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Bergen Fish Market Tips?

Heading to Norway soon, including Bergen. We definitely want to see the fish market, but is there any food worth paying for? Or should we just do a Costco-style sample tasting tour? I've read mixed reviews regarding prices - the market is either "reasonable and well worth the money" or "an exorbitantly priced tourist trap" depending on whom you ask. I'd hate to be so tempted by some delicious-looking crab legs that I'm suddenly out $50.


P.S. I searched these forums and didn't find anything less than a few years old, so I hope it's OK that I've brought up the question again.

Posted by
3336 posts

I've been to the fish market in Bergen twice...once back in 1984 and once just last summer.
In 1984 it was still a fairly authentic waterfront fish market, with fishermen hauling their catches right off their boats and selling it out of plastic bins right on the dock. I ate fresh shrimp that I watched being pulled out of the hold of a boat...about as fresh as it gets!
Last summer I was a bit son and I paid $50 for fish and chips. It was good but come on! The stalls are interesting to look at to see the kinds of fish and other seafood that are sold since they are unique to the sea in that region but it's quite "touristicated" now. Refrigerated cases, souvenirs, postcards, and the like. It's fine but not what it used to be. I'm sure everything is fresh but it's just all too neatly tied up in a bow for me.
Bergen is just a very touristy place now.

Posted by
1462 posts

I was just there last week.

I ate twice at the fish market. The food I had was delicious and exorbitantly expensive. But restaurant food in general in Norway is exorbitantly expensive. It's just a reality about traveling to Norway you either have to accept or be constantly frustrated by. You can economize by buying groceries for some meals instead of eating in restaurants, but grocery stores are expensive too.

A lot of tourists visit Bergen, and the fish market absolutely caters to them. Does that mean you should avoid it? No! It's a huge and delightful part of the experience of being there.

Ask them what's fresh, and ask them the price ahead of time.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks everyone!

Lane - what did you have? I'd love to know what you recommend. And I'm hoping to save a teeny tiny bit by bringing snacks from the US. I want to make sure I'm spending the money on experiencing the culture (including the food) and not because I'm hangry. :)

I'm SO excited! Just a couple more days!!!

Posted by
5784 posts

RE "snacks" and saving money on lunches.

Eat a big Norwegian breakfast and you can make it through the day with a light lunch or snack. Our hotels have come with quarter board, buffet breakfast included. (In the mountains we take full board and pack sandwiches made from the breakfast table).

Some consider the Norwegian Pølse (hot dog) the fast food of Norway. But my favorite daytime snack is the Norwegian waffle served topped with cream and berry jam. And when I'm feeling rich, a cup of coffee with the waffle.

Posted by
4 posts

Edgar - a waffle sounds amazing!!

Also, very glad to hear that the hotel breakfasts are substantial enough to tide one over. I was pleased to learn that most hotels come with free breakfast. I know my husband will be interested in trying Norwegian coffee, which I've heard is exceptional.

Already getting hungry thinking about those waffles...

Posted by
5784 posts

And some Norwegians add "brown cheese":

Brown cheese:

Norway’s national diet harks back to its days as a poor country, with
a focus on preserving fish and meats in salt, lots of potatoes and
simple sauces

Norwegians (pre-North Sea oil) were so poor a sandwich only includes one slice of bread. If you take two pieces of bread to make your mid-day sandwich American style, you will be charged for two sandwiches.

Posted by
1462 posts

I had a mixed seafood skewer that included several kinds of fish and shrimp. And I had halibut. And I had one of those $50 king crab legs. So good. You can believe I savored every bite!

Posted by
50 posts

The fish market was so fun to wander. We did eat lunch there and I can't recall the pricing. The first night we were in Oslo we did the exchange for how much we spent, were a little sticker shocked and decided to just stop it and enjoy. Best seafood I have ever eaten and I live in the Pacific Northwest! We also did the huge breakfasts at the hotel so that we didn't need to eat much during the day, and the food was delicious! Norway is expensive so plan accordingly.

Posted by
1656 posts

This may be too late - but I was in Bergen in late May and the fish market wasn't much to see and pretty much filled with cruise ship folks. Prices were quite high, but the quality looked good. If you're in to seafood, it may be worth the splurge.

FWIW, we loved our dinner in the basement bar at Naboen . Reasonable prices for Bergen and great beer, including one called "Oregonian" brewed by a guy who learned how to make beer in my lovely home state.