How to Spend 24 Hours in Bergen

The final stop of Norway in a Nutshell tour was Bergen – one of the oldest port cities in Europe.  With only 24 hours to spare, including an overnight stay, we wanted to see as much as we could of the city. Luckily, with Bergen being a small city, we were able to cover its main attractions on foot. 

We arrived at Bergen train station at 6pm and of course, it was completely chucking it down. Bergen is known for its rain and is considered the rainiest city in the world. It rains 240 days per year! 

We dropped our bags off at our hotel which was just a mere 2 minutes’ walk from the main train station and made our way in search of dinner. We stayed in Grand Hotel Terminus, a beautiful 131-room classic, yet modern hotel located in the centre of Bergen. It opened in 1928 and is one of the most traditional yet elegant hotels I’ve stayed in. Only a 5 minutes way from Torgalmenningen Square and 10 minutes’ walk from the UNESCO-listed Bryggen Wharf, this hotel is conveniently located in a place where you can easily explore many of the city’s main attractions. 

Evening of Day 1: Dinner at Kafe Special, Fisketorget Fish Market

Kafe Special

Hidden in-between the houses, we found a cosy little café, Kaf Special. I would definitely recommend this place for some delicious freshly made pizza (with what seems to be an infinite selection of toppings) and pasta, at a very affordable price. The atmosphere was super chilled and the service is amazing! We seemed to be the only tourists there and was very popular with the locals. 

Fisketorget Fish Market 

We wanted to go for a walk to digest the food and so we made our way to this fish market located right by the Bryggen. It’s a great place to window-shop or grab a bite to eat. Its been an ongoing market since the 1200s and is part of the port, fishermen and trading locations history. We went to the indoor section of the market which is open year-round – the outdoor market opens on May 1st for the summer. 

Day 2: Funicular up Mt. Floyen, Bryggen

Funicular up Mt. Floyen

One of the most popular things to do in Bergen is to ride the Floibanen funicular up Mt. Floyen. At around 400m, Floyen is one of Bergen’s (small) city mountains and offer the most amazing panoramic views over Bergen and out to sea. The journey only takes about 5-6 minutes but you should try and get there early as there is often a queue. We only stayed at the top for half an hour before making our way down to the next stop. There was a Godt Bodt bakery a few houses down which we stopped for some great coffee. I wanted to try their cardamom bum but we just had a huge breakfast buffet at the hotel so was pretty full. 

Bryggen

We then made our way to the place I was looking forward to seeing the most – Bryggen. This is an old wharf and is home to over 60 narrow, brightly coloured wooden boathouses. Today, these buildings are used by various restaurants, tourist offices and hotels. It actually reminded me more of the houses we would use to play monopoly – all stacked up nicely next to each other. 

Since 1979, Bryggen has been on the UNESCO list for World Cultural Heritage site. This old wharf is a standing reminder of Bergen’s importance as part of the Hanseatic League’s trading empire from the 14th to the mid-16thcentury. The Hanseatic League is an organization founded by northern German towns and merchant communities to protect their mutual trading interest. It established a total of 4 overseas Hanseatic Offices and Bryggen is the only one preserved today. Though fires have ruined a lot of the original buildings (the last being in 1955), Bryggen rebuilds itself, closely following old property structure and redesigning the artistic designs and wood architecture. The area is such a beautiful place to wander around. I just loved the wooden houses that looked like it came straight out of a Harry Potter movie. 

Get lost in Bergen!

We spent the majority of the day getting pulled left and right by the most adorable streets of Bergen. It was nice not having a set plan or route. As we kept walking, every small street was calling our name for us to explore it. Wandering Bergen just made my heart swell with happiness as I instantly fell in love with the beauty, design and architecture of Nordic countries. 

For lunch, we highly recommended trying the traditional Scandinavian hotdogs serving reindeer sausage at Trekoneren! This hotdog stand translates to “three crowns” and is a popular tourist destination in itself. Even though this might be a bit of a queue, I would recommend eating here. My mouth is watering whilst thinking about the classic crispy onion toppings!

Explore the Modern Bergen City Centre

As it was starting to get dark, we just had one more stop before taking the bus to the airport. Even though Bergen’s historic areas are undeniably the city main attraction, we wanted to check out the modern downtown area. It definitely has its own charm to offer with street performers in every corner and locals buzzing about their days. It has all the mainstream shops and some souvenir shops. 

