The world’s largest Gingerbread Town

The Gingerbread Town is the worlds largest, with approximately 2000 houses. The first Gingerbread Town in Bergen was made in 1991. Every year since, kindergartens, schools, private persons, offices, organizations are all contributing with their gingerbread houses.

Entering the Gingerbread Town, I immediately feel the sweet and spicy smell. The dimmed blue light mixed with the warm lights inside the houses and the white cotton snow, brings me right in the setting of a cozy dark winter night – lit up by the bright snow.

Christmas carols are playing in the background, only interrupted by the enthusiastic voices of happy children (and adults) exploring the gingerbread installations.

The colorful decorations on the houses are charmingly uneven dotted on by hundreds of children all over town. It makes me wonder how many kilos of chocolate and other candy there is in total in this fantasy town… It brings me back to my childhood, remembering when I too used to decorate the gingerbread house we had at home. For every piece of candy I put on the house, another one quickly ended up in my mouth. I can almost taste the colorful chocolate “non-stop” (kind of the Norwegian version of M&M’s) just by thinking of it…

The Gingerbread Town is built as a miniature of the city of Bergen, and you can easily recognize the well-known landmarks, such as Mount Fløyen with the Fløibanen FunicularBryggen, St. Mary’s church and the Rosenkrantz tower. In addition there are some internationally known landmarks, the Eiffel Tower being one that usually is present every year.

Start by visiting the Gingerbread Town to get the Christmas spirit, and plan the rest of your stay in Bergen from there.

Opening hours 19 November-31 December: 
Weekdays: 9-21
Saturday: 9-20
Sunday: 10-19
24 December: 9-13
25 December: Closed
26 December: 13-18
New Year’s Eve: 11-15

The worlds largest Gingerbread Town in Bergen. Norway The worlds largest Gingerbread Town in Bergen, Norway Rosenkrantz Tower and St. Mary's Church. The worlds largest Gingerbread Town in Bergen, Norway Vågen in Bergen in the worlds largest Gingerbread Town in Bergen, Norway Fløibanen Funicular. The worlds largest Gingerbread Town in Bergen, Norway Nordnes in Bergen in the worlds largest Gingerbread Town in Bergen, Norway Sandviken and Norwegian Fisheries Museum. The worlds largest Gingerbread Town in Bergen, Norway

24 hours in Bergen with the Bergen Card

Being a local in Bergen I wanted to be tourist in my own town, experiencing what the city has to offer. With all the Bergen Card advantages, it was an easy choice. You get free or discounted admittance to most museums and attractions as well as many cultural events, various sightseeing tours, restaurants and parking. It also include free travel on Light Rail and buses in the city and the region. Depending on how much sightseeing you want to do (and how much time you have), the Bergen Card is available for either 24, 48 or 72 hours.

Beautiful view of Bergen from Mt. Fløyen. Norway

Beautiful view of Bergen from Mt. Fløyen.

Overview first! Taking the Fløibanen Funicular to the top of Mt. Fløyen gives a great view of the city. Being up on the mountain, you are also away from the city life, and can walk straight into the nature. Fløibanen Funicular has made some tour suggestions for the many hiking options in the area. You can download them for free on their website.

Downtown again, I went for the 10 o’ clock departure for the Fjord Cruise to Mostraumen. I was obviously not the only one that had figured this was the perfect day for a fjord cruise from Bergen. Gliding past Bryggen – the old Hanseatic Wharf, bathing in sun, made me love my hometown just a little bit more. Once outside the harbor, the boat picked up some speed. As it is autumn (even though the sun and temperature could easily fool anyone), I was prepared with warm clothes to be able to stay outside. Even though it is perfectly fine to sit inside as well, there is something special about getting the real full experience, feeling the sun in my eyes and the wind in my hair.

Bryggen in Bergen a beautiful autumn day! Norway

The water was completely flat, reflecting the trees dressed in magnificent autumn colors. Arriving at Mostraumen, the crew picked two persons to get water from the waterfall. I was one of them, together with a Spanish by the name Enrique. Why not stand under a waterfall when the sun is shining..? With that said, we got dressed in proper rain gear, and did not get wet at all. The bucket was filled quickly, and everyone that wanted to taste got a glass. Fresh and cold!

