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Self-Guided Walking Tour Through Bergen 

June 8, 2023 9 min read No Comments

Before I start my blog post about taking a walking tour around Bergen, Norway – let me first say that if you’ve decided to take a trip to Norway, you won’t regret it! 

I’ve traveled to twenty-one countries in my four years in Spain. Some I went to for the first time, and others it was my daughter’s first time there. We went back to some countries, like France, Portugal, and Germany – but there have been a few countries that I would consider my TOP list. 

So, when I tell you that visiting Norway was one of the most amazing trips/experiences, I mean it! 

Now, all that aside, back to the meat and potatoes of why you are reading this blog in the first place – where to go on your self-guided walking tour of Bergen. 

If you like history, exciting architecture, and getting “lost” in a city, this walking tour is for you! 

1) Torgallmenningen Square 

Self-Guided Walking Tour Through Bergen 
Torgallmenningen Square 

There is almost no way to walk around Bergen without going through this square at least once, whether on purpose or not. Back in the day, when the buildings were primarily made of wood and fires consumed portions of the city, this square was the answer. “Allmenninger” or translated meaning to “rebuild vulnerable districts.” This literally meant that they rebuilt the buildings by adding significant gaps to ensure that when the inevitable fires would break out, the space would stop the flames from jumping across neighborhoods and consuming everything in its path. 

Now, as you wander around the beautiful shops and restaurants in the square, you will also come across the Maritime Monument. This monument has statues of the Norwegian Sea Rovers, who still to this day have no protection from the cold and piercing rain, but said they don’t mind because “it is only water.” 

Then you will find the Blue Stone. If you lived or spent much time in Bergen, you may hear the phrase “Let’s meet at the blue stone” in this square. The blue stone is exactly what it sounds like, a large blue stone that “casts a spell” and stands at the intersection of Torgallmenningen and Ole Busll Plass.

2) Byparken (City Park) 

Self-Guided Walking Tour Through Bergen 

Just up the street and around the corner from Torgallmenningen Square, you will find the beautiful Byparken (City Park). This is the city’s first park ever made! When the New Municipal Anti-Fire Regulations were implemented in 1855, they added Byparken to the city’s landscape. Again, to create space as a fire break in the middle of the answer. 

The park is split into two parts: the light rail stop and the music pavilion donated by the city; the other is known as the Festplassen (The Party Place), an open-air area for celebrations and events. There are two large ponds to maintain the park and so many beautiful flower trees that bring the whole park to life in the spring/summer.

3) Kode Museums 

Self-Guided Walking Tour Through Bergen 
Kode Museums 

On the smaller side of the pond of Byparken is the Bergen Art Museum (I can’t imagine a more picturesque location). The museum is a “package deal,” technically, there are four museums here, but together are referred to as the Bergen Art Museum KODE. The art collections are broken up by Kode 1-4. This museum is a lot like the Lourve Museum, where you can get lost and spend an entire day wandering through it. 

If you’re traveling with kids, there is an area for them! In Kode 4, on the ground floor, there is a laboratory where kids can explore and experiment with art materials! This is a great way to stay entertained, especially if you hit some of Norway’s famously rainy weather during your travels. 

4) Kong Oscars Gate (King Oscar Street) 

Self-Guided Walking Tour Through Bergen 
Kong Oscars Gate (King Oscar Street)

It was named in honor of Oascar 1, Kind of Norway and Sweden, in 1857. Before then, this street had a myriad of names. It has been “Shoemaker Street,” “Tailor Street,” “Hospital Street,” “St. Jacobs Street,” “Domkirkegaden,” and “Potrgaden.”

This street is far narrower than most other streets in Bergen. At the South-Eastern end is the old city gate of Bergen. This street also hosts some very significant buildings on it. Including at No. 67 King Oscars Street is Zander Kaae’s Foundation. This charity was built in the 18th century for a charity, and now it rents rooms to students. 

