32 best things to do in Bergen in winter (2023/4 guide)

Sunset over Bryggen

If you’re looking for things to do in Bergen in winter, read on! I spent a few days in Bergen this winter and loved exploring the city’s cosy surroundings. Here’s all you need to know about exploring Norway’s second city in the cooler months.

Bergen is a city on the edge. The second largest in Norway, it has a climate unlike elsewhere in the country, nestled in the country’s signature fjords and lapped by the frigid waters of the North Sea.

Most travel guides advise visiting Bergen in the summertime when the city boasts longer days and warmer weather than the long winters.

But on this website, we find the beauty of Europe in winter – and I’m here to tell you that Bergen is well worth visiting, even in the depths of the coldest and darkest season.

Fresh food, a range of all-weather attractions and fewer crowds make Bergen an excellent winter city break destination.

I recently visited Bergen as part of a wider trip around Norway to check out the best things to do and learn all about what makes this European city tick in the winter.

Read on for all of my best tips for making the most of your Bergen winter trip!

I was a guest of Widerøe Airlines and visit Bergen. All opinions are my own. This blog post may contain affiliate links.

Table of Contents

What’s Bergen in winter like?

Beautiful view of Bergen, the second largest city in Norway, from above

Sitting in the midst of the Norwegian fjords, with the sea on one side and the mountains on the other and often covered in mizzly clouds, Bergen might not seem like the obvious destination to visit during the winter season.

But for anyone who loves cozy cafes, excellent museums, warming up in saunas on cold winter days, seeing the fjords covered in snow and enjoying a rich food scene, Bergen is a treat of a winter city break.

Norway’s second-largest city is surprisingly mild in the winter; it’s prone to drizzle and windy conditions, but snow is rare (in the city centre at least, it’s a different story in the nearby mountains!). It’s often cloudy, but this only adds to its alluring atmosphere.

So while you will want some winter woollies while you’re in Bergen in the cool season (the wind can be biting!), you can forfeit the extreme-weather snow gear and enjoy all of the city’s best attractions comfortably!

Check out my Bergen in winter video on YouTube, or read on for the rest of the post!

Best things to do in Bergen in winter

The best things to do in Bergen in winter include swimming in the Nordnes Sjøbad, taking a funicular to the top of Mount Fløyen to take in the beautiful views, enjoying historical museums and art galleries and the rich gastronomy. 

Go for a dip at the Nordnes Sjøbad

Swimming in the cold fjord in the baths in Bergen. There's mountains and a cloudy sky in the background.

Dive straight into Bergen by taking a dip in the seawater of Nordnes Sjøbad. This is a traditional local experience, and it’s open three days per week in the winter months.

While this is an all-season activity, there’s something particularly satisfying about diving into the 7°C water and then running straight to warm up in the heated pool.

If you’re in Bergen on a Tuesday, Nordnes Sjøbad is open from 7:00 am to 1:00 pm. On Thursdays, it’s open in the evening (after locals finish work) and it’s open over lunchtime on Saturday.

It’s a fantastic way to wake up, so I’d recommend visiting on a Tuesday morning (if you’re in town then!).

This is what we did; after flying in late and not getting much sleep the night before, it was the wake-up that I needed to be able to explore Bergen fully.

Nordnes Sjøbad consists of a thermal pool (temperatures of around 32°C, a few saunas and a cordoned-off area of seawater.

There’s a ladder descending into the cold water (and if you’re feeling incredibly brave, there’s also a diving board!); this means that, if someone’s behind you on the ladder, there’s no backing out!

As the water is incredibly frigid, you probably won’t want to stay in for long – for me, a quick dip was more than enough, before I clambered back up the ladder and immediately plunged into the warm waters of the thermal pool.

The hot and cold experience shocks your system, and while it was incredibly bracing, I instantly felt more awake!

If you fancy a change from the geothermal pool, step into the sauna where you can enjoy picturesque fjord views.

Nordnes Sjøbad is just a short walk from Bergen’s city center; click here for prices and opening times.

Take the Funicular to the top of Mount Fløyen

Views from the funicular looking over Bergen as you summit to the top of Mount Floyen.

Bergen is notoriously drizzly throughout the winter season, so I’d recommend heading up to the top of Mount Fløyen immediately if you can see the top station!

