Exchange in Bergen? Here’s what to do this semester!
Have you just arrived in Bergen for your exchange semester? Or are you looking for something new to do in the city you already call home? We have collected some of the highlights Bergen has to offer for students.
Joining student life
A great way to experience Norwegian student life and make new friends, both international and local, is by joining a student organization. Whether you are interested in exploring nature, want to be a student activist, or write news articles, there is a student organization for you.
Going to a bar is also a good way of meeting new people. Alcohol in Norway is expensive, but student bars are here to help! The most frequented student bar is Det Akademiske Kvarter, which hosts a diversity of events.
Other student-led bars can be found all around campus, often with the faculty or institution inspiring the name of the bar. Check out bars like Diskuterbar, Ad Fontes, Kronbar, and the rock music venue, Hulen, which is located in an old bomb shelter by Nygårdsparken.
Joining your favorite sport, or a completely new one, is a great way to stay active as a student. The student organizations at the different institutions offer many different sports at different levels.
Getting into nature
Bergen is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful cities in Norway. A jewel that retains the charm and atmosphere of a provincial town, with houses, tucked away in the foothills, old wooden buildings, and narrow streets filled with cafes and shops.
The city is the starting point for several hikes between Byfjellene, otherwise known as the seven mountains of Bergen: Sandviksfjellet, Fløyfjellet, Rundemanen, Ulriken, Løvstakken, Damsgårdsfjellet and Lyderhorn.
Fløyen (339m) is a must-see. It is considered one of Norway’s most popular tourist destinations. This peak is easily reached by a funicular railway, Fløibanen. On the other hand, if you appreciate a walk to enjoy the view, it will take about 45 minutes to reach the top, suitable for all levels.
Ulriken (643m) is the highest of the seven mountains around Bergen and offers a beautiful view of the city. The summit can be reached by cable car (Ulriksbanen) or on foot, taking between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on the starting point.
Nattlandsfjellet offers views over two different parts of Bergen. The hiking path can be easily reached on foot from Fantoft. After walking through residential areas, the nature at the top is practically untouched. The hike leads towards Ulriken and can be done as an extra challenge on the way there.
It is no secret that Bergen is one of the rainiest cities in Europe. However, do not let this discourage you! In keeping with Nordic tradition, Bergen offers delightful and relaxing saunas – a unique opportunity to relax and at the same time enjoy the panorama of the fjords.
The sunset over the fjord is a unique spectacle. For a stratospheric natural miracle, a stroll around Nordnes at the tip of the peninsula is a must. Many of the streets are alleys lined with wooden houses. In this area, there are several candidates for the «most beautiful street in the city».
Museums, stave churches, and festivals
Another way to spend a rainy afternoon is to go to a museum. Many museums in Bergen offer student discounts, and the University Museum is free for students. Art students also exhibit their artworks around town throughout the semester.
A quick walk from Fantoft student housing is the Fantoft Stave Church, which was rebuilt after being burnt down. Nearby is Gamlehaugen, the royal castle in Bergen, where you might be able to spot a trio of sheep in the huge garden. It’s also a great place to take a dip in the fjord.
There are festivals around Bergen throughout the year, staring with the student-organized Høydenfestivalen in August. Volunteering at one of the many festivals is a great opportunity to meet people with the same interests, who may not be students.
From Bergen, it is possible to reach equally stunning places with breathtaking landscapes. This is made easy thanks to efficient and well-connected Norwegian public transport.
Trolltunga is undoubtedly one of the most extraordinary rock formations in Norway. Bus 930 from the Bergen bus station will take you to the town of Odda in three hours, a town of human-scale industry and thus the starting point for the excursion.
«The castle» in Modalen is a miniature version of the more famous Preikestolen in Rogaland, a mountain rock that resembles a pulpit, rising 200 meters directly from Mofjord. From the summit, the fairytale town of Mo can be admired, tucked away in nature far from the outside world.
One certainly cannot forget that Bergen is the capital of the fjords. In fact, the city is located between two of the largest fjords in western Norway, Sognefjorden, and Hardangerfjorden. A magnificent stage for incredible landscapes of fjords, glaciers, mountain slopes, islands, and waterfalls. From Bergen, you can choose from several fjord tours in the Bergen region.
Pick your favorite activities and don’t get too exhausted! Remember to invite your neighbor for your next adventure.