Bergen is the second largest city in Norway and renowned for its rainy days – something which I came to experience for myself. Dreary weather aside, this port city is also famous for a number of other things: the 7 mountains surrounding the city, of which Mount Fløyen is the most popular; the harbourside fish market; and Bryggen, the old wharf of Bergen and a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. It’s also the hometown of Erlend Øye, one half of indie folk-pop duo Kings of Convenience, adding some serious credibility to this charming Scandinavian city (at least for me, anyway).
However, the best thing to do in this city is often missing from ‘Things to do in Bergen’ lists, and it also happens to be free, which is a blessing for us far-from-millionaires when travelling in Norway.
So what is the best thing to do in Bergen?
Walking around the streets.
You may groan, but it really is that simple. We were in Bergen for less than 48 hours, but I could have spent the entire time getting lost in the quaint cobblestone streets and taking a gazillion photos of the picturesque pastel-coloured wooden houses with their characteristic fish-scale tiled roofs. It didn’t matter that I didn’t know where I was going when I was wandering around as I was so enamoured by the pretty decorative doors of the houses, the cute flower pots in the windows and all of the other bright and cheerful touches that put a smile on my face – even despite the rain!
A Nordic fairy tale charm permeates every corner of this city, and particularly in Knøsesmauet, which is where we stayed while our time in Bergen in the cutest Airbnb apartment. Knøsesmauet is one of the most photographed streets in all of Bergen and is a typical narrow cobblestone street lined with traditional, colourful wooden houses. It was such a cosy area to stay in and only a short stroll to the central city area.
While exploring the city, I was also surprised by all of the striking street art that I stumbled upon – something that I wasn’t expecting in a city which is more known for being quaint rather than being edgy. The street art was particularly evident in Skostredet, a vibrant area with a creative vibe in the centre of Bergen and a popular place to browse designer boutiques and vintage stores and to frequent cool bars and cafes.
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