After that, we go for a city tour to see the most famous tourist spots. Bergen city center can be easily explored on foot, but trams, buses and taxis are available is you need them. Bergen Card allows free access to the bus network within the city, most museums and attractions and provides discounts in many cultural attractions, tours, shops, restaurants and parking, but we haven’t bought it. We start ou visit of Bergen by Torget, the fish market.
This place which lies at the bottom of the harbour is the busiest and most touristic place of Bergen. Here stands the traditional fish market, where we can be found all kind of seafood, alive, fresh, smoked or marinated, and a lot of sandwiches and delicious dishes to enjoy on site or take away. In summer, traders use the services of foreign students, so you may hear French as well as Japanese, Russian, Spanish or Chinese. Flowers, vegetables, jewelry and other crafts are also sold there.
Following the road along the harbour, we reach the most famous group of houses of Bergen, Bryggen.
After several fires, the area of the Hanse has been faithfully reconstructed on the old harbor, along the docks. The oldest part dates from 1702, but is based on the old design from the 12th century. Today, Norwegian knitwears and antiques shops have replaced warehouses, but the charm still exists and it is easy to spend hours there.
This area, reserved for merchants of the Hanseatic League from the mid 14th to the 18th century, is situated between the fish market and the fortress and was a city within a city. Indeed, it was enclosed by walls, closed by doors, closely monitored, regulated and governed by its own laws and institutions and was directly submitted to the Municipal Council of Lübeck. Populated only by Germans, it consisted of long rows of houses, placed back to back, perpendicular to the sea and separated by narrow passages. Each company had its own business manager, apprentices and employees. Arriving in Bergen they should all commit to live in the German neighborhood, to respect the laws of the cantonment, not to become citizens of Bergen and not to marry. To ensure compliance with this last rule, the presence of women was strictly forbidden in Bryggen. Buildings with triangular dough up toward the sea served as home (waterfront) and warehouse (backwards). At the rear of each row was a building dedicated to social life and was the only one in which fire was allowed; it then served as community kitchen and living room in winter.
We then go back towards the port and the fish market, and take the Fløibanen to reach mount Fløyen.
The Fløibanen is one of the most famous attractions in Norway and the only one of its kind in the country. It connects the city center atop Mount Fløyen in 7 minutes and the way up there is an experience in itself. Departure point is from the lower station, in the heart of the city, 150 meters from both Bryggen and the fish market. It is said that the passing tourist has not really seen Bergen until he has climbed mount Fløyen with the Fløibanen! From the observation platform at an altitude of 320 meters, you can admire a breathtaking view of the entire city of Bergen, the fjords and the surrounding mountainous landscape. You must see it to believe it, amazing! But Fløyen is not just this. Indeed, the place is a starting point of various types of excursions such as walks, hiking trails, ski slopes in winter, etc… Anyway, load of things to do!
We then go down back to the city center and go eat at one of the market stalls inside the fish market. It has all different kinds of fish, fresh sandwiches and even fruits and vegetables, not to mention ice cream and pancakes. In short, we had a full meal, not very cheap, but it is like this with Norwegian prices. Afterward, we wander a bit in the harbour and in the old town.
Then we go back to our hotel to prepare our next day on the Hardangerfjord.