Standing 400 m (1,300 ft) above the city, Mount Fløyen is easily summited by a funicular railway and boasts views of Bergen’s harbour, coastline and the surrounding fjords.

Dating back more than 100 years, the funicular runs every 15 minutes throughout the day and every half hour in the evening (the last service is around 11:00 pm). 

The funicular station at the bottom of the funicular, in Bergen

With stations situated up the mountains, it’s not just a tourist attraction, but it’s a lifeline for people who live on the steep mountainsides and want to avoid the uphill trek every day!

If you don’t want to take the funicular, it’s possible to hike to the top of the mountain, which will take around 40 minutes with photo stops. However, be aware of ice, mud and bad visibility in the winter months.  

You could also take the funicular one way and walk the other. 

The reason most people summit the top of Mount Fløyen is obvious; the views! From the vantage point at the top station of the funicular, you can take in the whole of Bergen – but it’s not so high that you can’t take any detail.

However, this wouldn’t be a guide to visiting Bergen in winter if I didn’t chat about cloud coverage and the possibility of this obstructing your views. 

Views over Bergen from the top of Mount Floyen, a little covered by cloud.

Low-lying cloud is common in Bergen, so I would recommend saving your trip to Mount Fløyen for the day when visibility is at its best. As you can see, we managed to see a little of the view, before clouds covered it entirely.

Spend some time exploring Mount Fløyen

Many tourists head to the top of Mount Fløyen, take some photos and head back down (either by cable car or walking). But I’d implore you not to!

There’s plenty to see and enjoy at the top of the mountain, aside from the gorgeous view over Bergen.

Start off by walking around the Troll Forest, which is allegedly where the Norwegian folk figures lived. 

There’s also an easy hiking path to Lake Skomakerdiket; although we didn’t get the chance to visit this due to the road being a little too icy, which is always a risk in the winter season. If you’re concerned about the safety of walking while you’re there, ask someone who works there for advice.

We enjoyed a delicious lunch at Mount Fløyen’s yurt, consisting of a chickpea stew with veggies and a rhubarb fizzy drink made right on the mountain!

There’s even a snug little treehouse to stay in; it resembles a floating beehive and it has a cosy bed in the midst of the trees. It’s open throughout the winter, and the owner assured us that it stays warm throughout the coldest nights! 

Veg stew, pastry and a rhubarb soda spread out as a meal plan, which we ate on the top of Mount Floyen

If you’re visiting with kids, you’ll also find a play park, although much of it was buried in snow when we were there in February.

Stroll around Bergen’s best museums

If the weather’s not looking so perky while you’re in Bergen in the winter months, don’t worry – there are plenty of museums to take shelter in – and you’ll learn lots about the history while you do so!

Bergen was constantly destroyed by fire over the years, thanks to the fact that it was relentlessly built and then rebuilt with wood! You can learn all about this, and other tales from the city’s history, in the Bryggen Museum

If you want to educate yourself on the maritime history of Bergen, then head to the Bergen Maritime Museum. You’ll learn all about the fishing industry and boating in Bergen here!

There’s also the Natural History Collections at the University Museum of Bergen, where you can explore animals and flora in Norway and the world. 

Learn about Norway through art at the many galleries

Once you’ve learned about Bergen’s history, then how about soaking in the art culture? 

There are a few art galleries in Bergen, all run by KODE, with a wide selection of art exhibitions.

Kode art gallery in Bergen with green bushes and grass in front of the building and the cloudy sky behind it

One of the art galleries is home to the third-largest Edvard Munch collection in the world (the first and second largest are both in Oslo). The galleries also feature interesting murals about Bergen throughout the centuries. 

You’ll learn about Norwegian culture through art, as there are a few fascinating murals depicting traditional Norwegian life. If you want to go in-depth into the meanings of the art, you can take an audio guide to hear analyses of them. 

Head out of the city to Greig’s Villa

Just a short way out of Bergen is Edvard Greig’s villa. 

Located on the outskirts of the city, this historic home is open to the public.

Visitors can explore the rooms where Grieg composed some of his most famous works, including the Peer Gynt Suite.

