Get to know Norwegian history, see wonderful nature and experience local life with only a few days to spend.   

I grew up on the west-coast of Norway and spent my childhood in the harbour city Haugesund, close to sea, islands and mountains. During my student years, I got to know Bergen city, the former capital in Norway and one of the most popular places to visit.

Combining a visit to these two cities, you’ll get a small insight of the genuine Norwegian lifestyle. You will get to know some of the history of where the Viking Kings lived and rained, the Hanseatic period in Bergen and see some wonderful nature along the way. I even included some adventurous tips for active travellers.

Day 1: Exploring Bergen – the Hanseatic city

Wooden houses in Bergen_Mette Solberg Fjeldheim

Bergen is a historic town on the west coast of Norway and was the first real capital in the 13th century. It’s historic buildings at Bryggen (the harbour) is listed as a Unesco site, as it tells the story of the Hanseatic period in Bergen.

Start to get to know Bergen city from above, by heading to the top at Fløien. And remember to wear good walking shoes.

You might wish to spend a little time at the Unesco site Bryggen (the harbour), all though this is the more touristic part of the city. This is where the Hanseatic community used to live, and you can see the old buildings there before walking a short distance to Fløien funicular.

Instead of going to the top with the funicular, you’d might like to do the hike up the steep streets and staircases to the top of the mountain. This way, you can explore more while doing some exercise.

From the top at Fløien, you’ll get the full view of Bergen, the mountains surrounding the city and towards the ocean.

After seeing the city from above, explore the cobbled streets of Bergen. The city centre is of small size and is best explored on foot. Walk the streets and narrow alleys of Nordnes where you’ll find charming old wooden houses, a park at the tip of the islet and the views towards the sea from there.

Day 2: Haugesund – Norway’s birthplace

Haugesund_Mette Solberg Fjeldheim

Haugesund and the region is the Homeland of Viking Kings and the area where Vikings used to live and the Viking Kings had their Royal seat.

The city is situated between Stavanger and Bergen, close to sea and moutains, and is the perfect spot for active holidays and learning more about the Vikings.

Start your day at Avaldsnes, where the Viking settlement is situated on the island of Bukkøy and only 10 minutes to walk from the historic St. Olav’s Church.

Take time to visit the museum as well.

Then head for Haraldshaugen, Norway’s national monument. Snorre’s sagas of the kings mention the site where Harald Fairhair is buried. The national monument of the unification of Norway was erected in 1872.

Day 3: Experience a night in the North Sea!

Street art at Utsira_Mette Solberg Fjeldheim

Go by ferry to Utsira, a windy island about one hour away from Haugesund. This is the smallest commune in Norway, with approximately 218 inhabitants and 317 different species of birds.

Head to the top of the island, visit the lighthouse – and you might even actually stay in the light house building.

Also take time to walk the few streets of Utsira, check out UtsirArt, which is street art on buildings, nature and windmills. Hike the hills and see the wonderful nature and feel the fresh air from the North Sea.

You can stay for the night or head back to Haugesund with the evening ferry.

Other recommendations:

Hardangerfjorden_Mette Solberg Fjeldheim

Do you have more time to spend? 

  1. Visit the composer Edvard Grieg’s home in Bergen

When in Bergen, you might wish to visit Troldhaugen, where the composer Edvard Grieg and wife Nina once lived, at Troldhaugen.

  1. Explore the fjords on a day trip from Bergen

Also, I would highly recommend you to explore the fjords from Bergen:

Go on a daytrip by bus and boat to the inner part of the Hardangerfjord. The Hardangerfjord is a spectacular experience, with steep mountains and small villages along the fjord.

If you go with the fjord cruise Norled, you will have three hours to explore Eidfjord and it’s surroundings. Then you’ll have the time to see the spectacular Vøringsfossen and visit the National Park Hardangervidda.

  1. Exceptional hiking trips from Haugesund

When in Haugesund, you can reach the famous hiking spots of Trolltunga, Preikestolen and Kjeragbolten. For those who would like to enjoy a hike, but with less time on their hands, a trip to the lesser known Himakånå even closer to Haugesund would be a good choice.

How to get there

  • Fly to Bergen, most likely via Oslo Gardermoen. Take the bus to Bergen city centre
  • Traveling to Haugesund from Bergen:

Rent a car, which gives you flexibility, or go by bus and ferry from the bus station. 

  • Traveling to Utsira from Haugesund:

The ferry leaves for Risøy in Haugesund. More info:


Restaurant tips in Bergen

  • For traditional meal of fish, go to the cosy Enhjørningen at Bryggen
  • For sushi, I recommend Nama sushi

Restaurant tips in Haugesund

  • For gourmet food in an old wooden and cosy building: Lothes mat og vinhus
  • For informal dining in the harbour: Brasserie Brakstad

Suggested hotels in Bergen

  • Hotell Ørnen – a new and minimalistic styled hotel in city center close to the bus and train station
  • Hotel Terminus – a historic hotel in city center hotel in city center close to the bus and train station

Suggested hotels in Haugesund

  • Clarion Collection Hotel Amanda
  • Hotel Maritime

If you plan to stay at Utsira, you may do so at the lighthouse at Utsira or at Sildaloftet. 

Tourist Information:

About this article

This article was first published in the Ukrainian language, at WOMO magazine
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