Walks: Old Bergen, Norway

Stroll back into medieval history in Bergen, formerly Norway's capital. The old city is beside the harbour. Rows of distinctive wooden buildings line the waterfront at Bryggen. The Hansetic merchants' trading centre is now a museum recalling the austere lifestyle of German apprentices who prepared dried fish for export.

Along the harbour, the Torget plaza is a busy open-air market. Local people buy fish and vegetables. Tourists focus on souvenirs. Craft workers display a colourful range of Norwegian knitwear and woollen goods. The market is an ideal place for walkers to buy sweaters and warm headgear for outdoor activity in harsher weather. I look forward to wearing my Nordic woollen hat.

The sun shines as visitors and citizens relax in quayside cafes. In the harbour, cruise ships dwarf large ferries. Bergen's maritime tradition is remembered in the Bryggen museum, where exhibits illustrate medieval lifestyles. Music lovers, visit composer Grieg's lakeside house, Troldhaugen.

A funicular railway links the city with the top of Mount Floyen, from where there are panoramic views over Bergen, the port and coastline. For longer walks in the forest, follow the trail network. The city, sheltered by myriad islands, is in a magnificent setting between seven mountains and the North Sea. Bergen is an ideal base for longer treks into the high mountains above the fjords of Norway.


More www.visit.bergen.com, www.visit.norway.com