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Bergen day-time trips

Dear group,
Sorry if this topic had been discussed in the past.
Our family plans on visiting Norway in 3 wks. Flying from US to Bergen, staying there for 4 full-days, taking a train to Oslo, and staying there for 3 days. Transatlantic flight.
We plan on renting a car (have one experienced European-trained driver but a rookie in Norway). Bergen will be a hub since we don't like to pack and move from place to place during this short stay.
Could you recommend one-day trips from Bergen?
Are trips to Hardangefjord and Voss a reasonable thought? We love sightseeing, hiking (not too advanced), and exploring. Museums are not in the plan (16 yo is a pain in the neck...).
Thank you all in advance,
IT

Posted by
27039 posts

I have taken no side-trips from Bergen, but I recall an earlier report here about a trip into the Hardangerfjord. Perhaps you can find it with the search function.

You may not be aware that there's gorgeous scenery between Bergen and Oslo that's accessible via public transportation--so much so that packages of train, mountain train, ferry and bus tickets are marketed (at a bit of a surcharge) as "Norway in a Nutshell" and "Sognefjord in a Nutshell".

That entire trip can be completed in a day, albeit a long day. With your group's interests, spending a night or two along the way would be nice for access to the mountains and fjords (there's lots of great hiking in the area), but I fear it would be extraordinarily difficult at this point to find lodging at places right on the Nutshell route in July. With a car you could probably find something in one of the other villages in the area, then drive to Flam to take the Flamsbana train trip and the Flam-Gudvangen ferry. For the latter there's a bus that you can take back to Flam. The website NorwaysBest sells tickets for the Flamsbana and the ferry.

Bergen is a beautiful city, but four days is a long time there. I say that having spent four days there myself, and I went to a lot of museums. I'm not sure that's the best choice for you, but there are a couple of lifts you can take that offer good hikes (from what I have read). You can even spend 4 to 6 hours walking from the top of one lift to the other--weather permitting, that is. Bergen is an extraordinarily rainy city.

Oslo also has good nearby hiking.

I recommend a good guidebook. I am more a museum than an outdoorsy person, so my ability to offer suggestions is limited, and the other folks here who've spent time exploring Norway have not generally done it while based in Bergen and Oslo; they have driven around the fjords. There are a few trip reports that made that sound very enticing.

Edited to add: I just transferred from a bus to the train in Voss. I understand it's a major center for outdoor activities. It is not an especially beautiful place, and it is not on a fjord. There's rather a lot of lodging in the area, so you might find something there.

Posted by
413 posts

We did a day trip to kayak in the Naeroyfjord from Bergen. We did it with an outfit, called, I think, Artic Ventures. It was about a two hour drive from Bergen. The outfitter provided wetsuit, kayak, and lunch cooked by a guide. The fjord was beautiful, even though it was a cloudy day. We had kayaked before but even a beginner could do this - the kayaking is easy.
We took out in a different spot from where we put in and a van picked us up and took us back to where we parked. While the van was being loaded, we wandered around a beautiful little church and cemetery next to the fjord. This day trip was the high point of our vacation (which also incuded Oslo). This was in, I think, 2019, and we found driving in Bergen very confusing. We used google maps but it steered us wrong repeatedly just going from the car rental place back to our AirBnB. We only rented a car for a day to go kayaking, so once we got out of Bergen we were fine, but would recommend using public transportation in Bergen instead of driving.

Posted by
82 posts

If you're there too early to check in to a hotel, grab the morning fjord cruise to Mostraumen. Enjoy the view on the way there on the deck and then get some sleep underneath on the way back

Posted by
27039 posts

I have unearthed my notes on Bergen. The lifts that get you up to good hiking spots (as well as offering great views) are the Floybanen and the Ulriken 643 cable car. The latter goes higher but is farther from the center of town; I think you'd need to hop on a bus--maybe #2 or #3, but I'm not sure that's current info. I'm nearly certain Rick provides some info on walks from the Floybanen stops.

The Bergen tourist office, located upstairs in a modern building very near the fish market, has lots of printed material on the area around Bergen as well as the city itself. I'm sure the staff could be helpful in identifying good trips by car. This office isn't one of those that exists only to sell you tours.

I'm not surprised to hear Bergen is hard to drive in; I found navigating on foot a challenge at times. It's very hilly, and there may not be a lot of connections between levels that work for vehicles. On one of my walks, I had to climb about 160 steps to get to the next street over.

Posted by
82 posts

The Ulriken 643 cable car is an absolute must-do in my opinion even if you do no hiking. There is a cafe/bar at the top with amazing panoramic views (and a little fitness area if the teen needs to let some energy out by doing pull-ups). It is a fair amount of squeeze on public transportation to get to, but yields a lot of juice.

Oh and if it is warm enough, go to one of the swimming holes!

Posted by
413 posts

@acraven, yes, that kind of describes the issue of driving in Bergen. Winding streets that end up in a courtyard (or a basketball court, which we had to to a u-turn in to get out, thanks, Google Maps), lack of street signs, one way streets up steep hills, etc.

And I forgot all about the Floybanen. We enjoyed that a lot - ride the cable car up and walk down. There are hiking trails at the top through the trees which makes for a nice walk. Once you get close to the bottom there are some cute cobblestoned residential streets with brightly colored houses that are fun to see.