We didn’t get a chance to do any shopping but we did go to Sostrene Hagelin so that we could try some local food at this café. We had some fish cake and fish soup which were very fresh. We wanted to try more things from there but we were still quite full from the hotdog. We highly recommend trying this restaurant if you are visiting Bergen!

We then made our way to the bus stop outside Bergen train station to catch the direct bus to the airport ready for the next stop – Tromso!

eiffel-tower

The Best Three Days in Paris Itinerary

Paris is one of the my favourite European cities with its French cuisine, countless museums, historic architecture and charming parks. I treated my sister with two tickets to Paris for her 18th birthday so that she could go with her best friend to see the Christmas Markets. Because my family still had some reservations about her going alone, I had to go and just be their point of contact if they need. Who wouldn’t turn down tickets to Paris!? 

In my opinion, Paris is not a once and done type of city. I would happily return again and again, especially with my husband. Paris is just so vase and there is so much to explore. Im going to give you a brief breakdown of what I did in each of the three days. You will find that it was pretty laid back because I went to Paris as an opportunity to de-stress from work and to re-connect with myself. In other words, I wanted to see the main attractions but also soap up the wonder of Paris at a street side café, indulge in way too many croissants at a local patisserie, watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night and just feel the city envelope you – that’s part of the Parisian charm!

As we went in late November, we were lucky enough to experience the French Charismas market. There’s an extra dose of magic when visiting Paris in winter. So dig out your scarf and glove and see the best three day itinerary for Winter. 

Day 1

After checking into the hostel, my sister and I parted ways. The first thing I always like to do is go on a free guided walking tours to learn more about the city’s history and to get my bearings. This is what I go up to on day 1: 

Walking tour 

I booked the walking tour with Sandman’s as I’ve used them before and know they are brilliant. The 3 hours ‘Free Tour of Paris’ covers many of Paris’ top attractions, including Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre and the Arc de Triopmhe. It started at the Saint Michel Fountain and ended at the Louvre. It was a great introduction to Paris at a price that suits everybody’s budget. 

Notre Dame

Notre Dame was the first stop of the walking tour and was the most architecturally impressive in my opinion. Like many other cathedrals, it was very intricately detailed and had some beautiful glass-stained windows. The cathedral has free entry so before the tour began, I quickly went inside to appreciate its beauty. Unfortunately, due to the huge fire last year, the church is closed for the foreseeable future until they do the repairs.  

notre-dame-paris-france-sister

Louvre

After walking along the Seine for about 40 minutes, passing iconic sites such as Alexandre iii bridge and the Tulleries Garden, the tour ended at the world-famous Louvre Museum. The louvre is home to hundreds of medieval ruins and priceless artefacts from around the world. It also happens to be the largest museum in the world. I did find the museum to be expensive as you have to pay for each separate section – so I just opted for the site with Mona Lisa and that was plenty for me. Catching a glimpse of the Mona Lisa was on my bucket list, so I didn’t want to pass this opportunity by. 

inside-louvre

Even if you don’t plan to go inside, I would aim to at least visit the outside of the Louvre as the architecture is simply stunning. 

Galeries Lafayatte 

The two grand shopping complexes along Boulevard Haussmann are Galeries Lafayette and Printemps. Both stores are completely decked our with stunning window displays. I went to the stunning dome shaped 10 story Galeries Lafayette after dinning as I was keen to see the larger than life-sized Christmas tree, which has a different theme each year. 

I loved just walking around each floor of the shopping mall. I bought a gold bracelet from this pop-up stall Lou Yetu as the queue was leading to outside the mall. It is also home to one on of the best free panoramic views in the city if you go its rooftop terrace. You can also ice skate on the roof of this department store, but as I was alone, I didn’t think it would be fun. 

At this stage, i was absolutely exhausted and started to get hangry, with myself as i had no-one to aim my hanger towards. I have no idea where i walked or how long i walked for, but it seemed like more than an hour. I reached this neighbourhood which was evidently not very popular with the tourists. I was craving a duck confit and finally came across this adorable french restuartaunt. I had the nicest conversation with the waiter and ordered duck confit. I just remember sitting down and my head was so clogged up with thoughts about work, family, friends, life that i just pulled my notebook and started writing. I really enjoyed it, especially with the candle and dim-lit room. The food also exceeded my expectations! Im a terrible travel blogger as i should have noted down the name, but it felt good being lost in the moment.

