Taking the Fløibanen funicular to the top of Mount Fløyen should be at the top of your list of things to do in Bergen, Norway. It’s one of Bergen’s most visited attractions, and deservedly so! I was elated that we had clear sunny weather during our time in the notoriously wet city…perfect for the panoramas that awaited us at the top.
Bergen, the second-largest city in Norway, is stunning for many reasons. Its location, in the midst of mountains and fjords, is a huge part of its charm. Of the seven mountains that surround Bergen, Mt. Fløyen is the most accessible. In fact, many Bergen residents routinely walk up and down Mount Fløyen for exercise!
Although it’s certainly doable to walk up to the top if you are in decent shape (it takes about an hour), I wanted to ride the funicular. First, it looked cute. Second, it would take us just six minutes to get from the city center to the summit on the funicular, a big benefit because our time in Bergen was limited.
First, some cool facts about the Fløibanen funicular: a must-do in Bergen!
The electricity-powered Fløibanen was first opened to the public exactly one hundred years ago, in 1918. It has been operating continuously since then. Isn’t that amazing?
More than a million visitors to Bergen take the funicular to the top of Mt. Fløyen each year. Not surprising, when the views from the top are so epic!
The Fløibanen ascends about 1,000 feet from the station down in the city center to the top of Mt. Fløyen, and the ride time is 5-8 minutes.
During World War II, the Germans used the funicular to transport supplies and troops. After the war, the Norwegians painted the two cars of the funicular in the colors of the Norwegian flag, one red and the other blue. The red carriage is called Rødhette and the blue one is called Blåmann. Didn’t I say the Fløibanen was cute?
The two funicular cars in use today are large, capable of carrying 100 passengers each. Each car has lovely large windows and a glass roof.
The Fløibanen Station
The Fløibanen station is in the city center, just a few minutes walk from the Bryggen wharf and almost right across from the Fisketorget, the famous Fish Market of Bergen. It’s a picturesque little building.
The Fløibanen operates all day, but I suggest arriving early in the morning if the skies are clear. After 10 a.m., the line to buy tickets as well as the line to board the funicular get really backed up, especially if there are cruise ships in port. You can even buy your tickets online in advance. We did! We arrived at the station at 8.30 a.m., and were able to walk in and hop on to the funicular almost immediately.
If you go: Fløibanen, Vetrlidsallmenningen 21, 5014 Bergen, Norway
On our way out of the station later that day, we saw the line for the tickets snaking down a long ways from the booking window, and were so glad we weren’t waiting in that line! If you miss the early morning window, wait until late in the afternoon, when we suspect many cruise ship passengers will have completed their excursion to the top of Mt. Fløyen and moved on to other things.
All aboard for the ride up!
On the funicular, try to get a seat by the window looking down upon the city as you go up. It’s exciting to see the houses of Bergen drop farther and farther away as you climb. But don’t fret if you don’t get one of those coveted seats, because you are just minutes away from all the spectacular views your heart desires, at the top of the mountain!
Our funicular made a couple of stops on the way up, in what looked like residential areas on the side of Mt. Fløyen. You could look into the pretty little gardens behind the fences.
At the top of Mt. Fløyen
When you get off the funicular at the top, you’ll find yourself on a large viewing platform. Walk around and take in the magnificent panoramas of the city spread out below you, the blue-grey water, and the surrounding mountains.
You can see many different views of the city if you move around from one point to another at the top…ships docked at the harbor, the little houses, the city buildings and the road network. You can also see way beyond the city, into the fjords and the North Sea.
We visited in the morning and the views were gorgeous, but I think being here at sunset would be an even more special experience. The funicular is open really late into the evening, so it would be fun to come up here at sunset and stay to see the lights of Bergen come on.
If you are lucky to visit on a clear day, these are some of the prettiest panoramas you’ll see anywhere. Unfortunately, it rains a lot and rains often in Bergen, so you really have to have some luck to be at the top of Mt. Fløyen when it’s clear and bright.
At the summit, you’ll find the cute Fløistuen Shop and Cafe, where you can get a hot drink and a quick bite to eat if you are so inclined. The shop sells souvenirs. The shop is open year round, but the cafe is open only in season. There are restrooms here as well. The elegant restaurant at the summit, the Fløien Folkerestaurant, is only open during the summer. Here you can get a meal with a spectacular view!
The goats of Mt. Fløyen
The top of Mt. Fløyen is home to some very famous goats! The cashmere goats have names, and their photos and names are displayed on a notice board at the back of the viewing platform, so you can have some fun trying to identify the ones you see. They reportedly help keep the greenery in control at Mt. Fløyen!
Kids will love the colorful play area at the summit. The Troll trail, an obstacle course, will delight older children.
Hikes and Walks at the Summit
The summit of Mt. Fløyen is the starting point for a number of walks and hikes, including some into the surrounding mountains. Most of these hikes are multi-hour hikes and require that you are fit and appropriately kitted out for hiking.
The hike to the Revurtjern Lake looked promising…about two miles and easy…it’s on our radar for our next visit to Bergen! You can also join guided walks in the summer. For more information on the hikes you can do from Mt. Fløyen, click here.
You can also walk down the mountain to the city center in about 45 minutes.
The ride down
If you are taking the funicular back down to the city center, make sure to sit at the very bottom of the lower car, so can get pretty photos as the funicular approaches a tunnel.
I thought that taking the Fløibanen funicular to the top of Mt. Fløyen was definitely one of the most fun things we did in Bergen. It’s a must-do when you visit Bergen. Especially if you are blessed with a clear day!
What’s at the top of your list of things to do in Bergen?
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For more fun things to do in Bergen, read my post on how to spend one perfect day in Bergen!