Bergen has a list of those places that are a must-see, such as Mount Fløyen, Bryggen etc. These are places that appeal to most people. Then there are places that many tend to completely overlook, but which are top of the list for others. What might be a grey concrete wall to some will be a fascinating war story to others. Some see an ordinary boat, some see a historic sailing ship. A seemingly anonymous bar can prove to be a place of pilgrimage for music lovers. For those with particular interests, these places are every bit as important as the more popular attractions.

    1

    Bunkers round Bergen

    Indelible remnants from the occupation

    • Families
    • Budget
    • Unusual
    • History

    Defense buildings are solid constructions, and even though it is over a century since World War II, there are still clear traces of the German occupation in Bergen, especially in the form of bunkers. In the district of Laksevåg lies the submarine bunker Bruno, a concrete colossus with walls that are several metres thick, built by Soviet prisoners of war under the German occupation forces. It is partially protected, and is still used by the Norwegian Navy for maintenance of submarines. A little further out along the fjord in the same district, in the turns along the road up to Lyderhorn, lies Kvarven fort. Here there are cannon positions, bunkers and tunnels that can be explored with a flashlight.

    The Sandvik battery is a similar facility north of the city centre. The latter two are popular hiking destinations for locals, and offer both history and a great hiking experience.

    Location: Sandviksbatteriet: Åsaneveien, 5014 Bergen, Norway. Ubåtbunkeren Bruno: Vågsgaten 20, 5160 Laksevåg, Norway. Kvarven fort: Gravdalsbakken, 5165 Bergen, Norway

    Open: Always open

    Map
    2

    Leprosy Museum, St. Jørgens hospital

    A monument commemorating the height of Bergen's medical history

    • History

    At the Leprosy Museum St. Jørgen's hospital, you will learn about Bergen native Georg Armauer Hansen, probably the most prominent Norwegian doctor in the history of medicine. He discovered the leprosy bacillus and proved that infection of this bacillus was the cause of the dreaded leprosy. This was a major breakthrough in the world's medical history. Western Norway had Europe's largest concentration of leprosy patients in the second half of the 19th century, and St. Jørgen's hospital became an important centre for the treatment and study of the disease. Today, St. Jørgen's hospital is one of very few examples of hospitals from this time, with a complete building set around a courtyard.

    Various instruments, such as Armauer Hansen's microscopes, are on display. Opening hours are limited, but this is a must-see for medical enthusiasts.

    Location: Kong Oscars gate 59, 5017 Bergen, Norway

    Open: Only open in the summer season

    Phone: +47 48 16 26 78

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    3

    Statsråd Lehmkuhl

    Bergen's biggest school ship

    • Families
    • Unusual

    For many Bergen residents, the school ship Statsråd Lehmkuhl is the very symbol of Bergen as a maritime city. This is the school ship where many a sailor had their first voyage. The ship is a three-masted steel bark built in Bremerhaven in 1914, but which has been based in Bergen since the 1920s.

    It now belongs to a private foundation and is used for training cadets from the naval school and also for courses and events. The ship takes part in regattas, and you can join voyages both inland and further afield, both as part of the crew or as a passenger. After a long voyage, the ship is welcomed back in true traditional style with shanty singing in Vågen in Bergen's city centre, and a chance for land lovers to get on board the ship.

    Location: Skur 7, Bradbenken 2, 5003 Bergen, Norway

    Phone: +47 55 30 17 00

    Map
    4

    Dr. Wiesener

    A city pub for everyone

    Dr. Wiesener once housed the city's public baths, and was in its time the only place people in the area could wash properly. That need no longer exists, and in recent decades it has been run as a restaurant. It may not be at the top of the critics' lists of bars and restaurants in Bergen, but that's not something this place worries about.

    It calls itself a city pub, focusing on serving good, traditional food and drinks at reasonable prices. Unlike more central locations, this pub is not targeted at a specific clientele, which makes for a diverse environment. The menu is impressive with a good choice of beer on tap. When the sun shines over Sandviken, the outdoor area is a lovely place to be.

    Location: Nye Sandviksveien 17A, 5003 Bergen, Norway

    Open: Sunday-Thursday: 13.00-01.00. Friday-Saturday: 13.00-02.00

    Phone: +47 98 12 77 32

    Map
    5

    Apollon Platebar

    A pillar in Bergen's music scene

    • Food
    • Shoppers
    • Nightlife

    Apollon has been selling records in the centre of Bergen since 1976, and has been an important meeting place for music enthusiasts in certain genres. Some of the concerts held in Appollon have gained legendary status. The streaming revolution led to a free fall in record sales, but Apollon adapted itself, cleared space for tables and chairs, and began serving drinks - mainly beer.

