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About Bergen

Bergen is a mountainous, sea-facing port city located on the west coast of Norway. Known for its beautiful, rugged mountain surroundings, the city has been nick-named “the city of seven mountains”. As the former capital, Bergen has much to offer in terms of history and culture, and is a popular entry point to access Norway’s famous fjords.

Cheap flights to Bergen are now available for a limited period of time, so book your flight today and experience the natural beauty and historic charisma of this charming city! Bergen is home to Bergen Airport (BGO), located 20 minutes from the city centre by car. Bergen Airport serves a multitude of airlines including KLM Airlines, Air France and Etihad Airways. There are no direct flights from South Africa to Bergen, but popular connecting flights to Bergen depart from Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.

Why visit Bergen

natural landscape

Natural landscape

Bergen is surrounded by majestic local mountains, known locally as ‘the seven mountains’. Take a local walk or hike in one of these incredible natural surroundings, and enjoy stunning panoramic views of the city from above.

historic charm

Historic charm

Once the capital city of Norway, Bergen has a regal and historic air about it, presented perfectly in its preserved Nordic and Hanseatic architecture, as well as its local monuments and delightful museums and exhibitions.

norwegian fjords

Norwegian Fjords

In addition to the incredible surrounding mountains, Bergen is known in Norway as the gateway to the breath-taking Norwegian fjords. Go on a day trip to the local fjords, or even take a guided cruise along the waters of these natural wonders.

General information

Essential details you need to know before your trip

Country Norway
Currency Norwegian Krone
Exchange Rate 1 ZAR = 0.65 NOK
Language Norwegian/Nyorsk/ Bokmål
Hub Airport Bergen Airport (BGO)
Airline Scandinavian Airlines
Time Zone GMT + 1
Travel Adaptor Type F

Best time to visit Bergen

Norway experiences a temperate oceanic climate, resulting in cool summers, mild winters and year-round precipitation. Due to its mountainous location, the city experiences far less extremes in temperature than the rest of Norway. The month of May brings the lowest level of precipitation to the city and, combined with local events and festivals that take place, is the ideal time to go. The summer months of June, July and August are the next best time to visit, as temperatures are at their warmest and sunny days draw local crowds into the streets and sidewalks to enjoy a cup of coffee and a bite to eat. If you would rather see the city for less during its quietest period, then consider going during the quiet autumn months of September, October and November, when school holidays are over and tourism rates drop before shooting up again in December.

Weather & Climate in Bergen

Average temperature (°C) & rainfall (mm) per month

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Low °C -6°C -5°C -2°C 0°C 7°C 11°C 10°C 9°C 9°C 1°C -2°C 1°C
High °C -3°C -1°C 3°C 5°C 12°C 16°C 14°C 14°C 14°C 8°C 1°C 3°C
Rainfall (mm) 314 334 159 171 157 118 261 396 316 147 313 645

Overview

Bergen is a historic city located on the west coast of Norway, facing the North Sea and surrounded by mountains, earning it the nickname the “city of seven mountains”. Once Norway’s capital city in the Middle Ages, Bergen served as an important port of Norwegian trade, controlling the country’s exports, before it was replaced by Oslo in the 1800s. Remnants of the old capital can still be found in Bryggen, a series of colourful, restored Hanseatic buildings facing the harbour, which has been declared a UNESCO-World Heritage site.

Other points of interest in Bergen include the bustling market square where visitors can browse the local stalls selling their wares, the Bergen Open-Air Museum which recreates architecture and lifestyle from the 18th century and Fløyfjell, a 1047 ft high mountain peak which offers breath-taking panoramic views of the city and its surrounds. Bergen is also known for its celebration of the arts: the annual Bergen International Festival, taking place from May to June, offers opera, orchestra, ballet and jazz performances, and is an absolute treat if you are in Bergen during the festivities.

Visa & Customs

South Africans do require a visa to enter Norway. As Norway is part of Schengen territory, South Africans need a Schengen Visa for entry to Norway. Ensure your passport is valid and will remain valid for at least six months after intended duration of stay. Leave plenty of time for visa processing before departure. Ensure you have at least 3 blank pages in your passport for visa stamps.

For more information regarding the visa application process and required documentation, please contact the Norwegian Embassy in South Africa:

Ozmik House
165 Lynnwood Road
Brooklyn
Pretoria

Tel: +27 12 364 3700
Email: emb.pretoria@mfa.no

Health & Safety

Norway enjoys an extremely low level of crime and is thus an extremely safe country to visit. Be on the alert, however, for pick-pockets and petty thieves looking for luggage and valuables to steal. The biggest threat Norway can pose to visitors is its extreme weather conditions. Winters in Bergen can drop to -10 degrees, so ensure you pack warm enough clothing if you plan to visit the city in winter. Summer seasons can bring high levels of pesky mosquitos and midges, especially in mountainous regions like Bergen. Ensure you pack mosquito repellent. If you plan to take any local walks or hikes, plan your excursion carefully, as daylight (particularly in winter) can be short, and you do not want to be stuck on the mountain after dark with poor lighting! Always tell your hotel where you will be hiking, and the estimated time you plan to return so, if in the event anything goes wrong, a search party can rescue you.

Cost of Living

ITEM CAPE TOWN JOHANNESBURG BERGEN
Meal, inexpensive restaurant R100 R100 R230
Domestic beer (0.5 litre draught) R25 R25 R123
Cappuccino R22 R22 R55
Taxi 1km (normal tariff) R10 R10 R30
Packet of cigarettes (Marlboro) R37 R37 R157

Where to stay?

Although small, Bergen offers extensive hearty accommodation for travellers looking to experience Scandinavian hospitality! Due to the city’s small size, the main accommodation district in Bergen is the lively neighbourhood of Bryggen. Guests will be within walking distance to the local harbour where local restaurants can be found. Bryggen is also a popular area for nightlife and houses the majority of the city’s pubs, bars and its few nightclubs. Trendy hotels are also available in the bustling city centre with its cobbled streets, tucked-away corner shops and cafes.

Getting Around

The easiest way to get around Bergen is on foot. The city centre can be walked on foot within an hour and local attractions are all within walking distance to each other. The city of Bergen operates an extremely efficient bus service, with buses following mapped routes around the city. Most signboards and stops are written in Norwegian, but you should have no trouble finding a friendly local who will be willing to translate for you. A light metro rail runs from the north of the city to the south and is easily accessible. As with the bus routes, train signs are all in Norwegian, but locals are always willing to assist travellers with direction and translation. During the weekend rails operate at all hours of the night, departing every 30 minutes. Taxis are available in Bergen, but are extremely expensive. Most taxi drivers speak English, and are extremely reliable and trustworthy.

Main attractions in Bergen

Bryggen

Bryggen

Mount Fløyen

Mount Fløyen

Troldhaugen

Troldhaugen

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