The day after Thanksgiving, we headed to the airport for a flight to Bergen, Norway. Despite the holiday weekend, the security lines were remarkably short. There was a slight delay in our flight to Frankfurt, but we made our connection without issues. The line moved quickly at passport control, and our gate was nearby. Our flight to Bergen was uneventful, which is my favorite kind of flight!

Front of airplane
Bergen sign at airport

The Flybussen Experience

After getting through customs in Bergen, we exited the main terminal towards the Flybussen stop, the bus that would ferry us to the old part of the city where our hotel was. The weather was chilly and windy; we waited a tad over thirty minutes for the bus. We were pleased to find that the bus was clean and equipped with comfortable seats. Luckily, the bus stopped at our hotel’s front entrance.

There are several ways to get to the city: taxis, busses, car services, and even the light rail, located at the airport.

Bergen Radisson Blu hotel breakfast buffet
Hotel breakfast buffet
Radisson Blu breakfast

Our Stay at the Radisson Blu in Old Town Bergen

We wanted something close to the Old Town and walkable to stores and restaurants when looking for a hotel. The Radisson Blu, Old Town, fits the bill nicely. When we checked in, we were assigned a cozy, compact room that was quite charming. It was smaller than a standard US hotel room but on par with what we have found in other European cities. Our room was tucked away on the fifth floor with a cozy dormer window, albeit it did require a bit of caution navigating around the bed due to the sloping roof design, which led to a few accidental knocks of the head.

In contrast, the bathroom was quite spacious and practical. While there was an absence of a shower tray (just a drain on the floor), a shower curtain kept most of the water by the drain. It’s not my favorite type of shower, but it did the job. The room came equipped with basic toiletries and a hairdryer.

The hotel had an excellent breakfast buffet. An extensive array of dishes filled the counters with countless options every morning. Everything from the food quality to the hot coffee was spot on, and the service was quick. Overall, we liked the Radisson Blu and would consider staying there again.

Christmas market in Bergen, Norway
Narrow walkway in Bergen Norway neighborhood.
Shops lining pedestrian street in Bergen, Norway.

Navigating the Streets, Shops, and Local Festivities of Bergen

We had breakfast at the hotel before leaving to check out the local scene.

A string of quaint shops drew our attention initially as we started our day. Overcast skies hinted at a drizzle, but we soldiered on and dove into Bergen’s festive spirit at its Christmas Market. Though not as expansive as its European counterparts we’d visited previously, we found it pleasantly uncrowded, making moving from stall to stall easy.

From there, our adventure took us through the backstreets of Bergen, filled with narrow roads preserved for pedestrians. The hilly terrain, lined with charming neighborhoods, gave our morning a lively, aerobic boost. OK, more than a boost, the hills were everywhere, and we may have had to stop a time or two (or ten) to catch our breath.

Display at Bergen Art Museum.
Gingerbread house display at the Bergen Art Museum.
Bergen art museum display.

As it started to rain, we ventured into an art museum, hosting a gingerbread house exhibit. Known as the world’s largest of its kind, it attracted the creativity of local schoolchildren, businesses, and dedicated volunteers who constructed elaborate gingerbread structures. All proceeds from this eye-catching display go to charities supporting underprivileged children.

McVegan sandwich
McDonalds McVegan hamburger and fries.
Food from a Chinese restaurant in Bergen, Norway.

Lunch was a unique experience. We popped into a McDonald’s, drawn by their advertised McVegan burger. Seafood is an everyday staple here, making locating a quick non-meat meal a bit of a hunt. While we’re not the biggest fast food fans, the concept of a McVegan piqued our curiosity. Unfortunately, we found it lacking flavor, though the accompanying fries were pretty tasty.

Our dinner choice was a local Chinese restaurant. Despite slow service and somewhat mediocre food, the well-kept, pretty interior did add to the experience. The indoor fishpond especially seemed to entertain the children.

Light display in Bergen Norway.
Light display of a whale in water in Bergen.
Moose light display in Bergen, Norway.

Our day ended with visiting the Bergenhus Fortress, which hosted a light show. Braving the cold showers, we enjoyed the many exhibits displayed throughout the fortress. It was cold and wet, but there were very few crowds!

Old Town shops in Bergen, Norway.
Christmas market entry in Bergen, Norway.
Lit Christmas tree in shopping area.

Signing off from Bergen

Starting our day with breakfast at the hotel, we squeezed in more retail therapy before it was time to bid farewell to Bergen and embark on the next leg of our journey. We took a taxi to the port to board the Havila Capella, setting sail for a cruise off the Norwegian coast to hunt the illustrious Northern Lights.

Despite our short stay, Bergen really impressed us, prompting us to pencil in another visit for the upcoming summer.