The Fløibanen Funicular to Mount Fløyen is one of Bergen, Norway’s most popular attractions. Located downtown near the fish market and Bryggen Wharf, this should be your top priority when visiting Bergen. Literally, make it the very first thing you do!
We were visiting Bergen via a cruise ship, and we had read a lot that suggested the lines for the Funicular can get long. Much of this advice suggested that pre-purchasing tickets is the best option, but we also read a couple of resources that suggested doing a one-way trip, and hiking down.
Not really sure of what to do, we decided to “rope drop” the Fløibanen Funicular. The moment our ship was cleared at the port, we were off, racing through the streets of Bergen trying to get to the station before hordes of other people…
As we walked briskly to the station, we had to really restrain ourselves from stopping to take photos of Bryggen Wharf (in hindsight, we probably should’ve stopped for a couple, as morning was the only time of the day that it didn’t rain), along with many other picturesque scenes.
When we arrived, no one was there–it was a zero minute wait. We bought our tickets (1-way at first, in case we wanted to walk down), breezed right on to the funicular, and headed to the top. The ride up was neat, but had been over-hyped for what it was.
Same goes for the view at the top. It was pretty, but definitely not as good as Fjellstua Viewpoint in Ålesund. In fairness, the two experiences and views are very different, and there’s much more to Mount Fløyen than just the viewing area.
Aside from the viewing area, the first thing you’ll see is Fløistuen Shop and Café, which offers light meals, coffee, and other snacks. We got drinks here, but didn’t sit down for anything elaborate.
Fløien Folkerestaurant is open seasonally, and purports to be the best children’s playground in Bergen. It has a giant troll guarding its entrance, so I’m inclined to agree with that assessment.
While up at Mount Fløyen, be sure to do the short “hiking” loop that takes you out to the small lake. It’s a lovely, goat-filled trail. Or rather, network of trails.
These goats that we encountered on the trail that looped around the top were the highlight of our experience at Mount Fløyen. Our trip up until that point had been alarmingly goat-free, and this remedied that.
After watching the goats for a few hours, we continued around the forest hiking paths. These were incredibly tranquil, and made for a really pleasant stroll. Despite signs warning us of their presence, we encountered zero trolls and witches during the hike. They must been out scheming…or sleeping.
On our way back from the lake, we once again passed the goats, spending another few hours gawking at their majesty. This time, a few of them were in what looked like a warming hut.
These goats are really living the dream, as they are transported to a (tropical?) island during the winter and back for the spring and summer months.
We could’ve spent a lot more time hiking up here, but with so many other things to do in Bergen, it was tough to justify what would only amount to a scenic hike.
Ultimately, we spent around an hour up at Mount Floyen, but you could easily experience it in as little as 30 minutes or as long as 3 hours.
How much time you spend up there is entirely a matter of personal preference, what you want to do up there, and how long you’ll be in Bergen. Whatever you do, don’t just go up to see the view and immediately leave.
The funicular was half-full (at most) when we headed down, but the line to board at the lower station stretched pretty far outside, and appeared to be only getting worse as groups were approaching. While I have no way of saying definitively, I’d guess this line was close to an hour long–if not longer–at that point.
If I were to arrive at the funicular station and there were a 30-45 minute line, I’d do one of two things: skip Mount Fløyen entirely, or return later in the day.
Since so much of the advice online revolves around prioritizing Mount Fløyen and the funicular, I suspect people do it first thing after getting off of their cruise ship, which creates a log jam of people.
Most cruisers go back to the ship midday, wanting to have lunch aboard the ship (or simply tiring from a busy morning). If our experience at other cruise ports is any indication, the Funicular sees a surge of activity in the morning, that steadily subsides after lunch. As such, either beat the crowds first thing in the morning, or wait them out later in the day.
Skipping is the other alternative. I doubt anyone will actually follow this advice since this is so heavily-touted as the best do in Bergen, but if you’ve already done Fjellstua Viewpoint in Ålesund, it is worth reiterating that the view here is not as good. Even though people rate this as the top thing to do in Bergen, the city has so much to offer that we really have a tough time recommending this if that entails waiting in line for an hour or more.
Overall, we enjoyed the Fløibanen Funicular and our hike around Mount Fløyen, and would definitely recommend it to others visiting Norway. In the sense that this is the top-rated attraction in Bergen, we think it’s overrated. There are a lot of incredible things in the city (this being one such thing), but this is not the definitive, singular must-do experience. Enjoy it if you can, and be sure to have a well-rounded experience at the top, but don’t make the Funicular “an at all costs” type of experience that forces you to forgo other things to do in the city.
If you’re planning a visit to Norway, please check out my other posts about the beautiful country. (More coming soon!) I also highly recommend Rick Steves Snapshot Norway and Eyewitness Guides Norway to determine everything you should see and do while there.
Have you visited Bergen, Norway? Did you do the Fløibanen Funicular to Mount Fløyen? What did you think of the experience? Any thoughts or tips of your own to add? Does visiting Norway interest you? Hearing your feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts or questions below in the comments!