Norway - Bergen and the Western Fjords

Old Apr 20th, 2009, 11:26 AM
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Norway - Bergen and the Western Fjords

Can anyone comment on the below driving itinerary - for example, how can I get an idea of the driving time between the locations, where would the Flamsbana fit in (if at all)?

Bergen - Staying 2 nights (we would arrive late the first evening)

Lofthus - Staying 1 night

Balestrand - Staying 1 night

Loen - Staying 1 night

Aslesund - Staying 1 night (return flight is about 5pm)
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Old Apr 20th, 2009, 07:25 PM
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I will have to check my notes but we drove around Norway for 2 weeks 2 years ago (June/July) and loved it. Loved Balestrad, Alesund, Stalheim Hotel, Ulvik. Haven't been to Lufthus or Loen. Bergen was our only rain...and it poured. We preferred the Fjord regions to Bergen. Enjoyed the Viking and Kon-tiki museum in Oslo.
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Old Apr 20th, 2009, 07:35 PM
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deladeb,

Outside Bergen, did you have hotel or B&B reservations or did you simply go on the fly?
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Old Apr 21st, 2009, 06:47 AM
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we are going to norway soon- a few weeks from now
we used via michelin to get ideas of the routes we can take and the time
it is amazing ( and people told us here - thanks guys) that the distance looks very doable and yet takes a lot longer
we shall discover exactly why in due course i suppose

there are ferries to catch and apparently you have to go the long way round at times
seems like there are an awful lot of tunnels too
we are going to bergen too
and having a night at the balestrand hotel
alesund will be just a day trip from geiranger

have a look at any of the tour bus routes too
they cover a lot of distance - so i guess you can too
we are choosing to drive at a pretty lesiurely pace ( i hope it works out that way)

we got ourselves a two door volvo from europcar
it was actually cheaper than the deal we were looking at through the recommended mietwagen site

i cant wait - can you!!!
stay safe and have a fabulous trip
honk if you see us!
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Old Apr 26th, 2009, 01:13 PM
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Michael, In Bergen we stayed at the Hospital that rents rooms via the fjord norway program. Much cheaper than anyplace else in Norway and it had laundry facilities which is normally near impossible to find. I prebooked all of our rooms just to give myself piece of mind. B&B in Ulvik, Stalheim Hotel, Comfort Inn ? in Alesund, small hotel Balestrand. Best Western in Oslo in a residential area but loud Disco music came from somewhere all night long...and we were jetlagged with earplugs. Take a sleeping mask to shield your eyes from thin curtains.
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Old Apr 26th, 2009, 02:27 PM
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deladeb,

Thanks for your reply. I already booked a B&B in Bergen and a hotel in Trondheim, so the Hospital is out. Now that you have done the trip, do you feel that pre-booking was essential?
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Old Jun 14th, 2009, 07:27 AM
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Would be interested to know for those who have driven around the Western fjords if a sat nav is useful, or are the roads/signage rather straight forward if we have a good printed road map.

Many thanks -
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Old Jun 15th, 2009, 11:04 AM
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Any comments?
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Old Jun 17th, 2009, 11:07 AM
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disclaimer: have not been to this exact spot myself, but have been in a number of similar ones. Given the relatively few roads in this area (especially the relatively few major ones) I can't imagine it's all that easy to get lost if you have a decent map.
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Old Jun 17th, 2009, 11:50 AM
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We had everything prebooked.
Deladeb
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Old Jun 23rd, 2009, 06:37 AM
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hi
we are back and drove norway really well
i wouldve liked a nav man and Oh was so sure that the car rental company europcar would have one
not so
that was a shock
but we did have a map and used local maps from tourist bureaux

we drove out of oslo..huge traffic even though it was early afternoon but we followed the well signed exits and OH has a good sense of direction anyway thank goodness

we asked advice from locals to see if there was something worth seeing on the way and the info places were fabulous

during the week we couldve easily just lobbed in without booking ..in lillehammer we were upgraded to an apartment simply cos it was midweek
but in other places like geiranger we were glad we had our cabin booked
it was glorious

but will hold you up are the winding roads
theyre good roads
but you have to watch the sheep
we were nearly wiped out by a mob of sheep that appeared around a corner
they are so brazen and do not value human life at all lol

also there are many tunnels... not much traffic at all but around flam in the 11km tunnel an idiot overtook several trucks one sunday night and nearly didnt make it into his lane again
the tunnels are two way ...for most of the routes we took...
in bigger places there are two tunnels so theyre safer
the tunnels are poorly lit id say...safe enough but gloomy
id hate to travel the 24 km tunnel out to laerdahl ...from flam
nothing to see and the light is depressing..a yellow glow

we travelled max 370 km a day but only at 60 km ...an hour around the mountains

the trip to balestrand was magical ...we drove from geiranger down to stryn and chose the mountain road..there is another way through fjaerland but that meant a ferry trip and if you miss it then it is a pain to wait so opted for the beautiful mountain road and did the fjaerland road/ ferry out to flam the next day

balestrand is breath taking
the fjord glows a pale ice blue and the light is amazing in june
we stayed at the balestrand hotel
unni marie has to be one of the most helpful people placed on this earth and pulls out information like conjuror does rabbits

if youre stuck behind a truck that will slow you down
so calculate 50 - 60 km a day and about 7 hours of real driving-that is without the photo stops and coffee breaks etc

