Rain. That was what it did the whole time I was in Bergen, Norway, for two days. But it was beautiful rain. It chilled you to your bone, soaked your feet, and turned the town a shade of gray. I’m sure it would have been beautiful if it was sunny, but when the clouds obscured the tops of the mountains and made the air smell fresh, it turned it into something unique.
The second day we were there (I went with a couple of my friends from my dorm in Copenhagen) we went hiking on Mount Fløyen. I know you’re probably wondering, why not the fjords? We tried- but our wallets and flight timing did not allow us to embark on this experience. Don’t worry Bergen, I will be back for the fjords!
I wore sneakers and my parka (it was February and freezing), and we headed up the mountain. There is a way to get up the mountain via something like a train, which costs about 80 Norwegian Kroners one way (~$12). But do the hike if you can- there’s nothing more rewarding than watching the houses shrink as you slowly make your way up, and when you get to the top, knowing you just conquered that steep, steep mountain.
Euphoria grew inside of me as we hiked upwards. It was raining on and off, and the clouds were moving quickly. The houses shrank and the water in the distance grew. People turned into ants and houses turned into Polly Pocket toys. The mountains around us grew in size as we walked further into the clouds.
The fog grew heavier on the way upwards. The smell of pine and wood wafted into the air as we went deeper into the mountain. When we reached the top, large troll statues greeted us, blending into the wood. There was a souvenir shop at the top of the mountain, with a bunch of Viking hats, stickers, shot glasses, and anything else to remind you of your visit to Bergen.
There was a platform you could stand on to look out over Bergen next to the shop. It was absolutely stunning. Despite the rain and clouds, you could still see for miles, out into the water and at the other mountains.
We learned there was more hiking the further up the mountain you went. And, of course, we had to check it out. We had all day to kill, and nature was calling us. It started raining again as we hiked up a paved road. We turned off onto a dirt path, and, following signs, hiked deeper into the mountain.
What we found was breath-taking. A frozen lake, hidden behind dense trees. It was a winter wonderland. Snow covered the trees, creating a mix of white, green, and brown colors. It was completely silent.
My friends and I walked over to a rock, stood on it, and were shocked. At first, we saw a dense wall of white cloud- after a minute or two, the wind blew it, revealing a different angle of Bergen, another mountain, and water. Our jaws dropped just in time for the cloud to cover it again; a curtain blocking our view. After another few minutes, we saw the view again, and were completely astonished. We were the only ones at this lake, taking in the secret beauty of the mountains in Bergen.
Bergen on a Budget:
Bergen is expensive. Norway is one of the most expensive countries to live in/ visit in the world. But don’t let that stop you from a visit. Our hostel (Bergen YMCA hostel) cost us about $40 a night, which is a bit steep, but we stayed in a pretty nice hostel. There are grocery stores- I splurged one night and bought cod for an entree at a restaurant for $30 (the cod was the size of my palm). But I had to- I couldn’t go to Norway and not get fish at least once (I wouldn’t normally do that though). A visit to the fjords will cost you quite a bit- but there are still activities in Bergen besides the fjords, like hiking- which I strongly recommend, especially if you’re a nature lover like myself- and free! You can easily walk Bergen as well, it is rather small, but such a beautiful, unique city, with giant mountains within arms reach.
Check out our hostel here: