Star Designer T-Michael: "My top tips for Bergen"
Designer T-Michael enjoys great success in the world's fashion capitals. He adores Bergen and shares his insider tips for visits to the capital of Western Norway.
The Hanseatic city, the Gateway to the Fjords, the city between the seven mountains – beloved children have many names, and Bergen is no exception.
With easy access to everything from nature and cultural experiences to nightlife and fantastic restaurants, Norway's second city is an excellent destination for a weekend getaway.
Or a good starting point for exploring the west coast with its glaciers and narrow fjord landscapes.
Ghanaian-born designer Michael T. Nartey, better known as T-Michael, has lived in Bergen for over 35 years.
Despite a busy life with extensive travel, he always returns to the narrow alleyways and charming wooden buildings.
"What I think is so great about Bergen is that it's a small city, but there's still so much happening here year-round. You have a vibrant cultural scene with loads of concerts and festivals. You have the mountains; you have the sea. It's a perfect place to live, especially for someone like me, who travels a lot but can always come back. I love Bergen," the designer tells Strawberry.
With this in mind, T-Michael shares his best Bergen tips with us:
Between the harbour, Vågen, and Puddefjorden, a fjord arm, you'll find the charming neighbourhood of Nordnes, situated on a peninsula. With its winding alleyways, shops and cafés, it's an excellent starting point for experiencing the real Bergen. There are several small, beautiful parks where you can enjoy both a coffee and the view. It's also here in Nordnes that you'll find the world-famous Aquarium and the penguins of Bergen.
Among the traditional wooden houses of Nordnes, the city's long history is embedded in the walls, in what was once Norway's capital, which many local patriots believe it should still be.
"The neighbourhood is absolutely fantastic. With its small houses and narrow streets, Nordnes gives you a feeling of old Bergen. It's truly special. My tip is to simply walk around the neighbourhood and then continue across the bridge to the Damsgård neighbourhood. This way, you'll see a side of the city that many tourists miss when visiting. Most people focus on the Bryggen wharf and the surrounding area. But Nordnes is really cool and completely unique," says T-Michael.
Like the rest of Norway, Bergen has undergone a remarkable culinary journey in recent years. Bergeners are proud of their food traditions, and there's no shortage of restaurants offering traditional cuisine. With a long history as a European trading port, it's no surprise that international influences can be found in the city. From Asian cuisine to Michelin-starred restaurants, here are some of T-Michael's favourites:
"There are several great restaurants in Bergen. Banzha is fantastic and is a collaboration between chef Christopher Haatuft and food blogger Michelle Zhao."
"In addition, I can recommend Bare Restaurant. It's Bergen's first Michelin-starred restaurant. I often visit these two places," says the designer.
"A hidden gem is Sze Chuan House, just opposite Korskirken. Very good food at a reasonable price," says T-Michael.
"In addition, there are several places serving local and traditional Bergen cuisine. Bien Basar is a place I really like, showcasing Bergen traditions in an exciting way."
"If you want proper seafood and a unique experience, Restaurant Cornelius on Holmen is definitely worth checking out."
Stay here: Boutique hotel, Hotel NO 13, is located in the centre of Bergen, just a few minutes' walk from Banzha.
Besides T-Michael's own flagship store in Chr. Michelsens gate 1, Norwegian Rain & T-Michael, there are several good shopping opportunities in Bergen city centre.
"I mostly wear my own clothes, but if I were to recommend another clothing store in Bergen, I would mention Lot 333. They have several brands that you won't find anywhere else in the city, and it's well worth a visit," he says.
"There's also a shop in the Galleriet shopping centre, Delicatessen, which sells a range of Italian, French, and other European delicacies. It's really lovely."
Stay here: Bergen city centre is compact and easy to navigate, but it would be hard to find a more central location than Hotel Oleana. Here, you are close to Norwegian Rain's flagship store and even more of T-Michael's shopping favourites.
With the sea and mountains as its closest neighbours, it's perhaps no surprise that Bergen is the perfect starting point if you want to combine city and the outdoors. Just a 10-15-minute walk from the city centre, takes you to the doorstep of some fantastic nature experiences.
With its proximity to the sea, there are also several swimming experiences within reach. Check out Nordnes Sjøbad if you need a refreshing dip in its outdoor heated pool and sauna.
"There are so many great nature experiences in Bergen, and many that are close to the city centre. A trip up to Ulriken mountain is something everyone visiting Bergen should experience, I believe. You can, for example, take the Fløibanen funicular up Mount Fløien and then hike to Ulriken. It's a bit of a long distance, but a fantastic hike," says T-Michael.
Stay here: If you are dreaming of soft beds and a fantastic breakfast after a long evening hike in the mountains, book yourself into Clarion Collection® Hotel Havnekontoret. It's close to many of Bergen's most famous attractions.