The interior has been preserved to look much as it did when Grieg lived there with his wife, with furniture and decor from the late 1800s.

The villa also features beautiful gardens with views of the surrounding fjords, making it a must-visit for music and nature lovers alike.

Go for a Norwegian cocktail in the Magic Ice Bar

While Bergen is warmer than most of Norway in the winter months, there’s one place where you’re guaranteed sub-freezing conditions… the Magic Ice Bar!

This is a Norwegian chain of ice bars where the thermometer constantly sits at a chilly -5°C/ 23°F. There’s a branch in Tromso, Svolvær on the Lofoten Islands and in Reykjavik in Iceland.

Each of the bars has a different theme, Bergen’s being “Norwegian Artists”. You’ll find gorgeous sculptures and “paintings” in the theme of Norwegian art, along with throne-like chairs to sit on and ice tables!

Alcohol-wise, the welcome drink is a white wine with berry and you can then purchase a range of cocktails (including the electrifyingly blue Bergen Fjord cocktail which contains vodka and sambuca!) and a selection of other alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

We thought the cocktails were fairly reasonably-priced at around 99 NOK (just under $10 USD).

Try some of the local gastronomy at Fish Me

Fish me restaurant in Bergen

Fish Me is a gastronomical restaurant sitting in a large market hall that sells all different types of seafood – most local, but some from international destinations too. 

Being a coastal and fjord-based city, Bergen has UNESCO City of Gastronomy status. This is largely due to the delectable seafood found in the surrounding fjords and nearby ocean.

The inside of Fish Me restaurant in Bergen

Some of the most popular dishes at Fish Me include:

  • Norwegian oysters with mignonette sauce and lemon
  • salmon served with mustard sauce and flatbread
  • Bergen fish soup with julienned vegetables
  • linguine with mussels, scallops and prawns in a creamy spicy sauce
  • fish of the day served with salad, oven-baked potatoes, lemon, asparagus and beurre blanc sauce

The restaurants at Fish Me use as much local produce as possible (even hand-picking the oysters!) with a range of techniques. 

You are the fish to my sea sign in a fish market in Bergen

The fish is at its most abundant and tasty throughout the winter; the owner of Fish Me told us that “sure, we eat more shrimp in the summer when we can sit on a terrace with a glass of wine, but it’s better during the winter!”.

I don’t actually eat fish (the recommendations are from people who were in my group), but Fish Me has a decent veggie menu; so it’s perfect for groups that have mixed dietary requirements. There aren’t a huge amount of options, but the dishes that I had were all fresh and decadent!

I devoured the veggie sushi for starters, followed by a vegetarian burger with sweet potato fries for my main course.

I didn’t have a dessert, but my partner enjoyed the biggest slice of cheesecake that I’ve ever seen and chocolate fondue was also on the menu.

Do a culinary and cultural tour of Bergen

Touring around the city streets with wooden buildings and cloud over the houses.

If you want to learn more about Bergen’s delicious food scene and learn some history while you’re at it, you could partake in a culinary and cultural tour of the city with Bergen Basecamp.

On this tour, you’ll sample food like the Norwegian staple fish cakes. One of the oldest foods in Bergen, these cakes are made from white fish, such as cod or pollock, along with potato flour (they’re naturally gluten-free).

While I didn’t eat the fishcakes due to being vegetarian, the rest of the group waxed lyrical about the surprisingly intense flavour and soft texture; my boyfriend called them “the perfect beer snack”!

I was able to eat the next dish – Norwegian brown cheese (Brunost) sandwiched between two waffle slices. Brunost is created with leftover whey after the production of white cheese.

Norwegian heart-shaped waffles with brown cheese sandwiched inside.

On its own, Brunost has a rich, creamy, ever so slightly sweet flavour, but when placed between the crisp yet fresh waffle slices the flavour balances out, turning it into a delicious, easy-to-consume snack.

Brunost has even been exported to Korea – where they liked it so much that they put it on pizza!

While the tour has a strong focus on food and food history, you’ll also learn plenty of interesting stories about the city. 

We also learned about Norway’s production of salted cod, which is particularly interesting if you have ever visited places like Lisbon (Portugal’s obsessed with the stuff!).

