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A brief review of my 2-week trip to Norway

A brief review of my 2-week trip to Norway

Old Sep 14th, 2015, 10:50 AM
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A brief review of my 2-week trip to Norway

I am a solo traveler who went to Norway for 2 weeks, arriving Aug. 28th and departing Sept 10th, 2015. I had never been to Scandanavia and I love to hike in mountains - these were the reasons for the trip. This time period is a bit past peak tourist season - one of the reasons I chose to go then, since the flights and hotels were cheaper and there were fewer crowds. The weather was not much different than a few weeks earlier in August. Most days the highs were in the 60s, but a few days in Bergen the highs must have been in the low 70s. Alesund was much cooler - with highs most days in the upper 50s and more rain.

Oslo - I stayed in Oslo for 2 nights upon arrival from the states. It is very easy to get from the airport to downtown Oslo by train, and the train station is in the heart of Oslo. Oslo is a great city and excellent for exploring by foot. I walked 14.67 miles my full day there, according to my Fitbit. Karl Johans Gate is the main street running from the train station to the Royal Palace - there are lots of shops and restaurants with outdoor seating, which is perfect for people watching. The Opera House is stunning and right by the train station. The harbor is also great, with lots of options for boat trips to islands. I stayed at the Scandic Byporten, which is adjacent to the train station and was very nice. I would recommend it, although it seems to be much more expensive on weekdays versus weekend nights.

Norway in a Nutshell - I bought this package to go from Oslo to Bergen. It is a very nice trip, although I didn't think the instructions for getting from one leg to the next were very clear - in fact I ended up missing the boat from Flam and in turn missed the bus to Voss. Be very careful and check all of your options. My tickets did not have any departure or arrival times between locations, which was the main problem. I had my luggage and didn't have a problem - but there is no help so you have to be able to get your luggage off and on busses and trains yourself.

Bergen - is very nice, as most posters have noted. I had a little trouble finding my way around at first - there are no nice maps of the town with the "you are here" signs. It is also a great walking town with a very nice harbor area. I took both the funicular to Mount Floyan and the cable car to Ulriken. The funicular is much nicer and cheaper, although Ulriken is a higher elevation. I intended to do a lot of hiking along the tops of the hills from each location (you can actually hike from one to the other), but found that trails were basically non-existent at Ulriken. There are just stakes that you have to find, climbing over rocks and through very marshy terrain inbetween. There are nice trails from Mount Floyan. There are facilities at both locations, which is nice. I took one 3-hour fjord boat trip from Bergen, which I really enjoyed - the scenery is stunning. I stayed at Thon Hotel Brygge Bergen, which I thought was fine. It is clearly listed as a budget hotel, which it is. It is in a great location along the harbor, was clean, comfortable and the staff were nice. I was underwhelmed by the tourist office - they were not extremely friendly or helpful. In fact, when I asked about different means of transport to Alesund, I was told that there were no ferries. When I got to Alesund, I met people who had taken an overnight ferry from Bergen to Alesund. I ended up taking a bus from Bergen to Alesund, a 10 hour journey which featured great scenery and a glimpse into all the little towns and countryside along the west coast. I really enjoyed the trip, even if it was a long day. There were no other tourists on my bus, just locals.

Alesund - was a pretty sleepy town when I was there. The tourist office was closed on weekends, but the lady there during the week was very nice. At the top of the hill above Alesund are walking trails along the ridge, which are nice, just not very long. There are nice harbor areas in town as well. One reason I went to Alesund (besides the beautiful pictures I had seen of the town) was to get to Geiranger. I took a day trip which involved several busses and one ferry to see Geiranger, which is absolutely stunning. Very much worth taking this trip, which was made easy by the bus drivers. I got the feeling there were more options during peak tourist season, which would make the trip a bit easier. I stayed at the Scandic Alesund, which was very nice. My room was great and the staff were very good, although not very knowledgeable about day trip options. I took the combination bus (2 hours) and train (6 hours) back to Oslo. A very enjoyable trip, with pretty scenery in the north section (called the Rauma Railway).

I hope this report is helpful - I looked for similar information when planning my trip.
Martha
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Old Sep 14th, 2015, 01:11 PM
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Nice report!
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Old Sep 14th, 2015, 02:55 PM
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Thanks so much for the report.. I am in process of planning a trip for next June.. we are going all over scandinavia and trying to cover a lot so not as much time in norway as one would like but plan to make the most of it.
We arrive in Oslo around 9 AM and plan to spend a long day touring and then leave the following morning for Bergen via NINutshell
WE know that will be a long way and were considering stopping somewhere midway but nothing seems all that fantastic to make it worth losing a day.. unless you saw otherwise
If we do day 2 as a NIN and then we have three more days we were doing them all in Bergen as I guess getting to Beiranger would require more time.. unless you think otherwise
My questions
is there enough to see in Bergen to warrent 3 days
What is that 3 hour boat tour you took to the fjord trip Bergen-- I am looking to do something like that as we want more time on the fjords than what the nutshell offers.
Perhaps we should skip the nutshell and go from Oslo to Geiranger (basically the opposite of what you did at the end)spend two days in Geiranger then day three down to bergen and one day in Bergen.
WHich is more worth the time Geiranger or Bergen? Thanks for any info you can share
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Old Sep 14th, 2015, 05:53 PM
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Andrew - thanks!
Barbara - The fjord trip I took from Bergen was to Mostraumen. It was really lovely, just not quite as stunning as Geiranger is. There is really nothing to do in Geiranger except enjoy the fjord at its end point. There is a small town - a really small town with a couple of hotels. Most of their business comes from large cruise ships that apparently are almost always docked there. There are many more options in Bergen, which is a great town to spend a few days in. It is definitely harder to get to Geiranger. If I were you I would check to see if there are 1-2 day trips from Bergen to Geiranger. Then you could do the Norway in a Nutshell trip to Bergen and maybe go from there to Geiranger. I found the visitbergen.com website to be pretty helpful regarding fjord trips from Bergen. Whatever route you go - you will enjoy the stunning scenery of Norway.
Martha
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Old Sep 15th, 2015, 09:17 PM
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thanks for the info I will check int out!
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Old Sep 18th, 2015, 03:29 PM
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I did the Norway In A Nutshell trip same you as last year and also found that the itinerary could have been a bit better communicated. I actually paid for it twice (I was in Norway twice in 3 months last summer) and didn't use my first ticket as I'd read online that you couldn't take any luggage with you! Good to see that you had no problems with yours and now I wish I'd tried it the first time around!
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