Hands down, our favorite thing to do with kids in Bergen was take the funicular railway, or Floibanen, to the top of Mount Floyen. There are great views of Bergen and the surrounding fjords from the top, and the view attracts large tour groups. Families like ours will love the multiple playgrounds, the troll forest, the many hiking trails, the goats wandering the hills, and the zip line, canoeing, and hiking (or snowshoeing) opportunities. Pack a picnic and give yourself several hours to explore Mount Floyen!
Getting to Mount Floyen by Floibanen (Funicular)
Half (or at least a quarter) of the fun of a trip to Mount Floyen is taking Fløibanen, the funicular train that, much like our kids’ beloved Thomas the Train, dutifully gathers its passengers from the Floibanen station (just about 500 feet from the fish market at the center of town) and ferries them up the side of the mountain. The trip takes between 5 and 8 minutes.
The Fløibanen funicular is over a 100 years old — it’s been in operation since 1918. It runs two train carriages up and down the mountainside, the red Rodhette (Little Red Ridinghood) and the blue Blamann (Blueman). The modern trains have glass-covered ceilings which make the view of Bergen during the trip up Mount Floyen spectacular.
It’s easy to find the Fløibanen station. It’s a stunning white brick building, just a block up from the Bergen fish market. My kids didn’t even have time to complain about how far they had to walk. They were thrilled to jump on the train, and being first in line at the beginning of the day meant we had our pick of seats on the usually crowded funicular.
Things to Do on Mount Floyen in Bergen With Kids
Forget museums — Mount Floyen was definitely my kids’ favorite spot in all of Bergen. We were gifted with an unusually perfect blue sky day when we visited, and the view of Bergen from the top of Mount Floyen took my breath away. The kids looked at it for approximately 0.24 seconds then spotted the adjacent playground.
There is (conveniently) a very good playground with a giant troll guarding it that is located right by the cafe, restaurant, and viewing area. But don’t spend too long there! The rest of Mount Floyen is waiting.
I was determined to find Mount Floyen’s troll forest. The trails are well marked and signs are easy to follow. I did find my trolls, and little kids might enjoy looking for these wooden carved ogres among the trees, although honestly my older kids weren’t interested and my four-year-old was a little scared (they are not cute trolls, that’s for sure!) However, what we stumbled upon was the world’s best playground.
It’s not a playground for toddlers, and I wouldn’t call it the world’s safest playground (we sustained multiple mild injuries), but I would for sure call it the most fun my boys have had in a long time. Picture a giant, wooden playground that blends in with nature and yet features essentially everything a budding American Ninja Warrior needs, from a zip line to climbing walls and places to jump to rope webs to traverse. There’s a huge tower, and I was tempted to hide there until someone tried to save me. My boys didn’t want to leave.
After a few too many scraped knees, we decided to explore the rest of the mountaintop. We followed signs to the lake, which was stunning. Consider taking the time to canoe the lake, which is free. We were too early in the morning for this activity, but the kids would have loved it. We were also too early for the zip line, but there is a loop of five total ziplines that looked fun. If you have older kids or teens, renting mountain bikes would be a great way to explore the mountain, too.
Tips for Visiting Mount Floyen in Bergen With Kids
- Do not ride the funicular at peak times! During the summer cruise ship season the lines can be very long. I highly recommend going right at opening time. We showed up five minutes prior to opening and had no wait at all. Alternatively you could try later in the afternoon after tour groups have returned to their ships.
- Next time, I would definitely buy tickets online. Fløibanen tickets can be purchased online at the Tourist Information Office by the Bergen fish market, as well as at the Fløibanen station. I highly recommend buying tickets ahead of time, as I saw a line a block long to buy tickets, but a much shorter line to board the train.
- Consider getting the Bergen card, which gives you free passage on the funicular between October and May. During the busy summer season, it gives you 50% off the normal prices.
- For a family, pricing out the least expensive way to take the Fløibanen funicular can be a little complicated. In addition to the Bergen card option, kids under age four are free. They do sell a family ticket that covers two adults and two children, which is also less expensive in winter than summer. The Bergen card 50% off discount is still much better than the family ticket pricing.
- Although hiking up Mount Floyen might be a bit much for most kids, hiking down — which can be done in 45 minutes if you don’t stop — could be fun for everyone, with more great views of the city. It would also make the trip cheaper as roundtrip prices on Fløibanen are almost double the one-way prices, and if you have five people in your family it really adds up.
- Pack food! There are a couple of restaurants at the top of Mount Floyen, but they didn’t open until 10 a.m. We had terrible jet lag and the kids were starving by then. There are picnic tables galore at the top of Mount Floyen, so join the locals, and pack a picnic.
Disclaimer: To get to Mount Floyen, we used the Bergen cards provided to us by the Bergen Tourist Board, which gave us a discount on Fløibanen tickets. As usual, all opinions are my own.