Visit other bars

Bergen’s a city of many bars; thanks to its large university population, it’s brimming with a range of wonderful places to grab a quick local beer, wine or cocktail.

One of my favourites was Frescohallen. This bar used to be home to the Norwegian stock exchange and was then the location of a bank. 

Frescohallen in Bergen

During this time, a few murals depicting different scenes from Bergen’s fishing history were painted on the walls. 

You’ll see scenes of people fishing in Northern Norway, then bringing the produce to Bergen and selling it here and the town subsequently growing around the fishing industry. The building was changed to house the tourist information centre, but recently re-opened as a bar.

With a fantastic menu boasting a huge range of different cocktails, friendly staff and a relaxed ambiance, Frescohallen is the perfect place to end any evening in Bergen. 

If you fancy dining here, there’s even a Michelin-star restaurant (one of Bergen’s two) above the bar.

Walk around the gorgeous city centre

Historic building in Bryggen

Of course, one of the best things to do in Bergen, summer or winter, is to just wander around the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bryggen!

View of the city streets in Bergen

Bryggen was the city’s old wharf, first established in 1070, with the first pier being built around 1100. However, most of the buildings in Bryggen date back to the 18th century – this is because the buildings were destroyed by fires frequently throughout the years.

The most recent was in 1955, so while most of the architecture is from the 1700s, some dates back to before and some is more modern, with buildings made after more recent fires.

As you’ll walk through, you’ll notice the patchwork of buildings from throughout the centuries.

It wasn’t just fire that was threatening historical Bryggen. Two-thirds of its population was wiped out by the Black Death; then any city-dwellers who were left moved out to the countryside (where the air was much fresher!).

This left an abandoned city, ripe for takeover by the Hanseatic League, which was a mercantile empire that stretched through Northern Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands and ultimately up to Bergen.

Bergen's historic church with two cream towers and a building in the middle

This means that you’ll find plenty of Hanseatic history as you stroll around the town’s waterside area.

You’ll see fascinating snippets of daily life as you stroll around Bryggen, so wrap up warm and sip on a hot chocolate or warm apple juice as you explore!  

Take a cable car up Mount Ulriken 

Cable car going up the mountain while the sky is dark and the city lights twinkle below

Mount Ulriken also borders Bergen; it’s the highest of all of the seven mountains surrounding the city. 

There’s not quite as much to do here as Fløyen, but at the top, you’ll find telescopes and hiking trails. Some of these aren’t accessible in the winter months due to cold temperatures and snow, but on a clear day, you can enjoy city views and nature from the top!

The weather wasn’t clear on the evening we summited Ulriken – as we climbed the 643 metres (2,110 ft), the clouds slowly covered our vista. 

However, a welcome surprise was waiting at the top – the mouthwatering food at Skyskraperen restaurant.

We enjoyed a five-course set menu – everybody else had meat and fish options, whereas I sampled some delightfully creative plant-based meals. 

Fjord tours

Boat tour leaving outside the Bergen Tourist information centre

Bergen sits in the heart of fjord Norway; in fact, it’s the jumping point for many travellers who want to see these incredible natural landmarks.

Norway’s famous fjords have been created thanks to glaciers retreating, leaving gorges with jagged cliffs and water running through. 

If you’re visiting Bergen as a stand-alone trip and aren’t heading to Norway’s other fjord destinations (although I’d recommend you do, they’re wonderful!), you can partake in a 3-3.5-hour or full-day tour around the nearby fjords. 

Sightseeing cruise to Alversund Strait

Historic sightseeing fjord cruise in Bergen

This tour traverses from Bergen to Alversund Streams.

You’ll sail away from the fish market, pass Bergenhus (a medieval fortress) and enjoy Bryggen Hanseatic wharf, and then delve into the fjords, including City Fjord, Kverna Fjord and Salhus Fjord.

You’ll see the towering cliffs on either side and take in some of the river’s most gorgeous islands. 

Scenic Fjord Cruise to Mostraumen

This scenic fjord cruise traverses from Bergen and through some of the best scenery around the city to Mostraumen. You’ll see mountains covered in snow and take in scenic vistas of Bryggen from the water. 