    Vinyl still takes up most of the store. The selection is good, particularly of locally produced music. The staff here are naturally choosy about what comes out of their speakers. This means that Apollon has not only become a meeting place for music lovers, it also enjoys a strong position in the music scene. Sadly record sales will never be the same.

    Location: Nygårdsgaten 2A, 5015 Bergen, Norway

    Open: From Monday to Saturday: 10.00-00.30. Sunday: 14.00-00.30

    Phone: +47 55 31 59 43

    Map
    6

    Stoltzekleiven

    Steep hike on the city's mountains

    Many will struggle to understand the attraction of Stoltzekleiven - also known as Stoltzen. No matter how slowly you climb the steep path in the mountainside below Sandviksfjellet, you still end up with stiff muscles and a rush of blood to the head when you stand on the summit. Or lie on the summit, as many do to catch their breath. The main reason for Stoltzekleiven's fame is the annual race - Stoltzekleiven - the world's steepest race.

    This is when both novices and athletes from Bergen try to beat their neighbour, work colleague or their own personal best on the trail. The trail was recently updated with solid stone steps, but remains as steep as ever. And still, Bergen fitness fanatics flock here for 15-20 minutes of self-torture.

    Location: Fjellveien 11-15, 5037 Bergen, Norway

    Open: Always open

    Map
    7

    Old Bergen Museum – Bergen's city museum

    The old city brought to life

    • Families
    • History

    Old Bergen Museum is a dynamic museum and an important part of the city. In large parts of Bergen city centre, the old wooden buildings remain so well-preserved that you might think it unnecessary to dedicate a separate museum to this type of urban environment. But Old Bergen features a much more complete building collection than the city's districts, with stables, town halls, gazebos and boathouses.

    Not to mention that the old days are brought to life through open-air entertainment and theatre performances. Old Bergen consists of a total of 50+ wooden houses from the 17th, 18th and 20th centuries, some of them with activities that reflect what happened there in the past. The old bakery is a great example of this, where goods are still baked for sale during the season.

    Location: Nyhavnsveien 4, 5042 Bergen, Norway

    Open: Only open in the summer season

    Phone: +47 55 30 80 30

    Map
    8

    Ole Bull Museum Lysøen

    Home to Bergen's first musical superstar

    • History

    Bergen has produced a number of internationally renowned musicians, the first of which you can learn more about at the Ole Bull Museum. Bull was an extravagant virtuoso on his instrument, the violin, and his artistic spirit certainly influenced his behaviour and tastes outside of music as well. After a long career and many international tours, Ole Bull wanted to return to his roots and had a villa built on Lysøy, south of Bergen.

    This extravagant building clearly stands out with the aesthetic influences Ole brought back with him from all his travels. The tower with the onion dome is easy to spot, and the music room is decorated in a Moorish style.

    Location: Museet Lysøen, 5215 Lysekloster, Norway

    Open: By appointment

    Phone: +47 56 30 90 77

    Map

    photo by Sean Hayford O'Leary (CC BY 2.0) modified

    9

    University Museum in Bergen – Cultural history

    Invaluable objects from Western Norway's cultural history

    • History

    The Cultural History Museum in Bergen displays objects from all over the world, such as an Egyptian mummy and Nepalese masks, but these fade in comparison to the local collections. Here you will find everyday objects and decorations from the Stone Age to modern times. The burial customs in the area have helped to ensure a steady supply of objects such as weapons and jewellery, including everything from bones and wood to iron, bronze and gold. Stave church portals and other religious art are an important part of the collection.

    A few years ago, irreplaceable objects from the Viking Age were stolen, which paradoxically raised the profile of this museum. Many of the stolen items have since been recovered, and the exhibition will be of great interest to anyone with a love of history.

    Location: Haakon Sheteligs plass 10, 5007 Bergen, Norway

    Open: Tuesday-Saturday: 10.00-16.00. Sunday: 11.00-17.00

    Phone: +47 47 67 09 32

    Map
    10

    Textile Industry Musuem

    Western Norway's industrial history

    • Families

    The textile industry has had a strong foothold in the area around Bergen and it is therefore only right that it has its own museum. Yarn and textiles may sound like things that only those with a particular interest would go to see, but the Textile Industry Museum has skilled guides and a large collection of working historical machinery that makes the visit fascinating even for the uninitiated.

    This also applies to those who are more interested in technology and machines than textile products. However, there's no doubt that it's those with an interest in yarn, fashion, embroidery and clothing who'll get the most out of the visit, with colourful materials and inspiring patterns on offer.

    Location: Salhusvegen 201, 5107 Salhus, Norway

    Open: By appointment

    Phone: +47 55 25 10 80

    Map

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