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Please help with itinerary - fjords and Lofoten

Please help with itinerary - fjords and Lofoten

Old Apr 7th, 2020, 02:38 PM
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Please help with itinerary - fjords and Lofoten

Hello, in my late 50s from New York, I have been to Europe only once, but have always wanted to see Norway's fjord beauty. Finally planning to visit Norway with my husband and 17&19 year old teens in August (depending on coronavirus status). We will have 11-12 days. We plan to rent a car, are used to driving long distances on USA vacations, and don't mind driving a few hours/day, with a longer day or two of driving if necessary. We want to see as much as we can, but we will stop when we feel the need to slow down. Our primary interest is seeing the most spectacular, unforgettable natural beauty we can. In addition, we are interested in seeing some beautiful and/or important towns, fishing and other villages, churches, learning about history and culture. I can do mild hiking, my husband and kids are more adventurous and would like to kayak on a fjord. We tend to dine casually and quickly during the day, with restaurants only for dinner, and prefer hotels/airbnbs which are very nice but not top of the line, as we are moderately budget-conscious. We are willing to splurge on a terrific hotel experience, but cannot do that for the whole trip. I have been researching, but knowing NOTHING about travel in Norway I am finding it hard to figure out what is the most important fjord scenery we should see, and at what point does it become redundant. Similarly, which small villages are the most beautiful or interesting, vs. just seeing as many as we can fit in. I am a bit desperate to try to narrow things down to the most important/beautiful/charming, figure out the best driving routes, and the best towns to stay overnight. I am very grateful for any suggestions about what to prioritize and how to go!!

Initially I was focused on fjords and planned this very rough itinerary for the first half:
  • Fly into Stavanger and stay 3 nights - sightseeing in Stavanger, take Lysefjord cruise, kids and husband climb Pulpit Rock
  • Coastal bus to Bergen, stay 2 nights in Bergen - sightseeing in Bergen/explore Bryggen, hike up Floyen, maybe see Ulvik, or Stalheim if there's time
  • Rent a car in Bergen, drive to Gudvangen/Flam area for 2 days. Stay in Flam or Balestrand? On day 1 visit the Viking Valley, visit Undredal, see the church at Flam. On day 2 take a fjord cruise to Naeroyfjord from Flam, possibly the kids and husband can kayak if there's time.
That leaves me with 4-5 more days. IOriginally I sort of patched the sights I want to see into a plan to drive and fit in sights such as Stegastein viewpoint, Borgund stave church, stay overnight in Sogndal, drive to see Lom Church, stay overnight in Geiranger, possibly take a fjord cruise from Geiranger to Hellesylt, possibly visit the scenic towns of Stryn, Loen, or Olden, then drive the Eagle Road to Eidsdal, drive the Trollstigen, get to Alesund and stay one night in Alesund, then drive the Atlantic Ocean Road, maybe stay overnight in Kristiansund on the way to Trondheim, return the rental car there, and fly home. I didn't exactly figure out how to fit all that in.

BUT!!! I have become obsessed with the desire to spend a couple of days in the Lofoten Islands. I really want to see Reine, we don't mind the crowds. So now I am trying to figure out what are the most beautiful spots to see in Lofoten, and how to change or add to my earlier itinerary: should I spend less time in Stavanger? How should I maximize the time in Lofoten? Should we return the rental car in Trondheim and then take a different form of transportation to Lofoten? What airport should we then fly home from and how would we get there? Is all this doable? What if I can manage to add another day to the trip? As you can see, I have become utterly confused! ANY help in trying to figure out a reasonable itinerary, with any suggestions about what to prioritize, where to stay, whether to drive or not, etc., would be most helpful. I am trying to create a 2nd draft of my itinerary, ha ha!!
Thank you so much for your time and any suggestions to my confused plan, I am very appreciative.

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Old Apr 8th, 2020, 08:56 AM
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I wrote a trip report that covers some of the area you plan to visit; you can find it my clicking on my name.

To whet you appetite:

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Old Apr 8th, 2020, 01:00 PM
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Have you looked at Hurtigruten coastal shops? You can use these boats for a portion of your trip including getting to the Lofoten Islands. Passengers and freight get on and off at every stop. Or you can stay on, Bergen to Kirkenes. Hurtigruten is shut down now due to COVID 19.
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Old Apr 12th, 2020, 11:15 AM
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Thank you very much for the photos, they are exciting, and for the advice. I will research and further plan!
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Old Apr 12th, 2020, 11:30 AM
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Another vote for Hurtigruten. For my trip (Bergen to Kirkenes), start here (links at the top of the page):

https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...e-kong-harald/
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Old Apr 17th, 2020, 08:46 PM
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Thank you again!!! Very helpful.
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Old May 18th, 2020, 12:37 PM
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Unfortunately highly unlikely that Europe will open up to visitors from US this summer. Start planning for 2021!

You do though appear to be trying to fit too much in in a short time.
Cut out Stavanger - it's costing you 3 - 4 days for what appears to be basically a few hours on the busiest hike in Norway.

That would leave you with half of your time in Bergen and around Sognefjord - but please do look at a map and plan out properly - the way you have written the itinerary appears as much back tracking. Don't be tempted to go too far. Long driving days are not recommended on Norwegian mountain roads. So skip Geiranger area - it won't give you a change of scenery. The best is to explore the Sognefjord from inland mountains to the sea, then you get a change of scenery.

And then you would have time for Lofoten, but try and get a connecting flight back from there to home as returning to your start point would cost you a day and a night.
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Old May 18th, 2020, 02:22 PM
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Hurtigruten came first to my mind, also!
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Old May 20th, 2020, 02:34 AM
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Hurtigruten? Not with teens and wanting an active holiday. And costly for 4. Stops are generally too short for any activity and in your limited time you need to take a quicker route
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Old May 20th, 2020, 04:27 AM
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Originally Posted by dyoll View Post
Hurtigruten? Not with teens and wanting an active holiday. And costly for 4. Stops are generally too short for any activity and in your limited time you need to take a quicker route
Can do the Tromsų - Svolvaer Express Boat and then maybe back to Bodų on Hurtigruten? You don't have to book the entire stretch, especially in North Norway it's also viable public transport
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Old May 21st, 2020, 08:11 AM
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Can't see that sitting in a boat would give you better sightseeing and two journeys would take up most of two days when time would be better spent touring by car. Find the cheapest location to fly into and hire car. Round trip or day trips from there.
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Old May 22nd, 2020, 11:29 AM
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Don't stay in Flam, it is so crowded and does not give a picture of what Norway is like. This is a link to my trip report. Hope it helps. We loved Norway and can't wait to go back.

Driving loop in Norway from Bergen

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