Electric City Insider: Bergen

Jan 23, 2019

The word quaint should sum up your first impression of Bergen quite nicely. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, it has all the charms you expect from a Scandinavian destination but retains a uniquely Norwegian identity. The old sits comfortably among the new, and sometimes it’s no longer possible to separate the two. It is also your gateway to Norway’s stunning nature – the fjords and the Seven Mountains are musts on any Bergen itinerary.

Bergen Airport Flesland

With direct flights from major European cities including Amsterdam, Copenhagen and London, the vast majority of the people visiting Bergen arrives at Bergen Airport Flesland, which serves Hordaland county and the city of Bergen. You can quite easily rent an electric car upon your arrival and drive to the city centre in just under 30 minutes.

Make Bryggen Your Base

Historic Bryggen is Bergen in a nutshell, in the sense that it reflects the heritage essence of the city. With its strategic location and proximity to most tourist attractions, this part of town is your ideal base if you’re here for a few days. Naturally, Bryggen provides a plethora of accommodation options, but our favourite has to be the Hanseatiske Hotel.

The hotel has a total of 37 rooms and while the overall style is uniformly elegant, no two rooms are the same. On the food and drink front, the hotel has a few dining options and while they’re perfectly delightful, we recommend venturing further afield to sample the culinary offerings of Bergen. The hotel breakfast buffet is excellent though, so make sure you dig in before you head out.

The nearest street parking is just a minutes away from the hotel. As expected, there’re no lack of charging stations nearby.

Art Abound

At first glance, Bergen may be a city that sits firmly in the traditional camp, but it has one of the most colourful and amazing street art scene in all of Norway, in contrast to its perpetually gloomy weather. A number of prolific street artists like AFK and Dolk have left their mark in various secret spots in the city, some of which only few locals are privy to.

Minutes away from Bryggen, you’ll find the highest concentration of street art in Skostredet. It’s a good area to see the city’s most fabulous walls, and you can check out a sound-art gallery just across from the street at your leisure. Next, head over to Sentralbadet where you can get a chance to see artists in action on one of the cities’ legal graffiti wall. Those with more time to spare and a determination to hunt down Instagram worthy shots can follow this map and drive to other parts of Bergen, with the furthest being just a 20-minute drive away.

If this still doesn’t sate your appetite for art, or if you need a plan B for a rainy day, KODE is the answer. In four buildings, KODE houses an extensive collection of art and design, featuring masterpieces by Edvard Munch, Nikolai Astrup and Pablo Picasso, to name a few.

Great Coffee, and Even Better Waffles

All this walking around is bound to make you hungry. Take a coffee break at BarBarista, which is rumoured to have the best Norwegian waffle. The vibe is quirky, chill and very welcoming – park your car near the hotel and come back (on foot) in the evening to wash down their famed waffles with a few good beers!

Obligatory Tourist Shot

You can’t spend a few days in Bergen without taking a postcard shot up from Mount Fløyen. Take the Fløibanen Funicular from the city centre and ride all the way to the top. Alternatively, follow the locals to a secret viewpoint on to Skivebakken – one of the steepest road in Bergen – and avoid the tourist hordes. This is where your driving skills – and the power of your electric car – will be put to the real test.

Sample Local Fare at the Fish Market

The Bergen Fish Market has been a buzzing market place for local farmers and fishermen since the 1200s. In summer when the outdoor market is open, the people of Bergen still come here to shop fresh produce and daily catch from the sea. The indoor market is open all year, and it’s where you will find restaurants dishing up a wide range of amazing seafood.

Evening drinks: Dyvekes Vinkjeller

Within walking distance from the hotel is a historic wine vault that will make your nightcap all the more interesting with curious tales of how a beautiful woman brought about the fall of a king in the 12th century.

The Great Outdoors: Sognefjord

Most people visit Bergen for its easy access to nature. Exploring the small city itself can be done quite comfortably on foot, but with a car you can quite easily plan multiple round trips out of Bergen without being restricted by public transport schedules.

The most classic of all is the Sognefjord route, where you get to experience Norway's deepest and longest fjord. From Bergen, head out on the E16 motorway towards Voss, where adrenaline junkies will find their fix among the array of adventure activities.

From there you can drive all the way to Flåm and then take the National Tourist Route that runs 47km between Aurlandsvangen and Lærdalsøyri. Or make your way to Gudvangen to take a classic car ferry and experience some of the most beautiful fjords in Norway – the Nærøyfjord, Aurlandsfjord and Sognefjord. On the way, you will sail through Norway’s majestic mountains, calming nature and idyllic villages.

Driving towards Oslo

If Bergen is part of your car holiday in Norway, it’s a good opportunity to try an electric road trip. Many rental car companies now offer electric cars for hire, and with Norway being one of the most electric car-friendly countries in the world, you can expect to see a fast charging stations every 50km on most main roads.

Once you’ve seen enough of Bergen, you can move on your next Norwegian destination – Oslo. The drive is usually around seven to eight hours. There are plenty of things worth seeing on the way so you can plan the stops seamlessly around charging your car.