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3 days in Bergen/Norway in a Nutshell

We found out recently that we are going to be spending a week in Oslo in early July 2018. WE ARE SO EXCITED about our first Scandinavian vacation and wanted to see more of Norway--esp Bergen and more fjords.

We are using RS's 2015 Scandinavia book to prioritize the many agendas (7 family members) we have in play. We got a fabulous rate yesterday flying into Bergen instead of Oslo. We now have an unexpected full Friday, Saturday, & Sunday to fill prior to check into our hotel in Oslo on Monday. (Originally this was the Iceland portion of our trip...it was fully planned out too :( )

We land around 10am Friday in Bergen and the framework of our "plan" is

  1. Bergen on Friday, sleep in Bergen.

  2. Leave on the Norway in a Nutshell tour on Saturday (what time does the train leave? I am mostly finding info about the 2 Oslo times but nothing on Bergen's?) and sleep in a fjord town. Not finding a lot with AirBnB right now, but we're hopeful.

    Will doing this over a weekend be a real negative? I know there will be crowds, but I'd like to try to deal with as few as possible. Suggestions for locations to stay?

    1. Continue NiN, sleep somewhere along the way....another fjord town? Family are suggesting staying 2 nights in the same small town for ease of not having to move around and dealing with luggage. There will definitely be at least one checked bag if not 2 along with our group--not my call. I am concerned about spending 2 nights in a small town with little to do. I am all about the view, but 2 days seems like a lot for any I am reading about. Hikes will be limited to 2ish hours I'd imagine.

Into Oslo Monday morning and we already have our hotel booked there.

How seriously are we going to be affected by the Sunday closings in Norway? And how likely is it that we will be affected by express train service suspension?

I'd love any help. I do have the trip all plugged into fjordtours and it is around 300pp. I have to admit I don't 100% get this hop on/travel at your own pace type of trip. In the past, I have only dealt with specifically booked train travel. Also, we are traveling with 5 family members who have never been overseas and are a bit nervous (while excited) about the entire venture. Hubby and I are the travelers and the adventurers, but I need a pretty good plan before I can feel comfortable. NiN is like nothing I have ever done. We have no subways, trains, nor public transportation where we live, so reservations and booking sites (esp ones that don't like American credit cards) are stressing us a bit. I trusted Eurorail last time, and while most went fine, we did have one large disaster due to an incorrect booking on their end.

Can anyone help me understand/ flesh out this portion of our trip? I am with people who will definitely need everything booked out ahead of time....no "find a hotel/bnb when we arrive or book trains from the station when we land".

THANKS SO MUCH FOR ANY HELP YOU CAN OFFER!!!

Posted by
16764 posts

The NiN route works in either direction. When departing from Bergen you can choose either an Express train or one of the additional Regional trains that just run as far as Myrdal, don't continue to Oslo, and don't require reservations. For instance, there's one departing at 8:43 and arriving to Voss at 9:56 or Myrdal at 10:51. It's very unlikely that Express train service would ever be suspended. The various transport schedules are designed to coordinate, but you should wait to confirm July schedules in the spring. That doesn't usually mean that you have to hold off on booking hotels, but I'd avoid prepaid, nonrefundable bookings.

Looking Up Train Schedules and Routes Online gives you the Deutsche Bahn train schedule link and tips for using it. the Norwegian www.nsb.no may not accept your credit card, or things could change in 6 months, or they do take phone orders, as well as selling tickets in the station.

Most of the smaller fjord towns have bus or ferry service to nearby attractions. If you spend two nights, you'd probably day-trip outside the town itself. For instance, see Rick's advice for Balestrand (which you can also reach by direct ferry from Bergen).

A few guidebook updates are posted online.

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks so much for your help.
With things seeming to book up so early, it is hard to know how much we need to be doing right now

Posted by
5486 posts

Oslo in early July 2018.... With things seeming to book up so early....

Do an web search on: "Norway Fellesferie". e.g. https://www.lifeinnorway.net/the-big-july-shutdown/

Fellesferie is the Norwegian labor force summer holiday, typically about three weeks starting the second week of July but could expand to the month of July. Cities will tend to empty out. Transportation out of the cities at the start of the holiday could be difficult as city Norwegians head for the holiday and recreation areas.

We experienced Easter Week in Norway which is a one week version of Fellesferie. Trains are fully booked at the start and end of Easter Week and Oslo emptied out from Easter Thursday with Norwegians all trying to return on the Monday after Easter. It's like an American traveling during the American Thanksgiving Weekend.

Posted by
660 posts

Two nights in one town is wise. There is a lot to do and see in the NiN area. Although we had a car, I'm sure you can hook up with some local tours. We rented an AirBnB in Aurland, which is a good location and a little larger village. There are several AirBnBs around and you should have several choices at this time of year. We went in mid-July so still prime tourist season and it wasn't overly crazy despite lots of tour bus companies.