by Emily Fraser
Think of Bergen, or probably Norway, Scandinavia even, and perhaps unknowingly the charming wooden façades of Bryggen spring to mind.
This picturesque quarter is the oldest in the city of Bergen, located on the eastern shore of Vågen Harbour. It’s been on UNESCO’s World Heritage List officially for almost 35 years and its claim to fame is the series of brightly-coloured Hanseatic commercial buildings that line the wharf. Bryggen is the only preserved ‘Hanseatic Office’ today, of the four that were originally established across Europe.
What makes this particular quarter of charming Bergen even more so? The gabled wooden structures that characterise this unique heritage area. Its appearance stems from the early 1700’s and the wood structures are in keeping with vernacular building traditions. You’re almost guaranteed to feel as though you’ve stepped back in time, or into another world. The quaint wooden alleyways have now become a haven for visitors, filled with boutiques, handicraft workshops and stores, museums and restaurants. It’s also always so fascinating to see how a historical society lived and operated – in this case a colony of German merchants. And it’s easy to do so, with preservation of utmost importance in this area.
Bryggen is easy to find in Bergen, within walking distance from the centre of town, and if you learn the Norweigan words ‘bryggen’ or ‘vågen’, anyone you ask will certainly point you in the right direction. A great spot to wander aimlessly, getting a true taste of the atmosphere, or relax with a coffee and do some people watching. From Bryggen, you can also stroll across to Bergen’s famous fish markets and the Hanseatic Museum.
Whilst in Bergen, you should also take a trip on the Fløibanen funicular to the top of Mt Fløien. It offers truly spectacular views over this scenic city, and its surrounding ‘seven hills and seven fjords’.
With so many opportunities for perfect photos and views, the gorgeous Bryggen area should definitely be on your must-do list for Bergen and Norway. We spend time here exploring on our Scandinavian Discovery and Norway & Iceland adventures.
For more information on our small group tours to Norway or Scandinavia, click here.