Day 2

French Market

En route to Eiffel Tower, we stumbled the most French street market you can imagine. It was the cutest thing – I picked up some cheese from here. 

Eiffel Tower

There is nothing more Parisian than catching a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower. We also ascended the Eiffel Tower – even though it provided a great view over the city. I personally don’t think it was worth it, and you’re better off seeing from the top of Arc de Triomphe or another rooftop bar. Luckily there was no queue when we went so it didn’t necessarily eat up my time. 

Eiffel-tower-christmas-market

Arc de Triomphe

Another must-see in Paris is the Arc de Triomphe; a monument in honour of troops who fought in the French Revolutionary. Its located at one of the Champs Elysees and is looks very majestic. Its worth checking out from the outside and if you have the chance, to go up to the very top. 

Champs Elysees 

This is the oxford street of France – a huge boulevard lined with famous French luxury brands including Louis Vuitton and Cartier. I spent a long time just sitting outside in Paul café, reading my book, people watching and drinking coffee and eating their amazing pastries. 

Dinner at Bouillon Chartier 

I heard great things about the Bouillon Chartier. It shows a slice of Parisian history as its perfect-preserved relic of an old Paris, with glass-globe fixtures, tables jammed together, coat racks high above the tables and a menu that hasn’t changed in the last three or four decades. I was eternally curious… 

Bouillon Chartier is tucked away down an alley off a side street, Bouillons were established so anyone can get affordable traditional French food and speedily. There are very few left and the price of started range from €1 – €6.80 and mains not exceeding €13.50 (and that includes steak). Its no wonder there was a queue snaking outside into the street. I expected lots of tourists, but I surrounded by the locals. It wasn’t too long before I was sat in this beautifully ast room, elbow to elbow with some strangers on a shared table and digging into my steak. 

Going to a restaurant is an experience and never just about your meal. Its about the room, the service and everything in between. The steak I had was absolutely delicious but the experience was even better.

Day 3

I wanted to do something slightly different on the third day and explore a new district. I was recommended by my colleague to go to Montmartre to soak up with 18th arrondissement’s ambiance. I definitely did not regret it as it was my favourite part of the trip. The hilltop neighbourhood of Montmartre was once synonymous with drinking, dancing and debauchery. This is because in the mid-19th century, it was just outside the city limits meaning it is free of the city’s taxes and controlled and ultimately evolved into a bohemian, artistic enclave. I did a self-guided walking tour of this unique city. 

Place Dalida

This stunning location is named after Dalida, a legendary Italian-Egyptian singer who is absolutely huge in France. I just know her from her rendition of Bang Bang, which is just perfection. 

Dalida’s Parisian home was in Montmartre and it was only after she died that the city named this square after her and installed the bust of her. You’ll notice a few shiny places because its apparently good luck to rub it – hmmmm. Say hi to the bust of Dalida and continue up the stunning Rue de l’Abreuvoir, the most beautiful street I saw in Paris. 

Moulin Rouge

This Is the birthplace of the can-can dance. I wanted to go to a show here but the tickets were sold out. Maybe next time… 

Le Moulin de la Galette

Le Moulin de la Galette is the last remaining windmills in Montmartre and also a tourist attraction. This windmill, once used for grinding flour is a favourite of Vincent Van Gogh. The owners of the windmill created a brown bread (Galette) that was so popular that the windmill got its name from it. 

Sacre-Coeur

Built in late 1800s, Sacre Coeur, otherwise known as the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris is one of the most famous churches in Paris. I enjoyed going inside the church and also just enjoying the sunset over the city. However – be cautious with your personal belongings as there many pickpockets around. 

I couldn’t leave Paris without trying a fresh Macaron from a bakery. I came across one on the way back to the accomodation and was blown away. It was so fresh and sweet that i had to go back and buy a box for my family!

french-macarons-paris-bakery

Do you have any questions about travelling to Paris that I didn’t answer? Be sure to leave them in the comments, and I’ll get back to you as quickly as possible 🙂

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