Bergen, Norway

Bergen

Norway’s second largest city, Bergen is located on the rugged west coast of the country.  Bergen has many great attractions for families and is also a good base from which to explore some of Norway’s spectacular fjords.

In this post we’ll share some of the best family experiences that we found in Bergen.

Bergen Science Center VilVite

We love to visit hands-on science museums and Bergen’s VilVite Science Center did not disappoint.  The museum features exhibits on energy, art, environmental responsibility and more.

Here, our eldest takes a simulated ride on a motorcycle.  The wind blowing in her face was based on the speed she chose to ride (thanks to a powerful fan in the wall).

Experimenting with water and different kinds of pumps.

Creating artwork was a team effort with the color blasters.

The most unique attraction in the museum is the “G-Force” where visitors can pedal themselves around a loop and feel the pull of centrifugal force.  Wes got the meter up to 4 Gs (unfortunately the kids did not get a turn because the minimum heights is 155 cm).    

Creating a stop motion film.

Wes and the boys work together to play goalie in a simulated game of soccer.

VilVite offers science demonstrations during the day; we watched a show in which an “Environmental Monster” had to be defeated through various actions including exploding a balloon filled with hydrogen.

The museum is not as extensive as some others we have visited (including the world-class Experimentarium in Copenhagen) but we found it to be well worth spending a half day there.

Mount Fløyen

Mount Fløyen rises just outside of the Bergen City center and the peak is easily reachable by a quick (assuming the line is not too long) ride on the Fløibanen funicular. It costs 50 Krone (~$6) for a one way ticket, or 95 Krone for a return ticket. Children receive a ~50% discount.  Given that the round-trip ticket was about the same cost as two singles, we decided that we’d pay for a ride up and let gravity assist us on a walk back down.

Aboard the Fløibanen.

The view from the top is excellent.

There are three large playgrounds on Mount Fløyen so it is a great place for kids that need to run off some energy.  This playground had an obstacle course.  There’s also a ropes course but it was closed the day we visited.

Goats wander the top of the mountain.  This one seemed to be keeping an eye out for trolls.

There are numerous walking and hiking opportunities as well as a small lake where it is possible to borrow canoes.

Another playground.  The kids loved climbing to the top of this tower and sliding back down on the curvy slide.

Our walk from the peak back to downtown Bergen took about an hour.  Most of that time was spent picking wild raspberries and stopping to see some of the hidden artwork, including this chair carved out of a tree stump.  We highly recommend this walk; the views of Bergen from the trail are fantastic.

Bryggen

Bryggen is the part of Bergen that always shows up on postcards and it is easy to see why.  Bryggen was the base of Hanseatic traders starting in the 1300s; today it is mainly filled with shops, restaurants and tourists.

The wooden buildings that make up Bryggen have burned down and been rebuilt many times over the centuries.  The unique buildings are now a UNESCO world heritage site.

The buildings stretch back a long way from the waterfront and there are wood-decked alleyways where we found several cute shops and cafes.

Fish Market

Near Bryggen there’s an outdoor fish market.  We strolled past the booths to check out the different kinds of seafood available and we saw lots of shrimp, crabs, fish, and even whale meat.  At some booths it is possible to select seafood from the display case and have it cooked to order.

Saying hi to a Monkfish.  

KODE Art Museums

The place to find fine art in Bergen is at the KODE museums.  The KODE collections are spread among seven different buildings, four of which are in central Bergen.  We enjoyed seeing works by Norway’s most famous artist, Edvard Munch.

KODE 4 houses a children’s art museum where the kids learned about concepts including mixing color, symmetry, and depth.  

Outside the museum there’s a park with a lake and manicured gardens.

Beach Time

During our stay in Bergen the temperature reached near-record highs around 90F!  To cool off we found a small beach on the island of Bildøy.  The kids enjoyed playing in the sand and swimming.  The water was A LOT colder than the water had been in Oslo.

Our daughter swam out to the platform and after drying off for a while she didn’t want to get back into the ice-cold water to swim back.  Thankfully she finally decided to take the plunge and we didn’t have to find a boat to rescue her. 🙂

Summing Up

We found Bergen to be a great family destination, although a bit on the expensive side.  We were able to keep our budget down by staying in an AirBnb a short drive away from the central area and by eating most of our meals at the house.

In our next post we’ll share some of the amazing natural wonders we saw as we explored Norway’s fjords. Check back soon! 🙂

2 thoughts on “Bergen, Norway”

  1. Norway is just so beautiful, and I love what you guys experienced in the museum in Bergen. The playground also looked really fun for the kids. What a neat experience!!

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