First, the journey takes in Osterfjord, where you can take in some of the best views of Bergen’s mountains, and ultimately leads into the Mostraumen strait. It’s a 3.5-hour tour, leaving and departing from the city centre, and you can purchase refreshments on board. 

There are full-day cruises to Sognefjord and Flåm, but they don’t operate in the winter months; to fully enjoy the day trip, you need more daylight, which Bergen in the winter unfortunately lacks! 

Aurlandsfjorden in Bergen

Dine at Allumen Bistro

Another excellent restaurant for foodies is Allumen Bistro.

They have a seasonal, fresh menu featuring local vegetables, seafood and meat. I had the vegetarian menu, which featured falafel cake with aioli and arancini with fried vegetables (with their homemade bread).

Omnivores had a choice of starters; either fish cake with dill or reindeer tartare, and their main was white fish with bisque and oysters.

All food is served with a smile, and the restaurant has a lovely homey atmosphere that’s exceptionally warm in the winter season. 

Flåm railway

Girl wearing a navy jumper and black hat looking out of the train window

Fancy venturing further afield on your winter trip to Bergen? The iconic Flåm railway runs year-round and is manageable on a day trip from the city.

Plowing through a true winter wonderland scene, this train journey is renowned for being one of the world’s most beautiful

In the winter months, the scenery is enhanced by a blanket of twinkling white snow. While visibility isn’t always the best, it’s still a magic, cozy experience.

The wooden houses of Flam with snow covered mountains in the backgroud.

It’s quite challenging to do the Flåm railway as a day trip, but you can book this self-guided tour on Get Your Guide.

Beginning at Bergen Railway Station, you’ll first embark on a train to Voss, and stop in Gudvangen where you’ll embark on an electric boat that’ll take you through UNESCO World Heritage Nærøyfjorden. 

The tour will then stop in Flåm, where you’ll climb on board the iconic railway; renowned as one of the most beautiful in the world.

You’ll traverse all 20 kilometres, which takes just under an hour, enjoying the commentary on the way and stopping at the Kjosfossen waterfall, which is often frozen in the winter months. 

The green Flam train in the midst of snow

The Flåm railway ultimately stops at Myrdal Station.

Here, you will transfer to the Bergen Line, which is a two-hour 20-minute train line, traversing through the snow-covered landscapes, through the ski resort town of Voss and ultimately terminating in Bergen.

Take a two-day trip to Flåm

If you want to enjoy the fjords and mountains around Flåm at a more relaxed pace, I’d recommend taking a two-day trip, venturing to the snowy village one day, staying the night there, then taking the Flåm railway back the next day. 

As the Flåm railway leaves at 2:00 pm, you’ll have time in the morning to take in the relaxed atmosphere of the village; it’s one of the best places to visit in Norway in winter.

We did a fantastic snowshoe hike, which departed Flåm and drove up into the mountains.

Claire and Richard snowshoeing in Norway, with a view of the fjord in the background.

With snowshoes, you can walk in deep snow without getting stuck (it went up to our waist in places!), taking in tremendous panoramas at Stegastein Viewpoint and even sledging down the mountain on the way back (this is optional!). 

RIB tours are also an option; they operate year-round. I’d only recommend doing these on a clear day; when we did one, it was rather cloudy and while it was still atmospheric and beautiful in its own kind of way, we did miss a lot due to poor visibility! 

RIB tour through the frozen Norwegian fjords in the winter

My other recommendation, if you do a RIB tour, is to wrap up very warm; you’ll be given a woolen tracksuit and waterproof all-in-one, but I’d also recommend wearing thermals, a tracksuit, a jumper and waterproof skiwear underneath all of that! 

Where to stay in Flåm

If you want to stay the night in Flåm, then I recommend checking into the historic Fretheim Hotel

A charming historic hotel located in the heart of Flåm, Norway, Fretheim Hotel was originally built in 1870 as a manor house. 

Over the centuries, it has been extended and beautifully restored and now offers comfortable and modern accommodations while retaining its traditional Norwegian architecture and style. 

The hotel boasts 122 guest rooms, each uniquely decorated with elegant furnishings and kitted out with modern amenities. I loved the roll-top bath where I could relax in after a busy day exploring the fjords! 

