Expats moving to Bergen will likely place finding a home at the top of their priority list. Accommodation in Bergen is varied and includes everything from traditional wooden houses to modern luxury apartments.
Bergen is divided into eight boroughs and while public transport in the city is generally excellent, the borough expats decide to live in will determine the ease of their commute. Expat parents will also need to base themselves close to the school of their choice, as placements are offered based on catchment areas.
Types of accommodation in Bergen
Bergen is home to one of Europe’s largest collections of preserved wooden houses, and these are popular among families. With six universities located throughout the city, shared housing is one of the most popular types of accommodation in Bergen. Apartments and townhouses are also firm favourites among single expats, small families and young professionals. Expat families are also catered for with detached family homes that boast lush gardens and proximity to some of the city's best attractions.
Areas and suburbs in Bergen
Thanks to Bergen's stunning natural surroundings, expats are guaranteed a picturesque neighbourhood regardless of where they decide to live. The central areas such as Bryggen, Skostredet and Sentrum are popular among young professionals, students and single expats. Getting around in these suburbs is a breeze thanks to the reliable transport links and walkable city centre.
As is the case in most Norwegian cities, Bergen is designed with families in mind. Family-friendly neighbourhoods such as Nordnes, Fyllingsdalen and Bønes not only offer easy access to Bergen’s gorgeous natural landscape but also have efficient public transport.
See the page on Areas and Suburbs in Bergen for more detail on the best areas to live in the city.
Renting accommodation in Bergen
The rental market in Bergen is notoriously competitive, and expats will have to act fast once they find their dream home. The best place to start the search for accommodation is online, websites such as Finn.no and Sammen.no host a plethora of private accommodation and student housing listings. New arrivals will need to have all their paperwork in order and have three months’ worth of rent as a security deposit to secure a lease agreement.
See the page on Norway Accommodation for full details on the rental process in Norway.
Utilities in Bergen
Expats renting accommodation in Bergen are usually responsible for utilities, which generally includes water, electricity, internet and cable (unless the lease specifies otherwise). New arrivals should thoroughly read their rental agreement to avoid incurring unfair or unnecessary charges, as utility costs in Bergen can be fairly high.
Norway is divided into five energy zones, meaning electricity costs vary throughout the country. Fortunately, the electricity market is open, so users can choose between several providers and plans to guarantee themselves the best possible rate. Utilities will typically be connected when tenants move in and expats can easily transfer the account into their name by providing their chosen electricity supplier with their identification documents, address and meter point ID.
Bergen’s tap water is supplied by Bergen Waterworks and is sourced from five lakes located just outside the city. The tap water is generally clean and safe to drink by global standards. Expats can choose between metered or stipulated water charges in Bergen, and these are paid annually. The invoice typically includes the subscription fee, which is based on the size of the property, and the consumption fee, which is determined by how much water a household uses.
Bins and recycling
Bergen has won multiple awards for its recycling and sustainability initiatives, so expats moving to the city will need to quickly acquaint themselves with waste collection and recycling practices in the city. BIR is responsible for waste management in Bergen and has both waste collection and delivery services available to the city’s residents. There are 11 recycling stations throughout the city where residents can drop off residual, hazardous, paper and glass waste.
Bins with green lids are typically for residual waste, while plastic packaging must be placed in the BIR’s recycling bags, which are available at local supermarkets. All other waste should be delivered to collection points at petrol stations or to one of the city’s recycling stations.
See the Norway Accommodation page for more detail on utilities, waste and recycling in the country.
►Getting Around in Bergen provides info on public transport in the city
"I don’t have the greatest wealth of knowledge about accommodation in Bergen, as I have only lived in student accommodation (which was OK) and with my partner's parents (which was fantastic). A lot of the older houses are beautiful traditional wooden buildings with multiple floors, but there are also a lot of apartments ranging in size and price."
Learn more about living in Bergen in our interview with British expat Selina.
Are you an expat living in Bergen?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Bergen. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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