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Norway in summer: Fjords or Lofoten? Or Fjords near Lofoten?

Norway in summer: Fjords or Lofoten? Or Fjords near Lofoten?

Nov 11th, 2019, 11:57 AM
  #21  
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Ah ok, I definitely didn't anticipate they would be at one port for 7 hours and the next for 10 mins but now all makes sense. Thank you. I also just called the US Hertegruten line to ask where I could find the online info on the point to point vs the full cruises and they don't have it on the site as you have to email them directly at [email protected] (for anyone else who might need this). He said they also don't have that information until 6 mos out - so that explains why I was having trouble navigating the site for the non cruise option. Anyway, I think I get it all now and BDKR, your info is very helpful with the route and where we can jump off to take a train.
It looks like the train would be 9-10 hrs and then we'd need to get from Bodo to Reine. There seems to be a 3.5 hr ferry to Svolvær and I guess that's where we would rent a car to get to Reine. How many days would be a good number for Lofoten?
Then we would could fly out of Bodo..

I definitely don't have the genes to keep me warm in frigid water but I'm willing to take a plunge during the midnight sun hours for experience. My husband...not so much!
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Nov 11th, 2019, 02:10 PM
  #22  
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Oops, correction - the email address is actually [email protected]

It looks like we have to take the ferry from Bodo to Slovaer instead of to Moskenes (which would be much closer to Reine) if we don't have a car. According to the site they won't allow passengers without a vehicle. Too bad.

Another few questions:
1) We're landing in Oslo late at night at 23:10 after traveling overseas with a long layover in Paris and will be exhausted. We had wanted to see Oslo while there but wondering if we should skip it altogehter and go straight toward Bergen from the airport the next morning. While I'd love to see & experience Oslo, I'm reading about how big it is and will cut out time from the areas we really want to see.
2) Do you recommend we take a train Oslo to Bergen or rent a car & drive (via Flam if we do that)?
3) The train schedule Trondheim to Bodo isn't available yet for summer but it looks like there are 2 departures now. If the schedule stays the same we would have to wait in Trondheim all day (bc we would miss the early departure) and take the overnight leaving at 23:12. Do you know if the train has sleeper cars? It's not giving me that option. Wondering also if there's another route that might be more time effective so that we don't have to spend an entire day...although this does get us into Bodo much earlier than if we took the ship.

Last edited by JES28; Nov 11th, 2019 at 02:35 PM.
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Nov 11th, 2019, 09:28 PM
  #23  
 
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"It looks like we have to take the ferry from Bodo to Slovaer instead of to Moskenes (which would be much closer to Reine) if we don't have a car. According to the site they won't allow passengers without a vehicle. Too bad."

I'm sure you're misunderstanding the infromation on the ferry site. They write:

They write "reservation is only possible for vehicles and its passangers", but in the next line they write "pedestrians(foot passangers) buy a ticket upon arrival of the ferry".

So you can take the ferries without a vehicle of course, it's only that you can't book a ticket in advance(and you don't have to).

1) I'd spend a day in Oslo.

2) I'd take the train, it's one of the most beautiful rail journeys of the world. You should book tickets with seat reservation as soon as possible, because these trains are very(and increasingly) popular. At least a couple of weeks in advance, but in case your travel dates are fixed even 1-2 months in advance.

3) The train schedule will be the same I'm pretty sure. Trondheim is not a bad place to spend a day, it's a historic city and not as crowded with tourists as Bergen. The night train has sleeper, but the seats(especially the Komfort class or what is it called) are quite comfy too and give you a good chance to look at the landscape if you can't fall asleep.

https://rail.cc/en/blog/bodo-trondheim-train
BDKR is online now  
Nov 11th, 2019, 10:24 PM
  #24  
 
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Originally Posted by JES28 View Post
Also BDKR, thank you for the link for the Rorbu cabins, they look fantastic.
One more question for anyone who has been to Lofoten in the summer - there appear to be some beautiful beaches; however in looking at average water & air temps in July it seems too cold to swim. Can anyone comment on this?
too cold for me, but if you're an avid open water swimmer it may suit you.
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Nov 11th, 2019, 10:31 PM
  #25  
 
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Originally Posted by JES28 View Post
Menachem, thank you for explaining your thoughts on Lofoten and why over the Fjords. I think we're leaning toward Lofoten. Have you been to the Fjords in that area?
There really aren't fjords "in that area". It's island country up north. I've done Hurtigruten twice, one standard run Kirkenes to Bergen, and one coast hopping via Trondheim, Ålesund and Tromsø. West Norway is for fjords, north Norway for islands and arctic landscapes. I also think Hurtigruten itself comes into its own more up north. It's still such a vital link there. And I love Hammerfest. Don't ask me why

I'll add that Tromsø, the "Paris of the North" (because of its university and college vibe) is a great base for North Norway

And also: many people don't know this, but you can buy Hurtigruten tickets on a whim at every Hurtigruten office where Hurtigruten goes.

