1) Bergen is one of Europe’s rainiest places
A typical year has measurable rainfall on 242 days. And between 2 and 3 meters (80-115 inches) of water fall on the heads of the Bergeners annually. The reason is that moist, southwestern Atlantic winds rise over the mountains that surround the city. Thus, if it is raining during your stay, please enjoy Bergen’s most famous attraction for free. On the other hand, if the sun is out, you will experience that the locals are twice as happy as in other cities. Always remember your umbrella, though.
2) Bergen is surrounded by seven mountains
Inspired by the seven hills of Rome, Bergen is called “The City Between the Seven Mountains”. But the locals are arguing about which seven they are! The set used for our annual 7-Mountain Hike is Lyderhorn, Damsgårdsfjellet, Løvstakken, Ulriken, Fløyen, Rundemanen and Sandviksfjellet. This hike is 35 km, takes around 10 hours and has a total climb of more than 2200 meters. In particular, Ulriken, Fløyen and Løvstakken are mountains that are easily accessible from the city centre. If you wish to hike them, remember good shoes, rain clothes and that the weather may suddenly change.
3) Bergen is an Eldorado for running
If you want to go for a run, there are many possibilities. We suggest the road Fjellveien located on the hillside of Mount Fløyen. If you run or walk in the northward direction you will eventually come to Stoltzekleiven. The track up to the summit consists of 800 steps and has a climb of 301 meters. See if you can beat the world record: it is an amazing 7 minutes and 54 seconds!
4) Bergen is famous for its wooden houses
Explore the areas where people live in Nordnes, Fjellsiden and Sandviken. Enjoy the wooden houses separated by narrow alleys (“smau”) paved with cobblestones. In the steepest streets, you will note that the cobblestones in the middle are placed differently. It was for horses to find foothold. Feel free to walk wherever you want, except into backyards and private gardens. Suggested streets to visit are Strangehagen, Knøsesmauet, Verftsbakken, Vetrlidsallmenningen, Bispengsgaten, Skansen and Rosesmauet. In the museum Gamle Bergen («Old Bergen»), there is a very nice collection of old city houses with possibilities to visit their historic interiors. For more information, see www.bymuseet.no/en/museums/old-bergen-museum.
5) Bergen is where the leprosy bacillus was discovered
Between 1850 and 1900 Bergen had three hospitals for leprosy patients and the largest concentration of patients in Europe. The two last hospitalized patients died in 1946. The city’s oldest leprosy hospital, St. Jørgen’s Hospital, is now a small museum, also serving as a monument to thousands of personal tragedies. In many parts of the world, leprosy is known as Hansen’s disease after the Norwegian physician Gerhard Armauer Hansen, who first identified Mycobacterium leprae. This happened in Bergen in 1873. The leprosy museum is located less than five minutes from the railway station. For more information, see www.bymuseet.no/en/museums/the-leprosy-museum-st-joergen-hospital.
6) Bergen is a musical capital of Norway
Norway’s most famous composer, Edvard Grieg, was born and lived in Bergen. He served as the artistic director of Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, which in one of the world’s oldest orchestras, dating back to 1765. A visit to Edvard Grieg’s home, Troldhaugen, located 8 km south of the city, is highly recommended (http://griegmuseum.no/en). Another treat is an excursion to Lysøen, a small island located 25 km south of Bergen. This was the home of Ole Bull, at his time a world-renown virtuoso violinist and composer. His impassioned dedication to Norway’s folk music played a key role in the development of our culture following the separation from Denmark in 1814. Ole Bull was a musician, networker, promoter, inspirator and Norway’s first superstar. See http://lysoen.no/en.