How to get the most out of your exchange in Bergen
Bergen and its surrounding area have so much to offer that deciding how to spend your free time can become a little overwhelming.
If you are an exchange student and only have one semester to explore Vestlandet, then this may sound familiar to you: so much to see and so much to do, but so little time. Where do you even start? Do not worry. We have compiled a list for you with some of the highlights in and around Bergen, from the best hikes to must-see villages. Now take out your bucket list and a pen and start taking notes.
The seven mountains
Let’s start close to home. You have probably heard of the seven mountains of Bergen. But can you name all seven? Because Bergen is surrounded by many mountains, it can be difficult to recognize the seven, the list is even up for some debate.
However, most «Bergensere» agree that the official seven mountains are Ulriken, Fløyen, Løvstakken, Rundemanen, Sandviksfjellet, Damsgårdsfjellet and Lyderhorn.
Once you’ve seen Bergen from all possible angles, you may want to go on a hike a bit farther from home. Plan a weekend trip with your friends or join a «tur» organized by a student organization. Perhaps the most famous hike of all, and definitely the most instagrammable, is Trolltunga. The ten-hour hike to the spectacular rock formation is demanding, but the breathtaking view makes it all worth it.
If you’re not a fan of heights, but you do want to be amazed by Norway’s awe-inspiring nature, consider visiting a glacier. A relatively easily accessible glacier is Briksdalsbreen, a five-hour car ride away from Bergen.
If you are sick of Bergen’s rain, jump on a one-hour train to Voss, Western Norway’s largest and most popular ski area. Here, you can be assured of snow all winter long. Voss Resort has a cable car that will take you from the train station up the snowy mountains in less than ten minutes. Worth mentioning: students get a 40 percent discount on day passes. In addition to regular ski slopes, there are plenty of opportunities to try out cross-country skiing or go on a regular hike.
A three-hour train ride can also take you to Flåm, a picturesque village that offers various tourist activities, such as a fjord cruise in a RIB, a more relaxed kayak tour, or the stunning Flåm Railway. One of the steepest railways in the world, the «Flåmsbana» offers unbeatable views.
You should now have plenty of inspiration for your next weekend trip. If you need more, check out UT.no for endless hiking possibilities.
And finally, even though Norway offers enough natural beauty to fill a lifetime of weekends with, do not let the pressure of having to see «everything» get to you. The life of an (exchange) student can be tough, and sometimes all you need is a quiet Netflix day to recharge for your next great adventure.