Bergen: The Beginning of Norway’s Most Scenic Train Ride
Bergen is located on the west coast of Norway. It is the start of one of Europe’s most scenic train rides – Norway in a Nutshell. There are various routes to take depending on the package and tour company. You can also plan it on your own like my friends and I did – a DIY Norway in a Nutshell journey.
We started in Bergen, Norway – a city surrounded by seven beautiful mountains with charming homes built all along the hill side. It’s the second largest city in Norway after Oslo. They say people here live longer than average because of the fresh mountain air and pristine water. If only I could bottle some back to NYC.
Bryggen: A historic UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site
A short walk away is the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site – Bryggen. It’s one of the main attractions in Bergen where the very first buildings in city were built. After a devastating fire in 1702 turned the city in ashes, it was rebuilt on the very same foundations to maintain the heritage of the old Hanseatic wharf and commercial buildings that line the eastern side of the Vågen harbor.
Bryggen is as lively now as it was back in the Middle Ages of Norway. The area is filled with century old buildings and narrow alleyways. Seafood is as fresh as it gets and the local market serves some of the best that the harbor offers. The small shops are also filled with local, albeit somewhat touristy, Norwegian products. If you’re into chic, functional and minimal designs like I am then these specialty shops are heaven.
Bergenhus Fortress: The Oldest Castle in Norway
As you walk down Bryggen from Bergen’s city center, you’ll eventually end up at the entrance of the harbor. Here is where you’ll find one of Norway’s oldest castles – The Bergenhus Fortress. The most prominent building there is the Haakon’s Hall, a beautiful medieval stone hall within the fortress. During the medieval times, it was considered the largest building of the royal palaces in Bergen. If you time your visit right, you can lean over the side of the fortress and watch the sunset in the harbor before making your way to dinner.