Last Updated on November 16, 2023

On many cruise journeys to see the Fjords in Norway, Bergen is on the itinerary so you might well be wondering what to see and do in Bergen in a day. Well, based on our trip to Bergen from our trip to the city with P&O, here are our suggestions on what to see and do in this quaint city.

Bergen, Norway, cruise visitors guide

Introduction to Bergen

Welcome to the picturesque port city of Bergen, a city that is nestled amidst stunning fjords and surrounded by lush mountains.

Bergen’s unique charm comes to life in its historic wharf, Bryggen, the panoramic views from Fløibanen funicular, and the tantalizing culinary delights at the Fish Market.

But there’s so much more to discover in this vibrant city.

How Do I Get from the Cruise Port to Bergen City Centre?

Valeria as we cruise towards Bergen
On a P&O cruise heading on our way to Bergen, Norway

Getting from the cruise port to Bergen’s city center is both convenient and straightforward.

The cruise port in Bergen is really close to the town center so it is very easy to walk around and see the local attractions without needing to book any transport from the cruise line.

Walking: If your cruise ship docks near Bryggen or in the heart of Bergen, you will find that many of the city’s attractions are within walking distance. Simply follow the signs, and you’ll be in the city center in no time.

Shuttle Service: There is normally also a shuttle service that the cruise line provides when docked in Bergen but generally speaking you shouldn’t need to use it. I recommend saving money and not booking any excursions when visiting Bergen on a cruise.

Taxis: Bergen is quite a small city and so there are some taxis floating around and you sometimes see a few by the cruise port when a cruise ship arrives at port.

Public Transportation: There are buses and trams but in truth, you probably won’t need to use them to see Bergen in one day.

Hop-On, Hop-Off Buses: Bergen offers hop-on, hop-off bus tours that stop near the cruise port. These tours are an excellent way to see the city’s highlights at your own pace.

Whichever mode of transportation you choose, you’ll find that Bergen’s cruise port is well-connected to the city center, allowing you to make the most of your day visit.

Paul’s Recommendations: Best Attractions on a Day Visit to Bergen

1. Fløibanen Funicular: Panoramic Views

To witness Bergen’s breathtaking beauty from a different angle, head to the Fløibanen funicular.

This was my favorite thing to do in Bergen given the wonderful views you have on the way to the summit of Mount Fløyen, offering unparalleled stunning views.

You’ll be able to see the fjords in the background and also see the city of Bergen.

Once at the top, the views (especially on a clear day) are beautiful.

Bergen Funicular view

2. Fish Market (Fisketorget): Culinary Delights

Bergen’s Fish Market, (Fisketorget as it is known locally), is a bustling hub of culinary activity, located just a short walk from Bryggen Wharf.

If you are open to the idea of trying some of the local food, here, you can savor freshly caught salmon, shrimp, crab, and more.

Or consider indulging in a traditional seafood platter or try the beloved Norwegian specialty, “rakfisk,” which is fermented fish known for its distinct flavor.

Whether you’re in the mood for a seafood meal or simply want to enjoy the atmosphere, Fisketorget is a must-visit.

Bergen fish market

3. Troldhaugen: Grieg’s Musical Haven

If you are interested in history and culture, then make sure also to visit the home of composer Edvard Grieg at Troldhaugen.

On the shores of Lake Nordås, Troldhaugen gives you the chance to explore the life and legacy of Grieg but also offers breathtaking views of the serene surroundings.

You can visit the composer’s villa, now a museum, and learn about his musical contributions.

4. Bryggen Wharf: A Historic Stroll

I also recommend Bryggen Wharf, a UNESCO World Heritage site that boasts a unique blend of history and charm.

The colorful wooden buildings that line the wharf are remnants of Bergen’s Hanseatic past, and they are ideal for taking a leisurely stroll past.

As you wander along the narrow alleyways, you’ll be transported back in time.

Also take in the centuries-old architecture, small shops, and galleries that now occupy these historic structures.

Make sure to explore the different side streets where you can find local artisans crafting traditional Norwegian wares.

5. Hanseatic Museum: Dive into History

Venture into Bergen’s rich history with a visit to the Hanseatic Museum.

Housed in one of the preserved Hanseatic buildings along Bryggen Wharf, this museum provides a fascinating glimpse into the city’s past.

The museum offers exhibits that reveal the daily life and working conditions of the Hanseatic merchants who operated in Bergen during the Middle Ages.

You’ll get a sense of how these traders and sailors lived, worked, and conducted business in this bustling waterfront district.

The Hanseatic Museum is an immersive experience that takes you back in time to when Bergen was a bustling hub of trade and commerce.

6. Bergenhus Fortress

Immerse yourself in the annals of history with a visit to the Bergenhus Fortress, a venerable stronghold that stands as one of Norway’s most ancient and impeccably preserved fortifications.

Situated at the harbor’s threshold, this imposing bastion has stood sentinel through centuries of storied events and tumultuous conflicts.

Within the fortress, you’ll discover various buildings, including the Rosenkrantz Tower and Haakon’s Hall, which offer insights into medieval architecture and royal history.

If you have the chance, check for any guided tours or reenactments that might enhance your experience.

5 Best Foods and Drinks to Try in Bergen to Experience Norwegian Culture

Bergen offers a delectable journey into Norwegian cuisine, and you won’t want to miss these iconic flavors:

1. The Koldtbord (Cold Table)

A culinary adventure awaits on the Koldtbord, where you’ll encounter an enticing array of herring, smoked salmon, cured meats, a rich assortment of cheeses, tangy pickled vegetables, and fresh bread.

It’s the ideal way to savor the diverse palette of traditional Norwegian flavors in one sitting.

2. Rakfisk

Dive into the intriguing world of Rakfisk, a traditional Norwegian dish crafted from fermented fish, often trout or char. Known for its pungent aroma and bold flavor, Rakfisk is typically served on crisp flatbread accompanied by sour cream, onions, and potatoes.

While its acquired taste may not suit everyone, it’s a beloved delicacy deeply entrenched in Norwegian heritage.

3. Reindeer Meat

Reindeer meat is a cherished Norwegian delicacy, prepared in a myriad of delicious ways.

Whether savored as a succulent stew, a hearty steak, or a flavorful reindeer burger, this meat showcases a unique, slightly gamey taste.

Often served with lingonberry sauce, this combination perfectly complements the meat’s flavor.

4. Akvavit

Experience the spirited side of Norwegian culture with Akvavit, also known as aquavit.

This traditional Scandinavian liquor, popular throughout Norway, is a crystal-clear, potent spirit infused with caraway seeds, dill, and other botanicals.

Best enjoyed chilled in small glasses, Akvavit enhances the flavors of traditional Norwegian meals, making it an ideal accompaniment to your culinary journey.

Final Thoughts

If you get the chance to visit Bergen on a cruise, it’s a perfect city to explore on a day trip.

Compact and easy to get around, the attractions we’ve talked about such as the Funicular and the fish market, for example, make a good way to spend 5 or 6 hours here.

Paul Symonds