Norway Advice

Aug 5th, 2014, 08:11 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 250
Norway Advice

Dear All,

We are looking at going to Norway in May 2015.

We are a family of 2 adults and 2 children of 11 years and 13 years.

We plan to arrive and depart from Oslo. We will be staying in Norway for approx.18 days.

We will be depending on public transport and will not be having a car.

We are not into adventure sports but like to take the ferries to see the fjords. Ideally we are interested in seeing all possible fjords and then we want to do the Atlantic Road trip by using public transport. We will not be taking any internal flights.

We do not want to rush and do the Norway in a Nutshell trip.

I am looking at staying in Oslo for 2-3 nights and then taking a train or bus up north and starting our trip downwards. Any advise is welcome. Please advise the conveniently located base towns where we can stay for each of the attractions.

Lastly which website should I refer to as there is little information available on Fodors.

Kind regards,
SKPKCP11 is offline  
Aug 5th, 2014, 09:48 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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Start looking for public bus itineraries between towns and plan your trip accordingly.
Michael is offline  
Aug 6th, 2014, 12:50 AM
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my wife and I visited Norway (oslo and Bergen) for 5 nights all up, in May this year. The weather was surprisingly beautiful and warm low to mid 20s.
Oslo has a bunch of good museums, if that is something you're interested in. I think the Viking ship musuem and Norway folk museum are a must. Take the ferry from Oslo harbour to Bygdoy and you can easily walk form the jetty to the museums.
The Oslo pass is good value in a city which is very expensive (and I live in London, so that gives you an idea).
Grunnerlokka is a suburb of Oslo which is worth checking out for a walk by the river. really pretty. I also recommend dropping by Smelteverket, the longest bar in Scandinavia.

Definitely go to Bergen, we found the city prettier and had a soul more so as compared to Oslo. I dont know what other interests you have besides obviously the fjords. So for that take the train form Oslo to bergen it is a beautiful journey. A lot of people get off at Flam to complete the Norway in a Nutshell but since you dont want to rush, perhaps you can look into things to do in Flam?

There are a number of boat-trips that leave Bergen for the fjords, we missed the morning one and couldnt go but I have heard really good things about them, so look into that.

Lastly, it's too early now but I would recommend following Visit Oslo on facebook and keeping an eye on events in the city during your stay.

Hope this helps!
mantapup is offline  
Aug 6th, 2014, 02:54 AM
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I would start looking at hotels/lodgings as soon as possible in order to find advance purchase discounts if available to help offset the VERY expensive prices.

Also I would consider adding a day or 2 to Oslo which has a number of fascinating museums and you seem to be on a slow vacation track. And don't forget that Oslo is on a major fjord.
nytraveler is offline  
Aug 6th, 2014, 08:06 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 250
Dear All,

Thanks for the quick reverts and inputs for Oslo.

I would like to know which small towns / villages to consider as bases.

We want to do the following
Take ferries to fjords like geiranger fjord, sognefjord, etc
Do the Atlantic road trip.
Do the glacier walk if possible with a guide.
Lastly do the scenic train rides. Any suggestions?
Can we do Lofoten Islands on a day trip? If yes, from where to take the ferry?

Kind regards,
SKPKCP11 is offline  
Aug 6th, 2014, 01:21 PM
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 111
Well, I agree Bergen is an obvious choice as a base, although I wouldn't characterize it as a small town/village and I'm not sure that I completely understand the plan that you have for "bases". Is this just meant to say that you will stay in a place for a few days and do day trips?

If so, I think you still need a basic route mapped before you settle on the bases. Also, the bigger the town the better your options for day trips.

Geiranger, for instance, might be a great choice for a place to stay and see that fjord and the immediate surroundings but it won't really work for extended day trips (but it might work as a stopping point if you are taking the highway somewhere from there).

Further north, Alesund may be a good base.

By the way, you say that you don't do adventure sports but is hiking in the plans? If so, there are some really good ones. Also a RIB boat to the bird island in Alesund.

