Party in the gateway to Norway's fjordsBergen, Norway
Music, dance, opera, experimental performance, theatre and circus – you can tick each of the aforementioned off and more at Bergen’s International Festival. Held over 15 days at the end of May, the festival is the largest of its kind in northern Europe, with more than 250 events from both local and international artists at 20 different venues.
Bergen is one of Norway's old Viking port towns. As such it's also the perfect place for a festival where traditional ideas of art meet modernity to challenge festival-goers’ perspectives. From 24 May to 7 June 2017, Bergen will declare itself a haven for the arts as performers take over the city. With more than 100,000 visitors each year, the festival is the largest of its kind in the Nordics and the longest running in all of Norway. The festival's organisers have grouped the events into three handy categories: Festivities is all about entertainment and surprises; Foundations focuses on the arts in their most classical and traditional forms; and Friction uses new technology to help aid experimentation and exploration.
There's plenty in Bergen to keep you occupied outside of the festival too. The old wharf of Bryggen – a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site – boasts colourful wooden houses that offer a fascinating portal into its former life as a 'Hanseatic Office'.
Bergen is also known as the Gateway to the North – the ideal starting point for your exploration of the northern fjords of Norway, which are best explored by boat.
- Absorbing the bustling atmosphere of a city in a the throes of a huge creative celebration, with performances on every street corner
- Exploring the fascinating old wharf of Bryggen, where the old wooden houses remain well-preserved
- Hearing incredible performances from intimate gatherings in manor houses and revelling in free street festivals with hundreds of other festival goers
- The city will be busy, so expect hotels to be at capacity, people to be milling in the streets and to wait for tables at restaurants
- Norway can be an all-weather destination on any given day, so prepare your travelling wardrobe accordingly
Bergen can be reached by plane or train from Oslo, though for adventure the train trumps all competitors hands down. Considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful, the train journey is part of Bentours’ Norway in a Nutshell itinerary, which begins in capital Oslo and finishes in Bergen. The city is also the starting point for the Hurtigruten Classic Coastal Voyage, which ends in Kirkenes in the Arctic Circle.
Tickets for the festival are on sale now with early bird offers finishing on 16 March 2017. Bergen accommodation fills up very fast at this time of year, so why not let someone else organise your stay for you.
This tip was provided by Bentours, but we’re sharing it with you because we think it’s great.