watch out for the wonderful hotels..the historic ones..arm yourself with that knowledge from the info centres...
they are a treat and can often be overlooked because of their plain facade
the attraction are well signposted with a square with looped corners...youll know what i mean
the M on the road...a blue sign means it is safe to pass a car
otherwise you will be in a convoy
not like that there will be so many people on the road unless it is their peak season

we did get lost a little... but not significantly enough to worry..i think lost half an hour once and got to see stranda instead of going to stryn

the road to oye is so beautiful..worth going to on the way to balestrand
be sure to go into the union hotel

the road to lom is fantastic too
grotli hotel is out of this world
and the bakery at lom is right next to the rapids...amazing sitting with fresh pastries and coffee right by the huge windows and watching the water

i can go on and on
one day i might even put together a report but in the mean time relax
driving is easy and id do it over and over
you will have plenty of light til 12 am or so and many ferries run late but do know the schedule
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Old Jun 23rd, 2009, 06:52 AM
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im glad we based ourselves in geiranger and not alesund
we have decided we dont need to see the bigger towns in norway
we spent a few hours in alesund but it is best viewed from the famous lookout
quite a climb of 40 plus stairs but theres a nice cafe up the top
molde is the same
a pretty town but the roses werent out in mid june
we did drive out to the look out and read about king olavs hideout in wwII here..all interesting
again a great cafe to enjoy the view

always check the weather...if theres fog dont bother to go up to viewpoints
we didnt do the dalsnibba road when in geiranger but had good weather for the fabulous trollstigen ..we did that from the andalsnes end..andalsnes is ok for a coffee and break but nothing much to explore
we also drove the atlantic road...this is a must...fun!
we didnt go as far as kristiansand...people told us alesund was nicer anyway
but we did enjoy bud...a cute fishing town
we did the road and just turned back and then headed back to geiranger for the night
totally doable if you dont need to see every museum in alesund and molde

we loved staying in geiranger..nothing more beautiful coming back to a touristy place when it is empty
we saw the queen mary but she didnt bother us at all
we got the chance to rent a boat and explore the fjord ourselves
we also used the car ferry to get out to hellesylt

the car ferries are expensive but worth it
they charge for each passenger ..kids are half price
but it is a pleasant trip with a chance to have a snack and hot drink and take photos at leisure
the best car ferry route was through naeroyfjorden ...my lord that is a magnificent fjord..it is narrow and spectacular and i think even more beautiful than geiranger
we had a wonderful view of aurland fjord..another branch of sogne fjord and right next to naeroyfjorden when we stayed the three nights in flam
Yes we gave BERGEN a miss
simply couldnt face another long day of driving and preferred to stay in flam the extra night rather than move to geilo..this was a decision we made once we changed our accommodation from heimly pensjonat to the marina apartments..spacious well equipped and the view is breath taking..totally unobstructed right on the water of aurland fjord...our muesli tasted grander than ever!

we easily drove from flam to oslo and stayed at the fab gabelshus...thanks TOWER! it was worth every cent and was a highlight indeed..we did this all inone day with a stop at geilo to see what we had missed...not much in summer
lillehammer is better as a ski place i think but dr holms hotel in geilo is nice...right near the rail though so dont know about the location...it is a historic hotel so worth a look
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Old Jun 23rd, 2009, 06:56 AM
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oops
that should read 400 plus steps in alesund ...it is quite a climb so smokers be aware
there are seats placed around the climb but it is still hard if youre not fit
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Old Jun 23rd, 2009, 10:05 AM
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Would love to hear how your trip goes and would also appreciate any thoughts on the following. We will be visiting Norway in late July for the first time and are wondering if we might get some feedback on our draft itinerary:

Sunday: arrive Bergen very late; sleep Bergen.
Monday: Norway in a Nutshell (Bergen - Flam - Gudvangen - Bergen); sleep Bergen.
Tuesday: pick up rental car and drive from Bergen to Oye using the E39 (we recognize that this will likely take 6+ hours); sleep in Oye.
Wednesday: explore Hjorundfjord in morning; drive to Geiranger using ferry from Hellesylt; hiking in and around Geiranger; sleep in Geiranger.
Thursday: early drive to Andalsnes and then south to Skjorlden; hiking in Jotunheimen; drive to Balestrand; sleep in Balestrand.
Friday: hiking in and around Balestrand; drive to Bergen; sleep in Bergen.
Saturday: train from Bergen to Oslo; visit Viking Ships Museum; sleep in Oslo.
Sunday: depart Oslo airport.

We recognize that this itinerary is ambitious. Any thoughts would be welcome.
Many thanks.
Kevin
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Old Jun 23rd, 2009, 11:29 AM
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lanejohann:

I'm so pleased that you liked The Gabelshus in Oslo..everyone to whom I've reco'ed it has had the same feeling.

So happy that the trip turned out very well. We loved driving Norway when we did...great scenes at every turn. We drove as far north as Tromso.

stu t.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2009, 11:30 AM
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thursday sounds like a big day
we drove from geiranger to balestrand through stryn and oye in one day but it was a huge day
we got into balestrand round 9 pm
what road are you taking to balestrand? we took the mountain road...beautiful

fridays a big one too..when are you planning to stop hiking and leave balestrand to get to bergen?
it is slow driving
when is the train to oslo? you dont seem to have any time in bergen
we left it out

the viking museum is on bygdoy island
see the war resistance museum if you can too
it is small but amazingly good...even if you know nothing of norwegian war history ...we learned so much
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