Along an arm of the North Sea, Bergen's waterfront is recognizable for its colorful maze of wooden houses backed by forested mountains—you'll likely want to spend quality time here when visiting. These five hotels are directly on the harbor or steps from it, with easy access to outdoor cafés, a fish market, hiking trails (with sea views), and fjord excursions.

Staying in Bergen

Bergen's daily Fish Market is held outdoors during the summer months

Known as the gateway to the fjords, Norway's second-largest city (behind Oslo) is best known for its colorful UNESCO-listed wharf, Bryggen, with charming wooden houses that date back to the Middle Ages. The cobblestone core also offers quality clothing boutiques, outdoor cafés, a daily Fish Market, and museums featuring maritime, Viking, and Hanseatic League heritage. Guided walking tours are available—a great idea if you only have 24 hours.

With a few more days, you'll have time to explore Bergen's seven mountains, including a challenging trail called Stoltzekleiven, with 800 stone steps built by Nepalese Sherpas. Or, ride one of two funiculars to the top of Mt. Fløyen and Mt. Ulriken and hike back down, enjoying waterfront views along the way. You can also take a fjord cruise through the Hardangerfjord, which includes a village tour and two-course organic lunch, or through the narrow Mostraumen Strait, stopping at a dramatic waterfall. For more ideas, check out the best things to do in Bergen and how to explore Bergen like a local

Bergen Børs Hotel

Everyone is welcome to dine at Fresco Hall facing the waterfront (photo courtesy of Bergen Børs Hotel)

With its red-carpeted entrance, the Bergen Børs Hotel makes itself known as the best hotel in the city (and we agree). It resides in the city's former stock exchange building dating to 1862—a prime location next to the Fish Market, across the street from the main harbor, and a short stroll to Bryggen. New hotel owners have modernized the interiors while paying attention to the original details that have been thoughtfully preserved throughout the property. 

Dining is a highlight, and the hotel's newest gem is an impressive bi-level seafood restaurant, Fresco Hall, with restored murals painted by Alex Revold in the 1920s. Meanwhile, on the hotel's third floor is the city's only Michelin-starred restaurant, Bare, with multicourse Nordic menus and caviar upgrades that change with the seasons (an elegant breakfast is also served here each morning). Next to the restaurant is the Chamber of Commerce Bar in a dark-lit space with mirrored walls and Tudor-style windows, which is said to have the best cocktail program in Bergen. 

The hotel has 127 rooms and suites in various categories with bespoke furnishings and either soft gray carpeting or herringbone wood floors. What they do have in common are high ceilings and soundproof windows, as well as minibars, Nespresso machines, and bathrobes. Bathrooms have luxury touches like heated floors and natural bath products from the Norwegian brand, Fitjar in eco-friendly pumps. The superior, deluxe, and suite options are perhaps worth the splurge for more space and potential views of Bergen's waterfront and mountains. Learn more

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Opus XVI

This historic brick hotel is on a cobbled plaza that leads to the waterfront (photo courtesy of Opus XVI)

The polished 65-room hotel, Opus XVI, is housed in a former bank from 1876, one of Bergen's most famous historic buildings (across the plaza from the above Bergen Børs Hotel). Today, the building is owned by relatives of the renowned Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg. They pay homage to his life and work with an in-house exhibit based on his celebrated piano concerto that gave the hotel its name. 

Sophisticated rooms have warm tones and luxe amenities, and each is individually designed due to architectural elements depending on where the room is located. All rooms have tall ceilings and windows, wood floors, marble bathrooms with heated floors, and are equipped with upscale amenities like Nespresso machines, French tea from Damman, and Molton Brown bath products, as well as bathrobes and slippers. Superior and deluxe rooms offer extra space, while junior suites offer sofa beds for two more guests.

The spacious lobby has an inviting lounge and brasserie with arched windows and marble columns serving French-inspired dishes using local ingredients and seafood. Don't miss live jazz performances during the afternoon tea service on Saturdays. Guests will also dine in this space each morning for breakfast, with a complimentary a la carte breakfast menu, eschewing the typical breakfast buffet that most hotels in Norway provide. Learn more

Clarion Hotel Admiral


Upgrade for waterfront rooms that directly face Bryggen wharf (photo courtesy of Clarion Hotel Admiral)

The waterfront Clarion Hotel Admiral boasts a direct view—the best of any hotel in Bergen—of the colorful Bryggen wharf. The lobby's upscale restaurant takes advantage of this setting with a menu designed by Swedish-American celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson that focuses on local seafood. Breakfast is also served in this space, and there's seasonal outdoor dining during the summer months (bring your camera on every occasion).

All 209 guest rooms offer simple, contemporary decor, with either carpeting or hardwood-style floors, as well as flat-screen TVs, kettles, minibars, and walk-in showers with Rituals bath products. Standard rooms in the rear may feel dark, but the superior and deluxe rooms have seating areas and large windows with balconies (shared or private) with potential views of the wharf and surrounding mountains. 

The spacious lobby offers seating areas for lounging and working remotely and complimentary all-day coffee, tea, and water. A massage room is available for booking appointments, and a polished 24-hour front desk staff can assist with taxis, reservations, and special requests. Learn more

Clarion Collection Hotel Havnekontoret Bergen


Stay across the street from the waterfront next to Bryggen (photo courtesy of Clarion Collection Hotel Havnekontoret)

The Clarion Collection Hotel Havnekontoret is in a neoclassical building from the 1920s facing the harbor next to Bryggen wharf, convenient for getting to and from the airport thanks to the Flybussen, which stops right in front of the hotel. Though the interiors are contemporary, you'll find original details throughout the property, from the elegant murals in a lounge used for private Champagne receptions to the rooftop lookout tower (free for guests). 

The 113 rooms have wood-style floors and come with blackout shades, kettles, and minibars. Bathrooms have walk-in showers or bathtubs (request upon check-in) and offer Rituals bath products in eco-friendly pumps. For harbor views, the deluxe category is your best bet unless you decide to splurge on the large suite, which has attracted a steady stream of celebs on tour, like Jerry Seinfeld, Rihanna, and Sting (check out the lobby wall display for a complete list!)

Regular guests, for their part, can take advantage of the complimentary perks like the breakfast buffet, afternoon waffles, and a light evening buffet that changes nightly with soup, salad, and a hot dish. There's also an all-day bar and snacks for purchase, and you can sit anywhere in the lobby and enjoy, which is especially enjoyable when the fireplace is lit. On the hotel's lower level is a small fitness center, with a sauna and steam room. Learn more

The Hanseatic Hotel

Each room has unique historical details at this boutique hotel in Bryggen (photo courtesy of The Hanseatic Hotel)

The Hanseatic Hotel is housed in an 18th-century building next to the Hanseatic Museum in the heart of Bryggen. Each of the 37 rooms is unique with original details, like timber walls and wood-beamed ceilings, complemented with rich contemporary tones, patterned wallpaper, thick textiles, and carpet or parquet floors. They all come with coffee makers and minibars. Families and friends can choose the standard twin bedrooms, while couples may opt for the deluxe rooms that have more space and larger bathrooms with showers and claw-foot tubs. 

For the size of the hotel, it's surprising there are two restaurants and bars on-site. The FG Restaurant & Bar serves continental fare like mussels and filet mignon, while a more casual Tex-Mex restaurant (said to be the only one in Bergen) offers traditional food like fajitas and burritos. Both restaurants can accommodate vegetarians and kids. A breakfast buffet with a range of healthy options and espresso drinks is included in the room price. Learn more