Reflecting water. Fjordcruise to Mostraumen outside Bergen. Norway Nice surroundings on the Fjordcruise to Mostraumen outside Bergen. Norway Beautiful waterfalls on the Fjordcruise to Mostraumen outside Bergen. Norway Water from a waterfall. Fjordcruise to Mostraumen outside Bergen. Norway Getting water from the waterfall. Fjordcruise to Mostraumen outside Bergen. Norway

On the way back I enjoyed a typical Norwegian “lefse” and a “Kvikk Lunsj” chocolate. Not the healthiest, but since I was being a tourist in my own town I pretend to be on holiday. Then everything is allowed, isn’t it?…

Back on shore, I walked passed the colorful, charming houses at Bryggen, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979. The houses were originally built in the 11th century, but burned down many times. The oldest part of Bryggen was rebuilt after the great fire in 1702. In 1955 a new fire burned down a part of these remaining houses. Following this, the archaeological excavations at Bryggen started. I decided to go to Bryggens Museum to have a look at the findings. Luckily for the coming generations, the burned out ruins were not completely cleared out. The water was filled in by the remains of the burned houses and other trash, and the new houses were just built on top of them, causing the waterfront to move several meters throughout the time. The excavations therefore revealed houses from many different periods, the oldest burned in 1170. They also found ceramics, runic inscriptions and other artifacts witnessing the commerce with Europe and daily life in the Middle Ages.

Bryggen in Bergen a beautiful autumn day! Norway

Traces of many of the fires in Bergen can be seen at Bryggen  Museum. Bergen, Norway

Traces of many of the fires in Bergen can be seen at Bryggen Museum.

Being in the medieval mood, I went on to Bergenhus Fortress, dating back to the 13th century, when Bergen was the political center of Norway. The Håkon’s Hall was built between 1247 and 1261 by king Håkon Håkonsen as a royal residence and banquet hall. It was finished for the wedding between his son and a Danish princess. About 2000 guests were present for the wedding. However, only the men were allowed in the hall. The women, including the bride, were in another hall that is now destroyed.

The Håkon’s Hall. Bergen, Norway

The Rosenkrantz Tower right next to the Håkon’s Hall is a former royal residence. Climbing the steps all the way from Hell (aka the dungeon) to the rooftop may be steep, but the view was a reward in itself!
Rosenkrantz Tower in Bergen, Norway

On my way to the dungeon in the Rosenkrantz Tower in Bergen, Norway

On my way to the dungeon in the Rosenkrantz Tower.

A friend of mine had come to town with her son, so we decided to go to Bergen Science Center – VilVite. As it is located in the complete opposite side of the city, we took the bus and light rail to save time. Entering the exhibition, I felt like a child again. I went straight to the police motorbike to feel the wind in my hair for the second time today. Googles on. Bring on the speed! At least the wind, so you can pretend to drive fast and furious. Better keep it safe! Speaking of safe; next up was to bike in a 360 degree loop, with the result of hanging upside down a few meters above ground. It may sound a bit scary, but it is quite fun. And you learn about the G-Force at the same time. That is also the aim of Bergen Science Center – VilVite, to combine teaching with fun, making it amusing to learn about different aspects of science.

Science and fun at VilVite. Bergen, Norway.

Science and fun at VilVite!

It was time to calm down a bit, drilling for oil, “solve” the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle, make a weather forecast and wrap ourselves in a giant soap bubble! Finishing off by reaching new heights, standing still and jumping straight up as high as you can. Or not so high in my case, as my bouncing skills are highly absent… As a bonus, it is filmed, so you can see it in slow motion afterwards. Great fun for children of all ages!

Playing around sure works up an appetite, so we got on the light rail back to the city center, and strolled over to Pingvinen for dinner. With the retro interior and traditional home cooking, it feels like visiting your grandmother. The perfect way to relax and digest all the impressions after an amazing day!