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Bergen Sognefjord Stave Church Oslo How To Details

Hello Knowledgable Experts:

I've got bits and pieces of how to do this trip. (Train Bergen to Voss, Norway in a Nutshell, Myrdal to Oslo) I can't put together exactly what I want to do however because of important missing details. Can you help? Four adult travelers. Three have Norway rail pass, one does not. Want to do the Nutshell tour direction Bergen to Oslo. Would like to stay one overnight somewhere on the Sognefjord. Need minimum two bedrooms (mens/woman), three beds in one room OK. Would like to see stave church at Borglund and/or Hopperstad. Tour some of the Sognefjord in addition to Naeoyfjord.

Questions:

1) Does the Nutshell tour go in both directions? (Voss to Myrdal, and Myrdal to Voss)
2) Is it possible to break the Nutshell into two days? (Part of the route one day, and part the next?) If so, where can the break be, and what is best for me?
3) How can I get from Nutshell to a ferry on Sognefjord?
4) I have seen mentions of ferry to Balestrand (for example) but I haven't found a ferry schedule for ferries on the Sognefjord. I found this link, but I can't get it to open. http://www.fjord1.no/eng/ferry Error message says server can't open link. Can I get either or both mentioned stave churches by ferry? (Yes, I realize Borglund is inland.) What are inland travel options? What is the nearest ferry stop to Hopperstad).
5) Since I can't find the ferry schedules, I can't figure out timing. Is this idea just crazy? Can I go from Bergen, do part of the Nutshell, stay overnight one night. Second day cruise to a stave church, finish the Nutshell, and take the train to Oslo, and arrive at a reasonable hour (as in, not an overnight train to Oslo).

6) Can you help me figure out the least expensive way to do this? (I assume rail passes work for the non-nutshell part for the three with rail passes. Assume single tickets from Bergen to Voss, Myrdal to Oslo for the other person, though this seems not to allow a discount on the Nutshell portion of the trip). Is this correct? If this is beyond the scope of this forum, can you recommend a trip planner who can help?
7) Have I forgotten to ask some crucial. Please enlighten me.
8) If you have suggestions on a better way to do this, please offer them. Suggestions on must see add ons, please let me know.
Appreciate very much the knowledge of those who have gone before me to fill in my gaping fjord-like gaps. Thank you, thank you.

Posted by
1481 posts

Sorry I am not a knowledgeable expert, but I am going to Norway next month, and I am doing something similar to what you seem to want to do, except in the opposite direction (from Oslo to Bergen). I only know what I have learned from my research in purchasing my tickets.

I purchased via the Norway in a Nutshell web site. I went with the Sognefjord in a Nutshell tour, but you can select whichever you want, and then click Plan & Book This Trip. From there you can customize. I set it up with two nights in Balestrand (and I booked the hotel separately, directly with the hotel).

Since you already have rail passes, you won't want to book that way. However, you can use that to go through the steps and see what the options are for transportation and lodging, and just stop before you get to the booking part.

I'm pretty sure your rail passes won't be honored on the Flam Railway (between Flam and Myrdal), as that is a private railroad line, but you should be able to use them on the other trains.

I know this doesn't come close to answering all your questions, but maybe it can start you on the right path. Good luck!

Posted by
874 posts

I can't answer everything, but I have booked my own Norway in a Nutshell trip departing from Bergen coming up in May. Norway in a Nutshell is just a system of booking a series of connections for you. You can do it yourself, and use your passes if/when they apply. [Note that the Voss-Myrdal leg is just one leg of the trip, and you can do it in either direction.]

It goes as follows:

Train from Bergen to Voss. This is a local train and can't be booked online but can be booked by telephone. (NSB: +47 61 05 19 10) I was told when I booked it that it isn't necessary to book, but I did anyway. You can look up the times here: https://www.nsb.no/en This leg takes just over an hour.

Bus #950 operated by Skyss https://www.skyss.no from Voss (Voss stasjon) to Gudvangen (Gudvangen kai). I was unable to book this in advance, but my understanding is this should not be a problem. If I am able to buy a ticket once I arrive in Bergen, I will do so. I've read that they can be purchased at Bergen bus station, 7-11, and other places. Otherwise, I will just pay the bus driver. (Cash only. Exact change.) I've read this trip requires an 8-zone ticket. This leg also takes about an hour.

