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The Norwegian city of Bergen has existed for almost a thousand years and it has been the most important city in Scandinavia for a long time. Being a Hansa city, Bergen had very important junctions in trade between Northern Europe and the rest of the continent. Bryggen, the old quayside is still suffused with this historic spirit and is therefore included in UNESCO's list of World Heritage sites.
The city has well over 250,000 inhabitants, which makes it the second city of Norway, including the suburban areas 375,000 people live in and around Bergen.
Bergen is located on the west coast of Norway. The city is surrounded by a set of mountains, the so-called Seven Mountains, of which the city's name is derived from.
For many years, the economy of the city has been tightly linked with the sea, Bergen has the largest port of Norway, The port is also frequented by many cruise ships. Fishery and the processing of fish products have been very important for the city from times immemorial. Furthermore Bergen is known for its maritime business and activities and the city is an important base for the thousands of people working on the oil rigs in the North Sea.
Tourism is important for Bergen as well, tourists not only come for the city itself, Bergen is also the gateway to the impressive fjord coast of Norway. Just a little to the north of the city the famous Sognefjord is located.
Bergen has a fine public transport service. The destinations of the (trolley) buses are clearly indicated. At every stop you will find a timetable and you can be assured that the buses leave on the indicated time. The bus company Tide not only operates the public transport in the city itself, but also in the surrounding urban areas. Buses leave from the central bus terminal (‘Bystasjonen’), which forms part of a large shopping center.
There is a funicular (Fløibanen) to the top of the mountain of Fløyen.
The city strives to reduce car usage in the city center, therefore it introduced a low speed limit and one-way traffic in most streets. Some streets are restricted for buses and taxis only. Parking spaces in the streets is mostly reserved for residents and the disabled.
There is no need to worry because you can easily park your car in one of the large parking garages and continue exploring the city on foot. The parking garage Bygarasjen at the bus terminal is very popular. If that garage is full you can park your car in the Klostergarasjen on the north side of the center.
Bergen has a large variety of hotels to offer with more than 6,000 beds. You will find most hotels downtown in the area of the fish market. During the summer months you need to book your accommodation well in advance. It is also advisable to book in advance during other periods, if only to take advantage of discounts as hotel rates are quite high.
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