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Norway is a land of amazing outdoor activities and natural beauty. From dramatic mountains to the clean dark waters of the fjords, outdoors people will never get bored in this country. I recently visited and was able to pack in a ton of great activities while seeing a half dozen of the ports of call that Hurtigruten Cruises dock at. In this article, we share the top 3 best outdoor activities to do in Bergen Norway.
If you want to connect with a local, use The Klubb app to book athletic activities in Bergen.
Taking a Cold Plunge in Bergen, Norway
There are many ways to improve health and wellness these days. Some are easier than others. Many people seem to agree that some sort of cryotherapy (e.g Cold Water Immersion – or cold plunging) is a great way to optimize health. The best method for doing so however is up for debate. If you ask a local in Bergen Noway – as I did – they will tell you that a dip in the fjord is the best for your health. Some even told me that taking a cold plunge in a Norwegian fjord is refreshing and part of their daily routine.
My experience swimming in the fjord
On my morning walk to get coffee, I had on more layers than I could count to fend off the bitter cold of November in Bergen, Norway. I walked along the deck that surrounds the fjord and noticed stairs that continued straight into the water every few hundred meters along the walkway. At one set of stairs, a group of three locals were drying off after their morning swim. With huge smiles on their faces, they put on layer after layer of clothing to warm themselves up after the swim they just took.
I walked further. Contemplating how cold the water must be if the outside air temp is as cold as it was, I was convinced it had to be just above freezing. I stopped to stare down the waters – deciding on if it was a battle I could survive. While sitting with my coffee a flock of white swans casually cruised around the waters. The black water of the North Sea against their white feathers was incredible. I figured if there was a sign to go for a swim, this had to be it.
Cold Plunge in a Norwegian Fjord
Back at the hotel I put on my boardshorts… A new pair of Florence Marine boardies that I just picked up a couple months ago for a trip to Hawaii. The last waters these shorts saw were the 80 degree waters of Waikiki. Now, I was going to dive into 32 degree waters in Norway.
Walking through the hotel lobby in a swimsuit when it was near freezing outside, I expected to get weird looks. No one seemed to see anything out of place however. The practice of cold plunging was so common in Norway that a casual dip on a cold winter day was nothing out of place. Check out the edit of my experience swimming in the cold waters of Bergen Norway.
Jogging the fjord waterfront docks
Running is the easiest way to see a large amount of sights in a new city. Bergen has a great layout for runners and waterfront trails are easily accessible from the Hurtigruten dock. Bergen is surrounded by amazing cliffs that give you an incredible feeling of awe as you job through the colorful buildings around Bergen.
For a more intense workout, try hiking/jogging Fløyfjellet. This forested trail has a special surprise at the end for those who make it to the top. Cafe Brushytten (https://www.brushytten.no/home) is at the top of the trail and serves up delicious baked goods and fresh coffee. Get a panoramic view of Bergen from the summit while enjoying a hard earned breakfast.
If you are looking for a more extreme run, check out these local guides that will take you on a more customized local adventure.
Standup Paddle Boarding in Bergen Norway
There is something special about seeing a new city from the water. I recently circumnavigated the Island of Manhattan (~31 miles). Seeing New York City in this way inspired me to explore other cities by water. Bergen is a great place to paddle as the town surrounds the waterway and the high surrounding mountains block the wind. Having smooth water and beautiful waterfront buildings, paddle boarding in Bergen is a great way to see the city.
Image Credit: Kolula SUP
There is a SUP rental service called Kolula that is located right on the waterfront. From their website you can schedule a time to rent a board. Or, you can use The Klubb App to connect with a local who can take you out on a truly local SUP adventure.
When paddling in Bergen you can cruise up to one of the many stairs that go directly into the water for a coffee break. The accessibility to enter/exit the water is one of the biggest advantages of paddle boarding in Bergen Norway. This access makes Bergen a great place for beginners to go paddle boarding.
Getting to Bergen
While there are many ways to arrive in Bergen Norway, the best is by Hurtigruten Cruise line. Hurtigruten cruises are designed for those who are looking for adventure. The expedition vide will get you fired up to explore some of the most amazing attractions along the Norwegian coastline. After a great day exploring, coming back to comfort and luxury aboard the boat is just what the doctor ordered.
The best way to travel in Norway is by water. With countless fjords and accessible ports, there really is no better way to get around. I’ve driven much of southern Norway and I would have much rather been on a boat.
Start planning your Bergen Norway trip by visiting Hurtigruten.com
History of Bergen, Norway
Bergen is a beautiful city located on the southwestern coast of Norway. It is surrounded by breathtaking mountains and fjords, making it one of the most picturesque cities in Europe. But this charming city has a rich history that dates back to the medieval times.
Early History of Bergen
The earliest known settlement in Bergen dates back to the 11th century when it was founded by King Olav Kyrre. It served as an important trading center due to its strategic location between the North Sea and the Norwegian inland. The city prospered during the Hanseatic League era (13th-17th centuries) and became a major hub for trade in fish, timber, and other commodities.
The Black Death
In the mid-14th century, Bergen was hit hard by the Black Death, a catastrophic plague that wiped out almost half of its population. This led to a decline in trade and economic growth for several decades.
The Hanseatic League
As the city recovered from the devastation of the Black Death, it became a member of the Hanseatic League in the 14th century. This alliance of trading cities in Northern Europe helped Bergen regain its status as a major commercial center.
The Great Fire
In 1702, a devastating fire swept through Bergen, destroying most of the city and leaving thousands homeless. However, this disaster led to the rebuilding of the city with wider streets and better infrastructure.
During the 19th and 20th centuries, Bergen saw significant growth and modernization. The city became a major industrial center, with industries such as shipping, fishing, and manufacturing contributing to its economy.
World War II
Bergen played a crucial role during World War II as it was an important base for German submarines. The city was heavily bombed by Allied forces, causing significant damage to its infrastructure. However, Bergen quickly recovered and experienced rapid growth in the post-war years.
Today, Bergen is a thriving city with a bustling port and a vibrant cultural scene. It has been designated as a European City of Culture and continues to attract tourists from all over the world. With its rich history, stunning scenery, and charming old-world charm its no surprise that Bergen is one of the most popular destinations in Norway.
What I Love Most about Bergen
I was partially delirious after a red eye from New York to Oslo followed by a 12 hour, white knuckle, drive from Oslo to Bergen. Despite being exhausted, I immediately got a second wind when I pulled off the highway to my hotel in Bergen. The city of Bergen is nestled along the stunning waters of the Puddefjorden that connects to the North Sea. My favorite thing about Bergen is the accessibility to the water. Everywhere you go you feel like you are close to the fjord/North Sea. Bergen has a much smaller feel than Oslo and is easy to navigate. If you are arriving by cruise ship, the port is close to town, making it easy to get the most out of your time on land.