Sunday, February 16, 2014

Bergen, Norway

Bergen - Gateway to the Norwegian Fjords. Norway's second largest city, it is well marketed indeed and why not? Situated on the western coast of Norway, and easily reached from Oslo, it is the launchpad for many cruise ships to the fjords of Norway.

The journey between Oslo and Bergen itself is already a famous and well marketed tourist route. Known as Norway in a Nutshell®, it is a scenic rail cum cruise itinerary that can be flexibly customised. It can be done even in a day, but really, you would want to spend more time on the route. Similarly for Bergen, it is well worth some days to explore.

Bergen's city centre contains many old timber buildings and houses, some which are converted to shops and/or guesthouses. And of course, the highlight is the old wharf, Bryggen, a UNESCO's World Heritage Site. A delightful place with many artisanal shops and cafes, it is a wonderful way to spend a relaxing day browsing and having a cuppa by the water.

Nice timber houses in the city

Beautiful day by the wharf

For me though, the highlight is Mt Fløyen, one of the "seven mountains" that surround the city. Easily accessible via a Fløibanen funicular, the summit provides a spectacular view of the city and the port. Even better, there is a trail going up which seems popular with the locals for their exercises. My recommendation is to walk the trail up in the late afternoon, and when you reach the summit, wait for sunset. After sunset, the magic hour and the night lights over the city is one of the prettiest I've seen! Then take the funicular down, where the station is just beside the viewpoint.

A wonderful way to conclude the day! Check it out if you can!

Sights along the trail up

Sunset views

City and its mountain

Nightscene of Bergen atop Mt Floyen (you can click to see it bigger)

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