Many of the bedrooms and the hotel’s lobby have stunning mountain views; the lobby has huge glass windows so you can feel as if you’re right in the heart of Norway’s nature. 

There’s also an exquisite restaurant that serves a range of tasteful dishes using local ingredients – I enjoyed a beetroot salad, layered roasted vegetables and a white chocolate mousse. You can see my full review of Fretheim Hotel here!

Click here to see Fretheim Hotel’s listing on Booking.com

Skiing day trip

Some of Norway’s best skiing is just inland from Bergen. If you want to hit the slopes while you’re here, it’s relatively easy to visit for just a day trip (although, of course, you can go for longer as well!).

Voss is one of the best places for skiing; it’s located about 80 kilometres from Bergen and takes just an hour and 15 minutes on the train. Then, there’s a gondola leaving from the station to the ski resort in just nine minutes! 

The largest ski resort in Western Norway, Voss encompasses 45 km of slopes, over half of which are blue (easy), just under a quarter of which are red (medium) and just over a quarter of which are hard (black). 

The Furedalen Ski Resort is another option; it boasts 3km of slopes and three lifts. There’s also a children’s area and some cross-country trails. You can reach Furedalen by taking the 925 bus from Bergen. 

Celebrate Bergen’s best festivals

Soak in Bergen’s hip, relaxed atmosphere by visiting some of the best winter festivals. Most of the city’s events take place in the warmer summer months, but there are a few to enjoy in the winter season too!

Bergen Light Festival

The Bergen Light Festival kicks off the Christmas season with a series of light installations, projections, and sculptures, transforming the city’s streets and buildings into a magical winter wonderland.

Bergen Fish Festival

Oysters on a table at the seafood festival

Taking place in February every year, this festival celebrates one of the things that the city is most famous for – fresh seafood!

It’s at its best in the winter season, and the festivities span across an entire week, with seafood tasting, cooking demonstrations and competitions.

Celebrate Christmas in Bergen

Christmas market in Bergen

While snow might not always fall, Bergen is still a winter wonderland of festive lights, holiday markets, and traditional Norwegian cuisine over the Christmas period.

The city’s historic Bryggen area is a must-visit during this time – the colorful wooden buildings and cobbled streets only add to the enchanting atmosphere.

Bergen Christmas Market in Festplassen is a highlight of the season, offering a range of local crafts, gifts, and seasonal treats like gingerbread cookies and mulled wine.

And of course, no visit to Bergen at Christmas is complete without trying some of the local cuisine.

Traditional Norwegian dishes like lutefisk (dried whitefish) and pinnekjøtt (lamb ribs) are popular at this time, along with sweet treats like krumkake (a waffle cookie) and julekake (Christmas bread).

Celebrate New Year in Bergen

If you want somewhere koselig to ring in the new year, look no further than Bergen. The city’s a merry place year-round, but over the festive period, it’ll leave you with an exceptionally warm and fuzzy feeling.

On New Years Eve, locals and visitors alike enjoy the festivities by watching fireworks and enjoying parties.

Fireworks take place in Vågen, a bay in the centre of Bergen. They illuminate the historic wooden buildings of Bryggen and the surrounding fjords!

You can also enjoy New Year’s Eve parties and events at various venues around the city.

Where to stay in Bergen in winter

Beautiful colourful houses made from wood in Bergen

Bergen offers a range of accommodations for visitors, from budget-friendly hostels to luxurious hotels.

Scandic Torget Hotel

Comfortable bed in Scandic Torget Hotel in Bergen

We stayed at the Scandic Torget hotel. This is run by the Scandinavian hotel brand and is one of a few in the city centre.

Enjoy comfortable modern rooms with contemporary decor and views over the harbour, warm power showers (perfect for warming up if the weather’s too chilly!) and an immense breakfast buffet serving not just your typical toast, cereal and cooked items, but an incredible selection of pastries, avocado toast and fresh fruit.

The hotel is located right in the heart of the city, opposite Fish Me restaurant and a 10-minute walk from Bergen’s main station.

See my full review here.

Breakfast buffet at Scandic Torget Hotel

Citybox Bergen City

For a budget stay, Citybox Bergen City is a stylish and affordable hotel and has good reviews.  Located in the heart of Bergen, Norway, the hotel offers 216 modern and well-designed rooms. You’ll find comfortable beds, en-suite bathrooms, flat-screen TVs, and free Wi-Fi. 