St. Jorgen’s Hospital was an 18th-century leprosy hospital now holding the leprosy museum. Bergen Cathedral, a medieval church, is at the intersection of Lille Ovregate and Domkirkeplassen. Holy Cross Church is not far from there, another medieval church. 

I LOVED walking down this street. This is a street you “get lost down.” You need to give yourself the time to wander the random nooks and crannies because if you don’t, you will miss out on the side of Bergen most don’t see. Don’t miss it! 

5) Bergen Cathedral 

Self-Guided Walking Tour Through Bergen 
Bergen Cathedral

Since the 12th century, the Bergen Cathedral has gone through the fire…literally! A few times, actually. If you couldn’t tell by this point in the blog post, Bergen as a city has been through the fire a lot; you’d think that it is incredible that anything is left of this church. Then you learn that a cannonball hit it (you can still see it lodged in the wall)! But despite the destruction, there is so much beauty and peace once you step through the doors. 

The Bergen Cathedral is the episcopal seat of the home parish of the Church of Norway. The first time you see the church mentioned in the history books is in 1181, and to this day, the church remains dedicated to Saint Olaf (no, not from Frozen – but kind of).

The beautiful Romanesque-styled church that stood in this location burned down in 1248, and the new stone church was erected a few years later. However, the construction wasn’t completed until 1537 due to all the fires (are you sensing a theme yet?) In the second English-Dutch war, in the sea battle of Vagen in 1665, the cathedral sustained a hit from a cannon shot that had gone wild! 

You may visit the church during the open hours. However, I recommend you wait to go and attend a concert there if you can schedule that during your visit to Bergen.

6) Floibanen Finciular

Self-Guided Walking Tour Through Bergen 
Floibanen Finciular

Take a leisurely 6-minute ride to the top of Mount Floyen, one of Bergen’s seven mountain tops surrounding the city. This 100-year-old carriage takes you from the Bergen Center to the top of Mount Floyen in a relaxing and luxurious manner. If you want to avoid taking the easy route, you can always hike it! 

Norway is known for its natural beauty and endless trails to hike and explore, even within the city limits; that is no different in Bergen. 

If you’d like to hike an incredible track, look for Vidden Trail. This will lead you from the tip of Mount Floyen to Mount Ulriken. It takes about five hours to hike this trail, and tends to be geared towards more serious hikers. 

Now, if you’d like to go to the top of Mount Floyen and NOT hike – that’s an option too! There is a vast area where you can sit and enjoy the view with a coffee or ice cream (depending on the weather), a park for kids to play, random goats roaming, a troll forest to explore, and so much more! 

7) Kjottbasaren Market

Self-Guided Walking Tour Through Bergen 
Kjottbasaren Market

Welcome to Bergen’s old meat market! Founded in 1872 and located just north of the Bergen Fish Market on Torget Street, this elaborate gabled brick building is one to visit. 

Though it is no longer used as a market, you can grab a coffee to warm your hands or boost your energy to continue your adventuring around Bergen. Or visit one of the restaurants in the building. Just keep in mind that if you sit outside and the wind changes, you might be smelling the fish market while enjoying your meal. 

8) Fish Market 

Self-Guided Walking Tour Through Bergen 
Fish Market 

Once you’re finished visiting or taking pictures of Kjottbasaren Market, you can cross the street to see the Bergen Fish Market. This market has been in operation since 1200 and has always been the heart center of the city. Seafood is a huge part of the city’s economy and has been for thousands of years – you can see why this market is pivotal to the town. Not only can you find seafood for sale from stalls, but you can also find boats pulled up to the pier and selling their catch of the day right off the ship. 

Though this market has been in operation since 1200, it has only sometimes been located where it is today at Vagen. The original marketing was next to Bryggen in Nikolaikirkeallmanning. Then when the Hanseatic League arrived in the 14th century, the city suddenly had a lot of Germanic influence. Finally, in 1556 the market was moved to Vagen. The indoor market was added in 2012, and more permanent businesses opened shop. 

