As you begin your Norway cruise, you'll find yourself in Bergen, a port city with a marvelously long history. If you arrive in the summer, you'll see many other cruise ships docked and note many fellow travelers – but in the winter, you'll see only cargo ships and vessels destined for the oil fields of the north. No matter when you come, make sure to take the time to experience the beauty of Bergen for yourself. We've put together a list of places you simply must visit – and the best part is that they're all walking distance from the city's main port. Set out on a Bergen adventure with these stops:
Nestled close to the water, the Mariakirken holds artifacts of remarkable beauty in its sanctuary. It has been closed since January 2010 for maintenance, but reopens this May. It is the oldest building in the city of Bergen, which itself has burnt down and been rebuilt several times. Mariakirken, or St. Mary Church if you prefer English, is from the 12th century and a great example of the Romanesque church architectural style. It has a number of historic pieces inside, from a delicately carved altar cabinet to statues of each of the apostles standing in his own niche. If you have any interest in church history, architecture or the decorative arts, Mariakirken is a necessary stop in Bergen.
BRYGGEN AND THE BRYGGEN MUSEUM
Bryggen is the oldest neighborhood in Bergen, dating back in places to the 1700s. The buildings as you see them now were themselves reconstructed to resemble buildings from the 1300s that were subsequently lost in a fire. The entire neighborhood is a UNESCO World Heritage site because of its deep historical significance. If you are in the area at the right time of day, look into the Bryggen Museum, where you can look at objects recovered in archaeological digs that will give you unique insight into the daily lives of the neighborhood's residents in the distant past. From clothes to rune sticks, the museum has everything you need to get an idea of what those people who lived in Bryggen were like.