The hotel’s common areas are spacious and include a lobby lounge, a breakfast room, and a 24-hour self-service kitchen. 

It’s within walking distance of many of Bergen’s top attractions, including the Bryggen wharf, the Fish Market, and the Fløibanen Funicular.

Hotel Norge by Scandic

One of Bergen’s best luxury hotels, Hotel Norge by Scandic boasts a rich history and was originally built in 1885, but underwent a complete renovation in 2018. 

With a modern interior design, the hotel has a fresh and stylish ambiance, with comfortable and elegant rooms equipped with all the necessary amenities. 

The hotel has several on-site dining options, including a rooftop bar and restaurant with stunning views of the city, and a modern brasserie serving Scandinavian cuisine. 

Guests can also enjoy the hotel’s fitness center, sauna, and pool.

What’s the weather like in Bergen in winter?

If you know British weather, Bergen essentially has a very British climate. It’s not really typical Norwegian winter weather at all! 

In the winter months, you’ll find snow every so often – we were told that there had been some snow a few weeks before our visit – but it’s more often rainy and cloudy. 

Snowy streets in Bergen in winter

You’ll likely need a scarf, gloves and hat to explore Bergen in the winter – but you won’t need to layer up in extra waterproof gear and skiwear like you might need to do in other parts of the country like Tromsø. 

However, if you want snowy winter wonderlands, you’ll find them just a short trip away from Bergen city. Nearby spots like Voss (and even the top of Mount Fløyen) have freezing winter weather, perfect for skiing or just enjoying the snow! 

How to get to Bergen

The inside of a Wideroe plane flying to Bergen, Norway

I was a guest of Widerøe Airlines. They’re a Norwegian company that connects London Heathrow and Aberdeen with Bergen and other destinations in regional Norway, including Tromsø and Sogndal.

Flights leave daily and include baggage, comfy seats with much better legroom than budget airlines and in-flight entertainment (accessible via your phone).

Take a look at Widerøe’s offerings on their website.

How to get from Bergen airport to the city centre

The Bergen city tram now leads all the way to the city centre. It’s easy to use and takes around 40 minutes to connect to the downtown area.

The airport is the first/ last stop (depending on which way you’re going), and it terminates right in the heart of the city (making it very difficult to get off at the wrong stop!).

How to get around Bergen

Buses in Bergen city centre

Bergen is quite walkable, and as the pavements are rarely frozen, it’s safe to do so without slipping on ice! 

It can be quite rainy (it’s regarded as the rainiest city in Europe); but if you want to walk in wet weather and don’t have the appropriate gear you can rent umbrellas from many hotels.

There are also buses and trams in the city centre, which you can use if you want to visit any destinations that are further away or prefer not to walk around.

What to pack for Bergen in winter

While you won’t need any extreme winter gear in Bergen in the cooler season, winter coats, hiking boots (make sure they’re waterproof), and scarves, gloves and wooly hats are still essential.

I’d also recommend some wooly socks (although you can buy these when you get to Norway – nowhere does warm socks like the Norwegians!) to keep your feet warm and dry. 

If you’re planning on going to Nordnes Sjøbad, pack a swimsuit and towel – trust me, it’s still well worth visiting in the winter season!

You can purchase any toiletries that you forget when you arrive in Bergen, but they can be quite pricey. So I’d recommend packing toothpaste, make-up and skincare (if you’re travelling carry on only, these 100 ml empty bottles are very useful). 

Most hotels, like Scandic Torget, provide shampoo and shower gel. 

Lastly, don’t forget a good camera – you’ll want one for the beautiful scenery and architecture of Bergen!

If you’re planning on doing any snowsports in the surrounding mountains, taking photos in the baths or partaking in boat tours where you might be affected by wet weather, then I’d recommend taking a waterproof camera like a GoPro.

Bergen in winter FAQs

Fir trees going up the hillside with wooden buildings along the waters edge

Is Bergen worth visiting in winter?

Bergen is definitely worth visiting in the winter. On a cold-season break here, you can enjoy the city’s rich gastronomy, bar and cafe hop, take a boat trip out to the fjords, relax in a spa (and take a dip in the bracing waters!) and enjoy snow and views on the top of the nearby mountains.