Ferry from Gudvangen to Flam. You can book this here: http://booking.visitflam.com/en/to-do/a1064754/fjordcruise-nærøyfjord-fit/showdetails This leg takes about two hours. This ferry travels through parts of the Sognefjord (the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord). Depending on when you are travelling, you might be able to take advantage of the introductory offer on the new boat: https://www.visitflam.com/en/se-og-gjore/aktiviteter/intro-tilbud-vision-of-the-fjords/

I'm thinking you might want to stay in Flam, as it is on the fjord and roughly halfway. the Visit Flam link, above, gives a couple of accommodation suggestions.

Train from Flam to Myrdal. You can book this here: https://booking.visitflam.com/en/to-do/a585205/the-flåm-railway/showdetails This leg takes just under an hour, but I think there can be a one or two hour wait for this train (which would be moot if you stay in Flam).

Train from Myrdal to Oslo. You can book this here: https://www.nsb.no and my understanding is that this leg must be booked in advance. This leg takes about 4 hours. If you book far enough in advance you can take advantage of the minipris (discounted advance fare), for the person without a railpass.

Some people have reported having trouble using North American credit cards on the nsb site, and have had to book by phone. I was able to book online.

I didn't include times, because we are doing the trip all in one day, and you want to stop over. I used the Norway in a Nutshell itinerary to plan my self-booked trip, and you could do the same. Use the website and enter information as if you are booking, without completing the booking, and then copy their itinerary. https://www.norwaynutshell.com/original-norway-in-a-nutshell/bergen/

(We are saving about $270 Canadian for three of us, by booking it ourselves and doing it in time to get the minipris fare.)

I hope that helps!

Posted by
4 posts

BB--Thank you so much. This is just what I want to do. A terrifically organized and useful reply. Enjoy your trip! Otter

Posted by
113 posts

I picked a weekday in early June to give you an idea of what's possible (can't find any travel dates).

Long distance bus (Sognebussen) from Bergen bus station 6.35 am to Gudvangen E16 , 9.20 am.
Walk 5-10 min to ferry.
Ferry from Gudvangen 10:30 to Flåm 11:45.
Bus (Sognebussen) from Flåm 14:15 to Håbakken 14:55.
Bus (Nettbuss NX170) from Håbakken 15:35 to Lo, aust 15:52.
Walk 1.5 miles to Borgund stave church. Opening hours matches this travelplan from June 11th.
Walk back to Lo, aust bus stop, opposite direction.

Bus (Nettbuss NX170) from Lo, aust 20:23 to Sogndal skysstasjon 21:55.
Overnight Sogndal.
Express boat (Norled) from Sogndal 7:05 to Vik 8:05.
Walk 1 mile to Hopperstad stave chuch. Opening hours 10am, 9am from June 19th.
Express boat (Norled) from Vik 11:35 to Flåm 13:25.
Train from Flåm 16:03 to Myrdal 17:03.
Train from Myrdal 17:54 to Oslo S 22:35.

Posted by
544 posts

Is there a particular reason you are visiting those particular churches?

There's a beautiful example of a stave church at the outdoor museum on Bygdøy, in Oslo. It was relocated from the village of Gol in the late 19th century. You'll pass Gol on the train to Oslo.

Another thing to note is that the buses will give you change.

Posted by
874 posts

I also just learned there's a stave church in Bergen, although it is not original, but is rebuilt after a fire.

Posted by
4 posts

Why see these two stave churches? Because Rick says to!

Sorry I don't have my Rick Steve's book right at hand, from which to quote directly, but paraphrasing he says: there are lots of stave churches in Norway (30+). Some are completely rebuilt (after fires), some are largely new, some less spectacular than others, some in more beautiful settings than others. Then he says:

"Of Norway’s many stave churches, just see one or two. Borgund is my choice—no fjord, but in a pristine, remote setting, with the best adjacent museum.

"The fairest stave church in Norway? Hopperstad or Borgund. Hopperstad overlooks Sognefjord in the town of Vik."

Otter