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Expat Exchange - 7 Tips for Living in Bergen 2024
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7 Tips for Living in Bergen

By Joshua Wood, LPC

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Summary: Advice for people moving to Bergen or thinking about moving there.

Living in Bergen - 7 Tips for Living in Bergen

This is a must read if you're moving to Bergen or thinking about moving there.

Living as an expat or digital nomad in Bergen can be an exciting adventure. This picturesque city, nestled between mountains and fjords, offers a unique blend of natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture. However, to make the most of your time in Bergen, it's important to be prepared and know what to expect. Here are seven key tips to help you navigate life in this Scandinavian gem.

1. Understand the Cost of Living

Norway is known for its high cost of living, and Bergen is no exception. From rent to groceries, expect to pay more than you would in many other countries. However, the high cost of living is balanced by high wages and a strong social welfare system. It's important to budget carefully and be mindful of your spending. For instance, dining out can be expensive, but you can save money by cooking at home. Local markets like the Fish Market and the Farmer's Market in Byparken offer fresh, local produce at reasonable prices.

2. Embrace the Outdoor Lifestyle

Norwegians love the outdoors, and Bergen offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy nature. The city is surrounded by seven mountains, offering numerous hiking trails with stunning views. Mount Fløyen and Mount Ulriken are particularly popular. The city's location on the coast also means you can enjoy activities like fishing, boating, and even swimming during the warmer months. Embracing the outdoor lifestyle not only allows you to experience Norway's natural beauty, but also helps you connect with locals and their way of life.

3. Learn the Language

While most Norwegians speak excellent English, learning Norwegian can greatly enhance your experience. It can help you connect with locals, understand the culture better, and even open up job opportunities. There are numerous language schools in Bergen, such as the Bergen Language Design Center, that offer Norwegian courses for foreigners.

4. Explore the Neighborhoods

Bergen is made up of several distinct neighborhoods, each with its own character. The city center, known as Sentrum, is home to many of the city's main attractions, including the historic Bryggen wharf and the Bergenhus Fortress. Nordnes, with its narrow streets and old wooden houses, offers a glimpse into Bergen's past. Meanwhile, the hip Skostredet area is known for its vibrant street art, independent shops, and trendy cafes. Exploring the different neighborhoods can give you a deeper understanding of the city and its diverse culture.

5. Enjoy the Local Cuisine

Norwegian cuisine is more than just fish and potatoes. Bergen, with its coastal location, offers a wide range of seafood. The Fish Market is a great place to try fresh seafood, from salmon to king crab. For a fine dining experience, restaurants like Lysverket and Colonialen offer modern Norwegian cuisine. Don't forget to try local specialties like raspeballer (potato dumplings) and skillingsboller (cinnamon buns).

6. Get Involved in the Community

One of the best ways to feel at home in a new city is to get involved in the community. This could be through joining local clubs or organizations, participating in community events, or volunteering. Research groups that align with your interests and get involved. This not only helps you meet new people and make friends, but also helps you feel more connected to your new home.

7. Understand the Weather

Bergen is known for its rainy weather, with over 200 days of rain a year. It's important to be prepared for this, so invest in good rain gear and waterproof shoes. However, don't let the rain stop you from enjoying the city. Many locals embrace the weather, and you'll often see people out and about, regardless of the rain. Plus, the rain makes the city's many parks and gardens, like the beautiful Bergen Botanical Garden, even more lush and green.

Living in Bergen, Norway as an expat or digital nomad can be a rewarding experience. By understanding the cost of living, embracing the outdoor lifestyle, learning the language, exploring the neighborhoods, enjoying the local cuisine, getting involved in the community, and understanding the weather, you can make the most of your time in this beautiful city.

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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.


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