I will be the first to admit that we probably did not research this vacation as much as we should and particularly we feel we have missed out on some of the more scenic fjords that might have been available with a smaller ship.
Docking in Bergen at 10:00 am we’ve a full day to enjoy the city and we’ve arrived with some very nice weather (apparently it rains a lot in Bergen!) and we’re first off the ship to make it as quickly as possible to the number one attraction the Foyen Floibahen which seems to be where everyone is heading. On arrival we only have a few minutes wait before we take the 45 NOK single journey to the top (which takes around 4-5 minutes).
As you can see from the pictures there are some great views from the top across the whole city and back towards our ship. We later learn that on the previous day there were no views as the hill (hard to call it a mountain) was covered in cloud. The Foyen (for that is the name of the hill) has lots to do for children including interesting walks (to discover dinosaurs and witches!) as well as a small lake. For adults the main attraction seems to be walking up (or in our case down) to / from the city center. The walk down is longer than it looks from the bottom as it winds its way from side to side but can be covered in 45-60 minutes.
Back in town we head for the Bryggen Hanseatic Wharf which is a row of old-looking shops selling a mixture of arts and crafts. The tourist blurb says that the site was built on foundations going back to 1200. I’m not sure the age of the actual buildings but it feels specifically built for tourists (including two buildings which were being renovated and covered in a building mural presumably so as not to completely ruin those tourist photos (looks convincing from a distance).
To complete our tourist top sights trilogy we head to the fish market which was somewhat disappointing as the expectation of a genuine working fish market seems to have been supplanted by a number of very samey stalls selling a mixture of exactly the same tourist friendly products (including king crab, caviar etc.). It’s ok but hardly worth spending more than 10 minutes unless eating lunch.
We then spent a couple of hours walking around the town. It actually has the feel of a very livable place with lots of pretty boulevards, greenery, bridges and water although this was on a day when the weather was particularly good so not sure whether it loses any of its gloss on some of the wetter days.
Its looks like there are some useful side tours from Bergen to some of the more picturesque local fjords and had we researched a little better and / or had some time. We will keep that for our next visit.
On the way back to the boat we stumbled across a shop selling Helly Hansen rain wear including some rather attractive completely waterproof jackets. According to the shop owner these are the only things that keep the water out completely. They’re not breathable but guaranteed to keep you dry and reasonably priced so we buy one each.