Mount Ulriken is one of the seven mountains surrounding Bergen, Norway, and as a local living at the base of the mountain, I thought I’d share my ultimate Ulriken hiking guide. Including my best local tips!
If you are visiting western Norway, and more specifically Bergen, you are probably aware that the city is known as the “city in between the 7 mountains”. The 7 mountains surrounding Bergen are all popular hikes, and one of the most popular is Mount Ulriken. Perhaps after Mount Fløyen.
The Ulriken mountain is the highest of the 7 mountains in Bergen, and offers spectacular views of the city and surroundings. If you are considering a great hike when you are visiting Bergen, I strongly recommend you add Mount Ulriken to your list! Or, as locals call it, just Ulriken.
I live in Bergen, and am lucky enough to have Mount Ulriken and other popular city hikes at my door step. To do the Ulriken hike (or even to reach the Ulriken cable car, which I’ll tell you more about later), I simply have to leave my apartment and start walking.
However, in this post, I’ll include instructions as to how to get to the start of the hike from the city center of Bergen. Consider this your one-stop guide to hiking the Ulriken mountain!
Read this too: How to get from Bergen airport to the city center.
Table of Contents
Quick Bergen Travel Guide
Where to stay: Hotel Norge is a centrally located, higher-end hotel that is perfect for any traveler – and my favorite. If you are looking for something in the historic city center, Clarion Havnekontoret is just a stone’s throw from the UNESCO-listed Bryggen. For something more budget-friendly, CityBox and Moxy are great alternatives!
Where to eat: I have so many favourite restaurants in Bergen, and have covered them all in this guide. Don’t miss Bryggeloftet (traditional, Norwegian), Poca Madre (Mexican), Boccone (Italian) and JAJA (International Street Food).
Top activities and tours in Bergen:
- Mostraumen Fjord Cruise from Bergen (check out the best fjord cruises from Bergen in this guide)
- Seeing the UNESCO listed Bryggen (on your own or on a walking tour)
- Viking ship fjord cruise
- Hiking or taking the funicular up Mount Fløyen
- Going on a day trip to Flåm and the Nærøyfjord
Packing for Bergen: My golden rule when packing and dressing for any destination in Norway is layers. Layers, layers, layers – and Bergen is no different. Additionally, Bergen can be quite a rainy city, so a waterproof jacket such as this one is ideal. Good shoes for walking around the city is a must too (the city is very walkable).
Getting to Bergen: I have covered how to get from the airport to the city center in detail here.
Getting Around: Skyss is the official public transportation system in Bergen. Download the app Skyss Billett (ticket) to have tickets on your phone.
Mount Ulriken: Must-Knows before you go
Before we go over what the Ulriken hike is like, and cover the trails you get to choose from, there are a few facts you should know. Ulriken is the highest mountain of the Bergen “city mountains”, and the top is at 643 metres above sea level.
Since Bergen city is at sea level, that’s quite a climb ahead!
The hike starts from just behind the Haukeland hospital. This is the biggest hospital in Bergen.
From this spot, at the start of the hike, you still have about 440 height metres to climb. So, if you are heading to the hospital by bus or car (there is a parking lot at the base of the Ulriken hike), you’ll be glad to hear that you have skipped the first few hundred height metres. If you start the hike from the center of Bergen, you’ll have to climb all 643 metres (albeit the first 200 along paved roads). This is what I usually do.
Near Haukeland is also where you will find the base station of the Ulriken Cable Car.
I’ll cover more details about the Ulriken Cable Car below.
Quick facts about Mount Ulriken and the hike
- Height above sea level: 643 metres
- Length of hike: 1,8-3,3 km (depending on which route you take)
- Sherpa steps: 1500 steps (approximately 0,8km)
- Hike Time: 1-2 hours one way
Read more: great hikes in Norway for your bucket list!
How to get to the start of the Ulriken hike
As mentioned, the hike starts by Haukeland hospital. You can either walk there, take a public bus (cheap and efficient), or go with a shuttle bus.
The area is called Montana, and this is also the name of the bus stop if you are traveling by public transport.
Simply take bus number 12 from the center of Bergen (Byparken) to Montana. From there, head towards Montana Hostel (“Vandrerhjem” in Norwegian). Walk up Johan Blytts Vei past both the Hostel and a type of power station.
At the end of this road, you’ll find signs to Ulriken (and other hikes in the area) and a parking lot across from an outdoor workout area.
It is also possible to drive up here and park at the parking lot (the parking is free, but first come first serve).
Last but not least, in the summer season it is possible to travel to the base of the hike (and the cable car) by shuttle bus. Ulriken Cable Car has a shuttle bus leaving the city center regularly in the high season. It stops just near the fish market and tourist information in Bergen, and takes you to the cable car base station.
Once you get to the end of Johan Blytts Vei, where the trail head starts, you have covered the first 200 height meters! However, this is also when the proper hike begins.
Mount Ulriken Hike
There are several routes to get to the top of Ulriken mountain. The Sherpa stairs are the most popular, and it is one of the routes I’ll be covering in this guide.
Another option, that takes you along the side of the mountain and back down, is longer and less steep. I’ll also cover that one, and have highlighted both options in the map below.
The red X is the start (the above mentioned Johan Blytts Vei). This is where you choose if you want to take the trail to the right or left. The left trail is steep, and goes straight up the mountain (below the Ulriken Cable Car). You can see it as a thin, dotted line in green on the map below.
In order to take either of the routes I recommend (the red and blue lines), you need take a right here.
The red line in the Ulriken hike map below takes you up the Sherpa stairs. I usually take the stairs to the top, and sometimes the longer way back down, which is a great choice.
