• The Curious Traveler

What to do in Bergen and Aalesund

These two lovely Norwegian cities offer so much to visitors who want to spend an extra day exploring independently. Bergen is the home of Bryggen, an historic wharf that’s among the most photographed landmarks in Norway. Aalesund is a charming sea port renowned for its Art Nouveau architecture; both cities reward the curious traveler with unique and fascinating sights.


Our Norway: Western Fjords Adventure meets in Bergen, but we don’t spend much time here. We recommend arriving a day or two before the tour to recover from jetlag and spend some time getting to know this interesting city. Bergen is easily managed on foot with several interesting sites. If you plan to see a lot, buy a Bergen Card, which includes travel on buses and trams and admission to most attractions. It is best to check with your hotel concierge for the best way to reach any particular destination.

Rosenkrantz Tower

Dating to the 1270s, the tower was the residence of the last king to hold court in Bergen. It was then used as a dungeon. Guided tours are available.


You can’t miss the old wharf lined with colorful, slightly askew buildings. 62 historic structures remain, and it’s a joy meandering and popping into shops.

Hanseatic Museum

Gain an insight into the lives of German merchants from the Hanseatic League who lived and worked in Bergen from 1350 to 1750.

FLØIBANen Funicular

Head to the top of Mount Fløyen for magnificent views of Bergen and some easy hiking.

Leprosy Museum

It was a Bergen physician who discovered the leprosy bacteria in 1873. Housed in the city’s oldest leprosy hospital, this is a sobering, yet fascinating museum.

Edvard Grieg Museum

Classical music fans will enjoy a visit to Troldhaugen, home to Grieg’s 1885 villa and composing cabin, a concert hall, and exhibition hall.


Ålesund (also spelled Aalesund) is a charming, quiet town made of several islands linked by bridges and tunnels. The main downtown is small and walkable. A day or two to relax after the trip can be well-spent soaking up the culture of this typical coastal town. It is best to check with your hotel concierge for the best way to reach any particular destination.

Aalesunds museum

No, the name is not a typo! This offers a good introduction to the town’s history including the great fire of 1904 to the German occupation during World War II.

city kayak

Rent a kayak and explore the city from its waterways or go on a 2.5-hour easy, guided tour with the company Uteguiden.

kube art museum

Housed in a former bank building, exhibitions feature regional artists. Next door, Jugenstilsenteret is dedicated to the Art Nouveau style of architecture and design. Private guided tours are available.

fisheries museum

To really delve into a part of Norway’s coastal culture, you must learn a bit about the fishing industry, associated trades such as barrel-making, and the first enclosed lifeboat to cross the North Atlantic.

alnes lighthouse

Take a ferry or a bus through the undersea tunnels to this historic lighthouse on an outlying island. Climb the steps for a striking view of the coastline.



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