Not sure I really helped.... but good luck.
RoamEurope is offline  
Aug 7th, 2014, 09:43 AM
Join Date: Jun 2013
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Can you reconsider your decision not to hire a car? With 4 of you it will be economic especially as it will give you access to more reasonable accommodation and food. May is pre-season and some tourist transport options will not have started up, some roads will still be closed with snow - they don't open until June. Read up on possibilities
And if you think Lofoten is a day trip from Southern Norway then maybe a look at Googlemaps is in order. That does however suggest that making your trip just to Lofoten might be best at that time of year and would tick most of your boxes. Find a self catering cabin for a week somewhere handy for buses and day trips - you'll get more than enough of scenery with snow capped hills at that time of year..
dyoll is offline  
Aug 7th, 2014, 01:30 PM
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I'll just send you to our trip report -

We were there a shorter time, we did have a car, and our kids were younger, but it will give you some ideas -
surfmom is offline  
Aug 9th, 2014, 03:11 PM
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We responded to Norway like it was a candy store, trying to take it all in. Therefore, we chose several different ways to travel...and it was great fun. Norway in a Nutshell, 2+1 days on The Hurtigruten, rental car, local busses in Bergen and Oslo, the spectacular Lofotens by car and continuing all the way to Tromso thusly...then back track to Narvik to catch the overnighter train to Stockholm.

Would we do it all again? Yes.

Loved every minute of the trip.(Above are some familiarization pix to assist you in planning..they serve as my wordless trip report..that's why I do not write them any longer...I don't think anyone gives a fat dam about what we had for snacks on our International Flight!).
tower is offline  
Aug 14th, 2014, 07:17 AM
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Thanks all for the prompt replies.

Currently we plan to arrive in Oslo. Stay for 2-3 nights, then take the train to Donbas and connect to alesund. We want to start with Geiranger fyord. Which town or village should we be based in to use the public transport conveniently and also availability of food. Nothing fancy.

Can we do the trollstigen. Any other must dos in the area?

Then we want to move down and do the other fjords. No hurtigruten cruise please.

What are the other must sees. For Norway in a nutshell. Which place do you recommend as a base for breaking the trip?

Honestly speaking we will not be able go further north to bodo and tromso as we are not used to such severe weather. Not sure if there is much to be seen. Your inputs please are welcome.

Kind regards,
SKPKCP11 is offline  
Aug 14th, 2014, 08:59 AM
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ferry to Lofoten Islands from Bodo. I don't think you'll run into severe weather of any kind late in May. Tromso might be another story....much further north than Bodo. Weather comes whistling down from NordKapp. Don't miss the gorgeous scenery in the Lofotens.(See my pix above)
tower is offline  
Aug 14th, 2014, 09:03 AM
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Re Norway in a Nutshell. I very strongly suggest you look that up on TripAdvisor and then read the reviews. There seems little dispute as to the beauty of the scenery. However, there have been more than a few complaints as to crowded conditions on the trains and that the thing is, in some ways, not nearly as "organized" as it might better be. Only you can decide for sure what seems reasonable.
Dukey1 is offline  
Aug 15th, 2014, 06:13 AM
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Trollstigen may not be open in May - opening dates vary depending on snow conditions
There is unlikely to be any crowds in Flåm in May, but doing both NiN and Geiranger may be overkill and your time better spent in Lofoten. The NiN is not organised at all - it is a route you can take on public transport, ideal for people dependant on public transport, especially out of season (it runs all year). Other places you may not find frequent, if any, public transport and accommodation closed etc.
dyoll is offline  
Aug 15th, 2014, 09:23 AM
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We were in Norway last June and in retrospect I feel strongly that if you are going to see fjords, especially Geiranger Fjord, there is no need to do Norway in a Nutshell. It was a very expensive, crowded and long day. If I were doing it over, I'd just take the train all the way from Oslo to Bergen or vice versa without stopping in Flam.

We were visiting relatives between Bergen and Trondheim, so we went to mostly off the beaten path valleys and towns, but as far as regular tourist highlights, I'd say Geiranger Fjord, where we stayed 2 nights, Balestrand, Bergen, and Trondheim. We drove on our trip so I'm no help with public transportation, but I believe there's a boat from Bergen to Balestrand. We enjoyed seeing Trollstigen as well. The thing about Norway is that around every corner there's a waterfall, a glacier, a mountain or a valley that will take your breath away. The Lofoten Islands are next on our list.
hoodpt is offline  
Sep 16th, 2014, 08:16 PM
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Dear All,

I am back after a lull. Have narrowed down our itinerary. Planning inter-city ferry, bus and train connections are quite a nightmare. Unlike the fantastic dbahn where train and bus tickets are one and the connections seamless.

