforgettable burst of taste in every bite.
  5. Lutefisk: For the adventurous, try “lutefisk,” a dish made from dried fish soaked in lye. Served with a variety of accompaniments, it’s a traditional favourite during the festive season.
  6. Skillingsboller: Indulge your sweet tooth with “skillingsboller,” cinnamon buns often enjoyed with a hot cup of coffee or tea. These fluffy pastries are a beloved Norwegian treat and the perfect comfort food.
  7. Norwegian Waffles: Savor the heart-shaped Norwegian waffles, served with jam and sour cream. They are a popular snack or dessert option enjoyed throughout the day.
  8. Brunost: Explore the world of Norwegian cheese with “brunost” or brown cheese. Made from caramelized whey, it boasts a unique sweet and nutty flavor that locals adore.
  9. Rakfisk: For a taste of Norway’s traditional preserved fish, try “rakfisk.” This fermented fish dish is an acquired taste, but an essential part of the country’s culinary heritage.
  10. Cloudberries: Finish off your culinary adventure with a taste of “molter” or cloudberries. These sweet and tangy berries grow in the wild and are often enjoyed as jams or desserts.
Bergen drain cover

The Bergen Card

No European city is complete without a tourist card and while I’m usually sceptical, here’s what you need to know about the Bergen card.

The Bergen Card is a city pass offered to tourists visiting Bergen, Norway. It provides access to a range of attractions and services at a discounted rate or free of charge. The card is available for 24, 48, or 72 hours, allowing you to choose the duration that best suits your travel plans.

With the Bergen Card, tourists can enjoy complimentary entry to popular landmarks such as the Bergen Aquarium, Hanseatic Museum, and Bergen Maritime Museum.

Additionally, it grants free usage of Bergen’s extensive public transport network, including buses and the Fløibanen funicular to Mount Fløyen.

The card also offers discounts at various restaurants, shops, and tour operators. You can buy the Bergen Card at multiple locations throughout the city.

Wishing you a fantastic time in Bergen!