Last edited by menachem; Nov 11th, 2019 at 11:29 PM.
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Nov 11th, 2019, 11:32 PM
  #26  
 
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I'm not at all into "last chance" tourism, but the entire arctic region is now so under pressure, that it will be unrecognizable in 20 years' time. So if you have a chance to go there, go.
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Nov 12th, 2019, 07:00 PM
  #27  
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Thank you BDKR, that makes a lot more sense with the ferry accepting pedestrians. Hopefully we won't have to worry about it selling out without being able to book a reservation since we will be going in high season.
And thank you for the link to the train information - that's one of the best rundowns Ive seen. I'll have to consider the Komfort vs the sleeper, normally I can't sleep unless laying flat but I also haven't been able to sleep period on a train so it might not matter.

Thanks Menachem, that's a good point about going while it's still a road less traveled. What was your experience with the Hurtegruten coast hopping trip? I'd love to hear what you did or didn't like about it and any tips.
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Nov 12th, 2019, 10:59 PM
  #28  
 
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- What was your experience with the Hurtegruten coast hopping trip? I'd love to hear what you did or didn't like about it and any tips. -

I went twice. The "official" stretch, Kirkenes - Bergen and then, 2 years after I decided to wing it with Hurtigruten and coast hop. That decision was based on seeing how Hurtigruten still is vital public transport in North Norway. But also on the restrictiveness of the Hurtigruten schedule. There's a north going boat and a south going boat docking in the same port, on the same day on a northgoing schedule and a southgoing schedule, year through. If you do the "cruise" and don't have to get off the ship, certain ports you'll only see during the day, and other ones only at night. Also, there are long stops and short stops. During the long stops, usually there is an excursion on offer, but excursions also depend on the time of year. For instance, going south, I missed a Viking excursion, where you depart by bus from one port and you pick up the ship in the next port, to get yourself a night "on the town" as it were. If you don't do excursions, the schedule can be quite restrictive. I remember running after the crew straight to the supermarket in Sandnessjøen to get oranges (most expensive oranges I've ever bought) within the 30 minutes' docking time there was. The crew goes to that supermarket for the softserve!

After I saw university students, choirs, family groups, local travellers, make use of Hurtigruten in a completely different way, I chose to emulate that and use it for hops between cities and just book short stretches. So my next trip was already entirely different. I tried to do hops under 24 hours, because you need to book a cabin if it's over 24 hours. I had seen students asleep overnight in the observation lounge on the Svolvaer - Tromsø stretch. No one batted an eyelid. As I had found the bit between Ålesund and Bergen quite boring, I travelled north from Ålesund on my next trip. For instance, Ålesund - Trondheim is under 24 hours, so just a ticket, no cabin needed. Then from Trondheim overnight to Svolvaer, which did require a cabin. Looking back, I'd probably have taken the train to Trondheim, to pick up Hurtigruten from there, but that's my wisdom now.

Svolvaer - Tromsø is another stretch that's under 24 hours. This is when I had seen those students the first time round, making themselves comfortable in the lounge. No cabin necessary, you'll be given the option when you're booking, and if no cabins are available, the site alerts you, that you can still book as a deck passenger. I also go around these forums saying that if you are already underway, you can buy a ticket at every port where Hurtigruten docks, at the quayside office. That's how locals do it, mostly. Just like public transport, because it is.

On hindsight, for me the "cruisiness" of the first trip was a drawback, and I started to use Hurtigruten as a way to get around north Norway easily. That second time I stopped at Hammerfest (also because I was visiting friends in that area) and took southbound Hurtigruten back to Tromsø and flew back to Oslo from there.
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Nov 13th, 2019, 06:13 AM
  #29  
 
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I did Hurtigruten Bergen to Kirkenes and thoroughly enjoyed it. I did not get bored. If I were going again I might not do the whole thing, but for a first trip it was fine.

