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Suggestions on first time Norway trip

Suggestions on first time Norway trip

Old Sep 12, 18, 4:48 pm
  #1  
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Suggestions on first time Norway trip

Hi, I'm planning on taking my teenage son to both of our first trips to Norway. Our base is SLC and it appears there are nice Skymile redemptions available to Bergen. Our target is June / July 2019.

My son's only request is not to go see any (in his words) boring museums.

Therefore can anyone suggest some nice outdoor or other sightseeing opportunities in the region?

I've roughly put the following together

Day 1- leave SLC
Day 2 - arrive Bergen 17.00 stay the night
Day 3 - catamaran from Bergen to Sogndal - stay at Quality Hotel Sogndal, rent car
Day 4 - Fjaerland?
Day 5 - Balestrand - Kvinnefossen?
Day 6 - ?
Day 7 - train from Flåm to Bergen
Day 8 - depart

I'm not sure where I return the car to *lol* in this scenario but in any case would welcome some feedback or recommendations
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Old Sep 13, 18, 3:03 am
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There's some wonderful hiking around Bergen itself, given that the city is surrounded by seven peaks. The most popular mountain areas are Mt Fløyen and Mt Ulriken. There is a funicular which runs to the top of Mt Fløyen, if you don't want to hike uphill.

A short tram ride out of central Bergen, there's the Fantoft Stave Church, as well as Troldhaugen, Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg's home. The estate overlooks a fjord, so it's a really lovely spot to visit even if you're not into classical music. (Not sure if these count as "boring museums" )

If you're looking to do a bit of food and beer "sightseeing" while in Bergen, here are a few of my favorite spots: Søstrene Hagelin (traditional Bergen style fast food); Pingvinen; Spisekroken; Bjellands kjøkken (traditional restaurant run by an 80-something y.o. lady, who is a well-respected local chef and cookbook writer).

Apart from that, well, I think by getting out of Bergen and covering Flåm etc - you're already covering a lot of the natural highlights of the region. The Flåm railway is great fun. I did those small towns/fjords as part of the Norway in a Nutshell trip out of Bergen and didn't stay in each area for long, so hopefully someone else chimes in with additional tips on the areas outside Bergen!

Last edited by FlyingJoy; Sep 14, 18 at 6:38 am Reason: Added one more place!
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Old Sep 13, 18, 4:07 pm
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June/July is a lovely time to be visiting! There are never any guarantees on the weather in western Norway, but at least you'll have lots of daylight.

I recommend spending more time in Bergen! As FlyingJoy mentioned, there are lots of very accessible hikes that start right in the city centre. And if the weather isn't on your side, you'll have far more indoors options here than elsewhere.

Instead of renting a car, you could take the train to Flåm and get a multi-day boat pass, although you'll be wanting a car if you want to explore beyond the train/boat routes. In that case, I would suggest renting and returning in Bergen and skipping the catamaran (maybe replace it with a day trip from Sogndal). If you want to take the Flåm railway, it's always an option to leave the car in Myrdal, walk or cycle down to Flåm (4–6 hours on foot, paved roads for most of the way and very scenic) and take the train back up.
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Old Sep 14, 18, 10:21 pm
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Originally Posted by waffle View Post
June/July is a lovely time to be visiting! There are never any guarantees on the weather in western Norway, but at least you'll have lots of daylight.

I recommend spending more time in Bergen! As FlyingJoy mentioned, there are lots of very accessible hikes that start right in the city centre. And if the weather isn't on your side, you'll have far more indoors options here than elsewhere.

Instead of renting a car, you could take the train to Flåm and get a multi-day boat pass, although you'll be wanting a car if you want to explore beyond the train/boat routes. In that case, I would suggest renting and returning in Bergen and skipping the catamaran (maybe replace it with a day trip from Sogndal). If you want to take the Flåm railway, it's always an option to leave the car in Myrdal, walk or cycle down to Flåm (4–6 hours on foot, paved roads for most of the way and very scenic) and take the train back up.
I second the suggestion to spend more time in Bergen. As I posted in a recent thread (Seeking advice on Nutshell itinerary), we did an overnight there in July & wished we’d had another day.

