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Bergen and Sognefjord

Hello! We are planning a trip to Bergen and Sognefjord next summer. I am thinking that we will get to Bergen on Day One, take Norway in a Nutshell on Day Two, drive the four hours to Sognefjord on Day Three, Spend Days Four and Five visiting the nearby Stave Church and glacier walks and then drive back to Bergen Day 6. Is this workable? Is there something else we should consider? Thanks for your help!

Posted by
1425 posts

Sognefjord is not a specific place. It is the largest fjord in Norway. So it's not clear where exactly you intend to drive on Day Three to get there, and where exactly you plan to stay on nights 3-5.

It's also not clear when you say you will take NiN on Day Two, where you will end up? Are you planning to go to Oslo? Or round trip back to Bergen?

And when are you going to have a car? Are you planning to do NiN by car?

If you can clarify what you're planning, I'd be happy to try to assist you.

Posted by
11272 posts

To add to Lane's excellent reply, Norway In A Nutshell is just a marketing tool, wherein you take a combination of buses, trains, and boats on one of four very scenic routes on a single day:

Oslo back to Oslo
Oslo to Bergen
Bergen to Oslo
Bergen back to Bergen

This route can be broken up at any point, and if you have several days, it's smart to do so. In that case you would simply buy the parts you need separately. You don't get anything different by booking "Norway In A Nutshell" as opposed to separate bookings; sometimes it can save money, but you still take separate trains, boats, and buses, and you're on the exact same ones regardless of how you book the ticket. This is different from, say, Switzerland, where the designated "Bernina Express" or "Glacier Express" are different trains than the regular ones on those same routes, and sometimes save having to make connections compared to the regular trains.

Posted by
2 posts

Yes, Sorry. I should have been more specific. We are planning on arriving in Bergen on Day One. We were thinking about taking the public transport system for Norway in a Nutshell round trip and returning to Bergen. Then, we'd head to Solvorn, which I believe we can only access by car from Bergen. If we do that, would we even need to do Norway in a Nutshell if we just wanted to do that for the view and not a specific destination?

Posted by
1425 posts

You have a few options, all of which would involve not doing a roundtrip NiN.

  1. Do the entire trip via rental car, allowing time to explore various scenic places en route. There are many driving options, all of which involve a car ferry at some point to cross the Sognefjord. Then drive back to Bergen taking a different route.
  2. Do part of the trip by a combination of train, bus, ferry, and/or express boat. You can then rent a car somewhere along the way (Flåm, Balestrand, Sogndalsfjøra) to drive to Solvorn. Then return the car and head back to Bergen by a different combination of transportation options.
  3. Same as either of the above, but instead of returning to Bergen, head to Oslo and fly home from there.

Just out of curiosity, though, what is the appeal of Solvorn? I stopped there briefly, and I didn't get the sense it was a place I'd want to linger. If you are interested, check out the route I drove when I rented a car for one day in Balestrand: : https://photos.app.goo.gl/U9S4nenxHFHMjTD18.

Posted by
14 posts

I'd say you have several options. You can do diversions from the NIN tour and there is also a Sognefjord in a Nutshell Tour. If you search for Norway in a Nutshell and Fjord Tours you should come to a website. Here's the one for SIN: https://www.norwaynutshell.com/sognefjord-in-a-nutshell/

The SIN tour from Bergen uses a fast boat that goes through Sognefjord to Flam (not the correct Norwegian spelling). It stops in other villages along the way. We signed up for that tour as a one way tour to Oslo. We booked a room for 3 nights in Balestrand. So we took the boat from Bergen to Balestrand, spent 3 nights in Balestrand, and then continued on the tour. I'm sure you can do variations like that from either NIN or SIN. Something like booking NIN but instead of a 1 day trip back to Bergen you take a fast boat or ferry from Flam to some other destination where you spend a few nights, and then return to compete the rest of the NIN tour. I don't know all of the possible variations you could do and I have no idea how you'd get to some of the specific destinations. I know you can rent a car in Balestrand, though it's pricey and you may want to reserve ahead of time. I'd suspect you can rent in Flam though I don't know that for a fact. There are probably other locations from where you could rent locally. My main point is that you don't have to look at NIN as a 1 day round trip. You can book the package of transfers but book them for multiple days with stop overs in desired locations. A few other comments: We really liked Bergen. Worth more than just a using it as a transfer point. We really enjoyed our time in Balestrand, though we lucked out with weather. We did a kayak tour, a RIB boat tour to Naeroyfjord (pricey but for me the highlight of the trip), a hike (lots of hiking trails of all difficulty levels in Balestrand), and the Fjaerland tour from Balestrand to the glaciers. I think if we had 3 days of heavy rain, 3 days in Balestrand would've felt like a long time. I know you can take a ferry from Balestrand to Vik to visit one of the Stave churches. We thought Fjaerland looked very inviting from the ferry. We had no chance to explore it but if we planned the trip again I think we would've tried to spend one night there.