When we lived in Yorkshire we lived just outside Skipton. Skipton has a rather grand claim that it likes to make. This claim can be found on all its road signs too – Skipton is known for being the gateway to the Yorkshire Dales. Bergen also makes similarly grand claims in that it is the gateway to the fjords. Skipton you know that I love you but Bergen is by far the grander gateway!
Now that is one very impressive gateway, some might say Bergen is a bit of a show off! Well it was certainly showing off the day we visited. Bergen was our very first port of call with the P&O Norway cruise. I was very excited to visit Bergen and it did not disappoint. It is Norway’s second largest city. However, it still has a small town charm with its pretty and quaint streets and plenty of green space.
In the morning we went up the Fløyen on the funicular. This costs about £15 per person and I would say that it is money well spent! The views are spectacular as you can see from the top picture. The journey itself is also an experience. One that I’m not sure I am brave enough to repeat again but still it was an experience.
I would say that if you want to go then get there early. It is very popular and the queues can be quite lengthy. This was the queue at about 10am in the morning. However, we didn’t mind waiting as it moved quickly and there was also free wi-fi! At the top you will find stunning views as well as a cafe and children’s playground. Just be careful as the price of water at the top is quite pricey. Therefore, it may be worth buying your drinks before you get to the top.
When you reach the top make sure you take the time to really appreciate the view. We were lucky on the day that we went as it was such a clear day that we were able to see for miles. We then made the slightly hair-raising ride back down.
It goes down this track at quite a speed. I might have closed my eyes and crossed my fingers. On the other hand Mr C and my mum filmed it. Why would you do that?! Why would you want to relieve that hair-raising journey again and again. The mind boggles. When we were safely at the bottom again (and my breathing had returned to normal), we joined our group for a coach tour. This was perfect for us and it was really interesting and very well organised. It also saved young and old legs from having to walk too far. This was booked through the cruise and I would really recommend it. The tour guide was brilliant.
We made several stops so that we could take more pictures of the stunning scenery. The tour lasted about an hour and a half and it allowed us to see the city of Bergen really easily. After the tour had finished my brother gave us a tour of the city too. However, he wasn’t as kind as our other tour guide as he made us walk for MILES! My dad had opted out of this tour and whilst we were getting blisters on our feet my dad was sat on his balcony enjoying his book. Apart from the blisters my brother was an excellent tour guide. I learnt that the 10% of the population of Bergen are made up of students which would explain the city’s youthful feel and vibe.
In the city they also have dedicated walls for street art, just like the above. The idea behind this is that historic buildings won’t find themselves adorned by street art as everyone knows where they can go if they want to add some art to a wall. I’m not sure if it worked because I did see some other buildings covered in wall art that obviously shouldn’t have been. However, I did think that these walls are fantastic and the thinking behind it is also rather lovely.
In Bergen there are lots of pretty squares with plenty of restaurants and bars. We enjoyed exploring these whilst I may have looked wistfully into the bars, dreaming about putting my feet up and sipping on a cold beer.
On this square was this impressive fountain where you are encouraged to make your way over the stepping-stones. Naturally, Youngest had to have a go. I am sure that you can predict what happened. Yes, she fell in and as a result ended up with one very soggy leg and foot. However, thanks to the sun her leg and foot dried off very quickly.
Bergen also has lots of open green spaces and this was one of my favourites. Just look at that view. No, not the man in the right hand corner! The mountain and the lake *sigh*. I also loved the pretty blossom trees.
You still get seagulls though! Those pesky birds are the bane of my life and they seem to have a certain fondness for dive bombing on us whilst pooing! Luckily, we escaped from a seagull attack in Bergen. Bergen is such a wonderful city and quite possibly my favourite, although I also loved Stavanger but for very different reasons. We then made our way to the very historic Hanseatic Wharf. It is a very beautiful part of the city with wonderful nooks and crannies. You can find art and craft shops as well as the famous fish market.
Here are my family are dreaming of Christmas in May as they look at the goodies in the Christmas shop. It really is a wonderful part of town and was well worth the walk to get to it.
The buildings are so pretty and a real feast for the eyes. I dread to think what the upkeep must be for these buildings. Can you imagine owning one and having to keep painting it!
We also spied through HUGE doorways. This is one doorway that even Mr C is guaranteed of not hitting his head on. A doorway fit for giants. We also wandered down narrow streets.
When you walked down here the smell of wood was lovely. It was also very pretty with the light coming down.
Little legs were now beginning to ache so we reluctantly made our way back to the ship but not without stopping to enjoy the fish market on the front.
Tips – We really enjoyed our day in Bergen. If you are only there for the day then I would really recommend that you go up Fløyen. But get there early. Then spend the rest of the day exploring the city on foot, if you have the legs for it! If you are doing the P&O cruise then I would really recommend the organised tours as it is the perfect stress free way of seeing the city.