Alesund or Bergen

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Feb 6th, 2007, 07:53 AM
  #1
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Alesund or Bergen

My husband and I want to spend four or five days in Norway in May/June 2007. We are on a limited budget and we know that Norway is very expensive, so we planned to take a night train from Stockholm to Trondheim, and then take the Raumabanen line (train/bus)from Trondheim to Alesund, then to Balestrand, rejoin the "Nutshell" tour back towards Oslo, and then return to Copenhagen. Please advise.
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Feb 6th, 2007, 08:03 AM
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Not sure what you're after. Advice on where to stay in Ålesund AND Bergen, or do you want advice on which city to choose for overnight stays? Ålesund is charming, absolutely worth one day, Bergen minimum one night. When in Bergen, the N. with Flåm is a 'must'
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Feb 6th, 2007, 08:40 AM
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Thanks!! I meant to ask should I stay in Alesund or Bergen? Is there a ship that sails from Bergen to Alesund?
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Feb 6th, 2007, 01:13 PM
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I can't comment on the Alesund vs Bergen dilemma, but the Norway in a Nutshell tour is amazing and well worth the time. The train even stops for you to take photos of waterfalls etc (well it used to!).

Also, to correct a common urban myth, some things in Scandinavia are expensive but not everything. Alcohol is costly and comes mostly from specialist shops, but food itself not too bad pricewise. There are special 'plates of the day' in most places that are very affordable, if basic. Many museums and galleries are free, or just a nominal entry. Cabins in the fjord area can be found for reasonable prices (We stayed near Aurland on the Sognefjord). Plus the scenery/walks/biking/rafting can all be done for free or limite expense.

I assume the Hurtigrouten coastal service probably calls at both Bergen and Alesund, but is probably one of the dearer travel options.
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Feb 9th, 2007, 09:44 PM
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Personally I prefer Ålesund to Bergen as it's closer to the greate fjords of Geiranger and Hjørundfjord. If doing the itinerary as planned you get to see a lot of fjord scenery. Or take the bus to Bergen instead of Balestrand. Bergen has a lot of same to offer as Ålesund only bigger. It depends on what you are after. If having the choice of travel time I would go for June instead of May if going to Ålesund. You could take Hurtigruten coastal steamer from Ålesund to Bergen, the journey alone would cost you more than 1100NOK per person and if you want some sleep you'll have to add a cabin.
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Feb 15th, 2007, 11:45 AM
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Thanks so much for your answer! We are very intersted in seeing as much of fjord country as we can. We fly into Copenhagen May 26 and out on June 5. We are considering taking the Hurtigruten from Alesund to Bergen; apparently an inside cabin would be 2200 NOK and deck passage 1600. Is it impossible to sleep on the deck??
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Feb 15th, 2007, 12:04 PM
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I'm not sure that this helps, but the Hurtigruten is not cheap and that last leg (Alesund to Bergen) is frankly one of the least exciting. It is also difficult to book a single leg of the journey. We did three days of the journey at the top -- from Kirkenes to Bodo. It was wonderful and well worth it, but again -- not cheap. From Bodo we flew to Trondheim for a couple nights. Then rented a car from Trondheim, stopping for single nights in Alesund, Norangsfjorden, Geirranger (2 nights), Balestrand, and Stalheim before dropping the car in Bergen. I think the cost of the car saved us a lot of money over other methods of exploring that entire area and we had a fantastic time doing so. We were glad we did our own more leisurely "nutshell" tour rather than the organized one. After a couple nights in Bergen we took the train to Oslo.
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Feb 16th, 2007, 03:34 AM
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Dear Putakka,
I am planning to visit Norway on 9th May Oslo- Stockholm- Copenhegan with my wife and 2 kids. We want to save wherever possible so that we can spluge elsewhere ( Stalheim 1 night)
I am planning to take a scanrail pass and make atleast 3 night journeys.
Giving you my itinerary that I have made after reading a bit for last 6 months; if it helps you.
1. Oslo- Dombas- Dombas- Andalsnes(Raumabanen Railway- Rated as one of the 5 most scenic rail journeys in Europe) 7.57 am to 13.45. Then to Alesund 3 hrs. ( Overnight)
2. Alesund- Hellesylt for Geirangerfjord ( Most spectacular)- On to Balestrand ( or somewhere in between)By bus
( This forms the Golden route which connects Andalsnes to Geiranger via steep hilly route through Trollveggen and Valldal by bus, but this route officially opens after 15th June.Hence the detour.)
3. Reach flam- Stay at Heimly or Stalheim( Bus & Ship) Part of Nutshell
4. On to Bergen. Bergen sight seeing.
Night train to Oslo.
You can add one night to this at Bergen.
This way you do 2 most scenic rail journeys and see 2 most spectacular fjords, plus see 2 charming towns.
Try and spend more time in the flam- Balestrand area. Tou can also reach Voss and take a day trip loop on the Hardanger fjord.
There are night trains linking Oslo- Stockholm- Copenhagen, but these are not listed in Eurail catalogue. Contact them by e-mail & they will let you know.
Hope thhis help you. I haven't yet found out the bus connection timings from Hellesylt to Balestrand via Stryn or Skei, but there are 2 buses daily to Bergen. This becomes expensive besides involving backtracking to Flam.
Any suggestions from anyone are welcome. Best luck.
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Feb 16th, 2007, 04:17 AM
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Brace yourself -- Norwegian costs will blow your mind. According to The Economist, the Norwegian kroner is more than 50 per cent overvalued against the dollar. We were simply stunned at the cost of common, identical or comparable goods and services. Swedish and Danish currencies are slightly less overvalued.
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Feb 16th, 2007, 05:45 AM
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skip the hurtigruten until you want to go to the artic circle-definitely not the way between alesund and bergen; take the bus or the train between both. Both are interesting cities and alesund in particular if you are interested in art nouveau architecture.

as for cost, think of a large pizza and 2 beers for $55 and that was 4 years ago. scandinavia is expensive because of the social welfare costs, and norway is probably the most expensive. there is a scandic pass for a small fee, about $15-20, that justifies itself with large discounts in hotels throughout the area, including the large hotel at the tope of the hill at the gerainjerfjord ferry stop.
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Feb 16th, 2007, 07:40 AM
  #11
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Thank you both so much - your help has been invaluable!!! More planning . . .
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Feb 20th, 2007, 08:02 AM
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You do not absolutely need a cabin for the 16hrtrip between the 2 cities. You may stay in the lounge, or at the deck if you prefer. Pricve about 1000 NOK per person. As the ships leaves in the evening a cabin wuld be recommended though. And there is no train between the cities! Bus will take one day with at least 1 change, probaly 3 or 4.
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