Today Bryggen is the entertainment district on the waterfront in Bergen but its history dates back to the 11th century. The old wharf is an internationally protected heritage site thanks to its significance as a trading port for many centuries. The Hanseatic League occupied the site between the 14th and 16th centuries and their influence can still be seen today. Visit museums and craftsmen’s workshops and eat and drink in restaurants and bars.
Wander the narrow alleyways between colorful wooden houses in one of the most popular attractions in Bergen. Fires have ravaged the wharf over the years but 61 of the original structures from the Middle Ages were faithfully rebuilt according to historic plans.
Bryggen is one of the oldest trading ports in northern Europe. King Olav the Peaceful built a port here in 1070 when the Norwegian aristocracy ruled the fish trade. The Hanseatic League took control of the wharf in 1350 and the area has been at the nerve center of Bergen ever since.
The layout is typical of a Hanseatic community. The powerful German merchants lived in these wooden houses during the winter. Traditionally several houses backed onto a courtyard with a shared stone building at the back to protect them from fire.
Today you’ll find souvenir stores and boutiques where merchants once slept. Buy hand-made gifts such as art and jewelry or one-off items of clothing. Eat seafood and dine al fresco in summer at one of the many restaurants.
Discover the history of the wharf in museums. Visit the Hanseatic Museum to learn about the life of a merchant. The Bryggens Museum is housed in a modern structure built over the remains of the original settlement in Bergen. See archaeological finds dug up in the area and discover more about this quintessential Scandinavian settlement.
Bryggen lies along the waterfront next to the Fish Market. It’s within walking distance of many hotels and restaurants in the city center.
The wharf is open every day and there’s no admission fee. Some attractions, including museums, charge for entry; check individual websites for prices and opening hours.