Cash Strapped in Bergen: A guide to things to do on a budget in the “Gateway to the Fjords”
One of Norway’s most charming cities, Bergen, is a place for hikers, history buffs, gastronomes and jazz lovers. Surrounded by the Seven Mountains, the city provides an easy escape in places like Ulriken (the highest nearby elevation), which offers breath-taking views over the fjords.
It’s no secret that going on holiday in Norway can be pricey. There are however things to do in Bergen for free or for just a few Kroner if you know where to look. In fact, one of the most popular tourist sites in the city is free, and many others provide free entry for children.
The Hanseatic Wharf or Tyskebryggen is the old merchant quarter from the Hanseatic period in Bergen, which lasted between the 13th and 17th centuries. Although the characteristic wooden houses were damaged by fire in the mid-1950s, they were rebuilt and preserved to the extent that a selection of the original buildings from the former townscape remains. A much-loved promenade and photo opportunity for visitors to Bergen, the wharf is home to museums, souvenir and gift shops and of course, some excellent traditional fish restaurants.
Stop by the nearby fish market or fisketorget, which sells delicious seafood including fresh oysters, salmon, crab, lobster, caviar and prawns. If seafood doesn’t appeal, enjoy a healthy and affordable meal at the Pygmalion Økocafe, which serves mouth-watering organic soups, sandwiches and baked goodies and also hosts live concerts and art exhibitions.
It’s easy to stick to a budget in Bergen provided you go in the summer months when the sun is shining! Catch a bus to the beach and enjoy temperatures that hover comfortably at 20°C, and although the sea is a bit chillier, it’s clean and perfect for a paddle. Grønevika, Kyrkjetangen and Helleneset beaches are good choices.
Those with a bit more energy can enjoy an afternoon stroll in the Byfjellene or ‘city mountains’ or hike up Mount Fløyen, which is one of the Seven Mountains massif. A compromise is to take the funicular (cable-car) up the mountain and walk down again – the view is well worth the effort.
No visit to Bergen is compete without enjoying a night of Jazz. Stop by the Bergen Jazzforum or a popular student venue is the Det Akademiske Kvarter, which hosts concerts several nights every week.
Don’t let your budget get in the way of your discovering the beautiful city of Bergen.
About The Author: Emma Stone is a travel “fundi” who spent a year back-packing in Nepal. She is based in London and writes about finding budget holidays in unusual places.
Photo Credits: Flickr – #1 roger4336, #2 photojenni, #3 phunkstarr, #4 spinster