Bergen in Fall

A lot of people might think the most ideal time to visit Bergen, Norway might be spring or summer, when hiking up to a view of the fjords isn’t accompanied by torrents of rain and the harbor is clear skies only. This would definitely make for better pictures, the kind you see on postcards, but I think Bergen in October is a truer Bergen. The second largest city in Norway, it is also one of the rainiest places in the world, which is the Bergen I experienced on my week off from classes when I took a small trip there.

Picture of Bryggen, a row of colorful houses along the Bergen waterfront
Bryggen, the colorful houses Bergen is known for

During the rare moments when the rain lightens up, or even pauses entirely, Bergen city center is a wonderfully cobble-stoned area to wander, full of the classic colorful houses Bergen is known for, including the historical site Bryggen. Additionally, a history fan like myself can even wander further up the harbor to see the Bergenhus Fortress, a historical fortress with roots in the 13th century.

Bergenhus Fortress, a stone fortress, against a cloudy grey sky
Bergenhus Fortress on a rainy day

What this grand amount of rain means is that there is no shortage of indoor ways to experience Bergen. The most obvious of them being the KODE museums— four art museums surrounding a large lake and quaint gazebo (also beautiful tourist attractions) that showcase some of the best Norwegian art has to offer. Two were open during my visit— the first an exhibit of Paul Cézanne hosted in a Renaissance Revival mansion and the second a whole gallery of famous Norwegian artists, most notably Edward Munch.

a green landscape painting by Paul Cézanne
Farm in Normandy by Paul Cézanne

My favorite way to pass the hours indoors, however, was the University of Bergen’s Cultural History Museum. To put it lightly, it is easy to get lost in there for hours. The collection is endless, from Viking-era jewelry to a glass replica of a Norwegian stave church to a modern-day collection about plastics in the ocean and Norwegian plastic consumption. Every floor and every room offers something new.

Cady West