Midsummer Norway - Oslo - Flam or ?

Feb 8th, 2009, 07:17 PM
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Midsummer Norway - Oslo - Flam or ?

I'm headed back to Helsinki and Stockholm on business in June. Because I have already spent weeks in Finland, a long weekend in Stockholm, and a day in Tallin on previous trips' off days, I am planning on heading to Norway for my first visit.

The best time would be for me to go around June 18-Jun 23. My first question is about Midsummer.

Will that time be difficult for me to travel from Helsinki or Stockholm to Oslo, then over to the Flam or other scenic outdoor area for some sightseeing and hiking? Will the trains and buses be packed as Norweigens head to the hills and water? Will I be able to book a room if I make a reservation?

I am doing initial planning and I'm thinking of a day or two in Oslo, then part of the Norway in a Nutshell (train, train, then stop somewhere around Flam or Aurland), with a full day somewhere in the outdoors before back to Oslo and back to work by train or plane.

Bergen looks scenic, but if my time is limited, I'd rather spend a day or two in the country rather than in another city.

This trip/destination seems the easiest to do by public transport. The other destinations that I've read about so far that sound fabulous are Geirangerfjord, Naeroyfjord, but these are more difficult to reach? Lillehammer looks accessible, but less dramatic?

Anyone taken a couple of days to wander by foot using ferries, buses, etc. in this area?

My guidebook is ordered and in the mail, so thanks for advice in the meantime.

Kay2 is offline  
Feb 9th, 2009, 02:24 AM
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we are doing about ten days in norway

this is what we have come up with but we are driving

oslo quick pick up of car and straight to lillehammer for the night
( not inspired by lillehammer as yet)

then drive through andalsnes down the trollstigen road to geirangerfjorden to a cabin on the fjord for three nights ( will do alesund and maybe molde the dalsnibba road and something else )

then head to balestrand for the night

after that either shoot off to bergen on the express boat and come back to balestrand in the evening to pick up the car again and drive to flam

or go to flam from balestrand and do naeroyfjord which is a must see according to our friends

we wouldve loved to have stayed in stalheim cos of the incredible views but i dont fancy using it as a basebecause of the steep winding road ( can do it a s a visit but just dont want to go up it every night to our hotel after a daytrip)

bergen it seems will only be a daytrip cos like you we prefer the countryside

be warned though
start booking because i have been emailing tourist info centres and places like voss for eg are hosting some soccer tournament and then an extreme sports festival and lots of places are booked out

one lady at one of the lodgings reassured me in an email that june isnt so busy but when it comes to booking it is dismaying how quickly the hotels and good value pensjonats fill up
that wasthe case in oslo - we opted for the gableshus which many recommend here and it was totally booked out in early june and til the 12th i think
because of a shipping convention
thats why we chose to stay in oslo on our way back

you can google "hytter" which are cabins that are quite cheap

ill know more of course when we actually go hahaha
it seems like i know the place - i have poured over friends' photos and pics on the net - it may be a case of deja vu when i get there!

good luck with the planning and have a fab trip!

there are some great older threads here so just do a search
lanejohann is offline  
Feb 15th, 2009, 02:41 AM
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wander by foot ? do you mean mountain hiking ? Good possibilities in the Aurland Flåm area, combining with bus see http://www.turistforeningen.no/english/, choose routes and cabins search 'for aurland'. If you take train book in advance (cheaper), no problem with buses. why not visit Undredal instead of going to Gudvangen an Næroyfjord?
rjsol is offline  
Feb 15th, 2009, 09:33 AM
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Thanks for the advice. I had seen that website, but not searched yet. Undredal instead of going to Gudvangen on Næroyfjord may be a great idea--I will research. My guidebooks arrived so I will be spending some time reading up about the different towns, ferries, trails, etc.

By wandering by foot, I mean, taking a ferry or bus to a destination, doing a dayhike with nice views/sights, taking photographs, stopping for a picnic or in a cafe--an itenerary focused on scenery and architecture that involves walking, not just sitting on the ferry/bus/train and looking out the window. I won't have the time, equipment, or traveling companion to do a serious multiday backpacking hike. (My bag must also carry my work clothes and materials and I'm thinking I may get only 4-5 full days in Norway outside of travel days).
Kay2 is offline  
Feb 15th, 2009, 09:58 AM
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When we were in the Bergen area, we rode the bus to Norheimsund, hiked around the area, and then following day, drove to Kvanndal and then took the ferry to Kinsarvik where we hiked and walked marked trails leading to the mountains and magnificent waterfalls. Lots of photo ops!!

