Bergen - Useful Tourist Information

Driving in Bergen

Bergen International Airport

The Bergen international airport, Flesland, is located just 20 km outside the city to the south. See the satelite image of Bergen to visualize this -- the airport is the bright semi-circular object at the bottom. Access to the airport is via the highway towards Nestun and Fana. Taxies service the airport regularly and a ride into the centre of the city should cost in the neighbourhood of NOK 250,- to NOK 300,-. SAS operates a bus service to and from the city centre and the airport. It stops at the Bystasjon (map reference 53 on the Bergen centre map), the Hotel Norge (map reference 18) and the Rainbow hotel (map reference 1). It costs NOK 43,- from the airport to the city centre and takes about 30 minutes.

Duty-Free Allowances

The following duty-free allowances are permitted for European visitors.

Alcohol: either 1 litre wine, 1 litre spirits (over 17% by volume) and 2 litres beer or 2 litres wine and 2 litres beer
Tobacco:either 200 cigarettes or 250 grammes of other tobacco goods
Other goods:Maximum allowed value is NOK 5000.

Electricity

Electricity in Norway is 220 volts, 50 Hz. Any adapter made for continental European wall sockets will also work in Norway. Wall sockets in personal residences do not usually have ground conductors and thus are not recessed. All hotels and other public places have recessed sockets with ground conductors and thus a special extender is needed on the adapter to reach inside of this recess. This extender can usually be bought at the same time the wall adapter is purchased.

Money and Money Exchange

Coins are minted in 50 øre, 1, 5, 10 and 20 Kroner denominations, and paper money in higher denominations of 50, 100, 200, 500, 1,000 and 5,000 Kroner. Norwegian Kroner is usually truncated to NOK; you will see this acronym on price tags. Money is denoted as xxx,yy where xxx is kroner and yy is øre. If the øre value is 0, a dash is substituted, as in xxx,-.

Prices for goods will be calculated to two decimal points precision and then rounded off in accordance with the following table.

Calculated Price You Pay
,00 - ,24 ,00
,25 - ,74 ,50
,75 - ,99 1,00 (round off to next highest krone)

Other currencies may be exchanged for Norwegian kroner at Flesland airport, hotels or at most bank branches in the city. The kroner exchange rate fluctuates daily but a quick general rule-of-thumb for exchange is

US Dollar ~= 7 NOK
Cdn. Dollar ~= 5 NOK
UK Pound ~= 10 NOK

For current conversion rate please visit: http://finance.yahoo.com/currency-converter
It is generally safe to carry cash in Norway. Small amounts of cash are needed for most forms of transportation, telephones, dining spots or stores that do not accept credit cards or traveler's checks, and for other small purchases. Some automatic banking machines will accept VISA cards for cash withdrawals.

Checks and Cards

Personal checks are not accepted. Traveler's checks are accepted at hotels and larger restaurants and can be purchased at overseas banks. Credit cards are widely used. Shops and restaurants that accept credit cards have stickers at the entrance or signs posted elsewhere to designate which cards are accepted.

Post Office

The main post office in Bergen is located at Småstrandgaten 3, in the centre of the city across the road from the Galleriet shopping complex. Opening hours are Monday-Friday 08:00 - 17:00 except Thursday when they are open one hour later; Saturday 09:00 - 14:00. Postal rates for letters and cards under 20 grams weight within Norway are 3,50; within Scandanavia 4,-; within Europe 4,50; all other destinations are 5,50.

Shopping

There are many and varied shops in Bergen centre. Bergen has three exciting pedestrian shopping streets -- Strandgaten Torgalmenningen and Marken. The main square, Torgalmenningen, is dominated by a relatively large shopping complex called Galleriet. It is the Norwegian version of the American enclosed shopping mall. Stores generally close early except for malls like Galleriet, Bystasjonen, Oasen and Lagunen. The opening hours therefore for most stores in the centre of town are:

Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays 09:00 - 16:30
Thursdays 09:00 - 19:00
Saturdays 09:00 - 15:00

There is no Sunday shopping in Norway. The larger malls are generally open Monday to Friday 09:00 - 20:00 and Saturday 09:00 - 16:00. Some shops that cater to tourist articles are sometimes open longer hours on days when cruise ships are berthed at Bergen. In some of these shops, you can also buy Tax-free articles -- see below.

Tax-Free Shopping

If you are visiting Norway and purchase eligible goods, it is possible to receive the tax back again. Here's how you do it.

  1. Look for the tax-free logo. In Norway, the VAT (value added tax) is included in the retail price tag and makes up to 23% of the price of the good. About 220 shops in Bergen offer 15% - 22% cash refund of VAT when your purchases equal or exceed NOK 300,-.
  2. Ask for a Tax Refund Cheque. Show your id or passport to prove you are a resident outside of Norway. The shop assistant then wraps and seals the goods. The cheque must be completed at the time of purchase and contain your name, address and passport number.
  3. Claim your refund when departing Bergen and you will immediately receive your cash refund. Show the Tax Refund representative (not the Customs official)
  • the sealed goods
  • your id and/or passport
  • the tax refund cheque

It's that easy.

Telephones

The country code for Norway is +47. All numbers in Norway are eight digits long. Local calls from a pay telephone cost NOK 2,- for three minutes, minimum NOK 3,-. Pay phones are plentiful in the city core and accept coins and calling cards. Calling cards are easily obtained at all Narvesen convenience stores. If you are making an outgoing international call from Bergen, the format for dialing would be 00 [country code] [number].

In case of an emergency, the police contact number is 112, ambulance 113 and fire 111. Telephone information for numbers inside Norway is 180 and for international numbers 181.

Tourist Information Office

The tourist information office is centrally located on Bryggen. The multi-lingual staff of the tourist information office is especially chosen to be of service to you. They can help you with:

  • Finding accommodation in hotels or guest houses.
  • Changing foreign currency
  • Providing booklets and maps. There is also a video of Bergen and the fjords available.
  • Providing free leaflets and information about places and current events.
  • Selling tickets for sightseeing by bus or boat in and around Bergen and the fjords.
  • Providing luggage deposit and coin operated telephones.


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