Can you see the northern lights in Bergen?

Bergen isn’t really a northern lights destination; while it’s far enough north to catch a glimpse of them sometimes, there’s too much light pollution in the city centre to really see them at their best. If you’re looking for places in Norway to see the northern lights, head up to Arctic Norway, where the winter nights are longer and light pollution is lower!

Is December a good time to visit Bergen?

December can be a magical time to visit Bergen with its festive decorations and Christmas markets. But it can also be cold and rainy, so come prepared for the weather! Additionally, some attractions and restaurants may have reduced hours or be closed for the holidays.

Christmas time in Bergen

Which is better Oslo or Bergen?

Neither is better; it depends on personal preferences! Both have great culture and nightlife, although Oslo (being the capital) has more urban attractions. It also sees more snow in winter. Bergen is in the heart of fjord Norway, in easy access to nature, and has milder winters. 

Is Bergen the rainiest city in Europe?

Apparently so! Holidu conducted a study using data from World Weather Online, where they discovered that Bergen is indeed the wettest city on the continent, with 12.7 average rainy days per month and 8.8mm of average daily rainfall. Winter can be even rainier, with 20 days of rain in December and January, although February is marginally drier.

How many days in Bergen is enough?

I think that you can see most of the city’s attractions, including a food tour, heading up to Mount Fløyen, the museums and a fjord tour (if you aren’t going to Norway’s other fjords!), in two days. However, if you like a slow pace when you travel and want to spend more time cafe hopping and checking out Bergen’s best bars, you could definitely spend longer!

View of Bergen city centre with historic buildings on the side

Does Bergen have snow?

Sometimes, but not often! Snow in Bergen is fairly rare throughout the winter months. Due to its coastal climate, you’ll find nowhere near as much snow as in other destinations in Norway, including Oslo, Tromsø and even mountain towns like Voss which is just east.

Is the train from Bergen to Oslo scenic?

Yes, the train journey from Bergen to Oslo is considered one of the most scenic train routes in Europe, crossing the Hardangervidda National Park and passing through the beautiful mountainous landscape of Norway, offering stunning views of waterfalls, valleys, and fjords. It’s definitely worth taking the train for the scenic experience.

How long is the train journey from Oslo to Bergen?

The train journey from Oslo to Bergen takes approximately 7 hours and covers a distance of around 500 kilometers, passing through some of the most scenic landscapes in Norway, including mountains, fjords, and valleys.

What are the winters like in Bergen Norway?

Winters aren’t too dramatic in Bergen. The weather is usually a little on the drizzly side, with cloud coverage and the potential for mist, but snow is relatively rare – although you only need travel up the nearby mountains to see some of Norway’s best winter wonderlands.

Winter scenes in Bergen, with houses at the bottom of the photo and clouds towards the top

What is the best month to visit Bergen Norway?

Every local seems to think that May is the best month in Bergen – I imagine that’s because the days are long, the weather is pleasant and it’s not as crowded as the summer months. But in Bergen in February you can enjoy longer days than the rest of the winter, weather that’s not too cold and plenty of all-weather attractions.

Can you see Northern Lights in Bergen in December?

I wouldn’t recommend visiting Bergen for the northern lights in any month; although if you are going to see them, December (when the days are at their shortest) is probably the best time. However, while you can see the lights in rural areas around Bergen during the winter, light pollution in the city centre means that chances are slim if you’re light spotting in the city itself.

Why is Bergen so popular?

Bergen is popular due to being a gateway to the fjords, its status as a UNESCO City of Gastronomy and its plethora of fantastic museums and art galleries.

Are you ready to visit Bergen in winter?

Sunset over Bryggen

Whether you want to take in mountain scenery from the top of Mount Fløyen, spend your days walking around UNESCO Bryggen, sample fresh food at the historic fish market or explore the dynamic fjord region surrounding the city, there’s so much to enjoy in Bergen in winter.

The weather’s chilly, but Bergen’s a fantastic place to visit all year round, and the fresh seafood, indoor attractions and ski opportunities close to the city make it a fantastic place for your next winter getaway. 

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