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Wet snow spraying as skiers shoot past in their red and blue anoraks. A steaming hot cup of cocoa and a mother putting sunscreen on her nose. This is what the author of this text remembers from childhood days by the ski track leading up to Rundemanen mountain in the middle of Bergen, sometime in the late 1970s. Young and old alike skied straight onto the Fløibanen funicular from the powdery snow out on Vetrlidsallmenningen square.

Mount Fløyen is an urban paradise in winter as well as summer.|© Fløyen

If you thought that the inhabitants of Bergen sit around at cafés chatting away while the rain hammers down on the street outside, you are absolutely right. In true urban fashion, people dress up, go to cafés and smile and nod politely to acquaintances when out and about in the city. But the people of Bergen also have an active outdoorsy side, and they love to take advantage of the versatile and beautiful nature surrounding the city.

Seven, four or three mountains

Many of the nature experiences in Bergen are found at higher altitudes. Bergen is surrounded by seven mountains, and the city mountains are widely used all year round by the city’s population. For a lofty experience, take the gondola to Mount Ulriken, 643 metres above sea level, where you can embark on an easy and comfortable hike to the Turnerhytten cabin (approximately 3 km), or hike all the way across the Vidden plateau (approximately 5 hours). You can also hike the opposite way. The Vidden plateau is a giant area of wilderness where wildlife has a protected status and makes for a great hike. Many locals’ favourite pastime activity is to walk from Montana up to Mount Ulriken to enjoy an ice cream, coffee or an excellent lunch at the restaurant. There is a bus service to Montana from the city centre. Bus timetables can be found at

The locals also love taking the Fløibanen funicular up to Mount Fløyen, where there are great walking trails to Sandviksfjellet and Rundemanen mountains. If you feel like getting even more exercise, we recommend the lovely Tippetue or Fløysvingene, two fine gravel roads with hairpin bends up the mountainside from Bergen city centre and all the way up to the top of Mount Fløyen. Alternatively, you can take the funicular up and walk back down.

If you need to feel that lactic acid coursing through your veins, Stoltzekleiven, with its 800 stone steps up to Sandviksfjellet mountain, is sure to deliver. There are also many exciting options for getting back down again: in summer and autumn, you can take Norway’s fastest zipline from Mount Ulriken in the direction of Mount Fløyen - an lofty ride with a great view. If it’s winter and snowy, you’ll have at least as much fun by buying a cheap toboggan and racing down the slopes from Mount Fløyen. If you have skis, there are great tracks on Mount Fløyen.

The people of Bergen love their mountains so much that, each spring, they organise hikes for locals and visitors up to all the mountain peaks one after the other – in one and the same day. The course is 35 kilometres long and has a total ascent of 2,500 (!) meters, and the local tourist association has marked it well for the occasion. The hike starts with Lyderhorn mountain southwest of the city centre and ends on top of Sandviksfjellet mountain on the north side, after passing Damsgårdsfjellet, Løvstakken, Ulriken, Fløyen and Rundemanen mountains. People who want something a little less extreme can hike to the last four or three peaks – this is also a magical experience that offers panoramic views of the unparalleled landscape of Bergen and Fjord Norway.

Cycling through the city districts of Bergen

Bergen has captivated visitors throughout the ages because of the city’s great contrasts and closeness to the raw elements of nature. Everywhere in the city there’s lakes, trees, hills and trails, rocks and scrubs. You are also never far from the sea, with several hiking and cycling routes. Renting a bike for a day makes for a stress-free experience of Bergen in the fresh air.

Regardless of which way you point your bike, Bergen offers an exciting trip that’s full of experiences along the way. For example, you can cycle from the city centre through the old city gate in Kalvedalsveien up past Haukeland hospital to Landås and Mannsverk at the foot of Mount Ulriken. The path leads all the way up to Nattlandsfjellet mountain, where you can turn off down to the beautiful Fantoft Stave Church and from there on to Paradis, the neighbourhood where the city’s posher residents used to live. Pedal your way past stately old upper-class houses on your way down to Nordåsvannet lake, a genuine Fjord Norway fjord, and make a stop at Gamlehaugen, the King’s official residence in Bergen. There’s also a nice spot for a swim here.

Visit Fantoft Stave Church on the way!|© Casper Steinsland/

As you return through Minde on your way back to the city centre, you will pass Tveitevannet lake and Kronstad towards Møllendal – fabulous old city districts with tons of charm. At the head of Store Lungegårdsvann lake you can follow Kalfaret up to Bergen’s most beautiful residential area up behind the old Hansa Brewery. The Fjellveien road leads you to Skansen, and from there you’ll need to keep your hand on the brake as you wind your way down the narrow alleyways to the city centre.

If you want to stay in the city centre, the City Bikes are a great alternative.

The pleasures of a life at sea

Glorious mountains, forests, lakes and plains are just the beginning of the outdoor experiences Bergen can offer. As Norway’s number one coastal city and a maritime hub, Bergen is surrounded by thousands of islands of all sizes, fjords, sounds, coves and rivers. If you have a boat in summer, the possibilities are endless, whether the family wants to go to the beach or you want to take a refreshing dip right from the deck in the deep blue fjord.

Kyrketangen is a popular beach by Nordåsvannet lake not far from the city centre.|© Robin Strand

Whether you arrive from land by bike, car or on foot, Bergen is full of bathing spots. In the city centre, you can choose between saunas and seawater pools at Nordnes Sjøbad, Sandviken Sjøbad and Helleneset Sjøbad in Eidsvåg. There’s a sandy beach at Marineholmen at Møhlenpris, while AdO Arena – named after world champion swimmer Alexander Dahle Oen – is a fantastic indoor facility close to the bus terminal with a long pool and water slides.

Bergen has ideal kayaking conditions for large parts of the year. Kayaks can be rented in several places in the city centre, including at Ado Arena. From a kayak, you can see Bergen from the sea and explore the areas around Sandviken, Eidsvåg, Nordnes and Laksevåg.

Do you want to combine outdoor activities with an opportunity to learn about Bergen’s gastronomic traditions? If so, the guided food and culture walk Taste of Bergen is an unforgettable experience.

Climbing – both indoors and outdoors!

Climbing and rumbling are becoming increasingly popular in all of Norway, and the scene in Bergen is growing rapidly, with something for climbers of all levels. In 2021, Vestveggen, the largest climbing centre in the Nordic region, opened at Åsane Arena north of Bergen city centre. Here the whole family can try rumbling, a speed wall and junior wall, and there is a 15-metre-high international competition wall. There are also numerous bolt lines that lead to hundreds of climbing routes. Similar challenges with a steep learning curve can be found in several places in Bergen: Bergen Climbing Centre has centres at Kokstad and Laksevåg, and Bergen Climbing Club has a centre in Bergenshallen at Landås. Bergen Climbing Club’s website also provides an overview of outdoor climbing options in the Bergen region. The climbing park Høyt & Lavt near Nesttun in the direction of Os offers fun climbing experiences for families who want to challenge their fear of heights.

Høyt & Lavt climbing park outside Bergen.|© Høyt & Lavt Bergen

Read more about what to do in Bergen