Western Norway

Western Norway

7 great places to visit around Bergen

Western Norway - 7 great places to visit around Bergen

There is no shortage on scenic places to visit in Western Norway. Fjords, mountains, waterfalls, coastal landscapes and glaciers are just some of the experiences you don't want to miss.

Located in the heart of the fjords you find Bergen, a UNESCO World Heritage City and a European City of Culture. But Bergen is more than just the city centre. The Bergen region has an exciting combination of nature, culture and exciting urban life all year around. Join us as we explore 7 great places to visit in the Bergen region. 

Norgesferie Vestlandet - Kart

1. Øygarden - wild, beautiful and wet 

In Øygarden you can experience beautiful nature, exciting wildlife and the area’s rich cultural heritage up close. The area is also a treasure trove for those who are interested in World War 2 history.

At the North Sea Traffic Museum you can learn about one of the most famous battles during World War 2, a battle that ended with the Telavåg tragedy.

Norgesferie Vestlandet - Nordsjøfartmuseet
Photo: North Sea Traffic Museum, Telavåg - War Museum

And at Fjell Festning you can explore tunnels built by the Germans.

In Øygarden there’s always a chance of seeing the majestic sea eagles, and these are far from the only bird species in this fascinating coastal landscape. There are actually as many as 236 different bird species in the area, which makes Øygarden one of Norway's most exciting places for bird watching.Norgesferie på Vestlandet - Øygarden
Visit Bergen / Robin Strand – visitBergen.com 

Øygarden is located just outside Bergen, but extends quite far. From the city centre of Bergen to the outermost point in Øygarden it takes approximately 1 hour to drive. You can also travel by bus to Øygarden.    

2. Tysnes - between the sea and the Hardangerfjord

Tysnes is not one island, it is a group of islands, covering a total area of ​​255 square kilometers. On the western side, facing the sea, you will find boulders and heather moors, while the landscape changes to high mountains and large forest areas in the east towards the Hardangerfjord. Tysnes also has a beautiful archipelago, perfect for boating excursions and fishing.

To get to Tysnes from Bergen you have to take the ferry from Halhjem (same place as the ferry to Sandvikvåg on Stord), approx. 35-40 minutes drive from Bergen city center. The ferry goes to Våge on Tysnes. (Departures approximately every half an hour).

At Tysnes you can treat yourself with some delicious food experiences. On the quay in Våge you will find the restaurant called Mandelhuset. At Mandelhuset, they serve local food based on local fresh ingredients. They buy fish and shellfish y from local fishermen, potatoes and beef come from the neighboring farm and fruits and apples are picked on the island.Norgesferie på Vestlandet - Tysnes utenfor BergenMandelhuset. Phtoto: Øystein Vaage / Tysnesfest 

If you’re into hiking,Tysnes has several options for you. Tysnessåta is beautifully located in the middle of Tysnes and from the mountain top at 751 meters above sea level you have a great view of the Bjørnefjord. If you want an easier hike, the hike to Ramnanuten (230 m.o.h.) is recommended. This hike begins in Våge and is suitable for  the whole family. Norgesferie Vestlandet - Tysnesfest
From the festival Tysnesfest, held annualy in July. Photo: Øystein Vaage / Tysnesfest 

Spend the night at the beautiful Haaheim Gard, located 170 meters above sea level, not far from Våge. The hotel has 21 roms and 1500 meter with garden paths, perfect for recreation and relaxation.

3. Austevoll - the archipelago with 667 islands and islets

Austevoll is located between Bergen and Stord, and known for both sea- and land-based nature experiences. There are several small villages in Austevoll, Storebø and Bekkjarvik are the most popular. You can take a boat from the Strandkai terminal in the center of Bergen to Bekkjarvik. The route is operated by Norled. If you want to go by car, you can take the ferry from Krokeide to Hufthamar. The drive from the city centre to Krokeide takes around 30 minutes.

If you travel to Bekkjarvik, you should visit Bekkjarvik Gjestgiveri Hotel & Suites, which is idyllically located right down by the harbor. Norgesferie Vestlandet - Bekkjarvik Gjestgiveri
Bekkjarvik Gjestgiveri Hotel & Suites in Austevoll. Foto: Bekkjarvik Gjestgiveri

The guest house was built as early as the end of the 17th century and has since catered to guests from near and far. The guest house is family run and still offers accommodation, but is perhaps even better known for its restaurant. Former Bocuse d’Or winner Ørjan Johannessen is the son of the owners, and together with his brother Arnt creates high-quality culinary experiences.

From Bekkjarvik you can also go fishing in the outer archipelago. Maybe you can enjoy your own catch in the restaurant in the evening? If you want to explore the islands in Austevoll you can hop on the local boat MS Tjelden (operated by Norled). You can go on a round trip, or hop on and off along the way, exploring the islands. (PS: Be sure to check the timetables before heading off!)

Austevoll is also great for cycling since the largest islands have been connected by bridges. Good roads, little traffic and beautiful nature make the bike ride a memorable experience. If you do not have your own bike, you can rent in Bekkjarvik or Bakkasund. 

4. Osterøy - where fjord and mountains meet

Osterøy is an inland island half an hour's drive from Bergen. The island is surrounded by beautiful fjords on all sides, but is also known for its high mountains, ready to be ascended. 

