Shopping in Bergen
Bergen has long been a trading town and its shops range from the small and specialised to large department stores. Visitors should not expect too many bargains, however, as Norway is a notoriously expensive country, and prices are high (although depending on where you're travelling from, tax can be refunded upon departure).
The pedestrianised streets of Gamle Strandgaten, Marken and Torgallmenningen have shops selling everything from trolls to antiques, handicrafts to Norwegian sweaters and ceramics to silver jewellery. Husfliden, in Vågsallmenningen, is one of the leading gift shops.
Torget, the famous fish market by the harbour, is open Monday to Friday 0700-1600 and Saturday 0700-1500 (Thursday until 1900 in the summer). Kjøttbasaren, Bergen's restored meat market, dating back to 1887, is the city's epicurean centre, with various places to eat and nine delicatessens. It's located on Vetrlidsalmenning 2.
The city has four major department stores. At Galleriet, on Torgallmenningen square, 70 shops and restaurants offer a wide choice of goods and menus at all price levels, while live music, entertainment and exhibitions are staged on the fifth floor. Bergen Storsenter, on Strømgaten, is the largest in the city centre. Kløverhuset, on Strandgaten, offers more distinctive shops, whilst Lagunen Storesenter, on Laguneveien, is one of the largest malls in the country.
Normal shopping hours are weekdays 0900-1630 and Saturdays 0900-1500, although some shops stay open later (until around 1900) on Thursdays. During December, many shops also open on Sundays. Late-opening shopping centres include Bergen Storsenter, Kløverhuset and Galleriet, which are open weekdays until 2000 and Saturdays until 1800.
Handmade sweaters, trolls, silverware, pewter, bunads (traditional Norweigan costumes), Christmas-inspired gifts, outdoor clothing, Nordic caviar, Viking souvenirs, art and antiques are just some of the popular gifts purchases in Bergen.
VAT, known as merverdiavgift (MVA) or moms in Norway, is currently charged at 25% and is included in all retail prices (a reduced rate of 14% applies to food items). Many shops in Bergen offer VAT refunds for overseas visitors, of up to 50%. To claim a refund, visitors need to collect a form from the shop at the time of purchase then submit this either at the tax refund office in the airport or at the bureau de change on the ferry.