As our homie, Lao Tzu once said “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step“. This will be our first step to being your guide in Bergen, Norway. Let’s talk apps. The following will make your life easier when you arrive.We will try to break them down in separate categories. Link everything because we know you are lazy (aren’t we all). The status quo in Bergen are Apple products so we will be doing iOS App recommendations but 99% of these, I believe are also available on other platforms. Just do a quick search for them (sorry lazy ones). These are all free apps btw.
Yr.no is the national weather forecast source of Norway (also available in English) so you might want to start with this one, though the weather in Bergen doesn’t always check their predictions so usually* there are discrepancies but can be used as a rough reference. On a side-note, only tourists use umbrellas. Bergeners use raincoats or just their regular clothes. Their tolerance to the elements is higher. In some cases you will wonder if they have internal organs at all, because in certain situations regular folks would freeze to death, but not the locals. I guess weather forges people 🙂 They say there is no bad weather only inappropriate clothing (and that is probably why they travel so often to warm climate countries and act like lizards whenever the sun shines for a split second).
Another one would be Forecast.io. I like this one because of the smooth weather forecast radar.
Weather Underground would be my favorite one tho’. It encompasses everything. Nice clean, informative interface but you need to pay for it if you want it to be ad free. Still…
Google translate It might also be a good idea to have this on your phone if you don’t speak Norwegian, nor English or if you just don’t feel like relying on others. Especially since Google introduced their instant translation feature via the camera that enables you to just point your camera towards a text that doesn’t make any sense and see the translated result, live on your screen. Scifi like.
Duolingo if you plan on staying longer or you just want to learn a thing or two and impress locals with your overwhelming grey matter capabilities.
XE currency converter is a nice, free, reliable solution to help you with your currency conversion needs. Be advised. There is nothing wrong with the rates. Things are just really expensive here.
Speaking of expenses, I’d keep track of them with an app called Daily Cost. Nice and clean.
SPV, SpareBanken Vest the country’s second oldest bank. Its predecessor, Bergens Sparebank, was established in 1823. The main offices lie in Bergen. Their website does not currently have an English version (but google translate is your friend) but speaking from personal experience this would be the bank to go for if you want to open a bank account here. As a previous customer of DNB, speaking from personal experience, a really-really bad one, with an emphasis on bad, alltho’ their website is more polished and somewhat more user friendly plus it has an English version, I would seriously advise against it, but of course the choice is up to you. It is also good to know that there is a limit regarding the amount of currency you can exchange in Norway per day at Norwegian banks. I’m not up to date with the exact number. Also cash is not cool, it is so yesterday. Everybody uses their credit/debit cards here. Comfort, comfort, comfort. I can’t even recall the last time I had or used cash since we moved here and we are not missing it one bit. So SPV ‘yay, DNB ‘nay.
We’ll assume you will likely be using public transportation at least in the beginning so we’ll start with those.
Skyss is the public authority that plans, purchases and markets the public transport services governed by the county authority in Hordaland, Norway. They offer 3 separate apps. This red one, Skyss Bilett, Skyss Reise is the grey one and Skyss Reiseplanlegger, the black one. Skyss is also responsible for the light rail, bus and boat even. Tide is handling the buses. Norled responsible for boat and ferry transport but back to this app. You can use it to buy tickets that you can use on these public transport services (this way is greener and cheaper compared to buying the printed on paper oldschool way). It is much more comfortable to just use the app. A short overview of how tickets work here. The city and county is chopped up in Zones. Your ticket can be valid for one zone or multiple zones. The regular Bergen zone ticket type should have you covered. They are valid around 87 minutes if memory serves well. You can use and exploit your ticket with any means of transport in any directions with unlimited switches within this time frame aka until your ticket expires in the zone it is valid for.
Skyss Reiseplanlegger tries to help you with planning your trip. You can search for bus stations near to your current location. Input your desired destination, see a map of the route you’ll take and so on. It can be a bit overwhelming for newcomers.
Norwegian is there to serve your air travel needs. They offer good prices. It is the third largest low-cost carrier in Europe, the second-largest airline in Scandinavia, and the ninth-largest airline in Europe in terms of passenger numbers.Their app is also very Scandinavian, in a good way. If you arrive by plane you’ll probably be greeted at the exit by the airport express coach Flybussen bus fleet that takes you in the city center.
