After posting a continuous series of photos from Norway, It was high time I write a blog about this place. It was a struggle how to word everything that started from a dream to actual execution. I have been living in Scandinavia and Nordic regions for almost a decade, yet I visited Norway only last year. Let us not delve into the innumerable excuses that resulted in not keeping Norway as a priority even though clearly it was always somewhere at the back of my mind.
Let’s start with planning the Norway trip
Things to consider for our trip
- Plan a trip for a family of four
- Visit at least three places in Norway
- Book accommodation suitable for everyone (complete with elevators and /or enjoy unique Norwegian living experience)
- Total trip days: 5 days
- Should cover a cruise trip and a train journey in Norway.
- Book an air travel ticket
Depending upon your place of departure, book the tickets well in advance if you are budget travellers. I had mine booked at least two and a half months. Norwegian airlines (https://www.norwegian.com/) and Scandinavian Airlines (https://www.sas.se/) have multiples flights flying in from Copenhagen and Stockholm respectively. Air travel is the quickest option as the flight will take only one and a half hours. Also, it helps if your trip to Norway is only for a few days. We chose to fly and start our journey from Bergen and fly back from Oslo five days later both using Norwegian airlines.
Other ways of starting a Norway trip would be by car (driving through Sweden), cruise (from Helsingborg or Copenhagen) or by taking a ferry from Copenhagen towards Oslo.
- Determine the route of travel / Itinerary of the trip
Day 1: Since we were landing in Bergen midday, we decided to give only one and half day to the city.
Day 2: Explore the Bergen city
Day 3: Take a ferry from Bergen port to Flåm (half a day) travel, spend the rest of the day in Flåm, also move to Aurland.
Day 4:Spend the day in Aurland and Flåm, leave for Oslo by evening train from Flåm and reach Oslo late night
Day 5: Spend the day in Oslo and leave for Stockholm my night flight
- Book a comfortable accommodation
While booking accommodation, our prime concern was availability as we were visiting Norway in prime summer. We opted to book an Airbnb (https://www.airbnb.com) apartment in the suburbs of Bergen. It was perfect with two bedrooms and could reach the city in 15 minutes by bus.
For our accommodation in Flåm, we booked rooms in a private house in Aurland (20 to 30 minutes by taxi from Flåm). This led us to enjoy two villages both Flåm and Aurland, which belonged to the Sogn county. This house gave access to a kitchen and we had an option of cooking our own dinner and breakfast. Surroundings were beautiful and almost breathtaking.
For our accommodation in Oslo, we booked a Forenom apartment using booking.com. Apartment key had to be collected from a pre-assigned location conveyed to us from a security box as we were reaching very late in Oslo. This apartment was very close to the city centre and Central station in Oslo.
All the three accommodations were perfect and served our purpose of having a meaningful experience. Apartment in Bergen was perfect but had 10 minutes walk from the bus stop to the house which was a tad bit difficult road for the elders (slopes and hills).
- Book the connecting modes of transport
Bergen to Flåm:
Bergen to flåm can be done either by train or a cruise. Train journeys take about 3 hours ( fast train, stops only at the boarding gate and Myrdal) or take a slow train which takes about 5 hours. Since we needed to complete a boat ride in Norway and had no opportunity later in the trip, we chose the waterway to reach Flåm. Generally people make a stop at Myrdal to spend a day as well.
We booked an Express Boat by Norled departing from Bergen towards Flåm using Visit Bergen website. Boat journey takes 5.30 hours, departs from
Bergen, Strandkai Terminal: (next to the Tourist Information in Bergen) at 8:00 and arrives at Flåm port at 13.35.
Flåm to Aurland:
For Flåm to Aurland, Taxis are the only source of travel. We booked our taxi on the spot by inquiring for their number from Flåm tourist office. Taxis are few and hence they take at least 10 to 15 minutes to arrive if they are already helping other tourists. We used Aurland Taxi services. The drivers were very helpful and helped us accommodate 4 adults with bags easily in their taxis.
Flåm to Oslo:
For travelling from Flåm to Oslo, I think train travel is the best option. Train leaving from Bergen will stop at Myrdal for a few minutes. This time is enough to change the train, platforms are next to each other. Next train from Myrdal will be directly connected till Oslo Central station. We booked our tickets from NSB (Norwegian State Railways) website. We left Flåm at 17.25 and arrived at 23.50 at night in Oslo. Since these were long summer days, the sun did not set till quite late in the evening giving us a chance to view all the scenic views of Norway. This train journey also forms a part of much celebrated Norway in a Nutshell route.
- Extra tips for the travel
Bergen Airport to the place of accommodation: Buses are available to travel from the airport towards the city. We booked the tickets from the machines available outside the airport on the spot. This we did after consulting our accommodation address with the bus service individuals present on the spot. Even the bus seems a costly affair for our 40minute ride and I am not aware of any cheaper ways to avoid this part.
Oslo city to airport: We took a direct train from Oslo Central Station to Oslo Airport which took about 30 minutes.
Train tickets from Flåm to Oslo: Remember to avail for Senior citizen discounts or children discounts when purchasing these tickets. Also, even though the tickets are booked online, one has to collect the tickets personally from Flåm Visitors office. Ticket checkers only entertain the tickets issued by the office, not the online reservation print outs or emails.
Money, money, money: Norway, in general, is an expensive place to visit so bear that in your mind. We are budget travellers and hence we cooked our breakfast or bought it from supermarkets wherever possible to save a few kroner. Money cannot be saved on experiences but maybe a well-planned trip can help in some way.