Spend an active day in Bergen, Norway

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On cruises, Alan and I like to get moving when the ship is in port. That’s how we found ourselves enjoying an active day in Bergen during a Norwegian fjords cruise with Regent Seven Seas.

After arriving at Norway’s second largest city (284,000 population), we walked the charming streets, then boarded a funicular to hike the trails of Mt. Floyen, one of seven mountains surrounding the town.

A port of call on the west coast of Norway, Bergen proved to be scenic, historic and brimming with activities to satisfy even the most active traveler. It’s definitely on our do-again list.

An active day in Bergen

Bergen's colorful wharf area marks the beginning of an active day in Bergen.
Bergen’s colorful wharf area

We booked our cruise excursion, The Mt. Floyen Hiking Tour, before leaving home using Regent’s online service. Most cruise lines arriving in Bergen offer a similar tour.

In Bergen, a guide met our group near the gangway of the ship. From there, she led us through the colorful streets of Bryggen, an historic wharf area that’s a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Through the centuries, several fires have damaged Bryggen. More than once, using old methods and patterns, the historic town area has been rebuilt preserving the character of the 62 surviving buildings.

And why is Bryggen important? It’s a city of traders.

An influential port of the Hanseatic League during the 14th to mid-16th centuries, Bergen helped dominate trade in Northern Europe. The city traces its trading history to as early as 1020, although the town’s official founding was in 1070.

Hiking Mt. Floyen

Looking down onto the buildings of Bergen from the top of a mountain
Misty view of Bergen from the top of Mt. Floyen

After the lesson in Hanseatic League history, the group boarded a funicular ride for the 5 to 8-minute ride to the Mt. Floyen summit and the beginning of the hike. Exploring Mt. Floyen is one of the most fun things to do in Bergen.

We took a few moments to gaze at the city from the large viewing platform as the tour guide continued her lecture on culture and history. The city of Bergen spread out before us, making for a beautiful photo opp. If only the weather had been sunny instead of cloudy.

And then the hike began along a wide trail that wound gently up the mountain. Although the misty day hampered what would have been a spectacular view, the opportunity to experience Norwegian nature was worth it.

This is truly Bergen’s outdoor playground. Many of the Mt. Floyen paths are lit for nighttime walks or snow shoe treks during the winter. In the summer, rent a paddleboard for Skomakerdiket Lake or opt to use one of the free canoes. Rental bikes are also available.

Alan was especially intrigued with the stories that our guide told us about the WWII bunkers on Mt. Floyen. Now they are used as huts for sporting clubs.

The Nazi’s invaded Bergen on April 9, 1940. Although not on our itinerary, other interesting WWII sites to visit are Bergenhus Fortress, Hellen Fort, and Theta Museum.


A mountain lake in Bergen, Norway
Skomakerdiket Lake on Mount Floyen

This excursion lasted about four hours, was well-planned and satisfied our need to be active. More importantly, it did what a cruise excursion is meant to do—whet our appetites for more. We’d love to return and explore the region around Bergen on our own.

Are you an independent traveler? This is an easy itinerary to do by yourself, although you’ll miss out on the depth of knowledge that an experienced guide provides. Be sure to start out early as the line for the funicular becomes quite long around mid-morning.

Read more about our favorite Norway cruise excursions.

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