After Oslo, I went to Bergen by train from the central station of Oslo. I stayed at Scandic Ørnen, which was quite close to the Central station. It is about 10-15 minutes walk to the Fish Market and Bryggen. Excellent hotel and breakfast, nothing to complain. The nature and fjords begin from Bergen. It is a 6 hour train ride and the view was too magnificent. It is a total regret if not taking this ride. The nature of Norway could not be described by words during this ride, waterfall, mountain, rivers all the way along the ride. In summer, it was late June when I visited there, and was the best season. Until 10 pm it was still so bright outside that I felt like a long day. By 11 pm, sunset started and got darker. But the bars and restaurant were still a full house after midnight, music was still heard loud in bars near the fish market or elsewhere. Temperature was about 22-25C during day time, which was not hot at all. I had my jacket in my backpack in case it got cold at night and definitely needed it on the fjord cruise. Hotels were getting harder to book in summer if you do not book in advance and may be only the pricy hotels are left available if booking is late. I learned the hard way from this. I spent full 2 days in the city just to see the attractions. Oh, check out when the special thursday of the month occurs as all shops and malls were open until midnight on that thursday in Bergen and bands were playing outside the mall that night. I was lucky to be there on that week’s thursday after coming back from the fjord ride. Some sale were going on too. Fish market opened until 9 pm only for most stalks. Seafood in the fish market were good but too expensive to eat there everyday. I had a combination of 3 types of fish ( cod, salmon, etc ) and a small salad as side dish and it costed me US$35. Almost everything costed about US$30 or more. The cheapest was the salmon burger which was about US$10. Oh, be careful of the seagull, and don’t sit next to the open area by the ocean. The seagull took my burger right on the table in a second and flew away without you even know what just happened. I was lucky that the owner gave me another burger.
Next I took the fjord cruise to the Sognefjord. The Sognefjord is Norway’s longest and deepest fjord. The fjord is about 200km inland to the foot of the Jotunheimen mountains. I booked the tour (Sognefjord in a null shell ) at the visitor center just next to the fish market on my first day. The tour package include – Bergen railway from Bergen to Myrdal ( ~ 2 hour ) – Scenic Flam Railway from Myrdal to Flam ( ~ 1 hour ) – fjord boat cruise from Flam back to Bergen ( 3 hours ). The scenic train Flam Railway, from Myrdal to Flam, was a dramatic, unforgettable 1 hour ride experience for me where I could see the waterfall, mountains, rivers along the ride. I would definitely go there again if I have second chance. The train stopped for 5 minutes at the Kjosfossen fall. Prepare your camera in advance to take the spectacular view of the fall. You may get wet also, it is so close that the mist will get on your head. There is a lady on the top of the fall singing too if you are lucky to see her. Arriving at Flam, I got 2 hours to enjoy the nature around the small town, which I can see river, mountain, etc, and have a lunch there at the Flam Mariana Apartment cafe, before the boat fjord ride, the main part of this trip. The water in Flam is deep enough for a hugh cruise ship to dock there. There are couple nice hotels and cottages. If I have had the time and plan better, I would stay there for 1 night. It is almost a one day tour that will last you until 5 or 6 pm.
Next day, I took another day tour ( Hardangerfjord in a nutshell ) to the Hardangerfjord from Bergen. My tour trip includes – Bergen Railway from Bergen to Voss – Bus from Voss to the beautiful village of Ulvik – boat cruise on the Hardangerfjord from Ulvik to Eidfjord. ( If you can plan ahead, visit the Norway biggest waterfall Voringsfossen waterfall in Eidjford ) – boat cruise on the Hardangerfjord from Eidfjord to Norhemsund – bus from Norheimsund to Bergen. I have about 2.5 hour in Edijford which I can have a lunch and walked around the small town. Again, walk a bit further from the town so you can enjoy the rural part to see the nature and fjord. I would like to explore every part of the town if I had the time.
This is the fjord that I missed and most regretted for not planning well. This fjord cannot be done in day tour from Bergen, and will need to stay 1 night at Starvenger. I would strongly highly recommend that you visit this destination to see the Pulp rock and Lysejford. You start from Starvenger, which you can get to the Pulp Rock by boat and bus and then take a 2 hour hike to the Rock.
Bryggen is UNESCO’s World Heritage and I stopped by there almost every day since it was just next to the fish market. According to the info, Bryggen was built after the great fire in 1702. It was in 1360 that the German Hanseatic League set up one of its import and export offices at Bryggen for trading for almost 400 years. Strolling through Bryggen’s narrow alleyways you would get to feel the bygone era. Explore deep inside the alley and explore the shops and restaurants there.
If you want to see Bergen from the top, goto Mount Floyen by the funicular tram. The ride was only about 5 minutes and would take you to the top. If you like to take a walk or hike, buy the one way ticket to go up and walk down. I enjoyed the walked and view while walking down. The walk down to the station was about 45 minutes. There were many kids from kindergarden or primary school taking the walk up to the top also on my way down. The station is very close to the fish market and it could be reached in 5 minutes or so. It was a great magnificent view and it has cafe, restaurants and shops and playground.