The blue line shows the longer way around. Where the roads meet is a place called Steinen (a meeting point/resting spot). From here, the Sherpa steps is 0,8 kilometres to the top, whilst the longer trail is 2,4 kilometres.
Sherpa Stairs in Norway
For those curious about why I am calling the stairs “Sherpa Steps” or “Sherpa Stairs”, there’s quite an interesting history behind this.
You’ll find Sherpa stairs all over Norway (over 200 in total, I’ve heard), as a popular way to make worn hiking trails accessible again. From Tromsø and Lofoten to Flåm and Stavanger, if you go hiking you’ll find that Sherpa steps are a part of the trail.
Basically, in many areas of Norway, the local hiking associations will spend money to bring Sherpas from Nepal to Norway for a summer (or several). During their time here, they build stone steps on hiking trails that are over-run or starting to get dangerous.
It’s a really great collaboration between the two countries. The Sherpas have skills we do not, and in return they get paid Norwegian wages for their services. I have been told that they often put some of this money towards their communities, in order to improve schools, hospitals and other public projects.
How was the hike? (Ulriken Hike Youtube Video)
All in all, the Ulriken hike is great! I’ll admit I wanted to turn around a couple of times while climbing the steps my first time. But when I made it to the top I couldn’t have been happier.
Several of the hills leading up to Steinen (where the trail splits and you can opt for the stairs or the longer route) were quite steep, but luckily the hike up to that point isn’t too long.
So, the Ulriken hike is perfect for most people, as you can choose the path of least resistance for you and your travel buddies!
Of course, you can also take your sweet time when hiking, to make it even easier.
In the video below you’ll see the Sherpa steps on the way up, and the longer trail back down. We hiked to Ulriken on a beautiful day in September – and there were quite a few people around (but not too many for it to be enjoyable).
The trail itself is quite rocky, and the hike as such is great for your ankles and balance. You have to pay attention as you walk (especially back down), as there are several big rocks you walk across, some more loose than others.
This is especially on the longer route (the 2,4km trail from Steinen). The Sherpa steps are, naturally, steps/stairs, and easy to walk on.
Ulriken Cable Car
The Ulriken Cable Car is a great way to visit Mount Ulriken for anyone who doesn’t quite feel like hiking, and for anyone who wants an exciting adventure. The Cable Car starts at the bottom of the mountain, very close to where the trail itself starts, and takes you up to the top of the mountain in less than 10 minutes (7, to be exact).
My recommendation is to hike one way and take the Cable Car the other! If you are heading up Ulriken in the winter (for example in hopes to see the Northern Lights in Bergen), I recommend the cable car both ways.
That way you get a perfect mix of hiking and relaxation, and you still get to enjoy the incredible views from the top. There is a restaurant at the top station where you can grab a drink or a snack, so even if you don’t want to hike it is worth the trip with just the cable car.
This is just one of many great restaurants in the city. Read my complete guide to Bergen restaurants here!
Ulriken Mountain FAQ
I won’t lie, it was pretty hard. But the Sherpa steps route takes a lot less time than around, so if you prefer ripping the bandaid off and just getting to the top, go for it. And when you get to the top of the mountain and see the view, you’ll forget all about the burning in your thighs!
Sherpa steps are big stairs made out of rocks, by specially trained Sherpas from Nepal. The Sherpas who built the steps at Ulriken (“Oppstemten”) came in 2016 and spent 2-3 years on the steps. I believe there were just 4 of them, according to this news article (in Norwegian).
Oppstemten is the name given to the Sherpa stairs along the Ulriken Hike. So if you opt for the stairs when hiking Mount Ulriken, Bergen, you are technically also hiking Oppstemten!
Yes! There is a restaurant at the top, called Skyskraperen (the sky scraper), serving “local and traditional food with a modern twist”. Read more and make reservations here.
Yes, with the Bergen Card!
The hike to the top takes anywhere from 1 to 2 hours. There are people that run up the steps in just 40 minutes, and families who take their time and set aside 2 hours to hike Mt Ulriken. I would plan for 3-4 hours in total, depending on which way you take back down (the longer way back down takes almost as long as hiking the steps up).
The trail is 3,3 kilometres, which is about 2 miles.
There are three ways to get to Mount Ulriken from Bergen; by public bus, by walking, or by shuttle bus.
To get to the Mt Ulriken Cable Car, simply take the Ulriken Express shuttle bus from the fish market, or bus number 12 from the city center to Montana.
Mount Ulriken Bergen is 643 meters above sea level.
Mount Ulriken Final Advice
There you have my guide to hiking Mount Ulriken, Bergen! I hope you have enjoyed it, and that you liked the video! My final advice for anyone visiting Norway and wanting to do this hike is to dress for a proper hike (especially if you are hiking both ways and not taking the cable car), and to bring a change of clothes for the top.
Changing into a dry sweater or t-shirt after a sweaty hike is the best, and I always do this so I don’t have to walk back down in a wet top. It also keeps you from getting cold, as it can be quite windy at the top.
Another tip is to download the compass app for your phone (or similar). As you can see in the video above, I use it to check how far I have climbed (and how far I have left). Getting an idea of how high above sea level you are can help with motivation when the stairs are killing you, haha! Also; never hike without these blister cushions!
- Great hikes in Norway for your bucket list
- How to get from Bergen to Flåm, Norway
- Tours in Bergen not to miss
- How to get from Bergen airport to the city center
- My Ultimate Norway Travel Guide
- 1-day Bergen itinerary
- 2-day Bergen itinerary
- The ultimate guide to planning a trip to Norway
- 44 Great Things to do in Bergen