Anyways broadly looking at the following :
Arrive and depart Oslo.
Spend 2-3 nights in Oslo.
Looking for a budget hotel close to central station. Any recommendations?
Travel Oslo to Myrdal by train Nsb cheap tickets
Then Myrdal to Flam - will the tickets for this sector be available on Nsb?
Should we buy Oslo-Flam ticket or individual sector tickets?
Spend 2-3 nights in Flam.
Take ferry from Flam to Gudvangen. How do we return to Flam from Gudvangen for the night in Flam.
Any other recommended day trips from Flam?
Can we do glacier walk from Flam?
Alternate 1
Then from Flam take ferry to Balestrand. Which site will see cheap ferry tickets? Spend 2 nights in Balestrand.
Understand we can do the Nigardsbreen glacier walk from Balestrand.
From Balestrand we can either go to Alesund or Geiranger. Which is convenient to reach?
Alternate 2
If we skip Balestrand, then we continue after spending time in Flam to Bergen.
From Bergen to Alesund we do not wish to take the cruise ship - too expensive. Is there any ferry/ bus connections in May?
Lastly, from Alesund/ Geiranger we go to Andalsnes for the scenic Rauma train and change at Dombas to return to Oslo. For the last sector Alesund to Oslo via Andalsnes for train tickets do we request for single ticket or separate sector tickets.

We want to avoid big cities as they are more expensive for stay and food. But, for smaller places like Flam, Balestrand and Geiranger not sure in May what will be open in terms of B&B and food availability.

Do let us know if the above looks feasible and any budget staying recommendations that are conveniently located.

Also, advise what are the budget eating options available in Norway. Does Oslo Central station have budget eating outlets? Do the grocery stores in Norway sell ready to eat stuff which does not require heating? We love our meats and fish. Are pastries available like in Germany or are they terribly pricey?
Any inputs are more than welcome.

Kind regards,
SKPKCP11 is offline  
Sep 16th, 2014, 11:46 PM
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In Geiranger there are a couple campgrounds and cabin sites. Take a sleeping bag liner to use as a sheet and rent one of the cabins. That is the least expensive option if you have no camping equipment. This might also be true in other locations.

Grocery stores have prepared packaged food. None of it will be cheap.

You might want to look at my trip report; click on my name to find it. I found less expensive places to stay in Oslo, Bergen, Alesund, etc.
Michael is offline  
Sep 18th, 2014, 08:28 AM
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There's nothing in Flam. Not worth spending the night there.

There are hotels and a few b&b's in Geiranger.

Huts are great.

Smaller places are more expensive than cities because of the logistics for groceries, food, etc.

May is just in or just out of season, depending on the weather. I was in Geiranger in may and we were lucky, but the previous year, winter season lasted well into june.

It was suggested in an earlier post to go straight to Bergen, and then explore from there, so no detour through Flam, and I would suggest that too.

express busses

bus services are incredible in Norway. you can see that a lot of money goes into them.
menachem is online now  
Sep 18th, 2014, 10:02 AM
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 457
You can buy Oslo-Flåm via Myrdal on the nsb website but there is no saving on the Flåm tickets. You can pay on the Flåm train, unlikely to be crowded in May.
Consider stopping over a night in Finse to experience the mountains in winter -
Flåm is not crowded in May and at least there are hotels that are open there.
Flåm is not convenient for glacier and anyway May is too early for glacier hiking - snow not melted yet.
There are no cheap ferry tickets - pay on board.
There is the Fjordekspressen bus between Bergen and Ålesund
Geiranger probably difficult to reach in May and mostly closed. Roads do not open until May/June.
If you can buy tickets on nsb then through ticket will be cheaper but you will get reserved seats on best connection and you are restricted to these particular trains, i.e. no stopping in Dombås.
dyoll is offline  
Sep 18th, 2014, 10:09 AM
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Re.: dbahn - compare populations of Norway and Germany and do not expect frequent public transport in a remote and sparsely populated area especially out of season - isn't that why you are visiting? However the few services that there are are well connected. If you want cities and towns together with all their facilities and with scenery visit the Alps.
dyoll is offline  
Oct 18th, 2014, 11:34 AM
Join Date: May 2007
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Check out the wonderful trip report by the poster " vickybypass" I just finished reading it and its very extensive and has great info about the fjords. I will be coming back to Norway in May so interested in this thread as well.
nanabee is offline  

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