What You Need To Know
Bergen historically Bjørgvin, is a city and municipality in Hordaland on the west coast of Norway. At the end of the first quarter of 2016. The city centre and northern neighbourhoods are located on Byfjorden, “the city fjord”, and the city is surrounded by mountains; Bergen is known as the city of seven mountains. Many of the extra-municipal suburbs are located on islands. Bergen is the administrative centre of Hordaland and consists of eight boroughs—Arna, Bergenhus, Fana, Fyllingsdalen, Laksevåg, Ytrebygda, Årstad and Åsane.
Bergen surrounded by mountains and fjords, including Sognefjord, the country’s longest and deepest. The Bryggen district consists of the old wharf and its surrounding commercial buildings (a former center of the league of Hanseatic merchants), and features vibrantly colored wooden houses. The Bergen Aquarium offers a shark tunnel and panoramic views of the port.
Area: 179.8 mi²
Population: 265,857 (2012)
The unit of currency in Norway is the krone (plural: kroner), which translates as “crown,” written officially as NOK. Price tags are seldom marked this way, but instead read “Kr” followed by the amount, such as Kr 10 or 10 Kr.
The Norwegian currency is the krone (plural: kroner), written as NOK. There are 100 øre in 1 krone. Bank notes are issued in denominations of 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1,000 kroner. Coins are issued in denominations of 50 øre, 1 krone, and 5, 10, and 20 kroner.
Due to the city’s location relatively far north, close to the northern sea and surrounded by mountains, special weather conditions occur, resulting in approximately 240 days with precipitation a year and a mean temperature of 7.6 °C (45.7 °F). In January 2007, a record of 85 rainy days in a row was set. Still, local people claim there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.
July has the highest mean temperature, 14.3 °C (57.7 °F), with August, 14.1 °C (57.4 °F) following close behind. May is usually the month with the least precipitation.
The most widely spoken language in Norway is Norwegian. It is a North Germanic language, closely related to Swedish and Danish, all linguistic descendants of Old Norse. Norwegian is used by some 95% of the population as a first language.
Bergen has, as the rest of Norway, a generally low crime rate. The most likely crimes for tourists to experience is car break-ins and bicycle theft. Pickpockets do also tend to be an increasing problem in the summer season, but it’s still nothing like in larger cities in Europe. It is always a good idea to look after your belongings, this includes never leaving valuable objects visual in your car and locking your bike safely.
There are no particular unsafe areas in Bergen. The upper part of Nygårdsparken is, however, the hang-out place for drug addicts. They are usually completely harmless, but nevertheless not fun to be around. The risk of getting into trouble is very low, but families should be aware of the area. The drug trafficking is out in the open, addicts are shooting up in plain sight, and the police is basically turning a blind eye to the whole area. Although considered harmless by most, there are frequent petty crimes in this area and it should be avoided by tourists.
- Police: 112
- Fire: 110
- Emergency Medical Services: 113
Dos and Don’ts
- Don’t visit during the cold season, Winter is a beautiful, magical time, but it’s not for beginners, nor for travelers on a budget.
- Don’t fly between Oslo and Bergen, Or between Bergen and points north. It may be fast, and flights are often cheap, but you’ll miss spectacular mountain scenery.
- Don’t restrict yourself to hotels The best and most unique hotels are expensive.
- Do take your time biking along the Bergen Line
Within the city center, walking is the best way to get around. You can walk across the downtown in 20 minutes in any direction. The most central streets of the city generally have a good accessibility for the disabled. The most important pedestrian crossings have sound signals and are indicated by tactile paving. They are also accessible with a wheelchair.
Bus schedules can be a bit difficult to understand. Ask a local or a bus driver, both will usually be able and happy to assist you. There is an information desk at the bus station providing information on all local bus and train lines free of charge. Calling 177 will also put you in contact with the information center.
Tickets can be bought from the driver or from ticket machines at major stops. The driver only accepts cash payment. Ticket machines are in Norwegian only, but some instructions in English are provided, and finding a local willing to help will usually never be difficult.
If you purchase your ticket from a machine, you will be given a receipt and a grey card that is actually your ticket. The ticket must be validated when you enter a bus by holding it close to the electronic card reader until you get a green light. Tickets bought from machines are valid for 90 minutes after validated. When you purchase a ticket from the driver, you will find the time of validity printed on it. Within the ninety minutes you may travel freely within the area covered by your fare.
A light rail line runs between the city centre and southwards towards Lagunen. This is the primary means of public communication to southern parts of Bergen. The line passes the railway station, the bus station, Brann soccer stadium, the student homes at Fantoft and Nesttun along the route. The line operates from 6AM to 1AM, seven days a week, generally with a 10-minute frequency.
Taxi is generally expensive in Norway. Throughout Bergen, there are a number of taxi stalls where taxis are parked waiting for customers. During the day, taxis will usually not pick up customers nearer than 300 metres from the stalls, except when called to an address. During the night in the weekends, taxi queues can be very long (up to one hour), and all customers are therefore required to go to the stalls. It is possible to order taxis to addresses also at this time of the week, but you shouldn’t really expect the taxi to arrive.
There is one local commuter train service, between the downtown Bergen train station and the fairly rural suburb of Arna in the east.