Bergen is a charming old city with a youthful spirit. As you fly into Bergen, you’ll see the stunning cliffs rising out of the sea and the fjord surrounded by majestic mountains. In the Middle Ages, Bergen was the largest city in Scandinavia and it wasn’t until the 1830s that Oslo’s population overtook that of Bergen. However, Bergen retains its status as an important port city. The dramatic scenery, a lively music scene and a pleasant, relaxed atmosphere make Bergen a very popular destination.
The city of Bergen is surrounded by seven mountains and is based around its harbour. In the Bergenhus district there are well-preserved medieval buildings. On the other side of the harbour is the Klosteret area, which has beautiful 18th-century wooden houses and charming alleys, where you can take a stroll out to the Nordnes peninsula. The city centre extends from the main square, Torget, to the Nygård area, where most of the shops and restaurants can be found.
Bergen was involved in trade with countries all over Europe, and was awarded its city charter as early as 1070, by King Olav Kyrre. Contacts with the Hanseatic League allowed Bergen to export fish and import important supplies of grain. In the harbour, which is called Vågen, you can still see parts of the Bryggen, the old Hanseatic Wharf. The old wooden buildings are on the UNESCO world heritage list, and have been damaged by fire several times.
From March to May, you can hear drummers marching through the streets – this is the Buekorps, a relic from the days when every Norwegian city had its own militia, but nowadays it is children who make up the teams of drummers.
Bergen has a rich cultural scene, and two major festivals: Bergen Festspel and Nattjazzen. The composer Edvard Grieg grew up here and his home, Troldhaugen, has been turned into a museum. In recent years a number of artists from Bergen, including Kings of Convenience, Annie and Röyksopp, have achieved international success.Read More