See: https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...e-kong-harald/

And: https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...under-the-sun/

And: https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...orth-and-east/
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Nov 13th, 2019, 07:41 AM
  #30  
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These links are great Thursdays, is this your blog? I look forward to reading through them tonight.
Question- while you said you "didn't get bored", I'm wondering if you feel it's a must rather than flying up north to save time?
If the route is spectacular and something one would regret missing I would put all the extra effort into the cross country to get to the departure point and spending 3 nights traveling up the coast but if it was more a means to get you there with albeit some pretty scenery I'm wondering if it might be a better (and less expensive as I look at all of the connection costs) option to fly.
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Nov 13th, 2019, 07:51 AM
  #31  
 
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Yes, that's my blog, glad you like it!

I took the Hurtigruten specifically to enjoy the scenery, the port stops were secondary.
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Nov 13th, 2019, 08:04 AM
  #32  
 
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Originally Posted by JES28 View Post
These links are great Thursdays, is this your blog? I look forward to reading through them tonight.
Question- while you said you "didn't get bored", I'm wondering if you feel it's a must rather than flying up north to save time?
If the route is spectacular and something one would regret missing I would put all the extra effort into the cross country to get to the departure point and spending 3 nights traveling up the coast but if it was more a means to get you there with albeit some pretty scenery I'm wondering if it might be a better (and less expensive as I look at all of the connection costs) option to fly.
To me, Hurtigruten is quite fascinating and it's pretty special als public transport. A few years ago, Norwegian state broadcaster NRK did a real time live Hurtigruten sailing Northbound. Hurtigruten is loved fiercely by Norwegians. If you watch the broadcasts, it's clear that entire islands turn out to welcome Hurtigruten. To me it gave a good insight into North Norwegian towns I never would have been able to travel to.

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Nov 13th, 2019, 08:09 AM
  #33  
 
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Sailing into Svolvaer
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Nov 13th, 2019, 02:18 PM
  #34  
 
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The overnight trains from Oslo to Trondheim, and Trondheim to Bodo both have sleeper cars and are quite nice. It will be light out in July most of your journey.

I'm going to give a shout-out to Trondheim, it being one of my favorite places in the world, and certainly worth more than a full day. In fact, the daylight in Trondheim in July is nearly 24 hours. The sun sets (goes below the horizon) about 11 p.m. and is back up at 1:00 a.m., so most places you stay there have block out curtains. I stayed on the University campus in the summer of '73, and was simply amazed seeing people mowing the lawn or playing tennis at 10:00 p.m.! Been back to Trondheim several times since then, including my 50th birthday!

Trondheim is a vibrant, historical, university town, located on the Trondheim fjord. If you are there at the end of July, very beginning of August, you'll be there for the Saint Olav's festival, which is so much fun! To quote the Trondelag website: "Although much of St. Olav’s Festival is about, and takes place in and around Nidaros Cathedral, the entire city is put to use, resulting in public festivities and an atmosphere few other festivals have to offer. Saint Olav’s Festival always presents an impressive programme, built on a combination of concerts, talks, markets and other events."

If not there during this time, just walk around, and you'll find some beautiful street art . . . from the whimsical to the serious. Nidaros Cathedral is gorgeous! Walk along the Nidelva from the Cathedral to the Bakklandet Old Town bridge past colorful buildings to the Gamle bybru bridge. If you walk across this bridge, you will come to the first (and I think still only) bicycle lift in the world, called the "Sykkelheisen Trampe". It makes it super easy for the cyclist to get to the top of this hill! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trampe_bicycle_lift

Numerous cafes and bars, that get packed in summer dot the Solsiden (waterfront mall).
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Nov 13th, 2019, 06:58 PM
  #35  
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Thanks Surfergirl, Trondheim sounds like a great place to spend some time, even if we will be too early for the festival.
I'm wondering if maybe we should take the train Oslo to Alesund, take the cruise thru the Geirangerfjord, up to Trondheim, stay the day and take the overnight train from there to Bodo. This way we would skip the Hurtigruten from Bergen to Alesund. But I'm wondering which legs of the Hurtigruten are the most beautiful (other than Geirangerfjord)..I'd hate to skip the best areas.

Manachem, that entry into the Lofoten islands with the music playing and the smaller boats surrounding is pretty incredible. That got me very excited for this trip, thank you!
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Nov 20th, 2019, 07:23 AM
  #36  
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For anyone else looking, I just found the point to point web link:https://www.hurtigruten.no/havn-til-havn. They just released some of the summer rates and will release more in the next 2 months. While I know to expect everything in Norway to be expensive, I was a little disheartened to find that the 2 nights Bergen to Trondheim would be over $700 for 2 (and that's for the most basic interior cabin/no window and only includes breakfast).
While I loved this idea, I'm thinking train or flying will be the better option for us.
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