Re rental car, another option is to take the train to Voss & rent from the super nice Hertz agency there. From Voss you can drive north to Vik—be sure to see the Hopperstad stave church there—and catch a car ferry to Balestrand, or just head east to Flåm. Either way, just north of Voss are the amazing Twindefossen waterfalls; you can see them from the highway, but it’s worth pulling over for.
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Old Sep 17, 18, 8:50 am
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There are plenty of museums in Norway but your son will be happy to know that there are a TON of outdoorsy things to do in Norway too.

As others have mentioned, there are plenty of hikes around Bergen because of the 7 mountains surrounding it. One of the most famous hikes in Norway is Trolltunga - this is not an easy hike and it's not exactly close to Bergen (~5 hours) but it's one of those "well, we're here so might as well" kind of trips. Other popular hikes are Preikestolen (seen in the new Mission Impossible movie) and Kjerag, both are on the Lysefjord near Stavanger (also about 5 hrs from Bergen).

Also nice and leisurely are the In A Nutshell trips (there's a ton!). I booked mine DIY since I saved about $200 pp vs booking on the official website so if you want to try to save a bit of money in Norway, I'd definitely book each leg of the tour yourself.

I would definitely suggest going in June vs July, it just gets so busy with tourists in July and August.
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Old Sep 17, 18, 12:24 pm
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Originally Posted by meraki View Post
One of the most famous hikes in Norway is Trolltunga - this is not an easy hike and it's not exactly close to Bergen (~5 hours) but it's one of those "well, we're here so might as well" kind of trips. Other popular hikes are Preikestolen (seen in the new Mission Impossible movie) […]
Honestly, I wouldn't bother driving four to six hours from Bergen to Trolltunga or Preikestolen in the middle of summer. It's high season, they'll both be massively overrun with tourists and will take 1½–2 days out of your time budget. The main appeal of both of them seems to be that one cliché Instagram shot (for which you'll be queuing for hours), but if you don't need those particular bragging rights, I'd go for one of the hundreds of hikes that are within a day's reach, equally beautiful and nowhere near as crowded. If you're looking for hiking suggestions, ut.no is a great starting point (in Norwegian, but Google probably does a decent job of translating).
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Old Sep 18, 18, 4:02 pm
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I was just in Norway for a week. Prepare for the sticker shock when it comes to meals (and everything else). I almost felt like I needed to take out a second mortgage every time I ate.

I agree that spending a little more time in Bergen is a good idea. But that might depend slightly on what you like to do. There are some nice museums, but I can only take a little bit at a time. The town is quite walkable. For sure going up to Floyen is worthwhile. I went near sunset - great views at blue hour. Of course if you are going in the middle of summer you'll have twilight quite late.

My trip included a couple of days in Bergen, then the Nordled boat to Flam which was a nice ride despite the weather being less than ideal, overnight in Flam then the railroad to Myrdal continuing on to Oslo and a few days in Oslo. I liked Oslo a lot and could have easily a couple more days there as well. Next time I think I would try to go north.
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Old Sep 19, 18, 11:28 am
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Originally Posted by waffle View Post
Honestly, I wouldn't bother driving four to six hours from Bergen to Trolltunga or Preikestolen in the middle of summer. It's high season, they'll both be massively overrun with tourists and will take 1½–2 days out of your time budget. The main appeal of both of them seems to be that one cliché Instagram shot (for which you'll be queuing for hours), but if you don't need those particular bragging rights, I'd go for one of the hundreds of hikes that are within a day's reach, equally beautiful and nowhere near as crowded. If you're looking for hiking suggestions, ut.no is a great starting point (in Norwegian, but Google probably does a decent job of translating).
I went to Preikestolen and Kjerag in June and if you go early enough, there's barely any people. There were maybe 15 people lounging around near Kjeragbolten when I got there at like 10am, with no queue to get on the rock. There were even less people at Preikestolen when I went but we went very early to catch the sunrise.

Even if it's cliche, it's still a suggestion and since op has a young child (depending on how old), he might want to have those "cliche" photos to show his friends or post them on his social media.

Regarding the food prices, it is very expensive to eat out in Norway but there are ways to minimize it, like purchasing prepared foods from the grocery stores and eating outside and enjoying the view or if you have access to a kitchen, making a meal for yourself once in awhile.
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