In case you need a taxi, Bergen Taxi aka 07000 is the most prestigious one. Alternatives would be Norges Taxi or Taxi1. This is also a tip for people staying longer who need to use a car but don’t want to buy one. There is a non-profit organization running by the name Bildeleringen. They have a well equipped car fleet. You can rent any type of car you need. You just need a small city car for a couple of hours. Fine, just rent a small fuel sipping or electric vehicle from them. You need to move, they got you covered. Rent a transit that can fit a lot of stuff. The terms and conditions are available on their website. Just wanted to let you know about this service.
Google maps is also a must have.
Ut.no is a handy app to have if you plan on hiking. Provides you with all sorts of information about hiking trails. Photos, duration, elevation and so on.
Finn is Norway’s flea market and so much more. It will probably satisfy all your second hand item shopping needs. Ranging from for example finding a place to rent, all the way to buying an apartment or a car, boat, furniture, electronics, job postings or plumbers for hire. You get the idea. Everyone in Norway uses this website. Don’t be a stranger.
Prisjakt is a good place to check the trends and prices across multiple vendors, before lets say you decide to spend your money on something. Misc: Now the following ones might not be relevant (and are in no particular order) if you are just passing trough as a tourist, but if you stay longer it helps to know about them.
If you get a call and you want to find out who the hell it was, turn to this website called 180.no. Punch in the cell number and it will probably list the name, address and supplemental info about the caller.
Cell providers. Again, this is also just personal experience. Go with Telenor. They might be a bit on the more expensive side but they have great coverage and customer service. Don’t cheapskate your way into horrible customer service / phone service and shitty coverage with for example with Chess. I gotta’ give it to them their marketing team is talented but everything else is thumbs down.
Ikea also provides you with an app. Handy when lets say the price of an item is not displayed. You can just scan the code on the item and it will give you the price and a detailed description.
Digipost is your digital mail system. Wasting resources like paper in Norway is a no-no. For example. Shops and service providers tax you if you choose to go with printed invoices. If you choose to receive them electronically (electricity bill for example) on the other hand it costs 0 nok. Smart. Cool. Green.
The national postal service is called Posten (also available in English). People use it. It works. They even have an app, see?! Postal offices around the world, learn from these guys! You can track your stuff, sent or the ones on their way to you. You get notifications when packages arrive. Just show the screen to pick them up. I could go on. The Norwegian postal service is really nice.
God forbid you ever get sick or have a health issue and you need a medic, you can ask for an appointment via this app. Pretty awesome. No uncomfortable phone calls. Just tippidy-tap-tap. Comfy. On a side note, contrary to the postal service the healthcare system is the exact opposite. Not from an IT point of view but from a “care” point of view. Whatever you do, do not get sick while you are in Norway. You’ve been warned… or just have some Paracet with you. That’s how they handle 90% of the cases anyhows. We just saved you from a good couple of hours of waiting in line in pain.
Ok. So you couldn’t avoid it and the doc’ patched you up. You can use this app called Pasientsky to check your prescriptions, future consultation dates, diagnoses.
So as you can see, the system from this point of view is pretty sleek. No standing in line, no wasting time or resources. All you need is your mobile. There are other services that offer apps to make your life easier but they are either pretty useless, I mean only have a single function you could access via a browser on your mobile or it is just easier to use a computer to access them. A good example would be the Norwegian public reporting portal, Altinn.no. For tourists or newcomers these are more than enough. Last but not least for capturing and developing memories here’s two that might be considered off topic.Snapseed. A nice photo editing app. Free. Sleek. I think it will suit 99.9% of your needs.
A fun little app (the only payed app in this list) that brings a little taste of film photography to your fruitphone. Loads of film emulation presets and here’s the catch, you have to shoot the whole roll of film before you see the photos. You can not review them after each frame you shoot. You have to expose the whole “roll”, select the keepers from a contact sheet and “develop” them. Really fun. 🙂
Safe travels and happy downloading! 🙂
*All the time!
I was not payed by any of the before mentioned companies for advertising. Just wanted to state that for the record.
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