Norway’s second city is home to thriving industry, a top university and a vibrant cultural scene.
Bergen has a different atmosphere to Oslo due to its location as the gateway to Fjord Norway. Bergen has a population of 266,000, although nearly 400,000 people, around 8% of the country’s population, live in the Greater Bergen region. Tourism and the maritime industries dominate the area, although 16,000 students at the University of Bergen contribute to a diverse population.
History of Bergen
For centuries Bergen was Norway’s most important city. Strategically positioned to serve as a trading hub between northern Norway’s plentiful oceans and the hungry people of continental Europe, Bergen prospered as a member of the powerful Hanseatic league. It was also Norway’s largest city until Oslo began to grow in the early 19th-Century.
The downtown district is where most of the main museums, shopping opportunities, hotels and restaurants are concentrated. Peaceful Byparken is a popular place for a stroll in summer, or for a spot of sunbathing in between gallery visits. It’s also where the light rail system begins its journey though Bergen’s suburbs towards the airport.
The Bryggen wharf runs along the harbor on the northern side. Home to the colourful wooden Hanseatic merchant houses, Bryggen leads on to Bergenhus, the medieval fortress. On the opposite side of the harbour, Nordnes is a quiet residential area despite being within easy walking distance of downtown. It’s also home to the city’s aquarium.
Bergen’s public transportation is managed by Skyss, which is pronounced shiss for those not yet comfortable with Norwegian pronunciation! They manage and coordinate the bus, light rail and ferry networks. More information about all Skyss services including timetables, journey planning and fare information can be found in English at skyss.no.