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Day Trips from Bergen

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Day Trips from Bergen

If you get tired of Bergen's historic centre, there's plenty more to do within easy reach of the city. Here's some ideas to kick-start your planning.

It's no secret that Bergen is a great city to base yourself in on a Norwegian vacation. Not only does the city itself offer a fascinating range of museums, galleries and historic sights, the access to the best of the Norwegian outdoors is hard to beat.

But when you're done exploring the city's top sights, you may want to consider spreading your wings a little. Bergen is called the gateway to the fjords for a reason!

Whether you want to see a different city or explore the Norwegian fjords, there's something for you. Here's some of our recommended day trips from Bergen.

Osterfjord cruise

Boat cruise on Osterfjord
Photo by Rebecca (CC 2.0)

Experience Bergen from the water, Rødne Fjord Cruise operates a 3-hour Osterfjord/Mostraumen cruise.

While it lacks the dramatic cliffs of the Geirangerfjord or Nærøyfjord, the Osterfjord does get narrow around the waterfalls of Mostraumen and is a great way to see a natural fjord landscape if you are short on both time and money.

Tours leave year-round from the Zachariasbryggen pier at the heart of Bergen. Departures are more frequent in the summer months, but even so it's best to check with Visit Bergen in advance. You can read this article about a previous cruise on the Osterfjord to get a feel for what to expect.

Voss

Located 100km east of Bergen along the E16 highway or the Bergen Line railway, Voss has long been a destination for travelers looking for an outdoors vacation.

The view of Voss from the Grasidetoppen hike, one of the best hikes in Norway.

Today, Voss is known across Europe as a center for extreme sports. Norwegians flock to Voss for an active break. Not only is it the largest ski destination in western Norway, it’s also one of the most reliable areas for snow throughout Europe.

In addition to the two major alpine resorts, cross-country ski touring and freeskiing is popular in the surrounding mountains. The best known resort is Myrkdalen, known for excellent off-piste skiing and floodlit cross-country trails.

But if you're planning to visit in the summer, there's plenty to do too. Hiking in Voss is a popular activity as are mountain biking and hang-gliding.

At the heart of the otherwise modern central area, the medieval stone Voss Church (Vangskyrkja) is worth a look. It's believed to have been built in the 13th century on the site of a former Germanic pagan temple.

Flåm & the Nærøyfjord

One of the best fjords in Norway, the stunning Nærøyfjord is defined by its narrow width and steep sides. Thanks to its inclusion on the classic Norway in a Nutshell itinerary, the Nærøyfjord is one of Norway’s most well-known fjords.

The Nærøyfjord in Norway

The fjord is easily accessible via the public ferry from Gudvangen to Flåm, which means a trip on the fjord can be combined with a memorable trip on the Flåm railway, and the Oslo to Bergen line.

Kayaking along the Nærøyfjord is a popular recreational activity with equipment hire and guided tours available from the village of Flåm. At the end of the fjord is the village Gudvangen. Here you'll find a viking experience centre, restaurant and a handful of shops.

As a day trip it's certainly stretching things a bit, so why not add a night in Flåm? This way you can relax and enjoy the fjords and villages during the quieter evenings when the crowds have gone.

Balestrand

The most relaxing of the inner Sognefjord's villages, the lush vegetation and colorful timber houses of Balestrand just beg to be explored at a leisurely pace.

Church in Balestrand
Church in Balestrand. Photo: Multerland (CC 2.0)

Marked hiking trails spread out into the surrounding hills, but an enjoyable walk is available within the village itself. Pick up a free map at Balestrand Tourist Information to follow the Culture Trail. The two-mile self-guided walk around the village is family-friendly and a great way to enjoy the surroundings.

The walk takes you on the old road along the shoreline from the harbour, past 19th-century villas. These were built in the popular Swiss style of the period by locals attempting to introduce a dose of Romanticism into Norwegian architecture. Judge for yourself if they succeeded!

The dragons' heads from the gables are influenced by the décor of the region’s many stave churches. Two burial mounds from the Viking Age and a statue of King Bele, a gift from German emperor Wilhelm II in 1913, are other highlights on the trail.

Hardangerfjord

While not as long, deep or well-known as the mighty Sognefjord, the 179km-long Hardangerfjord is nevertheless an impressive waterway.

Exploring the coastline of the Hardangerfjord in Norway

To appreciate the fjord at its best, head inland where the fjord narrows as it passes the imposing Folgefonna glacier and national park and approaches the vast Hardangervidda mountain plateau. At Folgagonna, you can even ski in the summer.

A popular detour for people driving between Oslo and Bergen, the fjord is a popular domestic tourism destination. That's thanks to the outstanding hiking opportunities among the charming small towns, blooming orchards and stunning waterfalls of the Husedalen valley.

Local farmers sell berries and other produce from stalls at the side of the road and in the small towns and villages. Once again, you might want to allow a lot more than a day to enjoy the best of this fjord.

Haugesund

Do you prefer visiting towns? If so, consider Haugesund, a Norwegian gem often overlooked by international visitors. A historic herring port and trading post, the Haugesund of today has an attractive harbour, bars and restaurants that will keep visitors occupied for a day away from Bergen.

Haugesund bridge by night
Haugesund by night. Photo: Frans Schouwenburg

A little north of the city centre is Haraldshaugen, an important national monument commemorating the first King of Norway. Whether you want to pay your respects to Harald Hårfagre or just enjoy the monument, it's worth the trip. From the monument, there's also paths leading to great views of the beach, ocean, and lighthouse.

The lovely beaches and forests of Karmøy island are only a short drive to the south. If you are driving here, it's well worth exploring these surroundings. On Karmøy you'll also find Avaldsnes, how to the Viking Village. I had a great time there meeting the vikings and learning more about the area's history.

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The best day trips from Bergen, Norway

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2 thoughts on “Day Trips from Bergen”

  1. Hi David,

    My wife and I are considering a few days in and around Trondheim in July, 2018. That Gothic church looks great. How about any old castles and/or manor homes to visit, and we love neolithic stuff (stone circles, burial cairns, etc.). In addition , any historic type places you could suggest would be greatly appreciated. Also, any neat fjords to see around Trondheim? Thanks. Jerry

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  2. We just visited these places and they are lovely but, due to the heavy rains and early snow this October many roads were either already closed or the locals warned us to avoid them. We decided to spend the night rather than make the round trip from Bergen and we are glad we did. There is a lot to see and do along the way and once you are there. Driving in Norway takes a lot more time than shown on google maps, especially this time of year.

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