YOUR GUIDE TO EXPLORING THE FJORDS OF NORWAY
Today we take you on an epic adventure: exploring the fjords of Norway, by way of our Australian contributor Chalsie Mew from Wayfare Hub. Take it away Chalsie! Lately the mountains have been calling out to me. And so in late-November, I found myself in Norway, with no plan, or any idea of what to expect. Just me, my nomadic travel bud, and a week of exploring ahead of us. After a few days in Oslo we made our way across the country to Bergen. A city once bustling with fishermen and merchants, now quaint and charming. What were we to do in Bergen? Other than see the largest gingerbread town in the world, we were to take in the spectacular beauty of the fjords, naturally. With laptop in tow, my nomadic travel bud and I found it surprisingly difficult to find to gather information about exploring Norway’s fjords. So I thought I’d do the honours. I present to you, your guide to exploring the fjords of Norway.
But first, some tips
1. Pick your day wisely before you book anything. Check the weather to make sure it’s not going to rain or be too cold – if it’s raining, you won’t see much, and if it’s cold, the transport windows will fog up from all the mouths breathing out warm air. This advice comes from a Bergen local.
2. Consider how much daylight you’ve got. In winter, Norway gets around 4 to 5 hours of sunshine, the rest of the day is darkness. Some of these tours can run for 9 hours total, so be smart and split it up into a few days, or pick a different route. I wrestled with this fact for days before admitting defeat. It’s just not worth it. In winter, it’s best to take it slow, and give yourself time to stay in the towns. And really, that could be the best part of the trip.
3. Take your time. If you’ve got the time, take advantage of being in remote areas and stay a few days. You never know, it could be the best part of your trip.
Norway In A Nutshell This would have to be the most popular cruise, and for a good reason. It offers you the best of everything, all wrapped up in a neat little package. You’ve got Sognefjord the king of fjords, the most scenic train journey in the world on the Flåm railway, windy mountain roads, and quaint little towns. And, it runs all year round.
There are a few things you should know about Norway in a Nutshell. It’s not a tour as such, it’s actually all your transportation. There’s no guide, you just jump on and off transport at your own pace, which means you can take it slow and experience this part of Norway like a local. Norway in a Nutshell offers customisable options on a journey to see the biggest fjord in the world, Sognefjord. The journey includes the following destinations (including a Sognefjord river cruise) Oslo, Myrdal, Flåm, Gudvangen, Voss and Bergen. Prices depend on your customisation, and change depending on the season. Check the website for accurate pricing.
Short by sweet: Mostraumen This tour was actually quite difficult to come across. And, it’s actually the tour we ended up going with. This is the perfect tour for those who want to see the spectacular beauty of Norway’s fjords, but don’t want to spend more than a day, or half day in summer, doing so.
Mostraumen cruise departs from Bergen, takes 3.5 hours in summer and 3 hours in winter – depending on the iciness of the water. When we were on the cruise, they tried to give us the 3.5 hour tour, but had to turn back at one point because the ice had become too thick. Given, it was pretty rad seeing the ferry smash through an iced-over river – yeah, Australian’s are pretty easy to impress in winter. Even though we didn’t see a portion of the tour, we definitely weren’t disappointed!
Departure times change depending on the season, so be sure to check out the website.
Off-the-Beaten-Path: Fjærlandsfjord For those looking to get off the touristy track, Fjærlandsfjord is perfect for you. Like Norway in a Nutshell, the tour covers the largest fjord in the world, that of Sognefjord. This tour is said to boast some of the most spectacular scenery the world has on offer. With lush peaks, often snow-capped, green mirrored river, and small ancient villages dotting the riverbanks. Fjærland is a village where ‘fjord meets glaciers’, also housing the largest glacier in Europe, Jostedalen glacier.
Fjærlandsfjord cruise departs from Balestrand or Hella. I’d recommend taking the train from Bergen or Oslo to Flåm, and from there, catch the express boat tour to Balestrand.
Adventure: Lysefjord and Pulpit Rock I’m sure you’ve seen those images of people standing on a rock, high in the air, overlooking Norway’s glorious mountain ranges and spectacular fjords. Well, that’s Pulpit rock. And this cruise not only takes you around the Lysefjord, but also takes you on a hike to the top – offering you the best of both worlds!
The Whole Package: All over Norway If you’re looking to experience all on Norway in one breathtaking package, this trip would be something you should definitely consider! Run by the same company as Norway in a Nutshell, they provide you with transport links that guide you, without limiting you to a timeframe. Meaning you can do this trip at your own pace.
Arctic Lofoten package takes you into northern Norway, where you’ll experience sailing through the breathtaking Vesterålen and Lofoten Islands, which is said to be the singular highlight of all of Norway (big statement!) and the Seven Sisters mountains. The cruise also takes you through historic towns like Trondheim and Ålesund, before finishing in picturesque Bergen.
From Bergen you can jump on the Norway in a Nutshell tour back to Oslo, finishing on a high through the largest fjord in the world. Win win!
There’s a package for everyone! Which would be your pick?