48 hours in Bergen, Norway
While Oslo may be Norway’s capital, for many Norwegians, Bergen is where the real action happens. Located on the country’s south-west coast (and ideal for some fjord-spotting), like other port cities it boasts a lively, informal attitude, an abundance of culture and enough restaurants and bars to keep the most indulgent of food- and wine-lovers happy.
Stay in refined luxury
Opened in 1885, and completely renovated in 2018, the Hotel Norge is a supremely stylish Bergen icon. Rooms are, as you might expect, tastefully decorated, with the Norge and Master suites in particular offering exceptional views of Lake Lille Lungegårdsvannet. Food is of the highest order, too, with master chef Ørjan Johannessen and head chef Tore Espenes offering treats of every kind across three floors of bars and restaurants.
Walk the city
With a population of 270,000, Bergen is big enough to be exciting but small enough to be walkable. And that’s what you should do. A perfect afternoon would involve stopping off for a drink at arguably the city’s best pub, Henrik, which serves 54 different brews and a selection of Nordic wines. Once suitably refreshed, there’s plenty of culture to sample, including the KODE – a group of museums, galleries and composer’s homes dotted around Lake Lille Lungegårdsvannet and outlying areas of the city.
Eat exceptional seafood (on a tiny island)
A special holiday deserves a unique culinary experience. And you’ll find few better than the one offered by fish restaurant, Cornelius – located on the tiny islet of Holmen. The restaurant runs a boat service from Bergen’s Bryggen Wharf which takes about 25 minutes. Once you’re at your table, you’ll be invited to try the famed ‘meteorological menu’, a five-course selection of fish and shellfish, which takes in everything from clams to smoked cod. Oh, and don’t worry, the boat service will be on hand to take you back to the city.
Indulge your love of culture
If classical music is your thing, take a cab out to Troldhaugen, the former home of Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg and his wife, Nina. Converted to a museum in 1928 – and now part of KODE – the property gives visitors a unique insight into the composer’s home life. There are regular concerts for fans of Grieg, plus an excellent cafe if you require coffee or cake (we’ll take that as a ‘yes’). If, however, post-impressionist art is your passion, then you should see the Edvard Munch exhibition at KODE 3. While The Scream is in Oslo, this permanent collection of 100 sketches and 50 paintings will give you a unique insight into his work, and his life.
Take a food tour – then wash it down with a superior cocktail
Thanks to its coastal location and the countryside that surrounds it, Bergen is spoiled for choice when it comes to fresh produce – one of the reasons why it’s a designated UNESCO Creative City Of Gastronomy. You can experience it yourself by asking Quintessentially Travel to book you a three-hour gastronomic tour, during which you’ll sample local dishes like fish soup, brown cheese, wild salmon and reindeer. If you’d like to stay out, head over to Apollon, a bar-cum-record shop which sells beers, cocktails and vinyl records. Open since 1976, it’s an absolute must for music-lovers.
Get out and meet the people
Bergen is a town that loves to socialise, and like port cities all over the world, there’s no shortage of places to indulge. We’d suggest starting the evening at 1877, the sister restaurant of Cornelius, located just off Bryggen Wharf.
If you’d like to book a holiday in Bergen, please get in touch.