Quaint cities of Western Norway – Bergen & Stavanger
As you could have read in my previous blog Beauty of Western Norway a few weeks ago I explored a part of the Western fjords with Visit Norway and Fjord Norway from Bergen to Stavanger by boat, train and through several city trips. During this trip I experienced Norway to be one of the most diverse and beautiful countries of Northern Europe, which has so much to offer in terms of activities, heritage, culture, architecture, natural beauty and sightseeing.
Let me show you the beauty of 2 of the most quaint cities of the Fjord Norway region through many of my personal pictures along with lots of tips on fun things to do and beautiful things to see here.
(Remember to click on the pics to see the full version and description of the picture)
We started our trip in Bergen, exploring this quaint city, its architecture, history, culture and beautiful view points from Mount Fløyen and the harbor. This city was founded more than 900 years ago around the harbor and was Norway’s first capital ages ago and even the seat of royalty at that time.
Named a World Heritage City by Unesco because of its famous heritage site Bryggen, the authentic European office on the wharf founded by the Hansas in the 11th century. This still remains exactly as it was, untouched during many centuries passed and a popular cultural tourist site of the city.
Lunch or dinner in Tracteursted Bryggen
In Bryggen you will find many souvenir shops but also some excellent and really authentic restaurants such as the Tracteursted, which I highly recommend if you want to experience real Norwegian cuisine.
Their menu consists of traditional dishes all prepared with local produce, served in an original building and authentic atmosphere, including seating for outdoor dining.
More information about this and several other authentic restaurants in and around Bergen here: Bellevue restaurants
Bergen is situated between 7 mountains and surrounded by nature, which offers an abundance of activities in all 4 seasons of the year. Whether you like architecture, culture, art exhibitions, shopping, wandering around the fish market and enjoying the culinary offerings, or are more into hiking and nature exploring, this city has something for everyone.
Here’s a small impression of the city’s surroundings and vibrant atmosphere:
Although the city has survived several fires through the centuries it still has one of the largest accumulations of wooden houses in Europe. These can be spotted all over the city in different colors and clustered together in quaint streets, but also combined with modern buildings, hip shops in trendy streets with street art and a variation of hipster restaurants and cafe’s, all next to each other.
As a real viewpoint and nature lover I really enjoyed combining the city tour with a visit to one of the most impressive panoramic city viewpoints I have experienced so far:
Of course you can hike all the way up but there also is a small funicular in the center of the city which will take you up the mountain within minutes to Fløyen view point. When you exit the train you are immediately surrounded by an impressive panoramic view of the city, the fjords and mountains. With elevated steps to sit on while enjoying the view, only limited by low glass walls, everything is done here to keep the view as unobstructed as possible for all visitors.
The viewpoint even has a restaurant including outdoor terrace and can be visited till late in the evening to enjoy the sunset and see the city light up right in front of you.
With the Bergen Card you can travel around the city for free with public transport and get big discounts or even free admission to the Fløibanen funicular, several museums and other attractions from €27 for 1 day to €35-43 for 2-3 days. A good tip to see all that Bergen has to offer for an affordable price. Find out more on: Visit Bergen
Although the city has many cultural offerings, expositions and museums the Concert Hall in the city center is something that should be highlighted. This beautiful venue is a combination of modern architecture and top to bottom glass windows, surrounded by historic buildings amidst the city.
Here you can enjoy several performances and concerts throughout the year, for instance a performance of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra which celebrated its 250th anniversary last year.
Next to all this of course Bergen is renowned as gateway to the world’s longest fjord and maybe even the most beautiful, which should be experienced by boat, which we did with Fjord Tours. You can read all about this in my other Norway blog.
After various captivating boat and train excursions we closed off our trip with a visit to another special and very quaint city of Western Norway called:
I was impressed by the beautiful harbor with colorful houses and the stylish set up of this city. Although this is the 3rd largest metropolitan area of Norway the set up feels quaint, maintaining the city’s small town charm.
But what really captured my heritage loving heart was the oldest area of the city called Gamle consisting of 250 historic buildings. Here I almost felt transported back in time walking on cobble stone streets surrounded by 18th and 19th century white wooden houses, complete with white picket fences, flowers and cute gazebos almost every where you look.
You can see that the residents here are proud of their houses and do everything they can to show off the beauty of Norway’s original architecture and heritage. This part of the city is elevated which offers great views of the city’s harbor as well.
Dinner at Spiseriet
At the other end of the harbor you will find Stavanger’s great pride; the modern new Concert Hall with 2 different halls and a gorgeous view over Stavanger’s harbor, especially all lit up at night!
In this building a new restaurant is located offering one of the best views in Stavanger. Restaurant Spiseriet with fully glass walls enables you to enjoy the view of the city’s waterfront to its fullest, while tasting the excellent dishes they serve here. Definitely recommended if you are looking for a modern restaurant setting in a nice and open atmosphere, with stunning views and most importantly great food!
Tou Scene art and beer hallen
For a totally different vibe you can head on over to the other end of the city for one of the most progressive and dynamic cultural arenas in Norway: the Tou Scene beer hallen at Kvitsøygata 25.
In this industrial area we found a historical beer brewery now used to host different parties, art events and cultural exhibitions all through the year, like the Nuart street art festival we visited there.
There’s even a small speciality beer cafe in one of the old brewery buildings here with great local atmosphere and of course many different home brewed beers!
Over 30 festivals are hosted in Stavanger every year and it’s named one of Norway’s leading food regions. Next to great restaurants and festivals you can also visit a wide range of museums, galleries, theaters and of course the Stavanger Concert Hall.
But obviously an abundance of hiking, climbing, cycling and boat tour options are offered here as well to enjoy the beautiful outdoors and nature surroundings of the iconic fjords around Stavanger. Just go to my previous Norway blog to read all about this as well.
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I hope I showed you that Norway is also the perfect destination for city trips, as in my opinion this really is one of the most beautiful countries of Northern Europe and has so much to offer!
What’s your opinion about this after reading my post? Let me know through your reply below…