Did you know that Bergen is surrounded by 7 mountains? When I first visited Bergen, I didn’t imagine that years later I would return and do the hike from Mount Ulriken to Mount Floyen. Back then I took the funicular up Mount Floyen and walked around the forest for a bit, getting back to the city by foot. And I thought it was an exhausting trip!
When I returned to Bergen, having already visited all the touristic places during the first visit, I decided to attempt the Vidden trail. How bad could it be? I planned to do it in the early afternoon, just after I checked in to my hotel. Being summer, I wasn’t worried about being in the mountains late, as the sun is up on the sky for most of the 24 hours of the day.
Where to stay in Bergen?
First thing you need to consider when you choose to travel to Bergen for hiking is to find accommodation. This can be very tricky because of how expensive the country is, so I will give you some recommendations.
On a budget:
Very basic accommodation situated on top of a pub. The location of the hotel is close to the Bergen park, a merely 10-15 minutes to the historic area of the town. They offer free WiFi and breakfast is included in the room rate. Price start at 54 euros/night
Another budget friendly hotel, with basic small rooms and free WiFi is City Apartment. Same as the P-Hotels, it is situated close to the park, in a residential building. Bare in mind that there is no elevator here. Prices start at 70 euros/night.
This hotel is situated very close to the train station, making it a perfect choice if you have an early morning train towards the fjords. The rooms are modern and clean, with big beds. Prices start at 70 euros/night.
This hotel’s location is next to Bryggen, the biggest touristic attraction in town. The rooms are decent sized and decorated in a traditional style, some of them having wooden beams supporting the ceiling. The hotel has a fitness centre and an underground parking as well. Prices start from 86 euros/night.
Located very close to the harbour and offering WiFi included in the price, this hotel is raved by its guests because of the rich breakfast it offers. Some of the rooms have views over the street, some over the main square. They are not very big but are modern furnished and have everything you need for a comfortable stay. Prices start at 100 euros/night.
With a beautiful location, right besides the historic Bryggen, The Radisson is a great choice of accommodation in Bergen. The price includes the breakfast and the free WiFi, as well as parking. The airport bus stops in front of the hotel as well. The rooms are spacious and offer beautiful views over the harbor. Prices start at 120 euros/night.
Another great choice if you are searching for a 4 stars hotel is the Clarion Admiral, situated on the waterfront, offering large rooms with comfortable beds. The hotels also has a cosy restaurant where you can relax after a day of hiking. Breakfast and WiFi are included in the room rate. Prices start at 107 euros/night.
If you are looking for a more cosy hotel, then Bergen Harbour is the right choice for you. It is situated between the funicular and the harbour. The room are small but modern, with comfortable beds and some of them with scenic views from the window. Guests are praising their high quality beds. Prices start at 140 euros/night.
What do you need to know before attempting the Vidden Trail?
This is a difficult hike and whilst Norwegians are jogging on it (!!!) it still requires a good amount of physical strength. It is an 18km long hike on top of a rocky plateau, with many ups and downs that can be a killer on your knees and ankles.
Check the weather on the day you want to hike. Whilst when I started the day the weather looked on and the sky was relatively sunny, when I reached the mountain it started to rain. Make sure you are wearing proper clothes, a waterproof jacket and have a good pair of hiking boots, with a very good grip. Often you will find snow on top of the mountains, on the trail, and it’s advisable to wear the right outdoor clothing, especially knowing that in Bergen rains 240 days a year! The weather up the mountains can be unpredictable.
You won’t be finishing the Vidden Trail earlier than 5 hours, so pack a lunch and plenty of water but also enough energy bars. You will need them.
To recap, bring with you:
- Good grip hiking boots
- A windproof and waterproof hiking jacket
- Hiking pants
- Enough water for 5-7 hours
- Sandwiches and energy bars
- Fruits high in protein like bananas, blackberries or peaches
- Walking sticks
The trail itself
I started my hike from the centre of Bergen, The Fish Market as many know it, where I previously stopped for a quick lunch on the go. I highly recommend you explore the fish market as you will always find delicacies in here that you would probably not in your home country. My favourite was the “marinated salmon”, which means that the fish has been smoked whilst covered in condiments.
From the Fish Market you can either walk to the Ulriken643 cable car or take the bus number #2 and get off at Haukeland Sjukehus S stop – see the bus schedule here (page 11). I chose to walk because I had to figure out how to best adjust my walking sticks and I needed a bit of practice with them, so I thought a bit of extra walk will not hurt me. I can’t stay I didn’t regret it later though.
The cable car is a short walk from the hospital, where the bus will drop you off. The price for a one-way ticket is 110 NOK (70 NOK for children) and the journey lasts for about 15 minutes. 110 NOK is around £10. The views from going up are quite amazing, as you can see how the city gets smaller and smaller underneath your feet, and an entire panorama over the fjord opens up in front of your eyes. At the top you will find a small shop, your last chance to buy water or warm up with a hot chocolate before starting the trail. It is also your last chance of going to the loo and/or take a shower. I was surprised to find that in the bathroom there was an actual shower, which is great if you do the hike the other way around (From Floyen to Ulriken) and want to refresh before going back down into town.
From the cable car station you can gaze over the plateau which at this point doesn’t look challenging at all. Start the hike by following the Vidden sign. The trail is not very well signed but is marked by very large stacks of rocks, so if you spot them, you are on the right way. When I hiked I did meet quite a few people on the trail (remember I told you about the Norwegians jogging it?) and if you are in doubt if you are on the right way it’s better to ask.
As I said, the first part of the hike is quite easy, but you do need good hiking shoes because the trail goes between rocks and boulders and it’s not flat. I was very happy that I brought walking sticks because they helped easing the pressure on my knees and ankles while going up and down on the rocks.
After about an hour’s walk, you will reach a very steep area going down a ravine and then up again. I found this to be the most difficult part of the hike as it was quite tricky not to slip on the rocks. There wasn’t much to hold on to either.
The views from the plateau are so beautiful that you will want to stop every 5 minutes to take photos. Don’t though as it will take forever to finish it. Halfway through, you will reach a lake, the fresh water reservoir of Bergen, where you will be able to fill up your almost empty by now bottle.
The last part of the hike, from the electrical power station (I might be wrong on what it actually is, but you can’t miss it due to its tower which you can see at the horizon from the start of the trail) to Mount Floyen, is quite easy as it changes from an uneven path to a paved road. However, your feet will feel so tired that every step is going to be a challenge. The road is also heading down, so there is more pressure on your knees.
Once you reach Floyen you can stop for a break at the restaurant near the funicular and, if you have any more stamina left, goof around taking photos with the giant trolls scattered around the forest.
At the beginning of the hike I was determined to walk all the way down into town, but I was so knackered, and my feet hurt so bad, that I chose to pay 45 NOK (£4) and take the funicular back. In 5 minutes I was back in town and in another 5 I was enjoying a well-deserved refreshing cold beer inside a coffee cup, in the first pub that came into my way. Why inside a coffee cup? Well, in Norway, pubs and bars are not allowed to serve alcoholic drinks on their outdoor terraces if these are on the pavement.
Bergen for adrenaline lovers
If you are looking to explore more of Bergen you can always choose to rent a mountain bike, go on a guided hike around Floyen Mountain or, if you are brave enough, attempt the via-ferrata route and ziplinne your way down the mountains.
Disclaimer: Please note that this post has been written in collaboration with Simply Hike.
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