Bergen is the most active harbor in Norway and is busy with a very colorful fish market – both with its products and with its visitors! 

9) Hanseatic Museum 

When I make my lists of places to visit when traveling, I try not to include TOO many museums (because my 6-year-old can only handle so many times for me to tell her to keep her hands in her pockets) 

This museum is worth the visit! In the 14th century (as mentioned in the last location’s information), the Hanseatic League reached Norway. They sailed to Bergen and set up “shop,” a trade shop in grain for stockfish. Bergen soon became one of Northern Europe’s trading centers. 

The museum accurately shows how the Hanseatic merchant lived and influenced life on the Wharf. It is a fantastic museum to visit, and I highly recommend it! 

10) Bryggen (The Wharf) 

Self-Guided Walking Tour Through Bergen 
The Iconic Bryggen

The iconic Bryggen is the first thing you saw when you Googled Bergen, isn’t it? That is because The Wharf is the number one visited area in Bergen. Whether you stepped off a cruise boat, train, or plane – eventually, everyone seems to find their way to Bryggen! 

The Bryggen area covered all the buildings between the sea and Ovregaten Road. The earliest pier is dated about 1100 AD, and the city of Bergen dates back before 1070. However, as we’ve learned, the infamous fires of Bergen destroyed most of the original buildings. The ones we see today date back to 1702. 

Hiding behind the classic Bryggen facades is a tiny world of hidden alleyways filled with shops, studios, cafes, galleries, and more! This means don’t just take a picture in front of Bryggen for Instagram and leave – explore! Local artists and designers have set up shops in the old storage spaces for stockfish and grain. The rooms hold art, designs, jewelry, books, and even a cafe! 

11) St. Mary’s Cathedral 

Self-Guided Walking Tour Through Bergen 
St. Mary’s Cathedral 

Coming toward the end of our walking tour, I had to take you to St. Mary’s Cathedral. This is the old-standing building in the city, which is a feat alone! Built around 1135, the architect’s name has been lost to history. However, he made it to last! The church is still used today and can seat 240 people. St Mary’s is the only surviving church of the 12 churches and three monasteries built during the rule of Olav Kyrre (1066-1093). 

The church was built by artisans from Scania in Denmark. The style of the church resembles that of Lund Cathedral in Scania. 

12) Bergenhus Fortress and Rosenkrantz Tower 

The tower and fortress used to be considered one establishment, but they are two separate establishments. The Bergenhus Fortress has been a Royal seat and residence, episcopal see, and military power base since the early 1500s but wasn’t considered completed until the 1700s. 

The fortress was only under siege once during the Second Dutch-English War. In August 1665, a squadron of Dutch vessels took shelter in the neutral Bergen harbor. However, neutrality wasn’t respected. The English warships fired on the Dutch ships and the fortress. The fire was returned, and overall the battle was relativity short and became known as the Battle of Vagen. 

Rosenkrantz Tower is the dominant building of the fort complex. It was named for Erik Rosenkrantz. The tower has changed over the years, and what you see now was constructed during Rosenkrantz’s reign, 1559-1568. However, there is an older part of the tower. A medieval tower called “Keep by the Sea” was built by King Magnus the Lawmaker in 1270. 

Of my current country count (June 2023) sitting at a whopping 42, I’ve had the opportunity to see and experience a lot of countries and their cultures. Norway easily sits in the top FIVE favorite countries I’ve visited thus far. The natural beauty is breathtaking, the people are lovely, and the food is outstanding! Whether you want to go shopping, channel your inner Viking from your favorite TV show or movie, or want to get away and take a deep breath of clean fjord air – Norway has something for everyone. 

For more walking tours like this – click here!


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The Backpacker Mom

Hey there! I'm Phylicia, but you probably know me as "The Backpacker Mom." As a passionate wine educator and travel blogger, my daughter and I embark on exciting adventures around the world, sipping wine and creating unforgettable memories together. Join us on our wonderful adventures around the globe! Read More Here

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