It’s well known that Bergen isn’t one of the most wallet-friendly cities in the world, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it on a budget. From cheap-and-cheerful ways to spend your days to penny-pinching restaurant recommendations, we’re here to provide you with the ultimate budget guide to Bergen.
1. Find a free walking tour
A free walking tour is a must-do on any break where the purse strings are a little bit tight. A quick Google search will show you that there are a few different tour companies to choose from. They tend to operate daily, so you’ll be able to tailor it around the rest of your sightseeing.
The tours normally start in a central spot where a local guide will introduce themselves before taking you round all the city’s hotspots. It’s a great way to learn about the history and folklore of the city from someone who’s super knowledgeable. And they might even give you some local recommendations! At the end, it’s your choice whether to tip your tour guide, or not. Making it as cheap, or as expensive as you want.
2. Make the most of free activities
So, you’ve done the free walking tour, what else is free you might wonder? Thanks to Bergen’s spectacular scenery, the answer is plenty!
Walks around Bergen’s Hanseatic harbour won’t cost you a penny. It’s a buzzy hive of activity and walks among its narrow alleys allow you to get up close and personal with the UNESCO-stamped Hanseatic buildings, which reveal a lot about the citys’ rich history.
Luckily, Mother Nature also happens to serve up some stellar sights here. Take Mount Fløyen for example. Skip the funicular, pull on your boots and take the trek up to the top – it won’t cost a thing. Once you’re at the top, the exploring opportunities are endless as it’s the starting point for some of Bergen’s best-loved hikes.
3. Look for lunchtime deals and discounts
Eating out in Bergen can be pretty pricey compared to back home in the UK, but not to worry, we’ve got some handy hints to help you make your money go further while you’re out there.
Opt for a larger lunch and you’ll find that you can save some money by grabbing something smaller in the evening. Lots of places do some great lunchtime deals and discounts, such as Hot Wok. Between midday and 5pm, they do a lunch menu with slightly smaller portions but at much lower prices. You’ll find that lots of places also charge less for takeaway, so why not grab a few fish cakes from the fish market? You can get them from as little as 9 NOK a piece.
4. Buy a Bergen Card
If you’re planning on visiting several paid-for galleries and museums, buying a Bergen card would be the best option if you’re on a budget as it gets you free, or discounted entry into over 30 of them. You’ll also benefit from discount on sightseeing tours, parking and even restaurants too!
Museums include the Maritime Museum, Hanseatic Museum and the Old Bergen Museum, plus plenty more! You can purchase either a 24-hour, 48-hour, 72-hour or 96-hour card. The 24-hour one starts at 340 NOK, which works out at around £27.
5. Make the most of local transport and get around on foot
If you’ve bought the Bergen card, you can travel for free on all the buses in the city centre, and even certain ones in the surrounding region, which is perfect if you’re planning on venturing a little further afield. The Bergen Light Rail line, between the centre and the airport, is also covered, so you’re saving on your airport transfer too.
If you’re not planning on buying the Bergen card, don’t worry – the transport is still super affordable. If you buy your ticket from the airport before you get onboard, it’s 40 NOK, which works out around £3.20!
This centrally located restaurant prides itself on offering top-notch cuisine at reasonable prices. Expect a friendly welcome and a cosy atmosphere inside.
For good food at even better prices, head to Café Spesial. The menu has great variety, so even the pickiest eaters will be able to find something to munch on. And with dishes averaging at around 150 NOK (£12), it’s no surprise that it’s a big hit with students.
If you’re looking for creative cocktails that won’t break the bank, look no further. This cool cocktail bar uses only fresh ingredients and has a brilliant buzz about it, especially at the weekend.
Cheap beer and casual vibes are what Skipperstuen is all about. It’s the oldest pub in Bergen too, so it’s a staple in the city’s nightlife scene. Expect a lively atmosphere and great live music.
Posted: 27th Feb 2023. Updated: 27th Feb 2023.