Bergen, Norway, flies further under the radar than many second cities. Considering that many tourists go there just to board a cruise ship for the fjords, I can’t help but liken the city to a family member you visit once a year just for their swimming pool.
Old, fire-plagued Bergen has half the population (about 260,000) of the more modern Oslo, and it actually feels smaller than that. But it’s no cultural pushover, and it packs a compact sightseeing punch — within a few hours, you can walk around the city center and take the funicular for a dynamite view of the harbor.
Bergen is home to Bryggen, a historical harbor district and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is bursting with fresh seafood, classic wooden houses, and a surreal vertical landscape with seven green mountains surrounding the city. But what I’ll remember more about the city are the 300-year-old McDonald’s building, the A-Ha sculpture, and The Leprosy Museum.
Yes, a Leprosy Museum. And it’s bizarrely rad. I’ll discuss this later.
Here’s a walking tour of Bergen’s best sights that shouldn’t take you more than three hours: