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Bergen, Norway


Situated on the west coast of Norway, Bergen is called the "Gateway to the Fjords," as it is an ideal starting point for touring the world-famous Hardangerfjord, Sognefjord and Geirangerfjord. As the birthplace of musical geniuses Ole Bull and Edvard Grieg, Bergen is also considered to be the cultural capital of Norway. Its physical beauty is enhanced by the city's wonderful blend of old and new architectural styles and an overall 18th-century charm.

For an unforgettable, bird's eye view of "the city between the seven mountains," take the funicular, called the Fløybanen, to the top of the Mount Floien. The stunning vista includes the surrounding fjords and islands, with a city skyline of red-tiled roofs.

The fortress guarding the harbor mouth contains two notable elements: the 700 year-old, step-gabled, ceremonial King Haakon's Hall, and the 16th-century Renaissance castle, Rosenkrantz Tower. Three churches that survived the medieval period are Bergen Cathedral, the 17th-century Korskirken, and the 12th-century St. Mary's, built in the rare Romanesque style.

In the quaint Bryggen Quarter, the Bryggen Museum offers a unique glimpse into the golden age of Bergen. The main red and ocher structures of old trade and warehouses in Bryggen have been preserved, and today many of them are shops, cafes, and artist's studios.

Troldhaugen Estate, once the home of Norway's famous composer, Edvard Grieg, is one of the country's most beloved museums and a national shrine. As you stroll the park-like grounds that surround the home, it's easy to imagine how the enchantingly beautiful natural setting inspired Grieg's music.

A short ferry ride from Bryggen Wharf takes you to charming Lysöen Island and the extraordinary villa where the violinist and composer Ole Bull once lived. His charismatic personality is reflected in the fairy-tale-like design of the villa's grounds.

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