If you are an experienced hiker, Bruviknipa is the natural choice. From the mountain top, 822 meters above sea level, you get a great view of the fjord landscape. But there are also many hikes in slightly easier terrain. The hike up Kossdalsvingane takes you up 17 hairpin bends and is well suited for the whole family. 

Tur til Kossdalssvingane på Osterøy
Kossdalssvingane at Osterøy. Photo: visitOsteroy 

When visiting Osterøy make sure to experience the local culture. In Mjøsvågen, you will find remnants of the island’s old craft tradition, such as a coffin workshop, a smithy, a clog factory, a metal foundry and a furniture factory. The buildings have been given new life, so visitors can combine a visit to a café, gallery or a country store with a tour of the historic buildings in the summer.

Mjøsvågen på Osterøy
Mjøsvågen på Osterøy. Foto: visitOsteroy 

You should also visit Osterøy Museum, an open-air museum with buildings dating back to the 17th century, and Havrå, a farm and museum with a history dating back to the Bronze Age. (All visitors must book a ticket in advance).

You need more than just one day to experience everything Osterøy has to offer. Fjordslottet Hotell is the perfect place to stay overnight. The history of Fjordslottet dates back to 1851 when the Bergen merchant Carl Joacim Hambro started Fotlandsvåg Bomuldspinnerie (cotton mill), and built a mansion which in modern times has been converted into a hotel.

5. Fedje - the village in the ocean

Fedje is a small island municipality on the outermost coast of Western Hordaland. People live side by side around the harbour in the north of the island, and its total population is just 600. Fedje is 7.4 square kilometres, and there are also hundreds of small islets and skerries.

Norgesferie Vestlandet - Fedje
Fedje Church. Photo: Visit Bergen / Nordlandblog.com - visitBergen.com 

Fedje is located about 2 hours drive northwest of Bergen, including a ferry ride of around 40 minutes at the very end.

Fedje is a natural place for coastal nature experiences. On a hike along the paths in the coastal heaths, you will experience a lush flora and fantastic views of the waves that wash in from the Atlantic Ocean. There is also a rich wildlife on the island. The harbor area is also well worth a visit. Life moves a little slower on Fedje, the perfect place to relax and just enjoy the good coastal life.

Even though only 600 people live on Fedje, the island offers several options of accommodation. Hellisøy lighthouse, a protected lighthouse from 1855, is an experience in itself. The lighthouse is located on a separate island, and it is possible to spend the night in the lighthouse keeper's residence.

6. Modalen - untamed nature 

Measured in terms of population, Modalen is Norway's second smallest municipality. Measured in experiences, Modalen ranks far higher. Modalen is located about 1 hour and 25 minutes drive from Bergen.

The fjord cruise from Bergen to Mo through Mostraumen is one of the most popular cruises in Bergen. The cruises takes you from Bergen into the 27 kilometer long Osterfjord on the way to Mo. Along the way the fjord passes between steep mountain sides when the boat goes through the shallow and narrow Mostraumen.

Ta Fjordcruise Bergen - Mostraumen på Norgesferie på Vestlandet
From the tour "Fjordcruise Bergen - Mostraumen". Photo: Visit Bergen 

In Modalen you can also go hiking in the mountains. The best known is the hike to the block of rock called Slottet (the castle), which towers vertically 200 meters above the Mofjord. Slottet is often called Preikestolen (the Pulpit Rock) in miniature. You can combine both the cruise and the hike by joining Norway Mountain Guides on their tour called "Fjord cruise & guided mountain hike to Slottet"Fjelltur til Slottet på Norgesferie på Vestlandet
Hike to Slottet. Photo: Nese Media

The hike is relatively easy, but offers an airy experience with magnificent views at the top. If you want to explore the mountains at your own leisure you can use Modalen as a starting point for hikes into Stølsheimen, a landscape that stretches from Nordhordland to Sogn in the north and Voss in the east. The hike up to "the roof of Modalen" to Skavlab (a self-service cabin at 960 meters above sea level, operated by the Norwegian Tourist Association) is one of many exciting hikes in Stølsheimen.

 7. Gulen - at the start of the Sognefjord

Gulen is around 2 hours drive from Bergen, but can also be reached by boat from Bergen (the route is operated by Norled).

If you are going to visit Gulen, you should stop by Gulatinget, the site of the largest parliamentary assembly in the Viking Age in Norway from 900 to 1300. The Vikings came to Gulatinget to pass laws, judge cases and discuss political issues. Now you can come here, a thousand years later, and learn more about the Vikings, their laws and how the gatherings in parliament laid the foundation for society as we know it today.

You can travel to Gulen from Bergen on a day trip, but there are also several places to stay overnight. The old trading place Skjerjehamn is idyllically located on a small island close to where the Sognefjord starts. At Skjerjehamn, there has been an inn since 1641 and the interior still retains the original character from the 19th century. Nearby you will find the majestic and much talked about (in Norway at least) status of King Olav.

Norgesferie Vestlandet - skjerjehamn
Photo from Skjerjehamn: Visit Bergen / Linn Kjos Falkenberg 

To travel around in the Bergen region, you can drive your own car or take public transport. Timetables are available at Skyss.no. More road trip suggestions from Bergen can be found here.