The Floibanen funicular offers a quick and easy way to access some brilliant views of the city of Bergen from a purpose built viewing platform atop Mount Fløyen. While the mountain has lots of hiking trails and offers some great opportunities for scenic and rewarding walks, you may not have the time or the energy to spend on getting to the top, in which case the funicular is at your service.
The idea of a funicular here was mooted as early as 1895 but work didn't start until 1914 though this was inevitably delayed due to the war and it finally opened in January 1918. New carriages were installed in the 1950s - one red and one blue - this tradition of one red and one blue carriage is still upheld today. In 2002 the most major renovations were carried out and the whole system was overhauled, including new carraiges, new rails, modernised stations and installation of electronic barriers. The red carriage is named Rødhette and the blue one is Blåmann - apparently these names were chosen by a competition open to the public.
The lower station is just a few footsteps from the fish market. There is no need to book in advance, simply turn up and buy your ticket from the kiosk. The service is regular; it doesn't just take tourists up to the top as there are several stations along the way as there are houses on the mountain and you see plenty of locals riding the funicular armed with their shopping bags. However, not all services are stopping ones so you should check if you want to go anywhere other than the top.
The journey takes about five minutes and you are noiselessy whisked towards the summit in one of two ultra modern carriages. Each carriage holds up to eighty people and the interior has been well-designed in order to give great views and to make sure everyone can enjoy the view. In other words, you don't have to be at the front of the carriage to be able to see the views as you ascend. It is a single track most of the way with one stretch between Fjellveien and Skansemyren where the carraiges can pass each other.
Pushchairs and wheelchairs are welcome on the funicular and bicycles may be taken between October and March. If you have mobility problems or you do have young children in pushchairs you should know that this is the only way to reach the summit as cars are not allowed to the top of Fløyen.
Why go to Mount Fløyen anyway? Quite simply this is the best place in Bergen to get a handle on the geography. From here you can appreciate how the fjords and the islands lie in comparison to the main landmass and you can see all the way to the sea and on a clear day. Fear not if you haven't brought your binoculars, there are some on the viewing platform to help you get an even better view.
Next to the upper station there is a souvenir shops that also sells snacks (such as hot dogs), soft drinks and ices. I'm not really a souvenir buyer but we wanted a Norwegian flag to add to our collection and we found the prices here were way cheaper than in the city, for example the stalls in the fish market.
There is also a restaurant and cafe that has a pleasant terrace; this place is open every day from mid-May to the end of August. During the remainder of the year, the cafeteria is open every Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 - 17:00. We didn't visit it so I can't comment more than this.
Nearby is an adventure playground for children, the highlight of which is a fantastic troll the kids can climb.
As it was quite wet when we visited we avoided the trails but maps can be obtained showing the trails and these maps also show the locations of six picnic cabins on the mountain you can use free of charge. Elsewhere there are outdoor picnic sites and stone barbecues which are well maintained.
Adults single/return 35NOK/70NOK
Children under 4 travel free, older children get a discount.
Timetables vary depending on the time of year but details can be obtained from