Museum Vest’s eight museums in Bergen and the surrounding area boast an unbeatable combination of history, culture, nature and activities. Become better acquainted with Norway’s rich coastal, fishing and maritime history, powerful wartime stories, and the World Heritage site being restored for future generations. As well as engaging exhibitions, our museums offer fantastic cafés and good walks – whether you come alone, with a good friend or with your family.
1. Step into the exciting and mysterious world of the Hanseatic merchants
Join a historical walk in the merchants’ footsteps at Bryggen and the beautiful Schøtstuene assembly rooms. Bryggen’s narrow alleyways have many secrets to tell. How much do you know about Bergen and the Hansa period? A visit to the Hanseatic Museum and Schøtstuene lets you explore all aspects of the lives of the Hanseatic merchants – from their unique trading network to everyday life at Bryggen. The museum offers guided tours for families and treasure hunts.
Experience the Hanseatic Museum and Schøtstuene.
2. Be inspired by authentic fishermen’s tales
Take the historic Beffen ferry to the Norwegian Fisheries Museum this summer to experience fun and interactive exhibitions and activities for all ages. Immerse yourself in stories of the fishing traditions of coastal and maritime Norway and our fish-rich sea. At the harbour you can borrow an eco-kayak or hire a rowing boat. Enjoy locally sourced food and carefully selected drinks with Bergen’s finest view at the museum café Bod24.
Visit the Norwegian Fisheries Museum.
3. Norway’s largest maritime museum – a sprightly 100-year-old
Join a tour at Bergen Maritime Museum to learn about Norway’s relationship with the sea over thousands of years – all richly illustrated with stunning models, full-size boats, archaeological finds and fascinating everyday articles. Children can explore the ship’s deck, go into the old wheelhouse of “Statsraad Lehmkuhl”, peep into a genuine cannon, make their own wooden boat and much, much more. Little ones can “hunt the rat” on their way around, with a little reward at the end!
Explore Bergen Maritime Museum.
4. Find out about life in and by the sea
The Coastal Museum in Øygarden tells the story of life by the sea, past and present. The main exhibition lets you explore 12,000 years of coastal history, from herring and potatoes to week-long wedding festivities with all the trimmings. Visit our café to enjoy freshly prepared lapper (sweet pancakes), coffee, ice cream, etc. We have a great terrace, sheltered from the North wind. Our museum shop sells many unusual items that you might not find elsewhere.
If you want to explore the Ovågen inlet independently, we have both rowing boats and canoes available to hire. We offer free loan of fishing gear, or if beachcombing and peering into the water is more your thing, we have both sieves and seascopes you can borrow. Last but not least, there are great places to swim around the museum, including a small sandy beach ideal for the little ones.
Did we mention that weekdays at 12 noon and 1 p.m. you can take our RIB to the Øygarden aquaculture centre? Here you can meet both the aquaculture technicians and the salmon – and enjoy a short bracing trip by sea.
View our activities at the Coastal Museum in Øygarden.
5. Explore one of the largest freestanding fortifications in Europe
Fjell fortress was built by the Germans and played a key role in the defence of Bergen during the Second World War. The fortress perches 176 metres above sea level in the west of the island of Sotra. The extensive plateau on which it is situated is rich in animal and bird life, and is a popular hiking area. You might even see white-tailed sea eagles close to the café in the gun tower! Descend 14 metres into the turret shaft to explore exciting exhibitions. Read more about visiting the museum and getting here.
Experience Fjell fortress in summer.
6. Learn about the tragedy that struck the village of Telavåg in the Second World War
On 30 April 1942, the small coastal community of Telavåg on Sotra was razed to the ground. The tragedy was triggered by the murder of a Norwegian agent and two Gestapo officers. Visit the North Sea Traffic Museum to find out about this dramatic event in Norway’s wartime history. The North Sea Traffic exhibition describes the active part the coastal community played in resistance work during the war. Experience these powerful stories at close proximity at the museum and in the surrounding countryside. Enjoy a cup of coffee with spectacular sea views in our café with its outdoor terrace. Why not combine a visit to the museum with a hike on the beautiful North Sea Trail? Read more about our exhibitions, experiences and activities.
For further information, see the North Sea Traffic Museum in Telavåg.
7. Wartime history and outdoor recreation amid the archipelago
The beautiful island of Herdla, at the heart of the nature reserve of the same name, is home to the new Herdla Museum, with exhibitions on the dramatic war years and the area’s rich animal and bird life. The museum’s top attraction is the German Gul-16 fighter plane. Herdla is the perfect destination if you want to combine a museum visit and outdoor recreation. A 45-minute drive from Bergen brings you to Herdla Fort, the ideal starting point to visit the bird reserve, enjoy the beaches, canoe, fish and see the ruins of the island’s German fortress.
Visit Herdla Museum.
8. Learn about the resistance fighting and the “white angels” of the Matre Mountains
Bjørn West Museum takes its name from the Norwegian guerrilla base established in the Matre Mountains in the final months of the Second World War. The museum is home to a large collection of weapons, equipment and personal effects that belonged to the Bjørn West soldiers and the local people in the villages around the base. The mountains stand unchanging, inviting and ready to provide you with hiking experiences that will live long in the memory. Visit Bjørn West Museum to experience both the rich history and the vibrant nature and culture!
Experience Bjørn West Museum.
See a selection of things to do at the museums here.