Bergen: A Norwegian Hideaway

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Less than two hours by plane from Amsterdam, Bergen impresses with adventure and culture.

Norway is big and spread out: The key sights are far from one another, and local accommodations are super basic. But Bergen, a city on the country’s west coast, dazzles with cobblestone streets, fish markets, colorful wooden boats and houses, and gardens everywhere. A three-day visit is perfect for active travelers of all ages. Make the cozy, 18-room Villa Terminus (rooms from $176; 47-5/521-2500; home base.

The city sits at the bottom of seven mountains, which travelers can hike right from the city’s center. (Within ten minutes you’re in the woods.) Abundant cycling paths also provide urban two-wheeled freedom: Bikers almost never share a lane with a car, definitely unique. For road biking, just 30 minutes out makes for a nice ride along the fjords, crossing bridges, waterfalls, villages, and beaches. Weather can be a factor, but that’s to be expected. Not to be missed for kids are the zip line and restaurant Sky:Skraperen (Ulrikens Topp; 47-5/364-3634; on the tallest mountain, Ulriken.

In town, there is a vibrant food scene. For fish, top marks go to Lysverket (Rasmus Meyers Allé 9; 47-5/560-3100; Its local chef, Christopher Haatuft, was globally trained (Per Se, Blue Hill at Stone Barns) but is now back at home. Meanwhile, among the many cultural institutions (Bergen has a reputation among locals for its art scene), the four KODE Art Museums of Bergen (Rasmus Meyers Allé 9; 47-5/300-9704; stand out for their abundant collections, which include works by Edvard Munch, Paul Klee, and Pablo Picasso. And there’s plenty of music: The composers Edvard Grieg and Ole Bull are everywhere.