Are you wondering if the Bergen card is worth it? Like many cities, Bergen has a city card that allows you to ride public transportation for free and allows free or discounted entry to museums and attractions. In the winter, almost everything is free with the Bergen card. In the busy summer months, however, it only discounts the most popular and expensive attractions.
Before embarking on a Bergen adventure, it’s worth looking into whether the card will save you money. With kids (and especially with jet lag), I find it difficult to fit more than one or maybe two activities into a day; however, the savings on public transportation with the Bergen card were huge for us as a family of five. The Bergen light rail can easily be taken all the way from the airport to the center of town, for example.
We were thrilled to be given complimentary Bergen cards by the Bergen Tourist Board, as five tickets to anything is is a lot of tickets, and Bergen was our first stop in the notoriously expensive country of Norway.
Where to Buy the Bergen Card: Visit The Tourist Office
You can find a great chart on the Bergen card website that tells you exactly how much activities cost, and it will help you figure out if the Bergen card will save you money. Bergen cards can be purchased at the tourist office, online, at the airport, or at various other locations and are good for 24, 48, or 72 hours.
I highly recommend visiting the excellent tourist information office and purchasing yours there, (unless, of course, you need it for public transportation from the airport). Bergen is an easily manageable city; the center of town is the harbor and the famous buildings of Bryggen line one side of it. At the end of the harbor is the fish market, with stalls selling fish and various other foodstuffs. Adjacent to the fish market is a tall building with a large green information “i” on it that houses the tourist office.
The tourist office is chock-full of various pamphlets and knowledgeable, multilingual staff. On a summer day, it was very busy but well organized. It’s worth a visit to get your bearings, obtain maps and tickets, ask about tours, and solidify your travel plans for the region.
Is the Bergen Card Worth it?
I feel like this requires a lot of math, but I was curious, so I did it.
We were given complimentary Bergen cards, but a 24-hour Bergen card costs NOK 280 (about US $30). I had many, many plans for that Bergen card, but alas, we slept more than I intended. In 24 hours, we experienced the following: the Skyss light rail (NOK 38 each way if tickets are purchased beforehand), the Floibanen funicular (discounted, saved NOK 60), and Troldhaugen (saved NOK 55). Total cost: NOK 191.
HOWEVER…we did walk around but not enter (because we were wide awake when everything was closed) Hakon’s Hall (NOK 100) and the Norwegian Fisheries Museum (NOK 90), both of which I really wanted to see. Had I planned better, both of those would have been on our list, raising the total cost of our activities to NOK 391 and making the Bergen card a winner.
I should mention that the child version of this calculation will be completely different, as many museums have free entrance for children, but the Bergen card for children is much less expensive, too.
My Conclusion About the Bergen Card
If you’re visiting in summer, the Bergen card may be worth purchasing for two major reasons. First, you don’t have to stress about public transportation (I find purchasing public transportation tickets really stressful these days, as you’ll find locals mostly have their tickets on an app. It was nice not to have to worry about that!) Second, it’s especially worth it if you plan on a quick trip around local attractions and museums. This was my intent, actually. In downtown Bergen, you could easily see two or three museums in a day if you did not have jet-lagged children in your wake. The Bergen card savings would be easily worth it in this case, as most museum entrance fees are about NOK 90-110.
The calculation is different if you are visiting in winter. The most expensive things to do in Bergen include the Bergen Aquarium, the VilVite Science Center, and the Floibanen funicular up Mount Floyen. All of these attractions are only discounted with the Bergen card in summer, but during the winter low season they are free with the Bergen card, which would make the Bergen card ABSOLUTELY worth purchasing. For example, the entrance fee to the aquarium is basically the same price as the Bergen card…so from November 1 – February 28 you may as well just purchase a Bergen card and get in free somewhere else, too!
If you are not taking public transportation and are visiting just one attraction a day, the Bergen card may not be the right choice for your family. However, visiting Bergen is always a good idea!