BTW, IMO, Bergen is one of the most wonderful city I have visited. It is really small, especially if you concentrate in and around the port only.
JoyC is offline  
Feb 15th, 2009, 12:44 PM
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Consider a night or two at
www.stalheim.com. It's a stop on the Norway in a Nutshell bus which picks you up after the boat down the Naerofjord. You can take the Nutshell train from Oslo to Flam and then the boat/bus to the Stalheim. Spend a night there enjoying the views and taking short hikes. The next afternoon you can take the bus/train to Bergen or take a bus/train/ferry to Balestrand and spend the night.
Marija is offline  
Feb 15th, 2009, 05:31 PM
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I'll check out Stalheim. I'd like to spend two nights somewhere so I can get in a full day of walking, viewing, enjoying, with a room to go back to and clean up/relax.

I'm going to look at Bergen again. It still hasn't caught my interest beyond the historic port for a few hours (which does look lovely), so I still see it as a short stop before boarding a plane if that is practical.
Kay2 is offline  
Feb 15th, 2009, 05:47 PM
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We enjoyed walking around Bergen but didn't spend much time there. We wanted to be out on the fjords.
Marija is offline  
Mar 7th, 2009, 09:38 PM
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lanejohann, can you tell me more about the cabin you are staying in? Which website did you find it on? I've started looking a bit and most places want you to stay a full week in high season. We would want to spend a couple days in one area and then move on. Were you able to find a site that let you just rent the cabin a few days?

I searched on 'hytter', but on many of the webpages they switch away from English as soon as I navigate away from the main page so I'm getting a bit frustrated.

see_the_world7 is offline  
Mar 8th, 2009, 01:24 AM
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see the world
we are satying at the geiranger feriesenter camp ground and have got a cabin right on the waters edge ( it is bigger than we need but the smaller ones arent as close to the water apparently)

i googled cabins and hytter and there are also independent people advertising their fishing cabins throughout norway

if you google the tourist info centre of each town youre interested in they will direct you to the accommodation in the area

voss for eg was most helpful as was bergen - there is even a bergen forum if you look on the tourist website and they send you newsletters with lots of great info

i have received very fulsome replies from accommodation people too - some will even offer a rudimentary itinerary for seeing the sights around their area

so far have had a very positive experience of norway and i havent even left! hahah
lanejohann is offline  
Mar 30th, 2009, 07:33 PM
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This post will likely repeat at least some of what you're already read/posted. My apologies.

I'll be in Oslo on business on June 24-26 and today learned that I will be able to spend the weekend there. I realize it's "touristy", but I want to see Bergen and return Bergen to Oslo on the Norway in a Nutshell route.

Here's my plan so far:

Friday - Oslo to Bergen by train (overnight)
Saturday - Spend the day in Bergen and/or depart late to mid afternoon and do part of the Bergen-Oslo NIN route.
Sunday - Finish the NIN route...probably leaving Gundvangen at 11:30am by boat, then the Flam railway to Myrdal...and on to Oslo by just after 10pm.

My question: Does it make sense to do part of the Bergen-Oslo part of NIN on Saturday and the rest on Sunday? I'd love to stay overnight in Stalheim - Voss or Gundvangen would be fine as well. I'd like to see the Hopperstad Stave Church, but expect Vik is a bit too far off the path since I'll be using public transportation.

Second question: I've read that there's no need to do NIN in a "package", that it's better to schedule your own train/bus/boat....any thoughts? I'm not much of a tour group person, but could live with it that makes the most sense given the limited time I have to spend in Norway.

Finally, in whatever stop over point you recommend, could you share info about "reasonable" accomodations? I'd prefer a B&B or hotel...but don't care for the big, glitzy hotels.


sweetmagnolia is offline  
Apr 1st, 2009, 12:42 AM
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my friends werent all that impressed with voss
albeit they only did it on the norway in a nutshell

when i looked into staying there as a base for a couple of days
there was a shortage of accommodation because of the extreme sports festival and some soccer tournament- it is a popular outdoor sport destination so if you want to stay there do check what is going on
lanejohann is offline  
Apr 8th, 2009, 08:39 AM
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I'm soon to return to this trip and make some bookings. I was waiting to see the late June train timetables and prices in Norway.

We do plan to overnight near the fjords, perhaps two nights. All I read says that an overnight is a good idea if you want to go anywhere on foot rather than just ride through the region on train/boat/bus.

I have looked at the Stalheim and the setting is magnificent, with room prices $200+, but I did earlier see a lower price but I don't remember what website. I think you will also be stuck with eating in their dining room and I don't know what those prices would be.

I've done only a quick search in Voss and found the historic hotel by the train station is in the same price range. Didn't go beyond that.

I'm leaning toward staying in Flam. There are some cheaper options. May be true of Gundvangen as well, but that looked smaller and more isolated to me (hard to give advice when one hasn't been there).

The prices in Bergen also seem high to me. I can get much better hotel prices in Oslo.

As for the transportation, once I see the prices for the season, I will compare separate tickets versus the NIN package--which is just the tickets and reservations as needed, not a tour. Whichever is cheaper will be my choice. I have read many places that booking the transport in advance will provide discounts.
Kay2 is offline  
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