Bergen is the second largest city in Norway, with over 250,000 inhabitants, and has been a cornerstone of trade for centuries. Today, the old wharf in the harbour, Bryggen, is included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The city itself is situated on the west coast of Norway and is known as the Gateway to the Fjords, with some of the country’s most spectacular landscapes within easy reach of the city by boat, rail or road. Surrounded by mountains and island chains, the city itself has a striking location. Thanks to the Gulf Stream, Bergen enjoys mild winters, at least compared to non-coastal parts of the country! Bergen is an international city packed with history and tradition – a big city with small-town charm and atmosphere. It has given a warm welcome to its visitors for more than 900 years, and we are now proud to host the VGC 2016 in this beautiful city.
Bergen is great to explore on foot. Strolling around old streets and alleyways where people have lived for centuries is like a fairy-tale. You will see small wooden houses, cobbled streets with stone steps in the steepest parts and flowers everywhere. Stop off at the Fish Market to mingle with the crowds or visit Bergen Aquarium to see some of the local marine inhabitants.
Stroll along the listed wooden buildings at Bryggen to the old fortress at Bergenhus, or call in at one of Bergen’s many museums and galleries. And it’s not far from the city centre to Mt. Fløyen, Mt. Ulriken or another of the seven mountains that form the backdrop to the city. The panoramic views of the city, the fjord and the ocean are breathtaking. Bergen was also the birthplace of the world-famous composer Edvard Grieg and you can visit his home at Edvard Grieg Museum Troldhaugen.
Further afield, the outstanding nature beckons. Day trips to some of the more well-known areas, such as Hardangerfjord, Sognefjord and Flåm can be taken through Norway in a Nutshell, which offers a convenient way to see some of western Norway if time is short. Finse, a small outpost on the wild Hardanger plateau (for Star Wars buffs, this was where the ice world Hoth sequences were filmed for The Empire Strikes Back!) is just a two hour train journey away on the impressive Bergen-Oslo railway. If you have more time, September is a good time of year for hiking, before the snow arrives in the mountains, and car rental gives access to some of the less known routes. We can give advice on tourism, so just drop us a line.